Author Interview: Peter Driscoll

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Almost everyone who’s been on Scribophile.com knows Peter.  His interesting comments and insights have helped many aspiring authors.  With many passions in life, Peter is a busy man but he always has time for his favorite loves.

His wife Rose- and food.

Seriously, the man’s fondness for both is astronomical.  I do believe the man’s favorite saying is, “Food. Yummy, yum, yum. Gimme.”

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As a computer programmer, he has an analytical mind.  He fawns over math, artificial intelligence, science and new discoveries.

Just make sure there isn’t a lack of food!

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His debut book is ‘Painted Days‘. A look back into the past, when humans inhabited Doggerland.  Primitive human’s at their best. And worst.  There is love, action, murder, and slavery afoot as daily survival takes the forefront of our story.  Tribes raise arms against each other in a fight to the death.

Why did you decide to write about Doggerland and early humans?

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The story started from certain thoughts on how people respond to the knowledge that, ultimately, they will die. I wanted a free reign to explore this without stepping on any religious toes. By putting it in the past I could step lightly around those toes.

Where did you get your inspiration for the story?

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What happens to a person when the love of their life dies. How do we cope with fear, love, and death?

At some point, our forebears went from living in the moment to planning ahead. The change must have been a huge shock. Early humans could kill animals simply by herding them off cliffs. Living in the moment, we fear immediate threats, but by planning ahead all future threats become real and relevant, including the knowledge that we all must survive. Instead of dealing with existing problems and fears, early humans had to look towards the future.

My story was constructed around these fears, and how manipulative leaders use those fears to control us.

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What message would you like the reader to walk away with?

I wanted people to see their lives from a different perspective, free from the cultural practices currently protecting us.

Take one character and tell me about him/her.

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Rhatha is loosely based on someone I once met. A person whose whole life was based on seducing women. There was an underlying creepiness that I tried to bring to the character.

What fascinates you about the time period?

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It was the beginning of things. Everything was in front of people to discover, without all the complications, and ease of modern life.

What research did you do?

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I have always been fascinated by that time. I must admit that quite a bit of it was from online material. The story tries to bring together many disparate elements. The sea level rise 8,000 years ago. Break-out floods. The Natufian invention of agriculture, and its gradual spread into Europe.

What is your favorite scene? Would you like to share it with the readers?

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My favorite scene is at the end of Chapter 2 The Days of Youth, just after Rhatha is angry with her for rejecting her. I like the change in tone and energy compared with the previous.

In the seasons that followed she watched him, and all the other young men whose feigned casual glances, always showed something more. It changed her and gave her understanding. She grew into a woman while the young men strutted their male pride with studied nonchalance.

They fell for her like a bear for honey. Many days she desired quiet solitude where no man tried to get her attention. She came to understand the heart of men, how they rage at rejection.

She always thought of her father, when frustration shook her. What would he do? She pictured his warm generous face, and it took her thoughts home to the fire, her sitting on a log, with his calming words rolling over her. Then her anxiety disappeared and only his peace remained.

She wished she could talk to the men, in that same calm manner her father used, so that they might hear her words and feel his wisdom.

Then she would say to them. ‘Why choose me? Somewhere your true mate awaits you. You need only have the patience and dignity to find her.’

But she could never find the right words at the right time or find the tone or spirit he had. So instead she would snipe at them, feel their anger in return, regret her words and then rage at her own regret. It burned in her.

So the passing seasons hardened a soft heart and bent it to life’s cause.

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