My name is Jerome Peterson. I was born in Rockford, Illinois May 16, 1957. I come from a family of six children: four sisters and one brother. I was born the youngest.
I first got interested in writing through listening to music. I listened mostly to light rock music like Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Don McLean, America and Cat Stevens. I love the ballads that Woody Guthrie, Joan Baez, Judy Collins and other folk musicians would sing. I thought to myself, “Hey, I can write down what I feel and what is happening around me.” And so I did. I began to learn to play guitar and write songs as well as poetry. My mother was an influence on me as well because she enjoyed poetry; especially, the works of Rod McKuen, Kahlil Gibran, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson and Carl Sandburg. I was raised in the Catholic faith and was inspired by the mystery of the mass. This added to my outlook and created a spiritual view towards life around me and my writing.
After I graduated from high school I hit the road. Their was a longing inside of me that wanted to see the Pacific Ocean; plus, I had two sisters who lived in Idaho at the time. My traveling/wandering continued for a couple of years as I came of age. It was in Durango, Colorado that I met Carolyn and her two daughters: Ricki and Gwyn. They just so happened to be my next door neighbors. Another path and a big change was before me and away I went. I fell in love with Carolyn and we married in July of 1979. I adopted Ricki and Gwyn soon after and my little family was complete. I continued writing, mostly songs during this period and even made contacts with a local recording studio to record ten of my original songs. More importantly, we grew as a family and my time was devoted to that.
During this time we also grew closer to God. I felt God was calling me to the ministry. A door opened up in 1986 and we moved to Southern Mississippi. There we became missionaries with a holistic group called The Mendenhall Ministries. Our duties were to manage their farm and be involved with the youth ministry. After two years living in Mendenhall we changed course again and moved to Phoenix, Arizona. I continued to write more poetry. It was the late 90’s that I finally applied myself to writing a novel. I wrote two novels at this time; one was to eventually materialize into my first published work: Thumbflagging. The other was a meandering story that fell by the wayside. My reading increased and so did my imagination. In the early 2000’s we moved from Phoenix to Sonora, California because of family matters. It was here that my writing expanded and increased to not only poetry but short stories, freelance articles, the beginnings of three novels, a book of poetry, many more songs and the road to being self-published. My books are as follows: Thumbflagging, The Haunting of Andrew Sharpai, Leaving Family Behind, The Mind is Sorry the Body Suffers.
My writing inspirations are as follows: James Michener, Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck, Herman Hesse, Rosamunde Pilcher, James Baldwin, Upton Sinclair, Philp Roth, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Ray Bradbury, Aldous Huxley, Ayn Rand, Richard Wright, George Orwell and so many more.
Book 1: Thumb Flagging
Here is the synopsis to Thumb Flagging. The lure of the open road and the undeniable wanderlust of the heart have overtaken the life of young, kindhearted Jay Patterson. When he meets confident, free-spirited Willy Jacobs, Jay hesitantly becomes a bohemian of the highway in this tale set in the late seventies. Their unforgettable cross-country journeys by hitchhiking and riding the rails lead them to extraordinary situations beyond their imaginations.
Willy is a friendly street-smart drifter who applies his zany roadside therapies to help Jay overcome his crisis of confidence. As the unlikely pair travel, Willy philosophizes and uses his strong personality and energy persuading Jay into becoming a hitchhiking junkie. The vagabonds meet with unexpected encounters and come face-to-face with themselves and the harsh realities of the open highway.
They stumble upon many others who are traveling and tending to their own physical, psychological and emotional wounds. Paranoia strikes at the heart of their journey as they cross the path a number of times with a mysterious psychopathic couple.
While traveling alone from Arizona to Maine, Jay meets a female drifter. The decisions they make could result in a magical relationship or a tragic goodbye.
Thumb Flagging is loosely based on me and my wife’s personal hitchhiking experiences. It is published by Eloquent Books/Strategic Publishing Group and is available at Amazon books and Barnes & Noble.
Book 2: The Haunting of Andrew Sharpai
The synopsis to The Haunting of Andrew Sharpai. All Andrew Sharpai wanted in life was to find true love. Wandering around the Western United States, he searches for that missing love only to find rejection and haunting memories. Along his journey, he meets LaRae DuFont, a famous show dancer, who tells him a story in which Mary Magdalene thought Jesus was a gardener, teaching Andrew that not everything is as it seems. This lesson will change his life forever.
