Linda Brooks Davis

Author Chat: Peter Leavell

Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

Reader and Author Friends,

Waiting is hard for everyone, isn’t it?

Psalm 27:14 is a favorite verse of authors. Mainly because we wait. A lot. It’s downright grueling as an author keeps plugging along, keeps writing, keeps creating. And keeps praying and trusting God. (Check out Peter’s words at the bottom of this interview for a peek into who he is as a writer before God.)

In the process of Googling “Peter Leavell, Author” I decided he’s someone I’d like to know personally. I sense the spirit of Jesus in Peter. I suspect there’s wisdom tucked into his stories of adventure. So I intend to read everything he’s written. You might too.

Gather ’round as we chat with award-winning author, Peter Leavell.


Leavell-PeterThank you for joining our circle today, Peter. It’s an honor to have you as a guest.

~How were you inspired to be an author—in particular, a historical novelist?

History was always the passion, but historical fiction is the game. I feel that history is made on the backs of the common people, and I love coaxing out what it was like living in the past, without all the luxuries we have today.

Peter Leavell, winner of Operation First Novel 2011

~Your debut novel, Gideon’s Call, won the 2011 Operation First Novel contest and was published in 2012. Where did the idea for the story come from? 

Sitting in my Civil War history class at Boise State, my professor mentioned in two sentences how the Union took islands off the coast of South Carolina, and 10,000 slaves were freed in a single day. The North sent missionaries down to teach the freed slaves. The rest of the class period, my mind was in another world. I almost walked out of the lecture and started working on the book!

Gideon’s Call by Peter Leavell

~What was your greatest challenge as an author while writing Gideon’s Call

I had no idea if I was a good writer. I didn’t have a critique group. Instead, I hired an editor and boy-howdy, you should have seen all the red. But with some extra work, we wrestled it into shape! I learned so much from the editor.

~In your view, what is the book’s most important take-away?

Education is vital, hard work pays off, and the color of your skin means nothing. We are all people who love and need love. (Tweet That!) 

~Tell us a bit about your writing for publication journey since 
 Gideon’s Call.

Peter Leavell’s beautiful family

Slow. I’ve two teens in the house, and a gorgeous wife, so I spend a lot of quality time with them. Winning awards makes publishers interested in you, but when your family is as awesome as mine, you want to be near them. So I write when they go to bed. I’ve a western published as well that’s won awards [West for the Black Hills], and I’m working on book two of the series, plus another two projects.

~What’s your most important take-away from this journey as an author?

I could work hard and have my picture on the cover of Newsweek. But I know that someday, I would trade it all in to spend one more day with my kids. So I’ll work my tail-end off when they leave home.

West for the Black Hills by Peter Leavell

~Describe your typical weekday.

Roll out of bed at 6:46, day job by 8:05AM. I can’t really write on the job, but I get about 5 hours reading time. Then I take my daughter to ballet until 7:00PM or 8:00PM, hang out with the kids for an hour, then write until 11:00PM! Then I reach under the nightstand and pull out whatever book I want to read, and finally drift off to sleep!

~What do week-ends involve at your house?

Ballet all day Saturday, and church on Sunday. We follow the daily routine pretty closely.

~What’s on your “drawing board” presently?

I’m working on a kid’s book with an illustrator that takes place in the 1920’s—dinosaur archeologist adventurers. And I’ve always an epic historical fiction in the works.

Sounds intriguing, Peter. Can’t wait to take a peek!

~What’s one piece of advice for aspiring authors? 

Delayed gratification. You’re not going to feel good today about your work. Or tomorrow. Or in a month. But perhaps, with enough effort, in ten years you’ll see results. Depressing? No! The writing path is a spectacular path of self discovery. But even more, if God calls you on this journey, writing will lead you closer to Him. (Tweet That!) And there the rewards are indescribable.

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Lord, You are the Great Creator. You’ve set within each human heart a longing for You–for Your purpose and passion. You’ve given each of us unique gifts, fit for Your purposes.  Will You come alongside us as Your children and give us clarity of purpose? Bless us with Your passion. And keep us patient as we wait, all the while trusting You.
For Jesus’s sake …


3 thoughts on “Author Chat: Peter Leavell

  1. I met Peter (via email) when we were co-finalists in the Operation First Novel Contest that Peter won. The year later I met him in person at the ACFW Conference in Texas. The five finalists plus one editor have been friends ever since. Peter is who he says he is: a man of God first and a devoted husband and father next. He also happens to be an excellent writer. Can’t wait to read the second in his West for the Black Hills series.

    1. Clarice, so glad you stopped by! I remember when we first started sending emails back and forth, the six of us. So much fun. Now we have an amazing prayer group! And we’re all published! Cool to see God working.

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