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Q and A with Peter Sacco

NOTE: This is an interview I did with my work Vervegirl magazine. The actual story can be found here.


VERVEGIRL: Are there any particular spots you like to go to when you write?

PETER SACCO: I find that the spot where you write doesn’t matter as much as the mental focus I have going in to writing that day as well as a couple of cups of Java do help! I can truly say that I have actually written 7 books and a couple of scripts as well as a plethora of magazine articles at Starbucks. People always ask how can you concentrate there? Well, I find writing in solitude to be very mundane and feeling like you are in the land of the living inspires you. I also find I can bounce ideas off of the folks/patrons at Starbucks who I have come to know very well over the one I frequent the last 7 years. Interestingly, if I am stuck for developing characters I “people watch” and they give me ideas for characters. I also pay attention to different mannerisms and styles they wear and I incorporate them into my character development.

For my crime/suspense thriller Jack or Jill, a large part of the plots location is in Niagara Falls. Furthermore, the criminal psychologist in the novel meets with the detective heading the case (who is also his love interest) at the Starbucks I write out of. So basically, I write about what I know so sometimes go to the places in the book and write from there. For example, in Jack or Jill, the hero of the story needs to solve the 1888 Jack the Ripper killings to solve the modern day killings in Niagara Falls, so writing from spots featured in the story makes it that much more real. Heads or Tails which is the second book in the series also takes in Niagara Falls, Canada, Niagara Falls, New York and Buffalo, as well as Hamilton and Toronto, so many of the plots sites are places I go to as well as write from.

I would also say I enjoy writing out back on the largest deck of the tropical rainforest I created in my back yard. Writing next to the pond brings peace and tranquility. However, I am only limited to writing there spring, summers and lately later into autumn with the great weather changes we have been having.

VG: What are your thoughts on e-books being used more often as opposed to paperback and hardcover books?
PS: Great question! I think e-books are here to stay and take off. I know of so many friends, colleagues, students as well as readers of my own books who love to read e-books on their e-kindles or I-Pads. I think ecologically speaking it is great on trees! With that said, I love the feel of a soft cover book in my hands, especially reading in the bathtub. Being the occasional klutz that I am something tells me an I-Pad would meet its accidental demise at the bottom of my bathtub like Davey Jones Locker!

VG: In your opinion, does being an author/writer require you to work a strict 9-5 schedule, or does it permit you to be flexible?
PS: I find writing allows me to be very flexible. I find that I do my best writing early in the morning or later in the evening. The key to being an efficient writer is to write when inspired or whenever the characters start talking to you. If you can’t write because you are out somewhere driving, grocery shopping or at a movie and get an idea, jot ideas down on paper or wrappers. Great ideas sometimes have a way of disappearing from the mind and never to be found again. Capture the essence!

VG: Are there any authors out there whose work inspired you to become an author yourself?
PS: Oh yes! It was a combination of authors; great storytellers as well as great movie directors who helped inspire me. When I was young I used to love shows like the Twilight Zone and anything by Alfred Hitchcock which I still love very much today! It was reading Stephen King novels in high school and university, along with the likes of Edgar Allen Poe (a literary genius), C.S. Lewis, D.H Lawrence, G. Bernard Shaw, and eventually Michael Crichton, Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child and John Grisham who really made me want to become a novelist. Interestingly, I was and still am today a huge X-Files fan and Chris Carter who wrote for the show was a great inspiration.

VG: The Lost Fountain addresses the effects and issues of Progeria. Does it have a particular significance to you? How do you go about researching these sort of topics?
PS: For me, I first saw the disease on television on a talk show. It was very heart wrenching to see these young kids aging so quickly. They were pillars of courage and strength in my books and I developed an amazing respect for them. I was at Disney World in Florida waiting to go on a ride with a friend when I saw a child with Progeria. It touched me in a way I have never forgotten. You just want to reach out and hug them…hug them all. As you can see I am a hugger!

In terms of researching topics, Google searches are modern day magic! Having completed a Ph.D. in psychology, my early years researching for essays and projects entailed cruel, old school methods of tracking things down keeping you in libraries for days. Today, you can find what you want so fast and easy. It is amazing how many experts I have connected with on-line or on Facebook who are great sources of information.

VG: What are some of your interests and hobbies?
PS: I love to work and stay fit. I have always been into body sculpting and fitness. I am an avid hockey junky–love the Sabres, and watch a ton of games in the fall and winter months. I also enjoy pond-scaping and Japanese gardening. Love to be outside and see plants–anything lush, green or colourful. And…Going to school in the 80’s has always kept me interested in 80’s music, but I do listen to everything. Did I say I love to read and watch movies?

VG: What advice can you pass down to people who would like to pursue Creative Writing?
PS: The best advice I can give anyone who wants to write is “JUST WRITE!” Write it down, it’s that simple. Thoughts become things and before you know it, they come out in paperback, e-books or on television or the big screen. I have an active imagination, sometimes too active I am told by family and friends and I would have never dreamed these “imaginative thoughts” would have somehow, someday translated into books or TV shows I wrote. It all started because I wrote it down. A famous and very wise friend once told me, if you can dream it, then you can achieve it! I hear people telling me all the time that they “want to write…”. Each time response is, “So what’s stopping you? Write!”

Peter’s new book Midnight Eclipse will be released on October 21st, 2011.

Visit Peter’s official web site


About Peter Sacco

Hailing from Niagara Falls, Peter Sacco is a renowned author, psychology professor and former private practitioner. He has written several book reviews for publisher Prentice-Hall Publishing Canada, and he is also columnist/author for over 500 articles in several North American magazines.

He is a renaissance man, for his skills and experiences are evident in both television and radio talk shows in the United States and Canada where he regularly appears. He has also written scripts for commercials, and lectures at various universities in the province.

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