Peter Kate Walker

How do you know if you’re gay?

Peter, a 15 yr old dirt-bike rider, suddenly needs to find out.

Plagued with the usual teen hang-ups about sex and fitting in, Peter spends an unplanned afternoon with his brother’s friend, David.

David is tall, good-looking, immaculately dressed … and it turns out David is gay. A second encounter sets Peter off on a frantic search within himself.

This is a deeply personal look at a boy’s awakening sexuality. It follows his frantic feelings and often savagely honest thoughts as he struggles with the confusion of trying to figure out who he is.

eBook – $3.99
PURCHASE from Smashwords HERE

Peter Omnibus

‘Peter’ was first published in 1991, a time when there were few gay issue books for teenagers and I had a fight to get it published.

The first five publishers approached said flatly, ‘No!’ They didn’t even want to read it. Another two read it and said, ‘We won’t take the risk.’ They feared a backlash from the school systems and the public.

But one brave publisher – Omnibus Books – said yes, and I’m forever in their debt.

Compared to Gay Lit books today, ‘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.

Pater H&M

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 have to accept the story is as it us. In my mind the book never was about being gay anyway, 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, 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:

‘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

10 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

    1. 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,

  4. Thank you. I loved this story. I’m glad it ended as it did, a whole life to look forward to. I don’t think becoming yourself is a story that needs modernizing. It was always the best story Amway.

    1. Hi Stewart, You’ve no idea how relieved I am to get messages like yours. When I wrote Peter it was considered risky & cutting-edge! Now a great many readers find it tame. And sexually it certainly is. But for me the story was always primarily about being who you are. And to have you say ‘that doesn’t need modernizing’ is music to my ears. Thanks for taking the time to tell me. All the best, Kate

  5. Hi Kate,
    I just finished reading Peter for the second time, I first read it 5 years ago when I was 60, it is one of the best books I have read dealing with the issue of growing up and dealing with a teenage boys developing emotions, something I can relate to first hand.
    You did an excellent job with a topic not readily accepted in 1991, you were brave to push on and find a publisher, something I am grateful you did.

    1. Dear Mike,
      Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to post a comment. I’m very glad my book spoke to you despite being now a little out of date. On the other hand, confusion and hurt never go out of date alas. When I wrote the book I truly thought, and hoped, it would have a life span of about five years. That attitudes would change and books like ‘Peter’ wouldn’t be needed any more. I go on hoping.
      With my very best wishes,

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