Today, I’m thrilled to be joined by Pete Hautman, the extraordinarily talented writer of Eden West, out now from Candlewick Press. Pete’s 2004 novel, Godless, won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Eden West covers similar ground in that both books deal with the interplay between religion and control.
However, where Godless was about inventing a new religion, Eden West is about the world of cults. It is about the 12-square-mile land of Nodd, a “paradise” run by the Grace. Specifically, it’s about 17-year-old Jacob who knows nothing else about the World, except that it’s wicked and doomed to destruction. That is, until he meets Lynna and the two test their belief in the Grace with the temptations of the World.
It’s a tough YA book that tackles some serious issues in a thoughtful, respectful way. Thankfully, Pete Hautman also knows how to laugh. Which is a good thing, because for his blog tour stop here at the Roarbots, I decided to throw him some curveballs.
Roarbots: Out of all the characters you’ve written in all of your books, with whom do you most identify? By contrast, who can you not imagine being in real life?
Pete Hautman: My 2004 novel Godless (which is a sort of precursor to Eden West), has two characters named Jason and Shin. They are me, split into two parts, at age fifteen. Also, Lucy Szabo, in Sweetblood, is very much me—if I were a 16-year-old girl with diabetes and a vampire fixation.
As for who I could not be…I’d say Lahlia, from the Klaatu Diskos trilogy. Because she is courageous and strong-willed and kicks ass right and left (I kick no ass myself). But I love her.
Q: Archaeologists from the future (or aliens, up to you) dig up a box that’s been buried for centuries. Among the treasures inside is one of your books. Which do you want it to be, and what do you think they’d “learn” about us from it?
PH: Let’s make them aliens, because I’m a heavy sci-fi reader. Inside the box is a book I have not yet written. It’s about the unwitting suicide of Homo sapiens by means of environmental destruction, war, and too many cheeze curlz. I just think they should know.
Q: Your publisher decides to give you an advance on your next book to the tune of a few million dollars. Where do you go for “research,” and what’s the book about?
PH: I like “to the tune of a few million dollars,” but I don’t know that song. I would definitely go to someplace nice. Maybe southern France, where I could write about food. Or Costa Rica, where I could write about monkeys. The book is about monkeys eating really good food. Or maybe it’s about eating monkeys.
Q: A genie decides to grant you one wish, but it comes with a catch. You must wish to live out the rest of your life in a world from a movie or television show. Where do you go? Would you write about it?
PH: Definitely not Westeros from Game of Thrones, cuz I’d be dead in, like, five minutes. No, it would take longer. First they would torture me for a week, then kill me. Not The Lord of the Rings, because no modern dentistry (no novocaine). I want something where I’m comfortable and happy 24/7. Maybe Teletubbies? Oh yeah, I wanna be Po!
Q: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? Would you recommend a career in writing to young kids who might be interested in it?
PH: Two totally different questions! If I weren’t a writer I’d be a comic book artist, and I’d be terrible at it! But I’d love doing it. As for career recommendations for budding writers…just do it. Writing is the best job ever. Except for sometimes it’s hard to pay the bills. You should marry somebody who makes lots of money, then write whatever you want. But if you’re thinking about writing, write. You will never regret it.
If you’ve got a few minutes, I highly recommend this unboxing video Pete put together. It is NOT your typical unboxing, so don’t worry.
Also, be sure to check out the other stops on Pete’s blog tour. There’s sure to be a little something for everyone here: Word Nerds | Buried Under Books | My Book Views | The Children’s Book Review | My Mercurial Musings | Unleashing Readers | Hudson Booksellers.
Thanks so much to Pete for taking the time to cruise through The Roarbots, and thanks to Jamie and the rest of Candlewick for being just so awesome.