For this installment of “20 Questions and a Selfie,” we catch up with Peter Hogenkamp, practicing physician and author of the Jesuit thriller series.
Ten years ago, Peter picked up a pencil on a Saturday night and started writing a novel on an old college notebook he found underneath the sofa. Most of it ended up in the filter of his sister-in-law’s swimming pool the following spring—true story—but by then it was too late; he’d (re)caught the writing bug. He needed to keep writing.
Peter and his literary agent are in the process of shopping around his first book in a three-part thriller series.
Our 20 questions with Peter start now:
1) What is your full name (middle name optional)?
Peter Karl Hogenkamp
2) What is your professional job title?
Founder and Editor
3) Describe your organization.
4) Describe your surroundings right now.
Sitting on a Shaker rocking chair next to a roaring woodstove, watching snowflakes the size of saucers cover up my porch.
5) What was your first paid writing gig?
A girl in my grammar school class gave me her lunch money to write a book report for her.
6) What was the last thing you wrote?
Absolution, the first book in the Jesuit thriller series, which my agent will be shopping in the next month or so
7) What is the next thing you plan to write?
Doubt, the second book in the series, which is already 5 scenes in
8) Finish this sentence: The ideal way to start my day is …
Coffee. Oatmeal. Write. Hike with dog.
9) Besides your computer, what is sitting on your desk right now?
A picture of my father when he graduated from Holy Cross College in 1950, and a stuffed bear given to me for being the loudest snorer in VT
10) So-called writer’s block is no match for you! What is your antidote?
2000 meters of water to power through or the same number of feet of elevation to power up. Failing that, a latte
11) Finish this sentence: I hate it when I read …
adverbs; use a different verb (and adjectives for that matter, use a different noun)
12) What are the most important tools, programs and systems you use for your work?
Microsoft Word. Coffee. Google. Plane rides. Notebooks. Pencils. Stop.
13) First book that comes to mind? Go!
The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer, because I just finished it (I recommend it and anything by Olen—he can write.)
14) What are your favorite smartphone apps and why?
Twitter, because you can learn a lot about tight writing from the 140 character limit.
15) What have you always wanted to write?
The next James Bond novel, ever since I was a teenager, but now I realize it’s been done too much
16) What is your advice for aspiring professional writers?
Write—without adverbs—and get yourself out there. Get rejected, and learn to stomach the rejection—maybe even improve as a consequence
17) First famous writer who comes to mind? Go!
18) Finish this sentence: My favorite thing about being a writer is …
Creating complex and rich characters that seem like real people in my head
19) Pencil versus pen—who wins and why?
Pencil; I wrote my first novel with one—a Fort Ticonderoga No. 2 I sharpened with my grandmother’s Boston sharpener
20) Finish this sentence: One word or phrase people will never read in my writing is …
The man walked quickly over the long, red, wood, covered bridge as his pursuers followed him like mad dogs.
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