Friday, April 30, 2021

Peter Topside Interview - Preternatural Evolution

Photo Content from Peter Topside

My pen name is Peter Topside. I am an accomplished chef and baker, movie fanatic, a proud father and husband, and a Clinical Exercise Physiologist by trade.

I had a rough upbringing, which bestowed many traumas on me, that remained in place for a long time. I spent years struggling with crippling anxiety and depression, but once I got to my lowest point, I made the difficult decision to fight for better mental health. I traveled to a lot of dark corners of my mind, confronting the deepest and scariest aspects of my PTSD, over many years, but I was able to make it through successfully. Throughout my recovery process, I was able to funnel all of the energy, thoughts and feelings into my writing. My books are the culmination of my own personal, life-changing journey.

Greatest thing you learned at school?
How to focus on my work and tune everyone else out.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
I think it allows us to see unique stories and characters, which expands our understanding and appreciation of one another.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I feel that people just reading my work, in itself, is an amazing thing.

Tell us your latest news.
Preternatural Evolution is coming out on April 13th, and I’m polishing the third and final book of the trilogy, Preternatural Reckoning.

Can you tell us when you started PRETERNATURAL EVOLUTION, how that came about?
I had a rough upbringing and my writing not only offered me a way to process the abuse and trauma, but also allowed me an outlet. So I developed the stories and characters based off my experiences and spun it in a creative way that any horror fan would adore.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I hope that they have their own unique experience with it. It’s written in a way that can be appreciated surface level, simply as a horror story, or in a deeper, more impactful way. There’s no right or wrong way to read it, but I love seeing each person come back with a different reaction, good or bad.

What part of Alexandra did you enjoy writing the most?
I honestly never planned to write more than the first Preternatural book. I sat on a finished version of it for almost a year, before realizing that there was more to tell. Alexandra was a supporting character in the first book, but really comes into her own in Evolution. I didn’t know it initially, but she organically became the superstar of my trilogy and I loved writing her in this story.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think I would be interested to see Pennywise from Stephen King’s IT interact with Blackheart. They’re my two favorite antagonists, so I’d love to see it!

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Being afraid that it wasn’t perfect. That kept me from finishing the story a few times, but I eventually pushed through all the doubt and wrote it the way that I felt it should be.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Read a story that inspires them.

Best date you've ever had?
My first date with my wife. She was my first and only, as the old expression goes.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
High school.

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home?
A utility room that was just literally a hole dug in the ground, to the side of the basement.

What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
Most of the childhood and adolescence was just being petrified 100% of the time, due to adverse circumstances. However, my most fearful time was when I was in a very serious accident in elementary school and broke my femur. I was only seven at the time and was stuck in traction (Staring at a large screw sticking out of both sides of my thigh, that was also put in and removed while I was awake.), for 2 months in the hospital. I also almost died several times from complications, suffered from painkiller withdrawal, and then had more than a year of almost full time physical therapy. It was a really terrible experience that I still have nightmares about.

Where did you go on your first airplane ride?
I flew out to Death Valley, CA to monitor the runners of the 2006 Badwater Ultramarathon, as part of an independent study during my senior year of college.

First Heartbreak?
High school.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
True love.

  • Alexandra was the name my wife and I almost picked for our daughter.
  • Blackheart’s triumphant return was written as a tribute to the Red Death scene in Phantom of the Opera.
  • I develop a playlist for each of my books that help me stay focused on the story and characters. It takes me months to do this process of picking the right songs. Evolution had almost all female-leads for the songs, that made me feel Alexandra’s energy and mindset.
  • I picked the one character’s name Mitch, based off the Powerpuff Girl’s classmate, Mitch Mitchelson. His name always cracked me up.
  • Christian Reed is based on Kyle Chandler, particularly in Super 8.
  • I wrote this book, as well as the other parts of the trilogy, with very easily digestible chapters, so that someone could even just take 5-10 minutes in a given day to dedicate to it.
  • In order to write Alexandra’s various sermons, I had to do a lot of research on the Bible and sermons. Never did I imagine that I’d be writing sermons.
  • The stain glass window of Jesus in the Meadowsville Community Church was a tribute to the eyes of Dr Eckleburg from The Great Gatsby.
  • There is an interaction between Alexandra and Blackheart where they both serenade each other, but he tries to outdo her. This was meant as the catalyst of her full understanding of his manipulation, as he is known to be very disrespectful and degrading of women.
  • In an earlier version of the trilogy, before very extensive rewrites, both Christian and Rebecca were killed by Erik in book 1. In the unofficial sequel, Adam would then return to Meadowsville as an adult, curious about his parent’s death, and being summoned, in a way, by Blackheart to kill him.
Your journey to publication
I started writing the original Preternatural almost 25 years ago. I went through several rewrites and a great deal of rejection from literary agents, publishing companies, etc. I had a very messy and troubled process with book 1 but still managed to get it self-published. However, after the entire ordeal, I was very downtrodden and basically wanted to give up on publishing anything ever again. So I lost hope, until I found my current team, who are absolutely wonderful in every way. They restored my hope in the industry and are helping me finish my trilogy, which starts with Evolution, which is a lifelong goal. The plus side of me having the rough road to present day, is that I truly understand and appreciate every aspect of developing a book, which really makes me fully appreciate the teams I now work with and all that they do.

My family and friends were always supportive of my writing, but I just never was in a place to finish any of the books and be content with them. I did model certain characters off of myself and those around me, which was necessary to understand them and be able to write them properly.

It's been fifteen years since the vampire Blackheart was defeated, leaving Meadowsville desolate and broken.

Alexandra has returned to take over her father's church but is struggling to find her true purpose. Torn by her shaky loyalty to Christian Reed-the unstable town antihero who vanquished Blackheart years ago-and increasing efforts at seduction and manipulation from Blackheart himself, she is forced to face all her deepest traumas and insecurities.

As the town's only hope, Alexandra must gather her strength and transcend her terror in order to battle these adversities-or risk losing the very soul of Meadowsville.

You can purchase Preternatural Evolution at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you PETER TOPSIDE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Preternatural Evolution by Peter Topside.


  1. "What is your favorite day of the year?" August 20th, if I recall correctly.

  2. One of my favorite days of the year is my anniversary (50 years)

  3. I don't have one favorite...but a day at the beach is always one of my favorites! As is my birthday. And if I spend my birthday at the beach, that's the best!