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16 March 2013

Interview with Cal Armistead

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.


Thank you Ms. Armistead for this interview I really enjoyed it!

1) How and why have you started to write? Were there something or someone that gave you an impulse?

 Actually, nothing in particular gave me an inpulse to start writing--I just always loved writing, ever since I was a little girl. It’s something I started doing at a very young age, and never stopped!

 2) Tell me something about your book Being Henry David.

 It’s actually a mystery story, about a teenage boy who wakes up at a busy train station with no idea of who he is, or what he’s doing there.  All he has in his possession is a worn copy of the book 

Walden by Henry David Thoreau.  He figures it has to be a clue to his identity, so he travels to the town where Thoreau lived: Concord, Massachusetts. Throughout the book, we discover clues to who the boy is, and the horrible thing that happened to him that robbed him of his memory.

 3) While youre writing, have you discovered a character that you where developing feelings of love for? And was there a character that gave you headaches?

 Well, I loved my main character Hank, a lot.  He’s a good kid who tries to do the right thing, but has had some terrible things happen to him.  I was rooting for him, just like the reader does.  I don’t think any of the characters gave me headaches—even the ones who are bad or just plain annoying, have a place in the book!

4) How have you done your research for this novel?

 Well, because the book takes place around New York City and around Walden Pond in Massachusetts, I spent a lot of time in both places to make sure my descriptions were accurate.  I also read Thoreau’s Walden and did research on him, to make sure I had the facts right.  I also met and interviewed a guy who’s a historian and Thoreau impersonator, who helped inspire the character of Thomas in the book—a tattooed, motorcycle-riding librarian/historian!

 5) Is there a book that inspired your writings?

 Definitely Walden, by Henry David Thoreau!  But I also love the books John Green has written—so I do aspire to the same kind of smart, real, relatable writing at which he excels.

 6) In the end, would you like say some words to your fans from Romania?

 I would like to say, hello to everyone from Romania who might like my book!  I sure hope you’re able to get copies and read them and enjoy them.  Greetings from America!

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