Character-Driven: 'Peter's faithand lack thereofhelps guide my writing and my life.'
"A novelist and a Catholic, I practice my faith and my novel writing in separate spheres. I make no attempt in my books to explain or defend Catholic teaching. For its part, the church has enough problems without bearing responsibility for my ineptitude as a writer. Yet distinct as they are, the two are not sealed off from each other: The convictions that infuse and inform my writing are grounded in my Catholicism.
For me, the essence of novel writing is the exploration of character. I never start with an outline. I begin with characters. They give me my plots, not vice versa. My relationship with my Catholic faith is grounded in that same dynamic. Beginning with Peter (the name I was given at baptism), it is all about characters, the amazing troupe found in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures and the procession of saints and sinners I continue to encounter in my life.
As a child in the days of the Latin Mass, my ears perked up when I heard Peter mentioned in the Gospel. My fondness for him has deepened as I’ve grown older. Bullheaded, mercurial, a husband who worked hard at his day job (fisherman) while pursuing another vocation (apostle), Peter has been my patron in the struggle to believe and to hold a job, raise a family and write novels."