During this year as I have been promoting my novel, Maestro of Madness, I have been asked so many times why I turned to writing fictional novels at my advanced age. Well I didn’t consider late 60s advanced when I started to write the book, but now that Maestro of Madness is completed and self-published, I have to admit that – at 75- sometimes I feel ‘advanced’ – but then that can just be the day and next day it is all different.
Back to be a self-published author and I have to say it feels an amazing achievement even for one who is used to achieving – after all I had written and co-written 18 cookbooks and two textbooks and had so many different professional adventures and successes.
Still Maestro of Madness had to be born and, after 6 years of continual writing with 10 drafts and lots of consultation with my readers, the book was self-published.
Eddie Philipson is the main protagonist who was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) when he was 44 and the storyline picks up with his battle with the insidious disorder. Eddie finds himself on his own, his family in disarray and his business all but failed. With the aid of his ex-wife, now a friend and supporter, Eddie starts to see medical specialists and drag his life back into order. It was three steps forward and two steps back until he is offered work by an ex-client Jason who is determined to find a way to thank Eddie for the beneficial work he had done in turning his life around.
Time for pay back, according to Jason and his girlfriend/business partner Angela and their third partner, Timothy. What a serendipitous meeting they had over an extensive lunch!
And on the story goes with the impotent Eddie eventually meeting his new love, Tina. Life is beginning to turn around and he starts taking three steps forward and a half one back.
So, what is the challenge for an aging author? Age is not an issue for authors like Thomas Kenneally, established and revered (and rightfully so), but age does become an issue when one considers I am a first time fictional author at the age of 75.
Thankfully, I like a challenge and I see Maestro of Madness as an achievement and am proud of my book. I was fortunate enough to have good knowledge with PTSD as I have the dreaded disorder as a Vietnam Vet and so was able to adapt some of the experiences I have had in learning to manage PTSD; it is a disorder that does not go away but can be managed when you know what triggers can bring on a meltdown/episode etc. I have learned to take the episodes on when they come in as demons…so too, Eddie had to learn these difficult lessons. And keep in mind that Eddie had PTSD from being raped several times by his uncle Bill when he was a boy of 11.
I have added two reviews of many by readers which are featured on the website and there is more information on how to buy the book too. The website is www.pvhauthor.com.au and I must admit I feel a little self-conscious writing about my book, but I am proud of the achievement and I know from readers and sales that it a good read penned by an older man.
Let not age weary us!
“I’ve just finished reading the new novel by my dear friend Peter Howard, known to many of you for his lifetime career as a chef extraordinaire. Now he’s cooking up brilliant stories – so do yourself a favour and order a copy of the compelling page turner, Maestro of Madness.” – Julie McGlone
“Many years ago when I moved from News and Current affairs television into food as a full time career, I was welcomed by this lovely man… Peter Howard was then the Food Presenter on Channel Nine’s Today show.. he was a cookbook author, MC, food judge and knew everyone. It was so good to have someone to bounce off and ask questions – I was Food Editor at New Woman and later Family Circle, Food Presenter on Better Homes and was writing guidebooks and working on SBS co-creating food tv).
“We’ve stayed friends all these years and now Peter is a fiction author ..self-publishing Maestro of Madness which is a bouncy read set in Sydney with a real insight into the effects of PTSD, which Peter as a Vietnam veteran knows all too well.
“I found the ‘distraction’ strategies described by the main character Eddie fascinating..and all the while being immensely proud of my dear friend.
“Well done, Peter!” – Maeve O’Meara