Everyone has a dream, an idea, a goal. But what happens when those desires are thwarted, when dreams and goals fall apart? In his new novel, It Needs to Look Like We Tried, Dr. Todd Robert Petersen, Director of Project-Based Learning at Southern Utah University, explores the ways in which our failures work on the lives of others, weaving an intricate web of interconnected stories.
The novel follows a fastidious man that takes a detour on the way to his father’s wedding, kicking off a series of events that ricochets from the bride to her real estate clients; to a crazed former homeowner and his sister-in-law’s reality TV lover; to a hoarding family whose lives are wrecked by their appearance on the second-rate show.
“I would say that the book is about failure and life-changing events,” said Dr. Petersen. “But I should add that it’s also a comedic book.”
Dr. Petersen has been writing seriously for roughly 25 years. He published poems and stories in the early 2000s and sold his first book, Long After Dark, in 2007. His next novel, Rift, was released in 2009. Petersen already has plans for his fourth book, Picnic in the Ruins, which is set for release in Spring of 2020.
Dr. Kyle Bishop, Associate Professor of English and Honors Program Academic Coordinator at Southern Utah University thinks everyone should be reading It Needs to Look Like We Tried this summer.
“It's the latest novel from an SUU faculty member, and it is already generating a lot of critical buzz and praise. He uniquely presents a number of interlinked short stories about unusual people in extraordinary situations.”
Dr. Todd Petersen has worked as a YMCA assistant program director, literary journal editor, and English professor. Currently, he serves as director of an award-winning experiential learning program at Southern Utah University. He is familiar with the media and available for an interview. Simply visit his profile.
Todd Robert Petersen Professor of English
Specializing in formal structures of visual storytelling, creative writing, film theory, and aesthetics
Kyle William Bishop Professor of English
Specializing in British Gothic literature, film and television studies, cinematic adaptation, and pop culture