I’m excited to be a part of Being Henry David’s Blog Tour, I read this book recently and thought it was a great contemporary with a lot of soul. Look for my review next week. Today I have the wonderful debut author Cal Armistead on the blog and a giveaway of a signed copy of Being Henry David. Check out the other tour stops and giveaways here.
1. There are lots of books with runaway characters in them all of the ones I’ve read have taken place in a big city, you mixed it up by giving us a bit of what it’s like to be a runaway kid in the city but also included a lot of nature setting in your book. What made you want to write about nature in Being Henry David?
I think it’s because I’ve always found so much inspiration and comfort in nature. If I’m upset about something, my first inclination is to take a long walk in the woods and be alone, and that always helps. Even as a little kid, I remember I’d climb the apple tree in my back yard to be alone, and when I got older, I’d ride my bike to a spot I called my “secret place,” where I’d hang out in the woods and just chill. Nature doesn’t judge, it just accepts you no matter who or where you are, and gives you space to think. So it just made sense to me for my character to head to the woods to figure things out.
2. I’m not an outdoor type of person at all so it was interesting to read about Hank and his knowledge of camping, hiking and what he knew about survival skills in the wilderness. Did you do research for this or did you add your own experiences into the novel?
I did some research—especially into what the Appalachian Trail is all about, since I’ve never even attempted to hike it! But I also added a whole lot of personal experience into the mix. Family vacations always included camping when I was a kid, and some of my fondest childhood memories are from those trips. There’s nothing like waking up in a tent to the smell of your mom cooking bacon on a Coleman stove, taking a long walk in the woods looking for wild raspberries, or settling in next to a roaring campfire at the end of a day. Heaven.
3. Now Henry David Thoreau is pretty important in this novel, why did you pick him over so many other poets/writers?
Mostly it’s because I’ve lived in and around Concord, Massachusetts for a big part of my life. Since Thoreau is Concord’s native son and they’re incredibly proud of him, there’s no way to avoid the guy! Everything seems to be named after him--streets, buildings, schools, organizations, etc., so I think I just absorbed a lot of Thoreau simply by osmosis. Which is a good thing, because I so love and admire his writing and viewpoint. Simplicity, nature, truth, authenticity--it all just makes a whole lot of sense to me!
4. There are lots of quotes in this book from Thoreau and they were all really good and had so much meaning. Do you have a favorite or one that inspires you the most?
It’s hard to choose, but this is the first one that comes to mind:
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
What a great quote!
5. There’s quite a bit of music in the novel, do you have a play list or a specific type of music/artist you like to listen to while you write Being Henry David?
You can probably tell what my taste in music is, just from what I wrote in the book! I love listening to the Beatles White Album (“Blackbird” is on it), and anything by Eric Clapton. (My dog’s name is Layla for a reason.) But mostly when I write, I listen to soft instrumentals, like music from Windham Hill. If I listen to music with words and lyrics, I get distracted and can’t stop myself from singing along.
6. Now I always love to ask this question in my interviews- If you could write a novel with another author dead or alive, who would it be?
Wow, great question! I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I’d love to write a novel with John Green. I admire his talent, and I think he’d just be fun to work with. A part of me also wants to say I’d like to write a novel with Henry David Thoreau just to see what we’d come up with together, but I’m not so sure of that. He was brilliant, but could be a pretty cranky guy overall. I imagine he’d be incredibly hard to work with!
Yes!! I love that answer. John Green is pretty amazing. Thanks so much Cal for the interview! Can’t wait to read more from you.
Seventeen-year-old "Hank" has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything --who he is, where he came from, why he's running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or "Hank" and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of--Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead's remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home. (from Goodreads)
Giveaway is for US and Canada only.
Like always you have up to 48 hours to get back w/ me by email after winner has been announced. Book will be mailed by the publicist.
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