Peter Lerangis: BioEditPeter Lerangis is the author of over 160 books, which have sold more than 4.5 million copies and been translated into 28 different languages, including two from the New York Times bestselling series The 39 Clues (book 3: The Sword Thief and 7: The Viper's Nest) and co-authorship (along with Rick Riordin, Gordon Korman, and Jude Watson) of Book 11: Vesper's Rising. For the new 39 Clues series (Cahills Vs. Vespers), he has contributed book 3: The Dead of Night. In a five-city U.S. book tour in spring 2009, Peter videoblogged his own search for one of the Clues.
He is also author of the hilarious, edgy YA novel wtf, and the Drama Club series, about a group of high school theater kids in a town where theater is big-budget and life-changing. His novel Smiler's Bones, based on the true story of a Polar Eskimo boy orphaned in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, was selected as a N.Y. Public Library Best Books for Teens 2006, a Bank Street Best Books of 2006, and a Junior Library Guild pick. His novel Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am, a collaboration with Harry Mazer, will be published in 2012, along with a three-book series, Perfect.
Peter was one of three authors, along with R. L. Stine and Marc Brown, invited by the White House to represent the U. S. in the first Russian Book Festival in 2003. Among his most popular titles are the Spy X and Watchers series, the two-book Antarctica adventure, a series of humorous chapter books (Abracadabra), two young-adult thrillers (The Yearbook and Driver’s Dead), four middle-grade novels (Spring Fever, Spring Break, It Came from the Cafeteria, and Attack of the Killer Potatoes, and many movie novelizations (The Sixth Sense, Sleepy Hollow).
He is a Harvard graduate with a degree in biochemistry. After college he became a Broadway musical theater actor. He has run a marathon and gone rock-climbing during an earthquake, but not on the same day. He lives in New York City with his wife, musician Tina deVaron, and their two sons, Nick and Joe. Peter has conducted workshops for the National Book Foundation, the Highlights Foundation, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and once, for the international writers’ organization, PEN, he participated in a panel along with a Sandinista rebel and a Newbery winner. Over the years he has visited schools all over the world and become known for his humorous, informative presentations. In his spare time, he likes to eat chocolate. Lots of it. Seriously, he loves chocolate.
How to pronounce "Lerangis": A Handy GuideEdit
(direct transcript from peterlerangis.com) I travel a lot to schools, bookstores, conventions, and small mossy granite caves, and the first question I’m asked is How do you pronounce your last name? Here’s the answer:
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ Lir-ANN-jiss. Soft G. ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
That’s Lir as in sir. Ann as in answer. Jiss as in jiss’ say it!
Now, this is not an easy last name to master. In fact, it’s the only one of its kind in the world. People get it wrong a lot. My family has received mail addressed to names from Li to Lescoufflair. By now all the Lerangii (which is the approved plural) have gotten used to this. Let’s face it, Lerangis has no easy mental associations, like Miller or Goldsmith. It doesn’t come trippingly off the tongue like, say, R. L. Stine or Marc Brown or Ann Martin. So if you say Lir-RANGE-iss (like "deranged”), Lir-ON-jiss (like "ON/off”), Lir-ANG-uss (rhymes with "angus”) or Lir-ANN-jeez (rhymes with "the river Ganges”) — or even if you say Lear- instead of Lir-, that’s OK. Wrong, but OK.
If you say, however, Legrangis or Legaris or Lorangutan or Lorenzo or DeAngelis or Schultz or Bruce Coville, then I may burst into bitter tears.
For you language mavens, Lerangis is actually kind of a made-up name. My original Greek name is even harder to pronounce and perhaps rather frightening to see: Παναγιώτης Λυραντζής.
This is pronounced Panagiotis Lyrantzis (approximately). What does it mean? Depends on how you spell it. Lyrantzis means "one who plays the lyre.” Lirantzis would be "one who plays with lira (or banker).” Of course, it could just mean "one who is a liar.” Which, come to think of it, would be perfectly suited to a fiction writer. Personally, I love my Greek name. I grew up with it. It’s what my grandparents and Greek school teacher used to call me. But you don’t have to. Really.
In fact, let’s keep it our little secret.