Peter Behrens is the author of The O'Briens and The Law of Dreams (which received Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and was published around the world to wide acclaim) and Night Driving, a collection of short stories. His stories and essays have appeared in many publications, including The Atlantic and Tin House. Honors he has received include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University’s Creative Writing Program.
From his Q & A with Jeff Glor about The O'Briens:
Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?Read more about the novel and author at Peter Behrens' website.
Peter Behrens: My own family history: all that I knew and didn't know about my grandfather J.J. O'Brien. He was very much the inspiration for the novel's main protagonist, Joe O'Brien.
JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?
PB: There is a scene in the novel where Joe O'Brien physically attacks his beloved son. Joe speaks to him with violent language then bashes him over the head with a tennis racket. When that scene began, I had no idea Joe was going to do that, although there was a tennis racket propped against the wall in a corner of his office, where the attack takes place. It belonged to his youngest daughter Frankie and he had picked it up from a sports store where it was being re-strung. I thought the scene, which takes place in October 1939, was going to be about Frankie's carefree heedlessness--playing tennis while Europe lurched into war---but it turned out to be about something else.
JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?
PB: Well, my last job-job was...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: The Law of Dreams.
My Book, The Movie: The Law of Dreams.
Writers Read: Peter Behrens.
My Book, The Movie: The O'Briens.