An uncontrollable twist of fate separates the two lovers and leads Andrew to wander again. He finally settles in a small town in eastern Idaho where he encounters the notorious enchantress, Iris Winkle. However, her ex-husband has placed a fiendish curse on Iris and Andrew soon finds himself trapped within the enchantment. Remembering the lesson LaRae taught him may be his only salvation, but will it be enough to save him from the perilous spell?
The Haunting of Andrew Sharpai is loosely based on actually events. It is published by Eloquent Books/Strategic Publishing Group and is available at Amazon books and Barnes & Noble.
This novel could be viewed as an attempt at promoting witchcraft but that was not my intent. My intent was to portray a paranormal story that involves many mysteriously spiritual things that simply cannot be explained. I added an eight-year old girl to the story to give it a believable feel to relationships while balancing the reality with a few magical twists; one being a raven. A sequel is quite possible in the works wherein “Lily” the eight-year old is ten years older and her spiritual experiences have led her down a path that might not be expected.
Book 3: Leaving Family Behind
Leaving Family Behind, is a historical work of fiction. From Lithuania to Philadelphia, Leaving Family Behind tells of two immigrants’ historical journey in the early 1900s. It is a story where Jonas and Evelina Violettskus will stop at nothing in pursuit of their individual dreams.
Evelina rebels when her older brother forces her to abandon her goal to be a pianist, so he can accomplish his own dream of purchasing farmland in America. Thus begins a bitter sibling rivalry that affects their epic odyssey of self-discovery.
Jonas expects Evelina to leave home and country behind, travel thousands of miles through Eastern Europe, and then cross the Atlantic Ocean with a smile on her face and gratefulness in her heart. When she doesn’t react this way, their feud begins.
Dreams are important and can guide us in life. But when dreams clash, are they worth the risk of hurting loved ones and causing bitterness that could last forever?
Leaving Family Behind is published by Eloquent Books/Strategic Publishing Group and is available at Amazon books and Barnes & Noble.
I am working on two more novels to follow up this story as a trilogy.
My fourth self-published work is a book of poetry and sketches. The Mind is Sorry the Body Suffers is Peterson’s first collection of poems and drawings. In this work, he searches for simplicity and an understanding of the upper and lower natures of humanity. It is an unique mix of styles covering a vast field of emotions and a balanced perception of concepts and morals. His style uses interesting rhythms, vivid, and intriguing imagery, to the point where you not only want to recite them but be in the words and between them.
Note the first poem and how Peterson begins with the blissful naked beauty of, To Love You. You can hear the crumbling leaves and smell a rain storm coming in the spooky Howard. He makes the dull monotony of riding the bus fun and relatable in, Bus Ride and transports you through a weirdly abstract dream in, Grieving at a Memorial. Peterson easily captures the essence of every couples longing for youthful romances in, Yellow Rose. Peterson’s drawings are as deep as his poems and they offer a raw poignant addition. They appear serene, flow loose, and free, tempting you to explore and contemplate your thoughts as well as your surroundings.
The Mind is Sorry the Body Suffers is published by Author House and is available at Amazon books and Barnes & Noble
I have had many occupations in my life and have live in many places. I feel this has contributed to my imagination and creativity. I lived in the following states: Illinois, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona, Mississippi, California and Nevada. I have worked in a machine shop and hotel resort. I’ve been a drifter, a bum, lived in vehicles and on the road. I’ve been a cook, a dishwasher and janitor. I’ve worked in construction. I was a carpenter, a mason, a cabinet maker. I’ve been a farmer, a pastor and missionary. I’ve worked in factories been a maintenance worker and groundskeeper. I’ve played organized baseball, performed music, recorded music, and formed a folk/rock trio called “Flippin Twist & The Kid”. I’ve acted in five plays with the leading role in three of them. I consider myself a spiritual person and believe I am a child of the infinite mystery of God. I have two daughters, five grandchildren and three great grandchildren. I have been married to Carolyn for 42 years. I am retired and live with my wife and our dog, Freddie Joseph, in Sparks, Nevada.