Peter Clenott is a graduate of Bowdoin College and hails from Portland, Maine. He is the author of the archaeological adventure Hunting the King and currently has three children and lives in Haverhill.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Many people when they go to college or, certainly, once they’ve graduated have a path or goal in life. I had none, so I began to write. I have fallen in love with the process of creating whole new worlds ever since.
What books have influenced your life the most?
My favorite books these days are historical fiction. I like books where I am not only entertained, but where I might pick up some knowledge while I‘m at it. I just finished reading a John Jakes novel. Bit I try to avoid over-writing in too much history or fact the way, I believe, Michener and Irving Stone did. I also just discovered Mario Vargas LLosa, the Peruvian author whose books THE FEAST OF THE GOAT and WAR AT THE END OF THE WORLD are great works of writing. When writing for young adults, I think it’s particularly important to have an educational component in the story. It’s learning without realizing you’re learning.
What are your current projects?
Marketing, marketing, marketing. I’m not sure what the next novel will be. Could be a follow-up to DEVOLUTION or something totally different.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. The novel was based on something I wrote back in the 1970s. There has been huge change from that version. I always do a thorough outline before I begin a novel, so I pretty much know where I’m going. I also do constant editing throughout the process and after the first draft is completed so that, if there are changes to be made, big or small, I make them as I go. I’m pretty satisfied with the way DEVOLUTION has turned out.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
After my novel HUNTING THE KING came out in 2008, someone on Goodreads accused me of being a hack.
What has been the best compliment?
I have received very inspiring book reviews from Blue Ink Review, Booklist and Foreword Magazine among others. They keep me going.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
You have to be persistent and patient. No one has collected more rejections slips than I have. Don’t let them stop you. Don’t let fear of criticism keep you from sending your stuff out. Connect with other writers and readers as much as possible. You never know who is going to be the person who falls in love with your work and starts the ball rolling.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I have persevered thru the decades and the rejection.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
Impatience. Sometimes I rush too fast and need to put the pen down. When you’re trying to get too much done too quickly, you become sloppy.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Don’t think of me as an aging and desperate author when you buy my book and tell everyone you know it is the best thing you’ve ever read.