Peter Salomon talks about writing angsty poetry, whether or not he needs therapy, and good places to haunt with a serial killer in a novel.
Tell us about yourself as a writer. What age group calls to you? Fiction or nonfiction? Magazines, novels, poetry–give us the scoop!
Most of my teenage and college years was spent writing angstian poetry (I know, but it should REALLY be a word!), some of which has sort of stood the test of time. I’ve spent the last year posting a poem a week on my blog, every Monday, and still have about a thousand poems to go (I spent a LOT of that time writing poetry). I tried writing a Fantasy novel after college and it was a great learning experience but you wouldn’t really want to slog through it…though, to be fair, there are some good parts. Ok, maybe decent parts?
After that I wrote a couple of adult fiction novels that really prepared me for where I am in my writing career. It wasn’t until I had kids of my own, however, that I started writing for that age group. I have found that I really enjoy writing for teens. Which, to me, is pretty much the exact same thing as writing for adults. Teens are always smarter than we give them credit for and more than willing to take a journey with an author. I’m tremendously appreciative and overwhelmed by my ‘target audience.’
As for non-fiction, I’ve written a few freelance journalistic type of things but it’s a LOT harder for me than fiction…I like being able to just make things up. Having to stick to actual facts is nowhere near as much fun.
Describe what inspires you, and how your ideas become stories or novels.
The characters, definitely the characters. I end up with free-ranging conversations going on in my head between different characters. I think there’s a term for that other than schizophrenia but I’m not positive about that! So, starting with the assumption that I’m not in need of serious therapy, I usually follow wherever the conversations between the characters take me.
For children and young adults interested in pursuing writing as a career–any quick advice or guidance?
The best advice I ever received was just to keep writing, to never stop writing. There’s nothing worth reading on an empty page.
One caveat I’d add to that is that you must learn to love revising. Editing/Revising is so integral to polishing a book and the writer has to understand that anyone offering constructive criticism is doing so in order to improve your writing. To make it better. To make it sell. To make it sell more. Revising is, for lack of a better term, good.
Chinese take-out or fancy Italian restaurant?
Italian, though I love Chinese take-out too.
Jacob or Edward?
Chihuahua or Doberman?
Middle Earth or Hogwarts?
Hogwarts…I’m unwilling to give up indoor plumbing and air conditioning
Rose or dandelion?
Your fiction release, Henry Franks, looks like a scary spooky mystery/suspense. Is it? Tell us about it.
While HENRY is considered YA Horror, I think it’s more creepy/haunting than horrific. It’s tense and claustrophobic and fast-paced. Henry is 16, with no memory of the accident that killed his mother and left him covered with scars. And no memory of any of the 16 years before the accident either. All he knows about himself, his name, who he is, is what his father has told him since he woke up from the coma after the accident.
And then he starts doubting his father’s stories. As he searches for answers, trying to figure out who he really is, more mysteries start piling up, along with bodies from a serial killer stalking the small island off the Georgia coast he lives on. With the help of his best friend, Justine, who is the only person he knows who can see past the scars, Henry quickly discovers that sometimes the only thing worse than forgetting is remembering.
Is this book set in the Golden Isles? Want to tell readers about this particular spot on the U.S. coastline, and some of its history?
The Golden Isles of Georgia are St. Simons Island, Sea Island, and Jekyll Island about 30 miles north of Florida. They are surrounded by marshes and have a surprisingly distinguished literary history (see The Marshes Of Glynn by Sidney Lanier for example). They are also hot and secluded and the perfect place to haunt with a serial killer in a fiction novel.
And finally, the all-important question: What’s next for you? Working on new stories? We certainly hope so. Tell us about them!
I have just finished a proposal for a new YA action/adventure set in New York City (I wrote the first draft as well as a YA Dystopian first draft while HENRY was out on submission) and have also been working on two different picture books. I have really high hopes for the NYC story and hope to have more information on that in the near future!