When we were kids, we all wanted to have our own superpowers. Be it through some higher force or by a random radioactive spider bite, we didn’t care how our powers would get activated as long as we reached the part where we could start our heroic mission. Thanks to our childhood superhero storytellers, we all grew up believing that we’re bound to save the world. Somehow, in between fiction and reality, we make the world a better place in our own ways.
Out of pure curiosity and sincere intentions, a young Peter Lerangis sent the New York State governor a letter asking scientists to create a potion for superpowers because he wanted one. Nowa best-selling author with 160 book titles under his belt, we’re thankful that he found his power through writing and even more grateful that he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
Started from Lerangis’ obsession with the Seven Wonders of the World, his series tell you the story of Jack Mckinley and his three friends’ action-packed adventure that takes place throughout the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. After discovering a secret organization on a hidden island, an ancient priest blessed and cursed them with superpowers that can kill them once they turn 14. To counter this, they have to retrieve seven lost magical orbs from the seven wonders of the ancient world and bring them back to a secret place.
During his recent visit to Manila, Peter talked to Young STAR about his latest series, the Seven Wonders series and his writing process.
Piece of me: Peter Lerangis creates characters by trying to find a piece of himself in them.
Who was your favorite superhero as a kid?
Superman. Actually I was obsessed with Superman.
You really like the strong ones, huh?
Yup. See you too get that. Well of course I felt exactly the opposite. I grew up in New York as a kid and then I wrote a letter to our governor at the time saying, “Dear Governor, can you please contact all the scientists in New York state, all of them, and ask them to develop a serum that would turn ordinary people into superheroes. If you do, can you please send me the first batch?” And he responded saying “That’s a really good idea, young man. We’ll let you know if anything comes up.” And I waited and waited but I never heard from them again.
If you were a character from your book, what do you think would be your superpower?
I would be like Jack who thought he had no ability whatsoever, who thought that he’s being there was a complete mistake, but who also possessed the power of putting everything together because he listened the hardest and analyzed the situations the best.
People say that to be good at something you must at least invest 10,000 hours developing that skill. With 160 book titles under your belt, we can confidently say that you’re really great at what you do. How do you keep the words flowing?
I don’t know how to stop them from flowing. This is what I’ve always wanted to do since I was seven years old. When I started writing stories, I didn’t show it to anybody because it was all for pure pleasure. When you’re young, you’re overflowed with ideas, and you don’t have time to write it all. Luckily now, if I think of one or two or three ideas, I’ll get a publisher interested in one and then I just dig my teeth into it for a long period of time.
Are any of your characters inspired by anyone you know or have met in real life?
They all are. The way I create characters is that I try to find a piece of myself in them. I think that’s really necessary in order to get the truth out of these characters. There’s a controversy saying that people should write what you know; that you could only write what you know. But then there would be people saying “But how would you write science fiction? How would you write dystopian novels?” You don’t know any of that stuff. I think there’s a basic misunderstanding there –– because what you know is true. Your own knowledge is your truth, so I think that the truth of the character should come from the writer. There has to be a piece of the writer in every single one of them.
Marco in the Seven Wonders series has a little piece of me because his sense of humor is a lot like mine. His desire to impress people with his humor and his pretension that he knows everything are both pieces of me but everything else about him is not like me. So for that, I do rely on my friends or maybe even famous characters that have those traits, some are so similar that I can even imagine them filling the character out. They all come from some point of reality.