Peggy Bechko Author Of Stormrider: A Writer Speaks

Peggy Bechko , aka P.A Bechko  is author of fourteen novels that have been published by major publishers in several genres;  western, romance and SciFi/fantasy.  She’s additionally optioned screenplays domestically and abroad.

Here’s what Cindy Penn had to say about the novel Stormrider. “Absolutely memorable mix of mysticism, magic, and lore . . . Vividly rendered and entrancingly told, Stormrider comes highly recommended . . . Readers accustomed to the traditional quest in the fantasy genre will find that Bechko has a striking flair for originality.”
—Cindy Penn, ParaNormal Romance Reviews

Please give a brief synopsis of your book; what you might say to someone if you only had 30 seconds to say it:

Stormrider  – Stormrider, a young woman cast adrift in a sea of intrigue, mysticism and magic. The wolves and The Bounty Hunter – bound together to save a world. Crash-landed on the continent of Nashira, bonded unexpectedly to the Wolves and plagued by the Bounty Hunter can Tanith Asir ~Stormrider~ accomplish her directive or will the world tumble into war and chaos?

Let’s warm up with these questions.

What is the most overrated virtue?  There are virtues?  Really?  The way many of them have been twisted to advantage or stomped on it’s a little hard to tell.  But, more seriously, I’d have to say heroism.  Not that heroism itself is overrated, no indeed, that’s an amazing thing and to be appreciated and applauded.  But what bothers me today is the idea that everyone is a hero just because.  For example, a fireman is hero because he’s a fireman.  A soldier is  a hero because he is a soldier.   A more clear definition needs to be drawn.  Yes, a fireman or a soldier or a policeperson is in a position to act heroically and maybe he or she will, but simply being one isn’t heroic.  Joe on the street is walking his dog, not a particularly heroic thing to do, but Joe can become a hero quite quickly by intervening to prevent a little old lady’s purse from being snatched by an assailant with a knife or running into a burning building to save a person or a pet.  I’d hope people would give it a bit more thought and  understand that if everyone in a group is declared to be heroic, then no one is.

What is the one thing other people always seem to get wrong about you?  Mostly I believe I seem a bit timid and quiet, few have seen my ‘fury unleashed’ and that’s for the best.  Maybe we should just let them dream on and not experience my temper.  Of course sometimes it’s a quiet anger that just sends me off in another direction and the one who caused it never really knows.

If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?  Changing the world isn’t going to work.  And everything is pretty much interlocked, changing one thing would have ramifications in many others.  I’d love to say let there be peace, but that hasn’t happened in human history so I doubt it would now.  My one wish, really, is that people would be willing to talk realistically to one another about problems to be solved instead of being so ready to leap to the attack – verbally, physically or emotionally.

What pet peeve do you have about other people?  Noise.  Unless one gets away into the wilderness there’s always noise – and even there you can’t escape.  It seems like everyone has to be on their cell phone, or listening to loud music or racing an ATV across the countryside or just chattering – always making noise.  I’m constantly amazed that few people seem to value the wonder of quiet and the sounds of nature: birds singing, the wind in the trees, brooks chuckling, waves crashing.   Really, seek out a bit of real silence and see how invigorating it can be.

Is there any occasion when it’s OK to lie?  Yes, in order to save someone else pain.  And then, generally there is much that can be left unsaid, rather than outright lying.  It’s probably my second overvalued virtue…telling the truth all the time. Of course truth and honesty are to be valued, but it comes in the context of life which is not black and white.  Good, honorable people must make those decisions every day.  The whole truth?  A small lie to not insult or to avoid hurt,  a large lie to what end?  Don’t you consciously or unconsciously make that decision frequently?

What is your philosophy of writing?  Put your butt in the chair and do it.  I guess I don’t actually have much of a philosophy there.  I’ve wanted to write since I was about 13 so there’s been no other path for me.  My attitude is pretty basic.  If you want to write, do it.  Find the time, give up the excuses and do it.  If you find it isn’t for you it isn’t a tragedy.  Not everyone can or wants to write just as not everyone can be or wants to be a brain surgeon or any number of other pursuits.  Writing is both an art and a craft.  Work at both if you intend to join the ranks of ‘tellers of tall tales’.

