Peter Likins

Peter Likins, author of “Coyote Speaks”

“I always wondered if I might be able to write a respectable novel and publish it before I reached eighty years of age.”

We are happy to bring you Peter Likins’ author story today, of all days, his 80th birthday, July 4, 2016. Happy birthday Peter, and congratulations on beating your goal by publishing Coyote Speaks: Cross Country Run (a highly respectable novel receiving great reviews on six months ahead of schedule.

Coyote Speaks: Cross Country Run is the story of Coyote Viejo, a fugitive from the law for over forty years. Coyote escapes from oppressive foster care on an Arizona chicken ranch and finds success as a cross country runner, culminating with college graduation and his dream job as a high school coach and teacher. A star-crossed love affair brings Coyote down and exposes the dark secrets of his childhood, taking him back to exorcise his demons and confront his childhood tormentor.  An unexpected revelation prompts Coyote to speak.

Peter Likins retired at age 70 after what he describes as a “full career as engineer, professor, and university administrator.” Peter is President Emeritus of the University of Arizona, and Coyote Speaks is his third book, his first being a textbook, Elements of Engineering Mechanics, published by McGraw-Hill Education. Reflecting on his goals for Coyote Speaks, Peter says he had no illusions about writing the “Great American Novel,” but would be validated by literary recognition.

Coyote Speaks CoverPeter remarks, “1106 Design made it possible for me to publish a novel of professional quality, which would otherwise have been impossible for me. I most appreciate the aesthetic quality of the published book, which looks so good that a reader might be drawn to it.” He admits that publishing a book was much harder than writing a book, but thanks 1106 Design for guiding him through the “thickets that enabled me to finish the job.”

The best part of the process for Peter was working with the creative designers at 1106 Design, who “far exceeded my own abilities to imagine, much less put to paper.  They did exactly what I wanted and requested, but did it better than I could have expected.” Peter found editing and proofreading to be the greatest challenge, as the editors had different ideas about sentence structure and punctuation. “In general I deferred to the greater professional experience of the editors, but with some unease about relinquishing a personal style that favors long sentences extended by semi-colons.”

Peter worked with traditional publishers for his textbook and also his memoir A New American Family: A Love Story, but decided to venture into self-publishing for Coyote Speaks. Peter started his self-publishing journey by creating a publishing company, Darby Books, LLC. He places a high value on the opportunity to control every aspect of the book’s creation, including front and back covers. Peter comments that the covers realized his hopes, recalling that book covers “are under the control of a publishing house, as I learned with previous books.” He admits that, “As a novice I found the process very complex and I would not recommend self-publishing for a novice without the kind of guidance that 1106 Design provides.”

Peter’s advice for authors who are considering self-publishing? “Don’t do it alone!”

Congratulations Peter, and Happy Birthday!

COYOTE SPEAKS:  Cross Country Run

Author:  Peter Likins

Genre: Literary Fiction

Author Website:

Article about Peter Likins and Self-publishing: