‘Principles of Navigation’ author’s creative roots in Montana

June 24, 2013
‘Principles of Navigation’ author’s creative roots in Montana
MOORHEAD, MINN. – New Rivers Press at Minnesota State University Moorhead announces the publication of Principles of Navigation by University of Montana alumnus Peter W. Fong, an author who received his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from UM in 1992 and who received a Fellowship in Creative Writing for fiction with the Montana Arts Council in 1993. Mr. Fong later returned to live and work in Pray, Mont., for a number of years, and was the Moran Artist-in-Residence at Yellowstone National Park in 2004.
Peter W. Fong’s Principles of Navigation Is a glamorous and salty love story set in the Florida Keys. The book’s action is centered on the fictional Coral Key, somewhere between Marathon and Islamorada, and ranges all over South Florida, from Pompano west to Sanibel. In the 1980s, the author worked as the mate on a Marathon charter boat, among other jobs.
Charter captain Rigger Tavernier never imagined he could lose his bearings in the Florida Keys, until Jenna came along. A football star’s bride from a rich family, she seemed to be out of his league. But after that first night with Jenna, Rigger would give everything and more to keep her. First, however, he’ll have to sift through the wreck of his first marriage and the death of an old friend.
For Jenna McDowell, life was supposed to run like clockwork: marry the hunk, settle down, and make babies. She never thought she’d pursue someone like Rigger. But when your husband is shooting blanks, sometimes you take desperate measures. Jenna grew up around the horse track, so she knows a thing or two about stud service. But when the horseplay is over, who should be the child’s father?
In the end, both Rigger and Jenna find their bearings, but not until they learn that the Principles of Navigation are nothing more than the rules of the road—and rules are made to be broken.
Set in Florida and in Europe—among the sport fishing, horse racing, and professional football industries—this novel delivers a glamorous and salty love story.

What folks are saying about this book
“A tense and gripping romance simmering in a South Florida pressure cooker of infertility, infidelity, burned out fishing guides, faded football players, and the unsavory back paddocks of for-profit horse racing.” -James R. Babb, Editor, Gray’s Sporting Journal
“Peter Fong’s novel of trouble in paradise is vivid, deft, and absorbing from the get-go. The bluest water has its sharks, and Fong knows where they lurk.” -Deirdre McNamer, Author, Red Rover, My Russian, One Sweet Quarrel, and Rima in the Weeds

About Peter W. Fong
Peter W. Fong works as a freelance editor and a fly-fishing guide. His stories have appeared in American Fiction, Gray’s Sporting Journal, The New York Times Sophisticated Traveler, and many other publications. He is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Montana. Over the past fifteen years, he and his family have lived in Montana, Vermont, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Aruba. This is his first novel.
Q&A with Peter W. Fong
Q: I understand that this is your first book. How long did it take you to write it?
A: I finished the short story that provided the seed for the novel in 1992, so I guess you could say twenty years, more or less. But the first draft was completed mostly during the three years we lived in Tokyo, when my wife had a rewarding job, our son was in first grade, and our daughter attended a Japanese preschool. That gave me a few hours each day to write.
Q: Did you ever feel like giving up?
A: After an agent spent almost two years trying to sell the manuscript, without success, I did give up, mostly. But not on writing. I started another novel, set in Shanghai, and kept writing short stories and magazine articles while working at other jobs.
Q: Although the story is told in the third person, the narrator’s perspective alternates between Jenna and Rigger from one chapter to the next. Why did you choose that structure?
A: Because both Jenna and Rigger have trouble revealing their true feelings to other people, I thought I had to do it that way. Otherwise, it would’ve been very hard to understand their actions.
Q: Which of the characters is most like you?
A: Hector, I suppose, because he wears glasses, likes to cook, and is tangential to the plot.
Q: Although much of the book takes place in Florida, other settings range from Havana, Cuba, to a handful of European capitals. Have you set foot in all of these places?
A: I lived in Florida for three years during the mid-eighties, but have only visited Europe and have never been to Havana. Cuba is on my list, though.
Q: Many of today’s eBooks bypass the traditional author-publisher relationship. Why didn’t you publish this book yourself?
A: Because I know that I wouldn’t be good at the job. I’m good at putting together a mango salsa while listening to a Red Sox game on the radio, at floating down a river while casting a fly that looks like a mouse to a trout as long as your leg. Neither of these skill sets really translate to self-publishing.
Q: Who do you image starring in the movie?
A: When I was first writing it, in my most pleasant dreams? Michelle Pfeiffer and Sam Shepard. But for release next year? Maybe Kirsten Dunst and Jeff Bridges.
Q: What is unique about your book?
A: It might be the only novel with internal monologues about both shark fishing and ectopic pregnancy.
About New Rivers Press
The mission of New Rivers Press at Minnesota State University Moorhead is to publish and promote enduring contemporary literature and to create academic learning opportunities. New Rivers Press acquires, publishes, and markets high quality, imaginative work from emerging and established writers. We are interested in literary work of every character, but especially in diverse work that’s aesthetically challenging and has a social conscience. Founded in New York in 1968 by C.W. “Bill” Truesdale, the not-for-profit New Rivers Press has now published over 330 books.
About the Electronic Book Series
The New Rivers Press Electronic Book Series is an eBook-only series that includes popular fiction titles with literary value in the genres of Action-adventure, Crime, Detective, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction, Western, and Inspirational, and all sub-genres within and across those categories, from new and emerging authors.
More Information
Principles of Navigation is available as an eBook through the online retailer Amazon.com.
Review Copies
A review copy of Principles of Navigation is available upon request.

Electronic Book Series Associate Editor
Ryan C. Christiansen
Peter W. Fong
Managing Editor / Co-Director
Suzzanne Kelley
Senior Editor / Co-Director
Alan Davis
New Rivers Press
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1104 7th Ave. S.
Moorhead, MN 56563
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‘Principles of Navigation’ author’s creative roots in Montana