Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Interview with Author Peter Adam Salomon

I'm especially delighted today to share the wise words of debut author Peter Adam Salomon, whose thrilling book Henry Franks has just been released from Flux. Peter is an incredibly inspiring guy whose commitment to writing, writers, and words is both heartening and beautiful, so I'm honored to have had the chance to ask him some questions about his book, his writing process, and how he sustains his belief in the power of words.

Can you share the process of writing HENRY FRANKS? How did you progress through the various stages of writing and revision, and what was your timeline like?

When I first started writing HENRY FRANKS, back in 2007, I had a very different book in mind. The original idea focused on the father, and how he was purposely raising a child with false information (ie: if you are taught different words for common objects, it's almost like learning a foreign language: if you believe that 'hair' refers to the stuff growing on your front lawn then that is the word you will use for 'mowing your hair'). As that first draft progressed however I became far more fascinated with the reactions of the son as he began to doubt what his father was teaching him. So I started over, trying to figure out a scenario where a teenager would need to be retaught everything about himself. Due to this switch in focus the book went from Adult Fiction to YA and then to YA Horror as the 'creepy/haunting' factor kept getting ramped up the deeper I delved into the story.

That 'first' draft with HENRY FRANKS as a YA was finished fairly quickly, then I spent almost two years in revision, trying to amp up the creepy and, most specifically, trying to make the ending 'fit' the story. The original had a 70 page flashback into the father's point of view, completely leaving the YA characters and it simply didn't work. By this time, we're talking two plus years of writing and editing. Then, after signing with my wonderful agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette, there was another year of revision, including almost another year of revision to weave that flashback into the story properly so that the ending would work before the book sold. At which point there was yet another year of edits to get the book to what is in book stores.

Looking back, of course, it's as if those years just flew right on by! At the time, obviously, it was anything but that. Still, it was worth it. The book works so much better as it is now and I hope the reader appreciates the care that everyone associated with the book has taken on it.

What excites you most about your book being released in September, and what make you the most nervous?
I love the fact that other people will be introduced to Henry and Justine. I adore these characters and am thrilled that more people will get to meet them and, hopefully, fall in love with them as well. By far, what makes me most nervous is the fear that people will not find the book as creepy as it hopefully is. Having the genre 'YA Horror' placed on the book scares me because I definitely do not want to disappoint anyone who might be expecting MORE horror in the book. HENRY FRANKS is (hopefully) a subtle, haunting type of horror, unsettling and creepy. I hope I accomplished something that respects and honors the YA Horror genre and its wonderful fans.

How did you persevere along your writing path through ups and downs to reach this moment in your career?
HENRY FRANKS is my fifth completed manuscript. My second YA. While some of the previous manuscripts aren't 'ready for prime time' and some are 'close' to publishable, it's been a long time working on getting published. It's been my dream for this since I was about twelve and to have it finally come true is surreal and wonderful and worth every moment of the years in between where I wondered if it was worth it. It most definitely was. With that said, it's important for any one who wants to write to keep one thing in mind: just keep writing. No matter what, never stop writing.
Oh, and learn to love revising! Very important!!

What makes you sit back in your chair and smile?

There was just something indescribable about seeing the cover art for the first time. Someone spent a very long time all for my book (yes, that's their job but still...), trying to capture in a single image the heart and soul of something I wrote. It encapsulates something beyond words, the work put into creating the cover and it means something to me that I'm probably not defining very well. So now, every time I see that cover, whether its online or on the book itself I can't help but smile.

And I'd be remiss not to mention here my wife, Anna, and our 3 sons: Andy, Josh and Adin. All of whom have that 'sit back in your chair and smile' affect.

Who in your life impacted and inspired you, and how did they do it?
I have spoken of my grandfather, Andre Bialolenki, at length in various blog postings and it's difficult to condense the impact he had upon me and my writing in just a few short paragraphs. Suffice it to say that I would not be the writer, or the man, I am today without his support, encouragement and talent in my life. He was a spectacular writer who has left an incredible legacy (both personally with the inspiration he has left his family with and professionally with the work he did to put Miami Beach/South Beach on the map). He taught me to never stop writing, supported my writing when no one else believed, and I wish, so dearly wish, that he was here to see this day arrive.   Thanks so much for sharing your journey, Peter! And if you want to find out more about Peter, do check out his website www.peteradamsalomon.com.