|Pete Zindler with the young apprentice.|
Pete's family participated in the interview. In fact, the young apprentice has been attending the writers critique group meetings since birth. The couple didn't realize the extraordinary impact of Adrielle's attendance until she came home from preschool telling her parents, "the books at school use the word 'the' too many times."
The young apprentice's teacher had no clue the young apprentice could read, much less, critique the author who wrote the children's book. She told her parents, "the reason I go to school is to learn how to write so I can publish."
Adelaide commented about a recent mother-daughter trip to her school library. "On her own, the young apprentice picked out a book about how to write a book. She was reprimanded for reading to her classmates. And one day she prayed to God when seeking a name for a website. The young apprentice started building them at the age of five. Adrielle has been playing on her own website, girlstea.com, for two years."
The young apprentice often shares her stories with the other members of the writers critique group and asks for suggestions on how to make her stories better.
"Most teachers would be tempted to medicate a child like the young apprentice," Pete's wife said. "One in six children in America exhibit the fourteen signs of autism. Teachers don't know how to handle students who behave like our daughter."
I knew at the beginning of this interview I could spend an entire evening devoted to the topic of autism. Adelaide has made it her life's mission. For more about this subject, click here.
Before we begin the question and answer portion of cyber-guest Friday, here's a little background about Pete. He started writing thirty years ago and used funds raised from his first book to build a trade school for orphans in Romania. Once a year, Pete teaches a creative writing course for youths and adults at the high school. He is a thirteen year wrestling coach at Ramona high school; last year his team took 2nd place out of 92 teams. Pete is the group leader of the Ramona Christian Writers Critique Group and holds meetings twice a month for novice thru advanced writers.
Spoons: How did you get started in your writing career?
Pete: When I was in 8th grade my best friend said he wanted to be a writer. Something deep inside of me clicked, but I didn’t think I could do that. When I was 27 years old, I felt I could do anything and I decided to become a writer. My best friend at that time laughed at me and said I didn’t know anything about writing. 30 years later I’ve received 5 writing awards and have published 5 books.
My sixth book is at a publisher and I’m almost finished with my 7th book. Writing isn’t a hobby for me, it’s a passion.
Spoons: The high school wrestling team is one of the best in San Diego County. Has your time coaching helped you with your writing?
Pete: Successful writing is linked to two sports. In cross-country, its all about being in it for the long haul. And writing is also like wrestling...when it gets tough, you keep writing.
Spoons: How did you become the leader of the critique group?
Pete: I reluctantly joined the writers group ten years ago. My very last thought was to be the leader. I was as quiet as possible, avoiding calling any attention to myself. I was the only published writer in the group. When the leader resigned, the group was in danger of disbanding. I decided I would take over as leader on the condition the group would only be for serious writers with a goal to publish. I guaranteed every member they would be published.
Spoons: Did you reach that goal?
Pete: Six years later, eleven authors published twenty six books. The last member to publish was a newspaper reporter assigned to do a story on our group. She bought Byron's book on self-publishing and returned with her published book.
Another member came in hooked up to a ventilator machine. She was having respirator problems. She offered samples of her poems for the group to critique. One year later, Barbara McBride transformed into a published writer at 73 years old. She glowed as she reported how many books she sold. Barbara was on a fixed income and used the extra money from selling her books to take her daughter out to dinner.
Another writer ended up on the 700 club after listening to me speak.
Dave Hurbon was a bookstore manager at Loaves and Fishes before he joined our group. He loved Spirit Warrior and recommended it to patrons, making it the top-selling book in his store for six months. Five years later, Dave joined the group and published.
Spoons: What's your greatest joy leading your writers group?
Pete: My greatest delight and passion is seeing others fulfill their destiny, just as you, Mike, have done by joining us. It was destiny for your son, who I coached on the wrestling team, to bump into me, not once, but twice, the day before your 50th birthday. It was destiny for me to give him Self-Publishing and Marketing from the Trenches so you could read it on your birthday.
Spoons: Yes, Pete, it's true. I needed your expertise to publish my first book. Thanks for guiding me. I couldn't put the book down and ended up spending all day on my 50th birthday reading the entire book, cover to cover.
Pete: Another young reader told me he read Spirit Warrior eleven times and his life changed as a result.
Spoons: Can you describe a typical writing day?
Pete: Four times a week I get up at 3:00AM and write until I leave for work at 6:00AM. Before I start, I pray to the Lord and spend some time in the Bible. I see scenes and visions in my head. I follow my heart. I know the story, however, it is subject to change.
Writers must be disciplined. Writers with full-time jobs need to write one hour per day. And writers without jobs should be writing three hours per day.
Spoons: What writing project are you currently working on?
Pete: I'm on page 236 of Operation Blackbeard. I ran the idea by Lee Huff, an agent at the Writer's Conference. He rejected my work, however, I rejected his rejection. Lee recognized my passion and accepted my rejection of his rejection. He offered some ideas to improve the story and now I'm re-writing the manuscript based on his feedback.
Spoons: What goes on at Writer's Conferences?
Pete: The greatest hardship is the lack of hope people have when they show up not knowing what to expect. I teach members of my writing group to market their self-published books, present a track record, and demonstrate a strong case to publishers at the conferences. They walk into the conferences with confidence and understand if they establish a track record, agents will listen to them.
Everyone has a story to tell. They can leave a legacy available for everyone for generations to come because of technology.
Spoons: Thank you, Pete, Adelaide, and Adrielle, for opening your home and your hearts to me today. Your impact on the writing community will be felt for generations. And thank you for helping the chef in the kitchen at Caveman Reflections Cyber-bistro add a title to his name, published writer. May this interview inspire others to publish their story.
Beginning at 4:00pm Thursday, February 23, you can find Pete every Thursday at the Ramona Library teaching a free creative writing class open to the general public. The Ramona library is located at 1275 Main Street. Follow his Spirit Warrior blog or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leave your comments below if you would like to ask the Zindlers any questions about this interview. See you next Friday for another exciting cyber-guest appearance. Thank you, Zindlers, for a great interview.