Hey there! Welcome back to another amazing round of questions here at #BeyondTheBio. Today’s guest interviewer is Daniel. He’s as talented with the guitar as he is with the soccer ball, and he’s a big fan of the band Linkin Park. His favorite book of all-time is The Lightning Thief.
Today’s guest author is Peter Stone, whose debut novel The Perfect Candidate just hit shelves in October. This political thriller was inspired by Peter’s experience as a teen intern in Washington, DC. Since his teen years, Peter has traveled to sixty countries around the world, finally settling down in Japan.
Be sure to stick around until the end of the interview for a chance to win a copy of The Perfect Candidate. Let’s get to it!
Daniel: Hey, Peter! Thanks for talking with me today! What can readers expect from The Perfect Candidate?
Peter: The Perfect Candidate is like House of Cards and Scandal - except from the point of view of the youngest staffers and interns on Capitol Hill. The political thriller is my favorite genre, but I've always read stories about presidents and power brokers. I was interested in exploring these stories from the point of view of the most junior people in the halls of power. Because I think we're finding in today's environment of political whistle-blowers that it is often the people with the smallest titles who can end up having the most power!
Daniel: Do you share any similarities to Cameron?
Peter: Just like Cameron, I interned for my Central California congressman in Washington, DC, the summer after I graduated from high school. My time working for Congressman Gary Condit was inspiring and exciting - but soon after, Condit was embroiled in this century's first political scandal: the disappearance and murder of young staffer Chandra Levy. Condit insists upon his innocence, and I'm inclined to believe him - but even still, this experience made me question power more than I revered it. And it got me thinking about a scenario where an intern - the last person anyone would expect - could get drawn into an unthinkable crime. I will say Cameron is definitely more brave than I am, though - he risks his life in an effort to stand up to power.
Daniel: Tell me a little bit about Memo. That scene in the elevator really stood out to me.
Peter: Without giving too much away, Memo Adair is an FBI agent who enlists Cameron to help in the investigation of a spiraling scandal. Instead of approaching the suspect head-on, Memo reaches out to Cameron, an intern who has all of the access but a low profile in his Congressman's office. Their first exchange takes place in an elevator in the Capitol building - it's a rushed, frantic conversation that initially leads Cameron to think Memo is crazy. But ultimately, Cameron is intrigued and wants to learn more. And then Memo gives him an offer that he can't refuse.
Daniel: I’m curious… what happened to the person who was run over by the Mini Cooper?
Peter: He's alive in a hospital somewhere - and now in a different kind of trouble because he didn't complete his assignment!
Daniel: Anyone can betray you, even people you work with and trust. It’s true for Washington interns and teens. So, Peter, how can we figure out how to trust?
Peter: I think the key to building trust with someone is taking your time. One of the themes of The Perfect Candidate is leaving home to get your first taste of adulthood. Cameron can't wait to get out of his hometown and experience a big city - and Washington does not disappoint. But as the reader discovers, Cameron can be a bit naive in the way he rushes in to share things about himself with others. I think it's a natural instinct to confide in someone who seems nice or welcoming, especially when you're vulnerable or alone or in a new place. But make sure the information sharing is equal - and that you have a sense for the other person's background or motives first. Even still, individuals can always surprise or betray you. This is more fun to read about in a book than it is to experience in real life.
Daniel: Got any new projects coming up?
Peter: I am currently revising a draft of my second novel - a standalone YA thriller. The setting and mystery of this new story are worlds away from the marble hallways and dark alleyways of Washington, DC. But writing it still makes me want to keep as many lights on as possible, while I translate a few nightmares into words on the page.
P.S. Given the open-ended nature of The Perfect Candidate, I continue to daydream about future adventures for Cameron in DC. I like my version of the city more than the real one these days!
That’s it for today’s interview with Peter. But don’t leave just yet! We’re giving one lucky winner a copy of The Perfect Candidate. You can enter the giveaway by clicking on the image below. Good luck!