Steve Peek - A Great Story Filled with Laughs, Tears and Tragedy
Steve Peek writes because he must. Dark angels descend upon him if he goes too long without clicking keys so characters appear. He says he certainly doesn't write for fame or wealth. He writes because he must. There seems to be a family curse. Four of his cousins are writers. Pat Conroy is the most famous. He had other demons. His sister, Carol is a published poet. Another of his dead cousins wrote for syndicated newspapers and Herbie, who is older than Steve, has over a hundred published books to his name. As our Author of the Day Steve tells us all about his book, Our Scandalous Grandmother.
Please give us a short introduction to what Our Scandalous Grandmother is about.
Born in 1900, Margaret Rose Nolan decided early in life she wanted to live her life like the women in Hollywood. She wanted to be a lady and would do anything to become one. Her biggest obstacle was herself. From moonshine on hayrides to champagne toasts in cruise ships’ ballrooms, she never quite reached her goal and left many casualties in her wake.
Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?
The main character is Pat Conroy’s and my grandmother. She was in and out of our lives until she died. Her story is a great one filled with laughs, tears, and tragedy.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? Tell us more about your "family curse"
I always wanted to be an author, with the trappings of bestseller novelists from the 1950s. But life hitched me to a different plow, and I furrowed row after row until the world finished and spat me into old age. My thoughts returned to youthful dreams.
But, of course, things had changed. The internet put legendary publishers and bookstores out of business. When a child, authors were admired and respected, now they are everyday Joe’s who pour their guts into digital ones and zeroes, that only exist when a reader has them up on a screen. The realization dismayed me; I could never be the author I dreamed.
Accepting the brave new world, I found myself facing a truth: writing, the act of placing and moving fingers on keys, were the things I needed. I only thought I wanted to be an author. All along, I wanted to write.
After a life filled with what now seems pointless errands, I enjoy a comfortable chair, a keyboard, and a screen that allows fonts large enough for me. I type every day. My goal is to tell stories. Not everyone will enjoy my stories. I hope some do. It is a beautiful life.
Tell us more about Margaret Rose Nolan. What makes her so special?
Determined, single-minded, she cared little what her country-bumpkin kin thought. She set her sights on owning a big home in Atlanta. She smoked, drank, and cursed in an era when women were not supposed to.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Listening to people.
How much research did this book require from you to make the "history" part of it ring true?
In my previous life, research was part of my job description—hour after hour, books upon books to uncover a few facts. Then I got a new assistant, the internet: books, correspondence, photographs, everything suddenly at your fingertips.
Which of your characters was the most challenging to create?
The main character, Margaret Rose, was by far the most difficult. Here is a woman who will use anyone, do anything to get her way, in essence, a villain. The challenge became keeping her determined and ruthless while at the same time making her somehow likable.
Why did you title this "Everything but the Truth"?
Margaret Rose was a notorious liar. Straight answers were few and far between.
When she returned from one of her Around the World trips, she sat in a throne-like chair and handed out gifts; each came with a story of where it came from and what it meant, and why it was for the person getting it. Of course, the stories were mostly lies, but we didn’t know it then. We didn’t care; we felt important enough to receive a gift selected, especially for us when it could be given to anyone in truth.
What are you working on right now?
Working on trying to get people to read Everything But the Truth.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Steve Peek, Author on Facebook