Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fraterfamilias by Peter Ferrer

Why did you pick the setting you used in your story? I'm not looking for -- "because I live there". I want you to dig deep and tell us...

It all started with Paris. My cowriter, Judith, picked it because Paris is a lovely, ancient city and we've both been to it. As the initial situation played itself out, it became a matter of logic--where would you go if you were fleeing Paris after you'd committed murder? You have money and you can take a plane. Well, it's a straight shot over to New York and once you get clear of the airport, you can go pretty much anywhere on the continent. The story had to be set in New York.

What does the setting add to the story?
New York is a port city, cosmopolitan and multicultural, with a venerable history of crime. This gave us a chance to show the collisions between some very different characters.

Could you write the same story in a different setting?
We briefly considered setting it in Vancouver (Judith is from Vancouver), since so many stories are set in big American or European cities, already. But it didn't work out.

Why or why couldn't you use a different setting?
The opening scene really establishes the parameters for the setting such that it could not be any other city in the world. To set it elsewhere would be like setting "Casablanca" in Poughkeepsie. It wouldn't work. It just had to be New York.

Did you use a real place as a basis for your setting?
City-wise, yes. And we very carefully researched as much of the layout of the public places (like JFK and the Port Authority bus station and the public transit system) as we could for realism. That was hard because neither of us was anywhere near New York at the time that we wrote the book, though of course we've both been there. I'm sure there were some errors, since it's not easy to research things like public transport online in this day and age. People wonder why you're doing it!

Is there anything else about your setting that we need to know? Feel free to share.
We started writing the story before 9/11. Ultimately, we chose to set it before 9/11, as well. New York has changed since then and we wanted to deal with the fin de siecle atmosphere immediately before that, when many things were simmering but not exactly public knowledge. We also wanted to deal with the city's history of immigration, its cosmopolitan nature. We worried that by bringing 9/11 into it (as setting the story after 9/11 would inevitably do), everything else would fade and it would become a 9/11 thriller. There is more to New York than that.

Please provide your website link:

What is the link to buy your book?

Tell us some specific details about your setting. What would we see? What sort of people are there? If we were traveling to your setting, what should we bring with us? For visitors, what do they need to know to visit your setting?
New York has a huge number of very different people in a relatively small space, with many boroughs that have their specific, colorful histories. One thing you'd notice right away are the subway and the busses. We use both extensively in our book because our characters are too poor to use taxis and New Yorkers don't generally drive. It's a huge public transport system dating back to the 19th century. A visitor to New York would also need to know about JFK (since this, along with La Guardia) is the major airport for the city, and the Port Authority bus station. When it comes to city public transport, bring a map, money and patience. You can go all over the place and see things you might not notice if you drove a car. But it may take you a while to get there.

Thank you for sharing details about your book setting.
Thank you for having me!

Now, what's the title of your book and where can we buy it:
Fraterfamilias, under the pseudonym "Peter Ferrer". You can find it at Virtual Tales, Fictionwise and several other online venues.

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