Today I have my interview with Pen Name Publishing’s Peter Monn. He is the author of The Before Now and After Then as well as a contributing writer to The Huffington Post and a lover of Halloween. (I also love Halloween).
1. Please tell me about yourself.
I love Halloween. The whole idea of dressing up as something else and going from house to house to either scare people or get candy is marvelous. I also am in love with old Hitchcock films. I am addicted to strong coffee, as well as alcohol, but I’ve been sober for 20 years. I’m married to a 30 year man from Venezuela so I can say I’m in an intergenerational, biracial, same-sex marriage. Oh, and I’m a writer.
2. What do you like to read?
It really depends. Because I’ve been writing a lot of young adult, I’ve been reading a lot of young adult books. I’ve probably read everything that came out in the last two years that’s been on the bestseller list. I also like reading pulp mystery novels, that have no depth but engage you in a great chase or story.
3. What are you reading right now and what do you think you will read next?
I’m currently reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. So many people have recommended it to me. I have to say, I’m not loving it so far. I’m also reading The Mysteries of Pittsburg by Michael Chabon and I’m totally loving it. Reading it feels like eating a juicy pear, the sweetness pouring all around my mouth and I have to eat it slowly because I want to savor every word.
4. Why do you like to write?
I like to lie. Not really. I write because I love telling stories. When I was younger I just loved the idea of writing stories or books and most of them were mysteries or chase scenarios but in the last year it has become very important for me to write with intention. I’m not willing to write a book anymore that doesn’t have some lesson or some aha moment in it because after all, what’s the point. Life is too short not to move someone emotionally. And in all honestly, I’m good at moving people emotionally. I suck at writing suspense and mystery novels. That is a true art form.
5. Tell us about where you come from and where you live now.
I was born in Chicago and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana in the middle of the United States when I was four. It is boring here, but a great place to raise of family and drive around late at night on deserted roads. My husband and I do not plan on raising a family but I do love a good night drive. Plus, our family is here so this is our home, although we plan to move to Miami within the next few years.
6. If you could invite any person, alive today or from history, to a dinner party who would you invite and why?
I answer this the exact same way every time I’m asked, which seems to be often. Oprah Winfrey. She is way too wise, way too creative, and has way too much power. Plus, I like to think she and I would make great friends.
7. What advice can you give people trying to achieve their dreams?
Honestly, I didn’t understand this until after I was 40, but you literally can achieve anything you set your mind to having. The trick is wanting it bad enough. You have to put action into anything you want in your life, but if you’re willing to do the work, you’ll achieve your dreams. So ask yourself, how bad do I want this?
8. Can you tell us about your book The Before Now and After Then.
It is a young adult novel about a gay teenager’s quest for himself after the death of his identical twin brother. It is also a simple teen love story, which is something I would have wanted to read when I was in high school. It has very cool musical references, original drinks from Starbucks, a righteous car and lots of kissing. It’s a cute story with a magical premise.
9. Can you tell us anything about the book you are working on and your inspiration.
The book I’m currently working on is based on lessons I learned from my mother, who passed away seven years ago. And even though she is my inspiration, it is probably more about making the most of your life, which I guess is my true inspiration.
10. Can you give us a quote from your favorite book?
“First of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
Peter’s book is available right now. It is published by Pen Name Publishing.