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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Monday, August 6, 2012 10:10 am
Hostile Questions: Pete Hautman
Posted by: Daniel Kraus

Take heed, warriors! That multi-limbed monster tromping over the hill is Pete “The Hydra” Hautman! Fall back! Fall back! He’s got too many methods of attack! Hiy-aa!!: he’s a National Book Award winner (Godless)! Karateeee chop!!!: he’s a sensitive sketcher of tender teen emotions (The Big Crunch)! Throwing-star zzzzzzing!!!!: he’s an epic sci-fi innovator (The Obsidian Blade)! How will we stop this voracious vacuum cleaner of awards and accolades?! Only one thing to do.

IT’S TIME TO RELEASE THE KRAUSEN!!!

Squint #48: The I’m Very Disappointed in You

Just who do you think you are?

Mostly I think I am a writer, but sometimes I confuse myself with my characters and my subjective life comes to resemble a James Branch Cabell novel. At other times I think I’m a leaky sack of muscle, blood, nerves, and bone spending a few precious moments of semi-self-awareness on a giant spinning rock hurtling through space. Topologically speaking, I think I am a three-holed doughnut. On my best days, I think I am extremely lucky to be doing work I love, and to be read.

Where do you get off?

You do know I write for younger readers, right? So I’m gonna ignore the crude (and hostile) euphemism and assume that you are talking about my daily commute. I get off at the door to my office, which is ten paces from my bed and nine paces from my espresso machine. My partner, Mary Logue, has a similar commute—she works in the next room. All day long we yell back and forth asking how to spell “effervescent,” and “Who was that guy who wrote the book, you know, the one you liked and I hated,” and what’s the difference between “lay” and “laid.”

Shut up. You have a dirty mind.

What’s the big idea?

How big do you want it? I’ve already killed off 99.8% of the human population (Hole in the Sky), rewritten the crucifixion (The Obsidian Blade), created a new religion (Godless), and written a book about the end of the universe (The Big Crunch). But the biggest idea of all is one I share with all writers: I think I can alter the thoughts of those who read my words. You know that mildly irksome sensation you are experiencing at this moment? Yup, that’s me.

What is your problem, man?

Well, my right ear has been ringing for twenty-four hours and I keep trying to answer it. Other than that, I’m in the middle of the third book in a time travel trilogy and I just realized that I forgot to develop a timeline. Fortunately, time travel can fix anything. I’m also having a problem with a robot/talking dog/zombie/sasquatch comic novel that is eighty percent finished and I don’t know how to end it. Also, I have a problem with people who misuse the expression “That begs the question.”

Haven’t you done enough?

Sadly, I have done too much. Now I have to keep doing more in an attempt to undo the many regrettable things I have done. Hence, the time travel books.


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