Peter S. Rush is a graduate of Brown University and has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. He was a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, Peace Corps volunteer, and a police officer. He is currently CEO of a global management firm.
Peter S. Rush
In your book, your main character is a student at Brown University who decides to become a police officer during a time when that was an unusual career path. How did your experiences allow you to develop your character?
In 1970, the war in Vietnam was expanding not contracting. After years of protests, Nixon and the government seemed set on prolonging what most young people saw as a useless war. The draft hung over most young men and the country was seriously divided. The character Steve is caught in the vortex of this confusion, trying to figure out what is the right thing to do. At the same time, he is hopelessly in love and cannot imagine being away from Roxy. Meeting Sargeant Durk opened a new avenue of thinking for him on how to make a difference. And the story proceeds from there.
What is your writing process like? How do you find it best to write?
I have a full time job so I have to find time to write in between my professional commitments. I’m an early morning writer and when I’m home, I try to schedule an hour a day to write. I’ve also learned to use my time wisely when I travel – I write in my hotel room, on airplanes and during my commute to work. I tend to find scenes and characters and try to create immediacy with them.
Your book is set in the 70s, when the Vietnam War was going on and there were protests and social unrest. How do you think your characters would view the social unrest in today’s society?
So much has changed and so much has stayed the same! We, as a society, have made huge progress since the 1970’s. The woman’s movement was just beginning – now we have accomplished women in all walks of life. There are some specific references that you will find in the book where progress wasn’t a given. Police on the whole are better educated and trained today than 45 years ago, but there is still room for significant improvement. There are many more minorities and women in police work today than in 1970. It is not an easy or simple job. In the book, the goals of the protests seemed much clearer than they are today. But being passionate, reasoned and committed is as important today as it was then.
When did you get the idea for WILD WORLD?
The idea has been with me a long time but I never had the story framework. I wasn’t thinking about how relevant some of the thoughts would be today.
What books and authors have influenced you and your writing?
As a kid, I enjoyed reading book series such as Tom Swift and The Hardy Boys. I also like current fiction. I was fortunate to study with Harry Crews, a real character from the 1970’s and James Dickey, Nelson Algren and others. Writers like Julia Alvarez, Mary Ann Tirone-Smith and Lauren Groff are wonderful writers. And great story tellers like Nelson DeMille and Jeffrey Eugenides are favorites of mine.