Interview with Dan Peterson
Author of “Fergus, The Soccer Playing Colt”
Reader Views is pleased to have Dan Peterson, author of “Fergus, The Soccer Playing Colt” with us today. Great to have you here Dan.
Irene: What inspired you to write “Fergus, The Soccer Playing Colt”?
Dan: I had a palomino horse which I had raised from a weanling. The book is based loosely on that horse. He could open gates, get grain out of an old tire; he would also carry around a ball (with a handle on it) or anything else he could pick up that 올인구조대 him. And I just wanted to write a kids’ book.
Irene: Did you train your horse to do those things, or is this innate?
Dan: No this is learned behavior. Innate behavior I think is fleeing a predator or grazing on pasture grass. This horse actually learned how to do those things on his own. I think the grain in an old tire is a good example. I don’t know how he figured it out but he would actually pick up the tire and toss it to the ground in front of him. Every time he did that a few bits of the grain would bounce out. He would continue the routine until he had every last morsel of grain out of that tire.
Irene: Why did you have Fergus playing soccer rather, than say, baseball, or football?
Dan: I had Fergus playing soccer because it would be more believable that a horse could kick around a fair-sized round ball, etc. That would not have been possible with a football or a baseball. And basket ball was out of the question. And I had carried around the first couple of lines in my head for about a year. I wanted the colt to be more than just an acrobat. It would give my story more possibilities for other things to happen.
Irene: How did you come up with the characters in the story?
Dan: Well, I of course knew that I’d have to have kids in a kid story, hence Bobby and Ramon. Ian Connor was a convenience or a conveyance–a way to get Fergus and Bobby and Ramon on the excursion, where the rest of the story might happen. I don’t know how I came up with the “bad” guys. I knew they couldn’t be really scary bad, so I tried to laugh at all of them a little bit. Rumble Smith was a villain, but a sort of bumbling villain. He could be dishonest (and pay the price for it eventually), but he could not be threatening. Reiterate was just a sidekick, but I didn’t want him to be bland or uninteresting. I wanted him to contribute to the story. Billy Joe was essential as someone with more dimension.