Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday Feature: Chatting with author Pete Tarsi, about his new YA, FLIPPING THE SCALES

Today my guest is Pete Tarsi, with his debut YA novel FLIPPING THE SCALES. Yes, a mermaid book! He's an interesting guy, and I can't wait to dive into his new book (pun intended!)

Hi, Pete! Tell us a little about yourself and what kind of books you like to read and write.

Hi, Katie! Thanks for featuring me on your blog! I’m a high school science teacher by day, and the school’s drama director by night. I’m also a father of three bright, lovely, fun daughters. Somewhere in there, I find time to write—mostly Young Adult stories since I feel I’m in tune with that age group, seeing that I’ve been teaching them for 19 years now. Besides my new book Flipping the Scales, I have a short play called Tracks published through Dramatic Publishing.

As for reading, the school where I teach has a 15-minute per day silent reading period, and teachers are encouraged to participate also. I’ve read a diversity of books, sometimes taking recommendations from my students. Because of them, I read The Hunger Games series and found my all-time favorite book A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. Other favorites include Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, The Harry Potter series, Dan Brown’s latest Robert Langton book Inferno, Thirteen Reasons Why, and The Fault in Our Stars.

What's your favorite part of being an author?

I’ve been writing since middle school. Sure, my stories back then were only a few pages long and were merely premises with dialogue. I’ve always had ideas for stories, and I’ve got notebooks and computer files with lists of ideas or half-planned outlines. During my senior year of high school, I became a member of my hometown’s cable access channel and filmed some of those short stories into an anthology TV show. If only YouTube were around in the 80s!

I’ve always enjoyed creating worlds, characters, and plots. Sure, it’s fun, but it’s such a thrill being able to share stories with others. And it’s surreal when people—particularly people I don’t know—comment on how much they enjoyed the story.
What’s the best piece of advice someone offered you about being a writer?

A writing professor of mine in college said, “A story is never written; it’s rewritten.” I’ve really used that as my mantra ever since. Though I start writing with an outline and a clear ending in mind, I don’t know every single detail. Sometimes, the characters end up doing some unplanned things which may affect whatever I’ve already written. Also, as an author, you know what everything you wrote means, but readers might not. It’s important to have others read your drafts  and give some feedback so you know what may need to be removed, revised, and/or rewritten.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Shape-shifting. It would be kind of fun to hide in plain sight with a new appearance like that, but it would also be cool if the ability wasn’t limited to human form. Maybe I’m saying this because I just wrote a book about a girl transforming into a mermaid and vice versa. I actually enjoy reading and writing stories like that. Losing control of one’s own form is an intriguing conflict and can be used metaphorically. I like that.

Tell us about your new novel, FLIPPING THE SCALES

Here’s the blurb:
Meredith and Marina’s lives have been flipped upside down. 

When the translucent skirt that straight-A-student Meredith finds hidden on the beach gets wet, it transforms her legs into a mermaid tail. Despite the evidence in front of her, she insists that becoming a mythical creature isn’t scientifically possible. 

Marina is allowed to experience one day per moon cycle among the humans. After hiding her tail on the beach that morning, she takes her first timid steps on land. When she returns at sunset to find it missing, she is left stranded and alone. 

For the first time in her life, Meredith doesn’t have all the answers. As she searches for a way to return to normal before the next full moon, she makes waves among the school of mermaids. Meanwhile, Marina uncovers information about her past, and for the first time in her life, she must stand on her own two feet and take the lead on her own adventure. 

As Meredith senses her human side slipping away, a forbidden way to change back entices her. But it comes with a consequence: Marina wouldn’t be able to return to the ocean.

This is the first part of a planned trilogy, and the main story in part one is about these two characters discovering something about themselves. Meredith has always relied on book knowledge, so she needs to learn how to dive right in to new experiences. Meanwhile, Marina has always been somewhat of a follower, so she needs to learn to stand on her own two feet. Oooh, metaphors!

The sequel Skipping the Scales is in the works, and it’s fun writing about these characters grown up a little and pursuing their dreams but facing new conflicts and consequences.

Why mermaids?

Why not? ;-) I’ve always been interested in the folklore of mermaids. They’re one mystical creature that appears in legends all over the world. They also seem more versatile as characters than some other magical beings. They can be alluring, playful, friendly, curious, even deadly.

But most importantly, my daughters love them. I wanted my first published book to be something they’d enjoy. So far, so good.

Okay, if you’re casting the movie of your book, who would play the main characters?

This was a challenging question, Katie! My daughters want to be in it, but they’re not in the Screen Actors’ Guild yet. There are many talented young actresses that either are teens or can still convincingly play one. Ariel Winter plays a smart, over-achiever on Modern Family, and I think she’d be perfect to play Meredith. Based on her work in movies like Bridge to Terabithia and Soul Surfer, Anna Sophia Robb is no stranger to fantasy and water, and I think she’d be outstanding as Marina.

Wow, now that I thought about it, I want to see them in this movie!

Where can readers find your book and where can they find you online?

FLIPPING THE SCALES can be found at major online retailers. In paperback at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and as an eBook at both of those places along with Apple, Smashwords, Kobo, and others.
I can be found online at Facebook:
Or at my blog:

Thanks for visiting with me today, Pete! You forgot to mention the book has it's own website, with excerpts and character descriptions - check it out here:

I'm grabbing a copy of your book for my Kindle right now!

1 comment:

  1. Katie,

    Thanks so much for having me and "Flipping the Scales" on your blog. It really flows to be featured here!



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