Thursday, April 23, 2015

Interview with Peter Newman, author of The Vagrant - April 23, 2015

Please welcome Peter Newman to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Vagrant is published on April 23rd by Harper Voyager. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Peter a very Happy Publication Day!

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Peter:  Well I had a go at writing in my early twenties. I *blushes* ran a role playing game with the idea of using it as the basis for a story. I wrote about twenty thousand words or so and then naively showed some friends, hoping for encouragement. What I got was lots of well-meaning criticism. I didn’t write again for about ten years.

I started writing properly again when my wife, Emma (an incredible writer) noticed that I was living vicariously through her achievements and suggested I started working on my own projects. I haven’t looked back since.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Peter:  I’m a bit of both. It’s as if I’m standing on a hill on a misty morning. I can see my start point and the top of the hill opposite is my end point, and that’s clear to me as well. But I have to feel my way across the valley between them as I go. With The Vagrant, the mist was especially thick! It felt like I had the whole thing sitting there, fully formed, in the darkest recesses of my brain, and I had to go and excavate it, piece by piece.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Peter:  The moments between finishing one project and starting another. I get a great deal of fulfilment from writing and feel slightly adrift if I haven’t written anything for a few days.

TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Peter:  Robin Hobb (the storytelling! And oh my goodness: the characters!), Joe Abercrombie (the pacing! Getting me to care about terrible people!), China Mieville (the language! The ideas!) and Neil Gaiman (the sense of soul).

TQ:  Describe The Vagrant in 140 characters or less.

Peter:  A silent figure wanders a far-future-post-demonic-apocalypse, bearing humanities last hope. Also: demons, singing swords, a baby and a goat.

TQ:  Tell us something about The Vagrant that is not in the book description.

Peter:  The protagonist doesn’t speak.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Vagrant? What appealed to you about writing in a futuristic post-apocalyptic novel?

Peter:  Nothing inspired me directly - he just turned up one day when I was trying to write a piece of short fiction. In terms of writing a piece of short fiction, it was an epic fail! I suppose the setting was a bit of a having my cake and eating it thing. I love the epic sweep of fantasy (and I’m a sucker for demons and swords), I like cool tech and the impact it can have on society, and I like the sense of threat and the psychological implications of a post-apocalyptic setting.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Vagrant?

Peter:  Very little! At least, very little on purpose. I’ve had a lifetime of reading / watching science fiction and fantasy and I’ve been roleplaying since the age of eleven. Other than that, I’ve got a son (now 8), so in the years leading up to writing The Vagrant, I spent a lot of time with a baby, and significant time in playgroups and things seeing lots of others.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Peter:  Goats are great fun to write. There should be more goats in fantasy. When the going gets tough, it’s time to get a goat (said no person ever). But yes, it’s nice to have a character that knows what she wants and doesn’t care who gets broken so long as she gets it. In terms of hardest, the Vagrant himself was challenging to write as he doesn’t speak, you don’t hear his inner thoughts and he is, by nature, quite reserved.

TQ:  Which question about The Vagrant do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Peter:  Wow, that is a great question! And right now, I really, really, wish that I had an equally great response to it. But I don’t. Sorry.

TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Vagrant.


“The order to retreat comes soon after. Barely two thousand survive the first retreat.

There is no second retreat.”

TQ:  What's next?

Peter:  Well, a draft of the sequel is sitting with my editor as I write this and will be out next year. I’ve got a few more books in this world still in me that I’d very much like the chance to write. Aside from that I have a couple of unrelated projects written up and waiting to go, along with a new project currently bound in the form of a mind map. It also features demons. I have a thing for demons.

Aside from that I’ll still be creating new episodes of the Tea and Jeopardy Podcast with Emma. Check us out at:

Latest developments can be found here:

Or feel free to ask me on Twitter: @runpetewrite

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Peter:  Thanks for having me!

The Vagrant
Harper Voyager, April 23, 2015
Hardcover (UK) and eBook (UK/US), 400 pages
Cover Art: Jamie Jones

The Vagrant is his name. He has no other.

Years have passed since humanity’s destruction emerged from the Breach.

Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape.

As each day passes the world tumbles further into depravity, bent and twisted by the new order, corrupted by the Usurper, the enemy, and his infernal horde.

His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war.

What little hope remains is dying. Abandoned by its leader, The Seven, and its heroes, The Seraph Knights, the last defences of a once great civilisation are crumbling into dust.

But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.

You may read an excerpt of The Vagrant at Pat's Fantasy Hot List here.

About Peter

Photo by Lou Abercrombie
I write, I run, I sometimes pretend to be a butler…

Represented by Juliet Mushens of the Agency Group.

Debut novel The Vagrant being published by Harper Voyager 23rd April 2015
Co-writer of the Hugo nominated Tea and Jeopardy podcast

Find me on Twitter: @runpetewrite



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