How do you move on in your life after a horrible tragedy? That's what Hope Kilpatrick must ask after losing her family in a horrible car accident right before Christmas. Unable to deal with the pain, she leaves the haunting memories of her New York home behind and escapes to Texas with an estranged aunt that is her only family. Still reeling from her loss and the culture shock of her new home, she must also deal with a school bully that has set her sights upon her. Hope's only solace is the quiet girl at the vacant lunch table, an eccentric history teacher, and the introverted handsome young man she meets at a Texas parade. Finding Hope in Texas deals with the tragedy of loss, the sardonic struggles of teenage life, and the sanguinity in finding a special someone that will help her discover the strength to live again.
Ryan Petty is the author of The Life He Never Knew, a historical fiction dealing with the battle of Shiloh. This was Petty's first book. His second book, Finding Hope in Texas, a young adult fiction, comes out in 2014. Petty is a teacher in northeast Texas, and in his spare time enjoys participating in the hobby of Civil War reenacting. He goes to reenactments all over Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. He also goes to larger national events like Gettysburg, Wilson's Creek, Chickamauga, and Shiloh.
Q. What inspires your writing?
A. To tell the truth, I’m not really sure. I think writing to me has been a form of escape, like watching TV or going to the movies. It’s something I can do to relax, but use my own imagination as I create new people and new events. Plus, it’s really cool when people say, “Hey, I really liked your book.”
Q. What is your favorite thing about being an writer?
A. Probably that I get to let me imagination run wild for the most part. I get to create people that have their own lives, emotions, and problems. They are not real in any sense of the word except for in my head and in my writing. I get to bring them to life.
Q. What is the toughest part of being an writer?
A. Answering questions like this. Really, to me, the toughest part is finding the time. Life is hectic, so just getting to write a couple of pages a night can be frustrating, especially when you have some great idea waiting to get out. I guess another part is where I’m going to take the story. I might sit on an idea for days or weeks just because I’m not exactly sure where I want to go with it.
Q. If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A. Well, I’m actually a high school history teacher. That’s my day job anyway. If I was anything but that, I would probably be a lawyer. The law and justice have always been cool to me.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. Sarcasm: My Gift and Curse.
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
A. Catcher in the Rye. Salinger wrote one good book there that still speaks to us today.
Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. I could only hope to say Atticus Finch, but some days I do feel like a Holden Caulfield. I think I always try to do my best, but some days are better than others.
Q. What character from all of your book are you most like?
A.From Finding Hope in Texas there is the character Mr. Peet, described as “an eccentric teacher.” He’s brash and cynical. Basically, he’s me times ten.
Q. Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A. I really want to say something new like Divergent, but really it would have to be a historical book. It’s probably the history teacher coming out of me, wanting to actually see the past. Devil in the White City would be very cool to step into and see the 1896 Chicago World’s Fair and the serial killer that stalked its grounds.
Q. What is your favorite season?
A. Summer since I’m a teacher. Yes, in Texas it’s hot, but I have time off from work and can be with my family and go on trips and such.
Q. What inspired your book cover(s)?
A.I want people to be attracted to the cover at first sight, so it has to pop. For Finding Hope in Texas, the artist, LynseeLauritsen, picked out a great picture that we both thought was beautiful, yet showed a somber expression. I wanted a cover that represented both the sadness of loss, but have a look of strength and determination at the same time.
Q. Are you working on something new?
A. I always am. I have a flash drive full of ideas that I have gotten chapters into or maybe just a few pages. Eventually, I will sit down and finish one. Right now I am still looking at writing young adult fiction, but I have written historical fiction. Still, I might change to something else in the future.
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. If they had read this far, I would like to thank them for that. Also, if they would like to check out new book, Finding Hope in Texas, that would be cool too. They could also go over to Fire and Ice Publishing to find some other great young adult authors there. And finally, thank you very much Mrs. Mommy Booknerd for having this blog and taking the time to conduct this interview.