SJ Peterson has been writing for decades – submissions, reports, letters, newspaper articles, media releases and more. A novel, first to say it, finally saw the light of day at the end of 2013. Commencing more than ten years earlier as a number of short stories, over subsequent years these stories were strung together and added to.
Born at the end of the 1940s, in Melbourne, Australia, Peterson has experienced first-hand the decades of excitement and change that have been the hallmarks of a baby boomer’s life. Following a legal education, in the mid-1970s he embarked on a trip to England and Europe. Back in Australia, Peterson’s working life moved through the finance industry, local government, lobbying, public relations, migration advice and business administration.
Most of the 1990s he spent living in Japan, where he set up and operated an English language school and trading business. Japan remains an important focus, regular contact maintained with many good friends made through the school.
Apart from writing, Peterson is a person of many pursuits. An interest in European history from the mid-nineteenth century is a prevalent theme, given full rein by reading and research, as well as watching documentaries on related topics. Being a volunteer guide at the local Jewish Holocaust Centre, and a volunteer visitor to a nursing home for returned service men and women, provide the chance to speak with people who lived through this era. He also undertakes other community-based volunteer activities, and is a regular public speaker on a range of topics.
The source of his historical interest can be traced to an English lady who lived in London during the war, and was a close family friend for fifteen years from the mid-1950s, and to the study of German for five years at secondary school. Research into an ancestor who migrated to Australia from Prussia in the 1850s further fanned the interest, which is further evidenced in more than one chapter of this novel.
To clear the mind and develop new story ideas, Peterson enjoys lengthy bicycle rides and walks, Melbourne being the ideal city with its hundreds of kilometres of bicycle paths.