Todd Robert Petersen - Author
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“Todd Robert Petersen is crazy-talented, and the wild, weird, hilarious stories of It Needs to Look Like We Tried are just what’s called for in these bizarre, frightening times.”  —Richard Russo Author of Empire Falls and Trajectory


Everyone has a dream, an idea, a goal. But what happens when those desires are thwarted, when dreams and goals fall apart? In It Needs to Look Like We Tried, Todd Robert Petersen explores the ways in which our failures work on the lives of others, weaving an intricate web of interconnected stories.

A fastidious man takes a detour on the way to his father’s wedding and kicks 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. Their daughter decides to escape the gravity of her tiny town with the help of her boyfriend who has a not-quite-legal plan to scrape together enough money to fund their departure.

On their way across the country, these star-crossed lovers encounter our fastidious man, and the Rube-Goldberg machine of life continues. Their fling has petered out, and they are driving home, whatever home is left after walking away from everything they abandoned a month before.

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TODD ROBERT PETERSEN lives in Cedar City, Utah, with his wife and three children. A graduate of the University of Oregon, Northern Arizona University, and Oklahoma State, Petersen is now a professor of English and the Executive Director of Experiential Learning at Southern Utah University. He also teaches in SUU's interdisciplinary Screen Studies program. His writing has appeared in Mid-American Review, Weber Studies, Hobart, and the Wisconsin Review. Before Counterpoint Press published It Needs to Look Like We Tried, Petersen released two books with a local Utah press. His next novel, Picnic in the Ruins, is a dark comedy about Native American antiquities theft set in the desert Southwest.