Thank you! I love cooking, learning to play different instruments (piano, viola, cello), and I am trying to learn to speak fluent French!
You’ve written a handful of books under the dystopian and/or science fiction genre. What are some sci-fi books and films you’d personally recommend?
That’s tough! There are so many! For films, I loved What Happened to Monday?, Alien, and I, Robot. For books, I really enjoyed Divergent, City of Bones, and Dark Matter.
When you’re not working on writing projects and author stuff, what are you usually up to?
As a full-time college student, when I’m not writing, I am usually in class or studying for an upcoming exam. However, for fun, I will hang-out with friends, catch up on a few shows I’m watching on Netflix or Hulu, or I’ll play video games. I’m fairly normal for a twenty-one-year-old when I’m not writing! Haha.
What first inspired you to start writing, and what keeps you motivated to continue writing?
I always loved stories from the time I was a child. My parents read to me long before I knew what a book was, so I suppose the love of reading was always present. Of course, any writer knows that reading and writing go hand-in-hand. As a teenager, I was an avid reader, but it wasn’t until I was fourteen that I actually tried to write. One day, in one of my classes, I was finished with the assigned work and we had a substitute teacher for the class. Instead of browsing the Internet or playing online computer games like I normally would, I decided to write-out this dream that I had a few weeks prior that had stuck with me. By the end of the class, I had at least 500 words and I was hooked.
I went on to write four books within that series, but they will remain unpublished as they aren’t that great! Nonetheless, it taught me the basics of writing, and I built a sturdy platform on which to build my skills upon and learn my craft! Staying motivated is often a challenge that writers face, but I think when you truly love your story and your characters, that excitement to sit down and find out what happens next, will help you power through the challenge of writer’s block and losing motivation.
What are the three most significant lessons you learned about the whole writing, editing and publishing process?
One) Write the story you want to read!
Two) Tell the story first and worry about editing it later, but never delete anything that could be of use later! Save it and put it into a separate folder.
Three) For traditional publishing, always take the time to read a literary agent’s submission requirements. It doesn’t take much time at all and ensuring that your manuscript is properly formatted for that literary agent gives you a much higher chance of being accepted. For self-publishing, learn as much as you can about the industry. Read forums, websites, and watch YouTube videos. Also, interact with other authors who’ve been doing it for a while. If you go in feet first, it’s very easy to drown. Set yourself up well and learn as much as you can to ensure a higher chance of success!
Do you have other stories and/or writing projects you’re currently working on? Can you tell us something about them?
For my own sake, I should really take a break, but I have so many book ideas in my head that I need to write! By the end of 2018, I hope to have at least three or four more novels out. I am currently finishing my first young-adult paranormal novel, which is really exciting for me! Having written predominantly young adult dystopian and sci-fi novels, the prospect of trying a new genre is a little nerve-wracking but exciting! This book will be called, Awakening, and it’s the first in a new series. It’s about a vampire named James who survives the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. When he’s taken to a New York hospital after the tragedy, he’s found by a vampire and turned into one of them, saving him from death. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon and should be released in late April or early May! After finishing Awakening, I will start on the sequel to The Voting Game, which I’m very excited about as well!
What I loved the most about The Voting Game was that it has a dimensional, relatable gay protagonist. I have so much love for Darrius! What does LGBTQIA+ representation in fiction mean to you?
Readers love stories where the characters are like them. This is so crucial, especially with children’s and young-adult novels. At these ages, we’re all figuring out who we are and finding a character that we can relate to and see how they deal with the struggles we may face can be very rewarding.
As for LGBTQIA+ representation, I think there is a serious void in publishing when it comes to their representation. To me, it feels as though they are forgotten when it comes to books. When Darrius came into my imagination, I just knew he was gay. I wasn’t trying to create a gay character, and that’s why I felt it was so natural. I simply let him be the way he was meant to be on the page, and I let him tell me his story. I think there is a misconception among writers that LGBTQIA+ books have to only be about someone’s coming to terms with or coming out. I don’t think that is true at all! These people belong to any type of novel — whether action through romance!
Can you tell us about how the story first started? What inspired you to write it?
For me, stories come to me from a sudden introduction to a character in my head. Darrius just appeared in my imagination. I knew he was entering this dystopian society where people rated each other on a scale of one to five, and I knew of the connection he had to the system.
**What is learned at the end.**
With this, the story was born, and I wrote it very quickly. For me, the inspiration to write a story comes from how vividly it exists in my mind. If I see a story very clearly, and the characters are giving me lines of a dialogue to use, I find myself very inspired and the words flow out very well. As I said earlier, I was excited to see what happened next!
Are any of your characters based on yourself or inspired by people you know in real life?
No, I don’t like to base any characters off of real people because then it becomes less real for me. For me, each character is a unique individual who exists within the world of the story, and as soon as I know, “Oh, this is based on Whoever,” the story becomes less genuine.
What was the biggest challenge in writing The Voting Game?
