Friday, March 18, 2011

We have author Peter Bognanni here on our blog today answering our questions! His debut novel, The House of Tomorrow, has recently received the Alex Award and is now out on paperback with a brand-new cover. Read on for a chance to win a copy of this book that will appeal not only to adults but young adults as well.


Hi Peter! Thank you for stopping by our blog. Please tell us about yourself in 140 characters (like on Twitter).
Hmmm, okay. I don’t use Twitter yet, but here goes (by the way, these characters don’t count):

Grew up in Iowa. Live in Minnesota. I have been an ice cream scooper, barista, children’s book editor, mascot, and proto-punk rocker. Now I write, teach, eat, sleep.

That was a very Zen experience (these don’t count either!).

Which part of the writing process (plotting, research, writing the first draft, revisions etc.) do you find the most difficult?
I assume I can use more than 140 characters now. I’m realizing I might be too long-winded for Twitter.

Anyway, your question is a good one. With this particular book, I found the final edit most difficult. I knew the book was a little too long, but I had gotten ridiculously attached to every scene I had written. Cutting was somewhat traumatic. Finally, I had to play this imaginary game with myself where I was awarded ten dollars per line I cut. If I didn’t cut anything, I couldn’t become a millionaire. This game was ultimately disappointing when I didn’t pay myself in the end.

What books and authors influence your writing the most?
I find this question easier to answer, again, for this specific book. I was inspired early on by a great novel by Flannery O’Conner called The Violent Bear it Away. There’s a young boy under the tutelage of an odd dogmatic grandfather that really stuck with me. The voice was somewhat influenced by The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass. And when I was growing up, the only writer I knew from Des Moines, Iowa was Peter Hedges. I loved his book What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

How did the idea for The House of Tomorrow begin? Was it the accumulation of ideas and opinions over time or did a particular event brought it about?
A little bit of both. I had been writing about the character, Jared, in another project. Then my wife met someone at a party who told her he had grown up in a geodesic dome. I started researching domes and came up with the character of Sebastian. Then I mixed in Jared and his punk sensibility. They formed an intriguing combination.

I'm sure you get asked this a lot, but who was your inspiration(s) for the character of Sebastian? If any?
I’d like to think Sebastian and Jared stem from two parts of my own personality (especially when I was that age). The part of me that was introspective and socially awkward is the Sebastian part. The part of me that took delight in the loud and profane is the Jared part. There were also a lot of friends from my youth circling through my head while I was writing this. I’m sure a few lines of dialogue came right from my memory.

What's next after The House of Tomorrow? Do you have any current writing projects?
I’m working on something now, but it still feels too new to talk about. There won’t be any domes, but the strange underbelly of the Midwest will still be very present. That seems to be where my writing always wants to go.

Thanks for answering our question Peter! Be sure to check out his website for more information about The House of Tomorrow and other future books.

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to Penguin and Angela, I'll be giving away a copy of THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW to one lucky reader! Here's the blurb:
Sebastian Prendergast is no ordinary teenager. Housed in a geodesic dome, he lives in near isolation, homeschooled by his grandmother, a disciple of architect and futurist R. Buckminster Fuller. Sebastian is expected to fulfill his destiny (saving the planet), yet his days are spent giving tours of the dome, working in the gift shop, and studying. He has never consumed processed foods, set foot in a church, played a guitar, or had a friend. Never, that is, until the day his grandmother suffers a stroke and the fabric of his life unravels.

Sebastian happens upon the Whitcombs, a family in crisis who welcomes Sebastian and offers him a friendship he hasn't experienced before. They form an uneasy unit, but it's one that bands together when the going gets tough. As Sebastian processes his newfound life, he begins — for the first time — to think for himself. He confronts the principles on which he's been raised, and comes to the conclusion that well-meaning, otherwise good people may be flawed.

A charming tale of what happens when a thoughtful, sheltered kid opens his eyes to the real world for the very first time, The House of Tomorrow captures the wonder of Sebastian's first sip of grape-flavored punch, his first glimpse of a near-naked girl, and his first angry guitar riff with all the delight that such seminal events hold.

Doesn't that sound like a fantastic read? This book is next on my TBR pile and I'm really excited. To enter, simply fill out the form (the giveaway details are also there):

Click HERE if you cannot see the form above.

IMPORTANT: See "Special Giveaway Policy" for complete rules and disclaimers. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the terms stated on that page. Good luck!

Don't forget to let us know what you thought of the interview above in the comments below! :)

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