What’s the name and genre of you book?  Stormrider is my most recent work of fiction.  It’s a Sci/Fi Fantasy tale – leans more toward fantasy.

Who is the audience for this book?  Lovers of Sci/Fi Fantasy, lovers of adventure and action.  It’s also good for young adults.

Is this book part of a series? If so is it a sequel or a prequel? Name the other already published books?  The book wasn’t originally intended to be part of a series though I did leave the door open.  I’d have to give that some thought before I moved ahead on a sequel.

Describe your protagonist and describe the challenges the protagonist needs to overcome and the motivation for overcoming them.  Tanith Asir, aka Stormrider, finely trained Janissary, protector of the people with an oath to uphold.  She’s on a mission to retrieve the amulet , one that is more than mere ornamentation,  which chooses the next leader. She’s physically fit, powerful,  beautiful and determined.  Her past is one that’s difficult to overcome; a childhood in slavery, a learning of deviousness to gain her freedom.  She’s angry and  harbors some hate, but she’s just as honorable and determined.  Her desire is to make things better so others don’t suffer as she did.  She’s committed to her position in life as a Janissary and her quest is to return the amulet of the Suonetar to where it belongs.  To do that she must overcome her own past, the people inhabiting the primitive continent where she must find it who see her more as a woman to be desired than a warrior, deal with her feelings for the Bounty Hunter who’s been sent to replace her when she was declared dead in action, and adjust to the present on her world of the ancients with powers beyond understanding. And then there are the Wolves – the pack to which she belongs.

Describe your antagonist and talk about motivation.  The Maven, cultured, gracious slave-trader.  He’s dark at his core though he puts on a good front, seeming smooth, almost kind, patient.  He’s none of those things. He’s physically powerfully and an equally powerful presence.  He’s in favor of anarchy and war, those things working to his advantage and he delights in using and manipulating people.  And by the way, he was Tanith’s captor when she was a child, her owner and once a slave always a slave both in his belief and in practice.  Tanith is one of the very few who got away from him and his band of slavers.  He bears a special anger for Tanith.

Quote a passage from your book that you love.  Legs spread to steady her balance, moccasin-clad feet planted firmly upon the ground, she gaped while the sounds of her own blood rushing filled her ears.  She couldn’t help staring, but she couldn’t spare the time for it.

There, before her, Strongheart, magnificent in battle, wore his great silver ruff stiffened across massive shoulders like a cape.  Head down, ears up, lips peeled back from impressive white teeth in a deadly, guttural  snarl, he challenged the enraged bear for possession of his victim–a man (a rather torn-up man), caught between bear (who seemed prepared to make short shrift of him) and wolves (who undoubtedly seemed not much different than the bear to the man).  Already battered and bloodied far more than any man should be and remain standing, that hardy soul stared warily from beast to beast to beast, his lips peeled back in a rictus of a man-snarl, his body half crouched in readiness, but bleeding, weakening, swaying on his feet.

Readiness – readiness for that?! The bear towered over them all, standing a solid twelve feet tall if he was an inch.

How has your upbringing influenced you writing?  I had a very supportive mother who backed my writing all the way and a Godmother who served as first reader during the first years of my writing and she was darn good at it.  It was because of that desire to write and the support that I received at home that I was able to pursue my dream and write, selling 14 novels.  The down side was my father’s attitude of “get a job” but that made me just all the more determined – I had a job, just not a full time job and I published.

Where do you live and how does that influence your writing?  I live now in Santa Fe New Mexico and have been here for many years.  I’ve written a number of westerns and published a historic romance with Harlequin.  The great southwest has always been my love and seems to find its way into many of my stories directly or indirectly.

If you have a career outside of writing how does it fit into your life as a writer?  I wouldn’t call it a career, but I’ve held a number of jobs along the way to supplement the income from my writing.  I’ve been an assistant bookstore manager,  an assistant to a college registrar, a legal assistant and worked as an administrative assistant at a historic preservation organization.  Some writers love their outside jobs as a way to get out into life and have more experiences.  For me it gets in the way.  There are many things I’ve enjoyed about these jobs, but no matter how you cut it, that cuts into time that could be spent writing or researching my next book or script.  I pretty much coped with it when I had to and moved on when I could.



Stormrider   Price: $ 4.95

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That’s the interview. Thanks for listening.

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