Q: What is the best thing that I love about my work?
A: Writing is a way of interpreting the world, and sharing it with readers is a way of comparing notes on this business of living. My aim is to be as clear as possible in telling a story, no matter the format. The best part of being a writer is hearing from a reader.
Q: What is my idea of perfect happiness?
A: Living a daily life that is created as a by-product of exactly who I am, for the good, bad, and indifferent. I structure my days around writing, and temper that with long walks by the ocean with my two dogs, practicing yoga, Pilates, and ballet, and always reading. And because a writer should get out of their cave and join the flow of humanity, relationships are of paramount importance. Perfect happiness is best acquired from balance.
Q: What is my greatest fear?
A: Lack of self-awareness. Where is the opportunity for growth in this?
Q: What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?
A: I don’t deplore anything about myself. I do, however, accept my limitations and work vigilantly at growing beyond them.
Q: Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?
A: There are so many excellent writers now, and I admire them all. I will answer with the author, Ron Rash, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at The Pat Conroy Literary Festival last October. His humility, sincerity, and fearless commitment to the art of writing is an example to us all. Also, currently, two debut authors are rocking my world” Bren McClain and J.C. Sasser. Trust me on these women; they broke the mold.
Q: What is my greatest extravagance?
A: I still take ballet classes!
Q: On what occasion would I lie?
A: I would only commit a lie by omission. Sometimes, information comes my way that I am best feigning ignorance of. I adhere to the adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Q: What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
A: I can’t say I dislike it, but I am sometimes worn out with that fine line between selling my books and selling myself. The waters seem murky, after a while, and yet it is part and parcel to being an author. You have to keep people apprised as to what you’re up to, and it does seem like “everything’s all about me!”
Q: When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
A: Without hesitation, at The San Francisco’s Writer’s Conference in 2013. I entered a 3,200-word piece titled, “Mastering Ambiguity” into their writer’s contest. They announced, in front of an audience of nearly 300, that my entry was the runner up for the entire contest. The thing is, I’d told myself that if anything ever came of it, I’d turn it into a full novel, which I did. That novel is titled Mourning Dove, and it will be published in June 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction.
Q: If I could, what would I change about myself?
A: I sometimes wrestle with projection into the future, when I know staying in the moment is the only place to be. If I could, I’d find a way to anchor myself where I was fully present in every moment.
Q: What is my greatest achievement in work?
A: Positioning myself where I can do the work I love every day.
Q: Where would I most like to live?
A: I’m happy living by the ocean in Malibu, California, and if I had my druthers, I’d have a little place by the sea in Connemara, Ireland. I spent a year living on the west coast of Ireland, a while back. It would be great to live there part-time.
Q: What is my most treasured possession?
A: My grandmother’s engagement ring. My mother gave it to me twenty years ago, and I’ve worn it on my right hand every day since. I wear it purely for sentimental reasons. It is a touchstone that reminds me where I come from, and to whom I am accountable.
Q: What is my most marked characteristic?
A: I have ridiculously long hair that I will probably never cut (I would have done so by now.)
Q: What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
A: Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu, California. There is a cliffside walk over the Pacific Ocean that never ceases to inspire. It is ever evolving, and I like the element of surprise it affords, one day after the next.
Q: What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?
A: John’s Garden, in the Malibu Country Mart at Cross Creek. It is a health-food, quick-order restaurant in an outdoor setting. Whenever any friend comes to Malibu, I take them to John’s Garden, for it is a great place to gather a sense of what Malibu is all about.
Q: What books influenced my life and how?
A: The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. I admire Pat Conroy to obsession. By writing this novel, Conroy gave all writers the keys to the kingdom by turning life into art. He showed all writers how beautiful pain can be, and the book opened unlimited possibilities. Beyond this, Peachtree Road by Anne Rivers Siddons, whose use of first person language was so personal and evolved that I literally study how she wrote it.
Q: Who are my favorite writers?
A: Pat Conroy, Ron Rash, Anne Rivers Siddons, the poet, Ray McManus, Donna Tarrt, Lisa Carey, Billy O’Callaghan, and many of the southern writers writing today.
Q: You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
A: Tough question, as I grew up in Memphis, worked in music radio for nine years, then worked in the Los Angeles music business. I’m a fan of the Dave Matthews Band- have a personal connection with the band, but since I’ll be dying that day, then I’ll go with something dramatic that harkens to Ireland: Davy Spillane put out an album called “A Place Among the Stones” that is brooding, mesmerizing and hauntingly Irish.
Q: Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
A: Phineas in A Separate Peace by John Knowles. He was eternally young, devil-may-care, and charismatic beyond all measure.
Q: Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
A: Always and forever, Pat Conroy. I stand in line with legions who feel the same. He embodied everything it means to be a writer, and dedicated much of his art-infused, unselfish life to opening the door for other writers.
Q: Which movie would I recommend seeing once in a lifetime?
A: I loved the movie Ordinary People. I liked its true-to-life themes of the search for identity, perseverance, and the ultimate triumph over one’s past.
Q: What role plays art in my life and work?
A: It is everything and nothing short of my reason for existing. I think communication is a high art. It is at the center of music, dance, the written word, and how we interact with others. This makes us all artists.
Q: Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?
