Today I have the pleasure to share with you an exclusive background chat with D.T. Peterson. You might already know that ‘The Cove’ is strongly inspired by a real and intense relationship in the authors past, but now is your opportunity to find out more about the real story that had such an impact in Dave’s life that it inspired a story. ❤
Young and idealistic, Jon and Dave meet by chance, their friendship growing stronger and leading them to a place neither has been before. Though theirs is a love forbidden, which few understand, they journey across the country together and settle in San Francisco, where they are finally free to be together as they were meant to be. When life takes an unexpected turn, however, the two young lovers are torn apart by a secret which, if unveiled, threatens to bring great shame to the family of one determined to keep them on the straight and narrow.
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Check out Bethany’s review of The Cove here:
Thank you so much for agreeing to do this ‘background’ interview. I know a lot of authors who wonder how much of their private lives they should reveal to readers and how much they should keep secret. A story like your debut ‘The Cove’ that is deeply personal and inspired by your own experiences will surely benefit from knowing more. I must admit you have me intrigued.
How much of the book is actually like it happened for you in real life and how much did you add?
All of the characters in the book are actual people from my past. The names, of course have all been changed. The story line true, although some of the events have been changed or embellished somewhat.
Since ‘The Cove’ started out as a way to deal with that part of your past, an intense relationship you couldn’t forget, did you learn anything about yourself while writing it all down?
I never fully understood how my relationship with Jon had affected me, and shaped what I expected from a relationship until I started writing the book. I’ve come to realize that our relationship would define every relationship I have been in since.
You once said you finished the book with the ending you never got to have in real life. What really happened between the two of you?
Jon was living with me at my parent’s house, just as in the book. We were going to get an apartment together. I always suspected that my mother had meddled, and he left abruptly one day. We did see each other after that, but it was our secret, and neither of us were willing to admit it to anyone else. We drifted apart. Years later, after I was married, he did actually call me again. The last words that we ever uttered to one another were, ‘I love you.’
The wife didn’t like that, at all!!
Wow. No wonder a lot of ‘what if’ scenarios were running through your head! So you are currently married to a woman?
No, that relationship ended a long time ago. Unfortunately she found her reality in a bottle.
It is unfortunate when a relationship ends on such a dark note. But you and Jon seemed to have something between you, even if it was the wrong time for the two of you to go for what you both wanted. What would you tell him if he could hear you right now?
Undoubtedly the first words would be, ‘I love you’. Followed by. I’m sorry.” I have no idea if he is still alive, or what his situation in life is like now, but our relationship will always haunt me. I think it is the regret of not having been brave enough to do what we wanted. we left a lot unsaid, the questions and the self-doubt will always linger.
Did you try to find him, so you could get closure or even more? A lot of years might have passed, but perhaps he wasn’t able to get over that relationship either!
I’ve done everything short of hiring a private investigator. That would just be too creepy! He is either living off the grid, or he is dead. Of course, there always was an ulterior motive behind publishing the book.
I do hope that he somehow gets his hands on the book and realizes what it means.
Personally I’m much too much of a romantic to find a private investigator creepy if it got you the chance to take care of this unfinished business!
I knew there was a real chance when I published that the characters in the book would recognize themselves. But it was a chance I was willing to take. As I said, I don’t know what his situation in life is like now, and I wouldn’t want to intrude. I’m easy enough to find, so maybe someday we will get the chance to talk again.
I certainly hope so! I’m glad you were able to take something that haunted you and use it to give others hope and encouragement. I imagine it was not easy to put a personal story like that on paper and share it with the world. Does it make it harder to take criticism, when you know all the characters in the story are based of real people you knew and not just figments of your imagination?
It was a secret I didn’t want to keep hidden any longer. It was a story I felt fit our times perfectly. It is ok, to love anyone. The criticism doesn’t bother me, I knew that this book wouldn’t be for everyone. I wasn’t writing to an audience or a genre. I wanted to simply tell a story of love, and how sometimes we make decisions in life, not knowing the true consequences. But life is always ironic. I’ve gotten some flak over the drugs and the sleeping around, but it’s how it was, coming of age in the 70’s, it was unavoidable. The great cultural battles of the 60’s were over, and AIDS hadn’t yet appeared, so what we had was a unique time in history where you could explore and not worry about the consequences.
I think it is important to be true to your story, so it’s great that you wrote it for yourself and let us share in on your experiences. Do you ever regret the relationship, because of the way it ended or didn’t start and the heartache and longing it caused you or is it too much part of the person you have become?
It’s the past, I can’t change that. I don’t think I would want to. Those relationships molded me, they define who I am. Would i like to go back in time and change how the relationship with Jon ended? Sure! But I can’t. Sometimes the pain defines us just as much as the love. besides it’s been decades now, we all change, and what we shared then might not be relevant now. Sometimes, love isn’t enough.
That is why I love that you share your story so openly! I do think that love SHOULD be enough and when society imposes a moral code that discriminates and hurts people to the point that they are scared to act upon their love that is a terrible thing. I believe with every person who reads books like ‘The Cove’ and realizes that love is love is love, no matter if it is a straight or gay relationship – that it will change the world to a better place. People will use what they learned in the way they talk and act and in the values they teach! What do you think kept you away from him? I know you were married at some point, but even before that. Was it just fear of taking the next step?
Times were different then, and being openly gay was taboo. There were a few brave proud souls, but they paid heavily for the decision to come out. It was fear that kept us apart, it’s a decision we made together. Do I regret it? Yes.
It is great that the world is slowly changing, even though there are still places in the world or even close to us where people are discriminated against, hurt, abused, or can even be killed just because of the person they love. It is so important to show people that love is the same, no matter which gender someone is attracted to. If someone reading this is struggling with their sexuality, trying to overcome their fear – is there any advise you want to share with them?
I don’t want to come across as sounding omnipotent or being the fountain of knowledge. I’m not. The best piece of advise i could offer is to be open to the possibilities of life. Follow your heart. Don’t let anyone else or society define what it means to be you. Don’t be afraid, roll the dice and take the chance.
Thank you so much, no one has the perfect guide for life, but the experiences of others can be tremendous sources of encouragement. What is something a lot of your readers want to know from you after reading the book?
Several people have asked me, knowing that I’m currently in a new relationship, would I run back into Jon’s arm if he were to reappear. The answer, is no. Jon and I had our moment in time, and what I share now is unique and special.
What is next for you and was it hard to find a follow up story, since you already told the tale that needed to come out after holding it secret for so long.
My next book will be out shortly, It’s entitled ‘Seduction In Red‘. This one is different, so Don’t expect The Cove.
There will be love. smex and a few twists along the way!
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today It was great to have you here for this chat and I wish you success with the new book