Peter M. Last was very nearly born in an elevator and has continued to be unconventional ever since. He is the sixth child in a large family and has had a conservative upbringing by Yankee parents living in the south. Despite having been homeschooled from kindergarten until twelfth grade, Peter has an expansive social life and has never been locked in a closet. He began writing his first novel, Guardians of Magessa, at the age of eleven, receiving great encouragement from his family in the form of compliments such as “Your book is actually not that bad!” Now, eleven years and several massive rewrites later, Peter is finally ready to release his brilliant work to the world. He is currently slogging his way through his fourth year in college, doggedly working toward a degree in Civil Engineering and promising himself he will have more time next semester. In the little spare time he has, Peter writes a blog (www.peterlast.blogspot.com) where he posts short stories, reviews books and movies, and addresses a mixture of serious and absurd topics, from global warming to pencil sharpeners. Peter’s other hobbies include drawing, dabbling in amateur film directing, and discharging powerful firearms at shooting ranges. Between school, his social life, and his hobbies, Peter has been forced to cut back on unnecessary activities such as sleeping. At present, he is busy with his series, The Birthright Chronicles, of which Guardians of Magessa is the first.
Q & A
Q: I understand that you started writing at a pretty young age. How old were you exactly?
A: I was 11 when it all started. It’s not an interesting story, I’m afraid, but basically I was bored and had nothing to do so I decided to write a book.
Q: What was your inspiration to start writing?
A: I always enjoyed reading as a kid. I’d be reading a book and get to a part that I didn’t like, so I’d make up a scene that I thought was better than the original. I think I always enjoyed creating the story more than reading it and so writing was the natural step to be able to do this.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your writing process?
A: For a given book, I will first set up the general plot along with all of the main events that I want to happen. Next I create the characters and give them personalities. These personalities drive what happens in the book and I often have to modify my original vision of the plot. For instance, if the plot calls for a person to rush rashly into a combat situation, but the person that is supposed to do that is a sensible, clear thinking individual, the plot has to change. After a book is written, I go back through it to correct problems and make the story more interesting. Then comes the editing.
Q: Is there anyone in particular who helps with the writing process?
A: My brother Paul helps me with logistics. He’s a great problem solver; basically I give him a bunch of odds and ends, events that I want to happen, people’s personalities, and he is often able to make them all fit together. My sister Rachel also helps by giving me different perspectives on what the characters might do or are likely to do.
My family read through an earlier draft of Guardians of Magessa and offered a whole lot of useful criticism. My dad is especially good at catching inconsistencies. For example, one time he noticed the discrepancy between there being ninety-eight dragons versus a hundred and ten, and the two numbers were about ten pages apart. Of course, my editor is also hugely important in the writing process for obvious reasons. I don’t think even I would be able to read my own writing if it weren’t for her correcting spelling, sentence structure, and inconsistencies.
Q: Your family is very large. They must have varied opinions on your writing.
A: Well, throughout my life my family has been the hardest critics on my work, no matter what the subject is. One of my brothers told me that, “It’s actually not too bad.” Another said in a surprised tone, “It’s actually pretty good!” I’m only half kidding, but my family is very supportive even if I have made them sick of the story by constantly asking for their opinions and inputs about different parts of it.
Q: What is your series, The Birthright Chronicles, about? How long will it be?
A: In a sense, the series is about the age old battle of good versus evil. It’s about realistic people in real situations. Real problems crop up in the story all of the time, ones about relationships, national pride, bravery, making the right choices, and many more. The story just happens to be set in a fantastical world because I happen to have a love for this kind of setting. On the subject of series length, there are currently concrete plans for five books. I think the story will stretch out for six or seven total volumes.
Q: What is the goal of Guardians of Magessa, both in the series and otherwise?
A: The goal of the book is to provide an avenue for me to annoy my sister with. Just kidding. Actually Guardians of Magessa kick-starts the whole series. It serves as an introduction to and development of many of the main characters of the books. It also begins to set up the series story line and drops some hints towards major mindbenders later in the series. Outside of the series, my goal is to give people a good fantasy book to read. I’ve read my fair share of fantasy novels, and while some of them are not very good, others are just plain smutty and not something that parents want their children reading. Guardians of Magessa provides a quality novel that adults can appreciate, but that is also acceptable for children to delve into. I’m also hoping to share a few life lessons with my audience. Even if the setting isn’t real, the situations are and the lessons are valid.
Q: Is there a character in the book that you associate with?
A: When I first started writing it was definitely Josiah. I put a lot more of my personality into him in my first draft than any other character. As I began to develop the characters a bit more, I began to associate less with Josiah. I think each character has a piece of me or at least what I want to be. The coolest characters, hands down, and the most fun ones to write were Timothy and Vladimir.
Q: What do you see in Senndra and Timothy’s future?
A: I can’t really answer that without spoiling the surprise later on. Maybe Timothy ends up with Senndra. Or Rita. Or an elf woman who wears an eye patch. No one knows for sure. I can say that they’ll be getting into more battles, so there’s sure to be more excitement in that respect.
Q: What made you think that you could write a book?
A: I was young and naive. When I first started writing I never really intended for it to be an actual book. I started writing to have something to do and just told people that I was going to get it published in much the same way that you smack talk at a sporting event, even when you know you’re going to lose one hundred to zero.
Q: What do you see in your future as a writer?
A: That’s an interesting question. I have a lot of ideas for different types of books. For example, I’ve written some sci-fi short stories that are associated with a novel that I’ve started writing. I love a lot of different genres and would like to try my hand at writing in as many of them as possible, but right now my focus is on The Birthright Chronicles. I want to make this series an exciting, top quality read.
Guardians of Magessa; The Birthright Chronicles Book 1
*Published: August 1, 2014
*Format: Available in printed copy, perfect bound/ paperback and Kindle.
Guardians of Magessa; The Birthright Chronicles Book 1 can be purchased on-line through Amazon.com
What would you fight for? What would you die for?
Though trained in the arts of war, these questions had never occurred to Senndra, an orphan following in her father’s footsteps, or Josiah, the ideal military cadet. When the two meet during an event meant to foster a solid relationship between their academies, they find themselves forced into battle with a forgotten evil. The combined elf, ogre, orc, and human armies could meet this invasion on fair terms, but strained relations between the races have made this possibility uncertain.
For now Senndra, Josiah, and their comrades are all that stand between a massive army and total annihilation of their country, Magessa. Facing horrific odds, the young cadets have no hope of defeating the invading horde. It will be all that they can do to simply stave off the inevitable slaughter, but personal conflict, physical challenge, and internal struggle gets in the way. “How could God allow this to happen?” is the question running through their minds; a question made more poignant by the taunting of the enemy. Will Senndra, Josiah, and their friends be able to maintain their faith, overcome their trials, and find the strength to finally realize themselves as the Guardians of Magessa?
*Synopsis: The story follows a group of cadets that find themselves thrown into battle against the dwarf army of evil Molkekk. Their skill and their faith in Elohim are tested as they face overwhelming odds and circumstances.
*Review: This book is wonderfully written so that the reader is drawn into the story. It has adventure, suspense, a little romance, and helps the reader to assess their own faith and belief in a higher power. Peter M. Last has a style that keeps the reader asking questions and leaves them wanting more. I look forward to reading the next book in the Birthright Chronicles Series.
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Peter M. Last Bio