Today we're excited to chat with Pete Begler, author
of The Fearless Travelers' Guide to Wicked Places!
Below you'll find more about Pete,
his book, plus a giveaway!
What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
My two daughters inspired me to write The Fearless Travelers’ Guide. I found the book provided me with a way to give them advice on learning from failure, discovering you are stronger than you think, the importance of pushing through your doubts, and finding your innate bravery. I hoped that by letting it come through a gripping story with a character who was like them and not through a “talk from Dad,” it might stick more.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
My favorite character is Nell. I admire her tenacity in the face of ever--present obstacles, her curiosity, and her delight in the strange things she encounters.
Which came first, the title or the novel?
The book went through many revisions and two almost completely different versions were written. I had the title before I launched into the final text. The title really did helped guide and shape the manuscript.
What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I would have to say the opening chapter, where the cloud kidnaps Nell’s mother, is among my favorites. The scene was incredibly important as it helped me set the tone of the book. Even before I began to write, I had the image of a shoe falling from a cloud stuck in my head. It was so creepy to me and the more I thought about it the more the rest of the story unfolded.
Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I have learned the importance of patience and persistence. I had so many ideas and often not a lot of time to write. At first I wanted to get it all out on the page but I realized I needed to take it slow and rewrite until I felt I had written the scene in the way that worked the best.
What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I like it all! The artist Manuel Sumberac and the designer Kay Fraser did a fantastic job capturing the tone of the book. Every time I look at it I notice something different. I feel like the cover is as wild, strange, scary, mystical and inviting as the story.
What was your favorite book in 2016?
I read two books that I found incredibly moving and inspiring and I can’t recommend them enough. The first was True Grit, written in 1968 by Charles Portis. It is the story of fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross who in 1873 heads out to avenge the murder of her father. Mattie’s voice is astonishing, wise, funny and brave. She seems to me one of the great characters in all of American literature. After reading the book I listened to an audiobook version narrated by the novelist Donna Tartt, which was astounding. This led me to Tartt’s novel The Goldfinch. The story was so beautiful and the characters so real that I couldn’t put it down. The writing was poetic, funny and heart-wrenching.
Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Freyja Skoll was the hardest character to write. Villains are so important in a book and finding the right tone was difficult. I wanted to make Freyja’s relationship to Fenn real and important without accidently making her too sympathetic.
Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I like both parts for different reasons. I like drafting because it’s usually where the surprises in the story come for me. I work from an outline that is loose enough for things to come up that I didn’t expect so it is fun to sit down with one scene in mind and watch it take an unexpected turn. I love revising because it is a time when I can really concentrate on sentences. I really admire lyrical writing and aspire to write beautiful sentences that stand on their own. Some writers I admire like Philip Pullman, J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman (the list is very long) pull this off seemingly effortlessly and almost every sentence shimmers. I feel happy to have a few every chapter and revision is the way to get there.
Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
The Pablove Foundation is an organization that raises money and awareness to fight childhood cancer. Not only do they raise money for research to help find a cure, but they also have an inspiring program called Pablove Shutterbugs that teaches children living with cancer to develop their creative voice through the art of photography.
Meet Pete Begler!
By: Pete Begler
Release Date: March 1, 2017