Tell us a bit about your books
After numerous psychology and psychotherapy academic works I finally published my first novel Mister Charalambus and the One Soul in late 2012. A second book: The One Soul: When a Tear Falls is complete and awaiting a final edit. I hope to bring this out in the spring. I am in the process of writing the third book in the series (sixty thousand words and rising) tentatively titled The One Soul: The Heart and Soul. My books follow the lives of a number of inter-connected characters. The stories trace the belief in true love and how we all strive to find it. Sometimes we seem to gravitate toward it almost by accident. Or do we? This is complimented by the enduring notion of a soul. The one-soul of the title refers to two children born of earthly manifestations of God: Referred to as The Father in the stories. One child is born out of love and the other hate. These souls are carried throughout history and across worlds and trace an eternal struggle between the powers of light and dark, good and evil. The souls endure as does their love. It is cataclysmic and inspiring capturing the twin notions of reincarnation and spiritual growth. The narrative is founded in the capacity for ordinary people to prevail when all seems lost. I was inspired by all the instances, documented throughout history, when people going about their everyday business are suddenly thrust into mighty confrontations, without preparation or expertise. Amazing things happen. Somehow people find the capacity not only to survive terrible misfortune but they often find a way to become more than they thought they were. I hope this leads to a powerful narrative and gives the characters a depth, balance and humanity the reader can empathize with.
What inspired you?
I have always written but haven’t we all. I guess the nature of this writing was founded on my beliefs both professional, and personal that ultimately all people want is to love and be loved. Sometimes people don’t know how to go about it or they can’t see it when it is under their noses, some even throw it away and others abuse it. But in the end nobody wishes they had spent more time at work making money. They all want to see the one they love or wish they had not let them go.
Are your characters based on people that you know?
Yes and no. It would be foolish to pretend we are not influenced by our own experience and the lives of those we know. One of the writing maxims is to write what you know and it is good advice. Nobody in my stories is based on any one person but on aspects of the many people I have met. Sometimes this has been a conscious decision other times I figure it out later. In the first book particularly I draw on many of my experiences for the two main characters: Karina and the One-soul. If truth be told she, like my wife is a red head and when we kissed for the first time a spark of static electricity ran right through us both. I used this as a central plank of their first meeting and on-going attraction. But the characters are aspects of many people, for good or ill.
What hardships have you had to face since you started your writing journey?
Hmm. Like all creative endeavors writing takes time, space and emotional energy all of which are needed to maintain relationships, jobs and sanity. I am a psychologist, husband and father I have tried to fit my writing around these things. I think that is why I stopped writing creatively for so long. I needed to feel I could get the balance right. My son died during the writing of the first book and that is something so life changing it will never leave and I was irrevocably changed by it. But once I was able, writing became an escape and a way to find parts of me I was afraid to show in the real world.
What research do you undertake to help you write?
Haha If you knew me you would realise how funny that is. I am a psychologist and studied for years completing essays research studies process reports and endless numbers of case studies. Academic writing takes research the whole point about my creative writing is that I make it up. I hate the idea of research unless absolutely necessary. My life has been my research. People are my research and love is my research. Oh and the occasional google search just as back up if necessary. Nothing else. I have a good memory. Mostly.
Any information on upcoming books?
As I already said, because I am if nothing else a good talker, just ask a question and watch me go, the 2nd book in the series was complete before I published Mr Charalambus. It needs a final edit before publication in late spring or there about. It is called ‘The One Soul: When a Tear Falls’ and contains many of the same characters as well as introducing some new ones. It is difficult to say more without it acting as a spoiler to the first book. The third book is well under way and has a tentative title of ‘The One Soul: The Heart and The Soul.’
Anything you want to say about people who wish to get their work published?
Be better at it than me. I didn’t try to use a publisher at all. I sent a couple of chapters to a few agents over a six month period with no luck. I became disheartened even though everybody who read the whole manuscript liked it the fact a professional wouldn’t back it was tough to take. I could have given up on trying, although I was still writing that was the easy enjoyable part. I could have tried publishers direct but I didn’t instead my wonderful daughter just went ahead and did it for me as a Xmas present. What a thing to do. Things have taken off a bit in the past three months. With thanks to her, not me. So my advice is have a good daughter, no seriously, don’t be put off by a few rejections keep going believe in your writing take criticism, publish and be damned.
Peter B Forster
First Published 12th September 2012
Reviews on Amazon UK
A young man is barely alive. He is lying in a ditch and has no clear memory of who he is or how he got there. Revived with the last two drops of an elixir by Cora, a healer with whom he has an instant mutual attraction she charges him with the task of re-filling a silver phial with the healing tears of the fabled Wolf-Dragon. Accompanied by Lightning, a broken down old horse with the gift of speech and a need to regain the power of flight he embarks on a journey of discovery, betrayal and redemption. He is confronted by his connection to earlier times and learns of his relationship to Josep, a hard working loner who has spent much of his young life drinking and talking to an invisible friend. In this parallel story Josep meets an exotic stranger known as Mr Charalambus, a mysterious and enigmatic man with an unusual hypnotic personality, who may or may not be the Devil. He acts as benefactor to the poor boy and introduces him to the trappings of wealth and society whilst promising the hand of his niece the Lady Karina. Guided by Charalambus the young Josep steps into a strange new world of privilege in which wealth confers power and the expectation of obedience. One day whilst investigating an enchanting orchard he has an electrifying encounter with Karina to whom he is instantly attracted. He also discovers that she is a ‘one-soul,’ as well as a healer of great power and keeper of the Wolf-Dragon tears.
For the past fifteen years I have practiced as a consulting Counselling Psychologist in a busy East London community health setting. Although I have previously been published in academic works and provided chapters in books for counsellors’ psychologists and psychotherapists I have always nurtured a love of and talent for creative writing. Over the years I have attended writer’s workshops, written and performed poetry as well as provided lyrics for jobbing musicians. However I have long harboured the ambition to write full length fiction. And this I am now doing. The plain in simple truth is that I enjoy writing. I always have. Sometimes it feels like the flow of hungry words is never ending and I will be swept right off my feet, carried along on an imaginative stream of unconscious process. But like everybody else I have a life. To some it may seem narrowly defined. Focussed as it is on work, family, writing and music but to others without the opportunity to learn, make relationships build a future and have the freedom to choose it may seem like it is a world of riches. Whilst on most days it really can feel like that to me, on other occasions it can be an effort to maintain enthusiasm: In other words my life is not that much different from many and better than most. I have known tragedy and delight and struggle to account for what might be its unequal measure. But I live, love and am loved so in truth I have to say I am blessed. I hope the same can be said of you.
An example of my academic work can be found in:
Professional and ethical issues when working with learning disabled clients, in Tribe and Morrissey (eds) Handbook of Professional and Ethical Practice for Psychologists, Counsellors and Psychotherapists. Brunner-Routledge (2005)