BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Maple Express by Peter Brandt
I am happy to be hosting an interview with Peter Brandt, author of Maple Express today! But first, a little about the book.
THE MAPLE EXPRESS
Sara Maple has a comfortable life—the only child of a wealthy family—a best friend who does everything she asks—and the admiration of most of her schoolmates. Unfortunately, her temper and “indestructible” attitude quickly place her in a very precarious position.
“The Maple Express” is a powerful novel that captures the author’s take on the miracle of the human mind. “The Maple Express” delves into the actions and consequences of a young girl who has never had to take responsibility for her actions before. The story brings the reader into a world where Sara’s determination to find her way off the train sends her on an emotional trip that bonds her to her new friends and changes her life forever.
Both young and old readers will love the emotional journey Sara Maple takes them on as she deciphers the obstacles that confront her. Sara’s story ends with a surprise twist and leaves the reader with a sense of discovery about his or her own humanity.
My interview with Peter A. Brandt
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Pete and I love to stay busy. I have been writing professionally as a Technical Writer since 1996 but it has only been in the last 7 years that I really began to write novels and non-fiction. After writing a couple of memoirs, a humorous look at my 20 years in the Armed Forces and my father’s account of being thrown into a prisoner-of-war camp at the age of 14, I have settled on writing young adult fiction. I don’t seem to be able to write on an adult level, preferring to look at life from a young person’s view.
I am a lead technical writer and during the day I write technical and project documentation.
2. What made you want to become a writer?
I don‘t know for sure. I have always wanted to be an author, ever since I can remember, but I have had some self-esteem issues that kind of stifled it. I think if I would have had some real support as a kid I might have become a writer right out of school like I wanted. It is those dream stealing comments I really try to avoid with my own kids. No matter what they want to do, I am supportive. Who am I to tell them if it’s a good idea or not. They need to follow their own heart.
3. Who or what gives you inspiration?
My family is my inspiration. I want them all to do what makes them happy in life and not just what pays the bills. What better way to show them than for me to do what makes me happy, and writing makes me happy.
4. Tell us about The Maple Express.
Maple Express brings a young rich girl into a world she has never been in. Her life of privilege and getting her way are torn from her and Sara is stuck on a train ride to nowhere. Her four traveling companions are strange to say the least and have no interest of getting off the train. Sara must now learn to fend for herself and must learn some life skills. Without the others help, Sara is sure she will be stuck on this train forever. Sara must convince the others to follow her.
5. What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
Wow, for me, this is going to sound silly, but I hate to be alone. I once had an office in a small bedroom at the end of the hall. When I sat behind the desk it really freaked me out. I actually had to replace the wood door with a glass door just so I could see down the hallway and my wife and kids coming and going. As well, I had my dog Kricket, a Yorkie, who used to sit by my feet and sleep while I wrote. He has since passed on, so I am back to listening to my music and taking many breaks to go out and visit my wife.
Another thing that drives me crazy is those cheap clacking keyboards. I have a nice quiet keyboard and I wear headphones and listen to music while I write so I don’t hear anything.
6. What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
I am addicted to coffee (Tim Horton’s mainly) but I have had to cut back so that WAS my special drink.
I need an office that I really like hanging out in. I have posters, autographed photos and lots of color. As well, I have my musical instruments and a comfortable chair. I have always thought it would be cool if authors showed where they actually wrote their books, so at my blog you can actually see where I write. http://www.simplesimonpublishing.com/blog. This book, Maple Express was finished here at my desk in my office. I think it gives my readers a little something personal to have knowing where I sit and do all my work.
I also need music. I must wear headphones that I use to isolate me from the outside world. I need music to do my technical writing at work as well. I have a monstrous music collection but my favorite album to listen to when writing is “Grace” by Cory Tetford from Halifax Nova Scotia Canada.
7. What are some of your favorite books?
“On Writing” by Stephen King has been a real help for me. I went into a real writer’s funk and couldn’t break out of it. I read On Writing and I realized that I was doing many of the things that Stephen did as he wrote. That really boosted my self-esteem and I got back to writing again.
I love comedy (reading and writing – Crown Prince from Texas by me for example) and I have a really weird thing for Lewis Black so all of his books are a real blast for me as well. “I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas” is a real hoot. My wife thinks he’s a little dark but to me it’s that angry side that makes him so funny.
As for young adult fiction, I am a huge fan of JK Rowling and the whole Harry Potter series. She is a very wealthy woman because of Harry Potter and she deserves every bit of it. I am envious of her ability to stretch a story over 7 books that are so cohesively joined together, right down to the very ending. As a storyteller, she is a goddess.
8. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Most of my characters are based on me to some extent. I can write about their insecurities, their hopes and dreams as their basic needs because in many cases they mirror my own.
Sara on the other hand is the opposite of me. She is a bully and I was on the bullying end when I was growing up. I have a very low tolerance for bullies to this day. I do think that everyone has a ray of hope inside them and with the right attitude and direction people can change. I really want Sara to change, but no one can really be sure until the end.
9. What, if anything, are you working on right now?
My next release, summer or fall 2012 is a throwback to the Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew series I grew up with. It is titled “Holly Alexander and the Mystery of the Courthouse Square” and is about a young girl who gets into a pack of trouble in her new town and it takes her cunning and the help of her friends to get out of it.
As well I am writing another science fiction type story about a young man by the name of Taylor who goes missing on his way to school and suddenly appears two months later wandering the Pacific Coast Highway in California. He has no idea where he was and who he is. Vivid dreams begin to permeate his sleep and until he finds out who the girl is and what she wants he knows he will not have any rest.
I just wrote a screenplay and we shot it as a movie last month and I even got to act in it. It was a short film for the film festival circuit and if it does well I might write a full length feature.
10. Why do you love writing?
I find that I can express myself so much more on paper than I can verbally. As well, I love to make stuff up and my stories are really the core of me. I have never really grown up so my mind is always writing stories about young people who don’t think they have anything to offer the world and before they know it they are contributing more than they ever thought possible.
Thank you for the questions and I really appreciate that you hosted me today.
Peter has some original prizes he’s giving away at the end of his tour. Two winners will win a pint jug of Butternut Mountain Farm Vermont Pure Maple Syrup, Grade A Dark Amber, in honor of the main character of The Maple Express, Sara Maple, from the small town of Mapleton Vermont. One grand prize winner will win an awesome Bachmann Trains Pegasus Ready-to-Run HO Scale Train Set. Also, the blog host with the most comments will win a 2012 Canadian (1 oz) Silver Maple Leaf Coin in an “Air-Tite” Capsule.
All you have to do is comment on this post for a chance to win. The more tour posts you comment on, the better your chances! Click on the banner to follow the Maple Express Book Tour, and get a chance to win these prizes!