Hey, everyone! It's the end of May, which means only one thing... it's monthly wrap-up time for the YA and MG Time Travel Reading Challenge! Today, we have an interview with Pete Hautman, author of the time travel series The Klaatu Diskos Trilogy. Last April, the paperback of the first book, The Obsidian Blade was released. And just this May 14, the second book, The Cydonian Pyramid, was released. You can click on the links to check out my review. But for now, here's the interview and don't forget to get to the end to join the giveaway!
Interview with Pete Hautman
On The Klaatu Diskos Trilogy
How did the idea for The Klaatu Diskos series come to you?
Several years ago I wrote a time-travel book called “Mr. Was,” loosely based on a recurring dream I had throughout my adolescence. I swore I’d never do time-travel again! But then I had an idea for a boy named Tucker, and a girl named Lahlia, and a mysterious disappearance. And I was thinking about autism, and religious cults, and modern medicine, and the ways that digital technology is changing human relations…and the next thing I knew it was back to the future. Time-travel was the only way I could pull all those ideas together. It took about ten years.
How did you come up with the names of the characters? Do their names mean anything?
I look for a sound that seems to suit the character. Sometimes in the course of writing a character will change, and I have to change their name to suit. If I get stuck for a character name, I consult my high school yearbook. I sometimes borrow contemporary names from students I meet at school visits.
Who's your favorite character in the book? Who was the most fun to write? Who was the hardest?
The hardest characters to write are always the most intriguing. It was fun to watch Lah Lia (aka Lahlia) and Kosh develop. I didn’t know them well when I started, but they filled out nicely. I particularly like Lah Lia. I have a soft spot for powerful young women (big Buffy fan, y’know) and Lia is most definitely a butt-kicker. Kosh is somewhat the opposite: a big softy inside a formidable shell.
What would the third and last book of the trilogy be about? Is there a title yet?
“The Klaatu Terminus” will continue Tucker’s and Lia’s tale, and tell the story of Kosh Feye, Tucker’s uncle—how he became the grumpy black-clad biker we met in “The Obsidian Blade.” All will be revealed, including the secret origin of the diskos, and the strange and twisted fates of Tucker’s parents.
On publishing and reviews
You're a multi-awarded author. Do you read reviews of your book? Why or why not?
Yeah, I read reviews. I care about how people respond to my work—after all, writing is about reaching out to people, it is about communicating, entertaining, and satisfying readers. I’m not going to appeal to everyone—my stuff is way to quirky for that—but it can be useful to know what works and what doesn’t for a particular reader.
Your thoughts about negative reviews?
Most of them are respectful, at least.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
No. Until I was in my mid-twenties, I wanted to be a comic book artist. But it was always about the storytelling. All art is about telling stories.
You have written books across several genres - sci-fi, mystery, realistic fiction and romance among others. What's your favorite genre to write? What's the hardest to write?
I like trying something new with every book—it keeps me fresh. My next book is middle-grade robot comedy set in Iowa. After that, a YA love story set in an apocalyptic cult. I’m also working a book about food, and I’m playing around with an idea for a horror novel.
As for what is most difficult to write, I would say time-travel, or anything that requires extensive world-building.
Did you ever think about writing for adults? Why do you write books for teens and young adults?
I’ve written eight adult novels, two of which were New York Times Notable Books. All are still in print. They are, for lack of a better way to describe them, “crime novels with a sense of humor.” In recent years, I’ve been focusing more on YA novels, mostly because I loved reading so much when I was a teen. Remember your most intense, most memorable reading experiences? There’s a good chance that they happened between the ages of ten and eighteen. At least that was true for me. I remember books I read as a teen more vividly that I remember what I read last month. There is nothing better than being fourteen years old and losing oneself in a book. Nothing. Better.
Thank you so much Pete for that very insightful interview. And yes, the books we read when we're young are the best. Now for those not familiar with series, check out the blurbs below!
Title: The Obsidian Blade (The Klaatu Diskos #1)
Author: Pete Hautman
Date of Publication: April 10, 2012
Kicking off a riveting sci-fi trilogy, National Book Award winner Pete Hautman plunges us into a world where time is a tool — and the question is, who will control it?
The first time his father disappeared, Tucker Feye had just turned thirteen. The Reverend Feye simply climbed on the roof to fix a shingle, let out a scream, and vanished — only to walk up the driveway an hour later, looking older and worn, with a strange girl named Lahlia in tow. In the months that followed, Tucker watched his father grow distant and his once loving mother slide into madness. But then both of his parents disappear. Now in the care of his wild Uncle Kosh, Tucker begins to suspect that the disks of shimmering air he keeps seeing — one right on top of the roof — hold the answer to restoring his family. And when he dares to step into one, he’s launched on a time-twisting journey— from a small Midwestern town to a futuristic hospital run by digitally augmented healers, from the death of an ancient prophet to a forest at the end of time. Inevitably, Tucker’s actions alter the past and future, changing his world forever.
Title: The Cydonian Pyramid (The Klaatu Diskos #2)
Author: Pete Hautman
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Date of Publication: May 14, 2013
The much-anticipated sequel to The Obsidian Blade transports readers to the terrifying and thrilling world of Lah Lia, the enigmatic girl who changed Tucker Feye’s life.
More than half a millennium in the future, in the shadow of the looming Cydonian Pyramid, a pampered girl named Lah Lia has been raised for one purpose: to be sacrificed through one of the mysterious diskos that hover over the pyramid’s top. But just as she is about to be killed, a strange boy appears from the diskos, providing a cover of chaos that allows her to escape and launching her on a time-spinning journey in which her fate is irreversibly linked to his. In this second volume of the Klaatu Diskos trilogy, Tucker Feye and Lah Lia each hurtle through time, relating their stories in alternating viewpoints that converge at crucial moments. Fans of the first adventure will be intrigued by the chance to see the world through Lah Lia’s eyes — no matter how disturbing the vision might be.
About Pete Hautman
Pete Hautman is the author of Godless, which won the National Book Award, and many other critically acclaimed books for teens and adults, including Blank Confession, All-In, Rash, No Limit, and Invisible. Mr. Was was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America. Pete lives in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Sorry international peeps as this giveaway is US only. We do try our best to make all giveaways international but sadly, sometimes it's just not possible. We feel you though as we're international too. Anyway, for US residents, you have until June 30 to join! We will have THREE winners of The Cydonian Pyramid (or The Obsidian Blade if you haven't read the first book). The winners will be contacted through email and must respond within 48 hours. Good luck! Thank you to Andie of Candlewick Press for sponsoring this giveaway!
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Link up your May time travel reviews here!