A: Eva Marie Everson. She is an acclaimed author and editor, and is the acquisitions editor for Firefly Southern Fiction, who has been, to me, an absolute God-send. Her enthusiasm for my writing began when she read my manuscript for Mourning Dove. At the time that she read it, I didn’t have a literary agent, so she took the measures to introduce me to Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary Agency, who is now my agent. I couldn’t be more humbled nor grateful.
Q: Whom would I like to work with in 2017?
A: I am working with them now: Eva Marie Everson and Julie Gwinn.
Q: Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2017?
A: I would love to meet the wildly popular, southern writer, Patti Callahan Henry, whose books I enjoy. Also, the author Laura Lane McNeal, who wrote the southern “classic” Doll baby. And lastly, because I’ve already met Bren McClain, author of One Good Mama Bone, I’m champing at the bit to meet J.C. Sasser, who wrote Gradle Bird.
Q: What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on?
A: I’m ramping up already to promote my southern family saga, Mourning Dove, which will be out in June of 2018. And I am one of four writers contributing a novella to a book on the four southern seasons. My novella is titled, Through and Autumn Window, and will be published by Firefly Southern Fiction in October 2018. The promotional work can be a lot of fun, if an author gets out there and meets those who read. I also have a full manuscript of a novel set in Heber Springs, Arkansas and Como, Mississippi that is currently in my literary agent’s hands, so I’m looking forward to finding it a home.
Q: Where can you see me or my work in 2017?
A: I have two novels out in the world now: A Portal in Time, a paranormal mystery set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, written in two, time periods, which fit together like puzzle pieces. My other novel, Dancing to an Irish Reel, is set on the west coast of Ireland. It is a first-person story of a single, American female who takes a trip to Ireland and suddenly and inexplicably, creates a life in this gorgeous, soulful environment.
Q: What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?
A: Passion is a way of being in the world. It is a commitment and adherence to the very essence of who a person is, and it should lead one well through their days.
Q: Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?
A: I nominate Kerry Dunham Peeples and Anne Robinson Smithwick of Thigh High Jeans in Memphis!
How can you contact me?
What is Your Story?
Two Day Tour with Peter de Kuster in the greatest bookstores of your favorite city. In Paris, Rome, Florence, Barcelona, Berlin, London and Amsterdam we offer this unique What is your Story? experience. To (re) write your story about yourself and your work. In the process transforming your capacity to successfully have the creative life and work you love.
In this journey, Peter de Kuster, founder of The Heroine’s Journey explores with you the way we tell stories about ourselves to ourselves — and, most important, the way we can change those stories to transform our creative business and life.
“Your story is your art, your art is your story,” says Peter. As human beings, we continually tell ourselves stories — of success or failure; of power or victimhood; stories that endure for an hour, or a day, or an entire lifetime. We have stories about our creative challenges, our art, our clients, our money, our self promotion, our time, our families and relationships, our health; about what we want and what we’re capable of achieving. Yet, while our stories profoundly affect how others see us and we see ourselves, too few of us even recognize that we’re telling stories, or what they are, or that we can change them — and, in turn, transform our very destinies.
Telling ourselves stories provides structure and direction as we navigate life’s challenges and opportunities, and helps us interpret our goals and skills. Stories make sense of chaos; they organize our many divergent experiences into a coherent thread; they shape our entire reality. And far too many of our stories, says Peter, are dysfunctional, in need of serious editing. First, he asks you to answer the question, “In which areas of my creative life and business is it clear that I cannot achieve my goals with the story I’ve got?” He then shows you how to create new, reality-based stories that inspire you to action, and take you where you want to go both in your work and personal life.
Our capacity to tell stories is one of our profoundest gifts. Peter’s approach to creating deeply engaging stories will give you the tools to wield the power of storytelling and forever change your creative business and life.
Become a great Storyteller
That’s why I set up What is your Story? service in the great cities of the world and their great bookstores. A new way to use the power of your story. To guide you to life-changing, eye-opening but often elusive works of literature, both past and present, the books of fiction that truly have the power to enchant, enrich and inspire.
In two days with Peter de Kuster you’ll explore your relationship with books so far and your unique story identity will be sketched. You will be guided to books that can put their finger on what you want to rewrite in your story, the feelings that you may often have had but perhaps never understood so clearly before; books that open new perspectives and re-enchant the world for you.
You will be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance of your session and you’ll be given an instant story advice and books to read to take away. Your full story advice and books to read list will follow within a couple of days.
What Can I Expect?
Here’s an outline of the WHAT IS YOUR STORY? journey.
- What is your Story?
- Are you even trying to tell a Story?
- Old Stories (stories about you, your art, your clients, your money, your self promotion, your happiness, your health)
- Tell your current Story
- Is this Really Your Story?
YOUR NEW STORY
- The Premise of your Story. The Purpose of your Life and Art
- The words on your tombstone
- You ultimate mission, out loud
- The Seven Great Plots
- The Twelve Archetypal Heroines
- The One Great Story
- Purpose is Never Forgettable
- Questioning the Premise
- Lining up
- Flawed Alignment, Tragic Ending
- The Three Rules in Storytelling
- Write Your New Story
TURNING STORY INTO ACTION
- Turning your story into action
- The Story Effect
- Story Ritualizing
- The Storyteller and the art of story
- The Power of Your Story
- Storyboarding your creative process
- They Created and Lived Happily Ever After
RESERVATION AND FEES
The “What is your Story?” fee is Euro 2.495 excluding VAT for a private tour with a small group of 1 or 2 people.
Questions? Contact Peter de Kuster at 0031 6 33661772 or mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org