‘PETER’

‘PETER’  is a Novel about a 15 year old boy who suspects he’s gay.
It’s a very personal look at a boy’s awakening sexuality and follows Peter’s deepest feelings, and often savagely honest thoughts as he struggles with the confusion of trying to figure out who he is.

eBook from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/111470
PDF from Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/166251427/PETER-by-Kate-Walker

ABOUT THIS STORY:

‘Peter’ was first published in 1991 and at that time there were very few books about gay issues for teenagers. In fact I had a lot of trouble trying to get it published. The first five publishers I approached said flatly, ‘No thanks!’ They didn’t even read it. Another two read it and said, ‘Sorry, but we don’t want to take the risk.’ They were concerned about public response and possible backlash from both public and private school systems.

But one brave publisher – Omnibus Books – said yes, and I’m forever in their debt that they were prepared to back me and the story. ‘Peter’ was considered pretty confronting in those days. Compared to today’s Gay Lit books, ‘Peter’ is more than a little tame, and a lot of readers find the end disappointing. Had I wanted to take my characters further than I did, the book would never have been published. It was a compromise I had to accept. In fact, the book was never published in the UK because at the time it contravened a law making it a criminal offence to promote a gay lifestyle. This book was part of the struggle to win basic human rights for all people to live the life of their choosing.

The eBook is a slightly revised version of the original print book, and several times I’ve been tempted to over-write the ending and give it a more up-to-date, modern-world resolution. But every time I try, I find myself writing draft after draft and always throwing them away. I think I have to accept the story is as it us. Actually, in my mind, the book never was about being gay, it was about being who are you, whatever that happens to be. But I did want to state loud clear for young people in particular: IT’S OK TO BE GAY. If the book does that, then it’s served its purpose, however out-dated or tame or otherwise lacking it may be.

I welcome your comments via the box below.

You’ll find reviews of ‘Peter’ at the following links:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/657732.Peter
http://timfredrick.typepad.com/timfredrick/2006/07/ya_lit_review_p.html
http://www.frommybookshelf.com/2008/02/book-review-peter.html

‘Peter’ – Book Awards:
Honour Book (Runner up) Australian Children’s Book of the Year, Older Readers – 1992
Shortlisted in the NSW Premier’s Literary Award  – 1991
         “                South Australian Literary Award  – 1991
         “                Talking Book of the Year Award  – 1992
Highly Commended (Runner up) Australian Human Rights Awards  – 1991                        Selected for American Library Association’s Lists:
…………………..Notable Books of the Year  -  1994

                           Best Books for Young Adults  -  1994
                           Best Books for Reluctant YA Readers  -  1994Keywords: gay fiction, gay literature, gay lit, gay boy, gay boys, gay teens, homosexuality, holiday reading

4 thoughts on “‘PETER’

  1. Hi!

    I’m currently reading Peter. I’m greatly enjoying it….at least so far.

    Although you’re an older woman, I think you have the soul of a teenage boy somewhere inside.

    I mean that as a compliment. I’m not trying to say you’re possessed or that you’ve swallowed the soul of some poor teenager.

    I think all people have different genders and ages within themselves; but writers probably have that even more so.

    Well, I better get back to reading…..

  2. Hi Dina,
    Thanks for your comment. I take that 100% as a compliment. I was 15 once, and didn’t much like it. But I was never a boy, and I have a daughter, no sons. When I was writing ‘Peter’ it seemed to me that no matter how old or young you are, or what gender, when you’re in the grip of trauma or crisis or sheer horrible angst, it feels the same for everyone. I drew on experiences in my own life – heart ache, marriage breakdown, that sort of thing – to write up many of the scenes I take my character, Peter, through. I hope you enjoy the book to the end.
    Cheers, Kate

  3. Hello,

    I first came across Peter as an extract in the Oxford anthology of Australian Gay and Lesbian Writing – many years ago now. I really enjoyed it, so I was keen to find the full length version.

    I can see why the ending could be written differently now. But I like to think this is one person’s story and the ending as it stands suits the main character at this point in his life. He’s just starting out, and it’s OK for him to still be asking questions.

    In any case, he comes across as a very likeable character and I felt confident he’d work things through. That’s my take, anyway!

    Thanks very much for the story and for persisting with the publishers.

    regards, Matt

    • Hi Matt,
      I’m very pleased the ‘old fashioned’ ending didn’t detract from the book for you. And most especially it warmed my heart to hear that you found Peter – the character – likeable. I spent eight years writing the book so I lived with that kid for a long time. It was important to me that be came across as a decent and potentially loveable human being. Thanks for taking the time to write.
      Best wishes,
      Kate

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