I think the biggest challenge was keeping the death scenes to the bare necessity. I didn’t want this book to be a violent bloodbath, but rather be about a teenager who’s coming of age, and finding himself in this dark and scary world. He suffers loss, but I didn’t want that to be the entirety of the novel. However, when you have a society where people are taken and killed by the government if they fall below a certain average score, it’s hard to ignore that there is death in this society. So, for me, finding the balance was key and the most challenging!
What scene or part of The Voting Game did you enjoy writing the most?
Any scene with President Wright was a definite favorite. I see and hear him speak so clearly when writing him that it’s terrifying. I actually worked with a graphic designer to bring a sketch I made of him to life in a painted, digital portrait. I’d say the last chapter of the book and the epilogue were what I enjoyed the most. For me, the story is building up to this final, “Okay, what is really going on? Why Darrius?” and it is all answered there.
There’s a bit of social commentary as well as political intrigue in your novel. Was this intentional? Do you think the systemic corruption in The Voting Game can be likened to the ones we face today in real life?
I think it was intentional, yes. When writing dystopian stories, you try to find, pick-out, and amplify the worst of society and what can go wrong with whatever you find. Caste systems, rich vs. poor, political corruption and cover-ups are all present in the book, but at the same time, I try to bring out the positive things in life too — love, family, the bond between parents and children. I think you could draw parallels between systemic corruption and the book, but not to the scale (Thankfully!) that is present throughout the book. I’ll speak more to this in question seven!
What are the main takeaways you’d like (or are hoping) your readers to get from their reading experience with this novel?
I hope readers take from the book that it’s very easy for us to fall into a system as presented in The Voting Game. Scary, I know. All it takes is someone with a very bad idea and agenda, people who support it, and the means of carrying it out and we’ve got a real-life scenario of a dystopian society. At the same time, I want readers to see that you can fight through the darkness and still find hope.
The ending of The Voting Game honestly left me reeling. What can we expect in the sequel? (Or more like, what are we allowed to know about it? Haha!)
I’m so excited to begin work on the sequel, The Voting Legacy. Without giving too much away for those who haven’t read The Voting Game yet, the book will start minutes after the epilogue of The Voting Game. The sequel will be told from a new POV from a familiar character, so I’m excited to see how she will fight on! There will be an introduction of new characters along with a return of a few familiar ones from the first book! This one will see the Wright Administration face a looming crisis as the people of the country start to turn on President Wright and his system. And let’s just say, he won’t go down easily or without a fight…
What is your favorite quote from The Voting Game?
“Family is forever.”
It’s said at the end of the book, and anyone familiar with the ending of The Voting Game understands this. It also is the tagline for the sequel!
Thank you very much for working with me to organize this blog tour, Peter! It’s been a pleasure doing all of this to help your latest release.
Try your luck by entering the blog tour giveaway! For this particular giveaway, a total of six (6) winners will be drawn — one (1) U.S. resident will receive a paperback copy of The Voting Game, and five (5) more lucky winners will receive a digital copy of the book (open internationally). Interested?
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
09 April (Monday)
- The Voting Game blog tour launch
- Review from Not Just Fiction
- Review and feature post from The Hufflepuff Nerdette
- Review from The Youngvamp’s Haven
10 April (Tuesday)
11 April (Wednesday)
12 April (Thursday)
- Review from The Little Miss Bookworm
- Review from Wanders Between Pages
- Review from Rambling of a Book Nerd
13 April (Friday)
- Review and feature post from The Backwards Bookshelf
- Review from Legenbooksdary
- Review from BookMyHart
14 April (Saturday)
- Author interview with Peter Gulgowski
MORE ABOUT THE BOOK
Author: Peter Gulgowski
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Release Date: 06 March 2018
In the year 2084, every interaction counts.
Society is run via a clicker-based system in which citizens rate every interaction they have with a score between one and five. However, anyone who falls below a 2.5 average is taken and killed by a government agency called ‘The Bureau.’
Darrius Young’s sixteenth birthday arrives with a harsh reality. When he enters the Voting Game, every day he lives may be his last…
But when the scores of people around Darrius begin to lower suddenly and out of nowhere, Darrius finds reason to believe that there may be a target on him and those he loves from the Bureau itself. Now, he must find the truth of why he’s being targeted.
In a race against time to save himself from a society that’s already sentenced him to death, can Darrius save himself and those around him before it is too late?
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Gulgowski was born and raised in a suburb in Wisconsin. He began writing at the age of fourteen during a study hall session in which he had already finished his homework. Several years later, his debut novel, The Government, would become published. Mr. Gulgowski remains a student, with hopes of becoming a full-time writer.
Inspired by authors such as J.K. Rowling, John Green, Veronica Roth, and so many others, Gulgowski hopes one day to join their ranks in inspiring the next generation of storytellers.
His latest novel, The Voting Game became the #1 New Release in Teen & Young Adult LGBT Issues Fiction and is his fourth bestselling book. Currently, he is working on several new novels to be released later in 2018.