The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday October 27th

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Greensboro author Drew Perry will read at Flyleaf Books

Some people take to journals to cope with feelings of anxiety or stress, but Greensboro author Drew Perry wrote a 320-page novel called “Kids These Days.”

The Atlanta native started writing in a creative writing class at the University of Georgia, but he now writes for a more personal reason.

“I always write towards what I’m afraid of,” Perry said.

When he learned that he was going to be a father for the first time, Perry said he was very nervous.

He said at the time, the thought of being responsible for a child was too much for him.

“I really wanted to keep acting like a glorified college student,” he said.

In accepting the news and coping with it, he decided to channel his emotions into his second novel.

He created his main character, Walter, a mortgage counselor who was disadvantaged in the financial meltdown and was coping with the same father-to-be anxiety Perry himself was at the time.

Perry used several anecdotes and experiences from his own life to color Walter’s narrative, including the setting of the novel, Crescent Beach, Fla., where Perry vacationed with his family many times.

“I really don’t have to make up that many things because the world is plenty strange enough,” Perry said. “It’s really our job as a writer to become better thieves.”

He said he notices bizarre things and writes them down in a notebook he carries with him, and he even molded some of those things to be included in his novel.

One particular event he recalls is called a “pray and wash,” he said, where a church youth group washed cars while simultaneously praying for the people in the cars.

“I saw one in Indiana. I was all of these modestly dressed tweens all over this firetruck, and I knew immediately I was going to steal it. I couldn’t think of anything better than that.,” Perry said.

He used silly events, like the “pray and wash” scene, to add some lightheartedness to heavier and more serious content.

“There’s not a ton of space between laughing and crying, so I hope that there is humor and heart at the same time,” he said.

Brooke Csuka, Perry’s publisher at Chapel Hill-based Algonquin Books, said Perry was not only a great author but also a great person.

“He’s so friendly and so personable. Not to mention funny,” Csuka said.

“He’s this great, funny guy, and you can definitely see it in this novel. He’s done something really spectacular.”

Perry will be doing a book-signing for “Kids These Days” at Flyleaf Books Tuesday at 7 p.m.

arts@dailytarheel.com

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