Why I Chose YA and Who My Inspirations Are by PT McHugh

Why I Chose YA and Who My Inspirations Are

“Dad, don’t embarrass us!” Those words are uttered quite frequently by my two daughters, who are both my inspiration and my test subjects in regard to how the younger generation thinks and acts

To be honest, my girls aren’t quite teenagers. Although my twelve year old believes she is in fact going on eighteen, and should have her own apartment and car by now.  Thanks to her, music, movies, texting etiquette, and a refreshed vocabulary for a modern 21st-century teenager are at my fingertips 24/7, providing me with an excellent reference. I just have to look across the table at her to see how a young adult lives and thinks. 
           
            Even with all the differences, though – technology, the world, the quicker aging of young people – I’ve come to realize that teenagers now are a lot like they were twenty, thirty, and even forty years ago.  They certainly have more now than I ever did … computers, iPhones, Twitter, Facebook, instant information at your fingertips (remember when you actually had to go to the library to do your research?).  But in the end, everybody’s teenage years contain a lot of the same problems and challenges – relationships, fitting in, questioning authority (parents), wondering what they’ll be when the grow up, wondering whether they even want to grow up (I don’t believe I ever did). And many of us never grow out of those questions. In that way, we’re all still teenagers at heart.   

            That’s why I chose to YA. I can still identify with so many of those questions, which makes it easier to write. What’s more, I know that those years – the years when you’re so lonely and doubtful about who you are – are also the years when you form yourself. It’s when you have your first love, first heartbreak, dreams, anxiety, fear, euphoria … and all those feelings are compounded by a boatload of testosterone and estrogen. It’s a roller coaster on crack, and we’ve all ridden it. All those ups and downs make for amazing, realistic characters and stories, and I can’t imagine writing about anything else.

            Now, I realize that I’m forty years old and a lot of people won’t believe that I can remember those years in my own life. But guess what, I do. In fact, some of the characters, the town, and many of the day-to-day situations in my books come from my own experiences.  That means I get to relive my childhood through my characters, and – even better – put them into situations I never had to deal with. 

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PT McHugh didn’t start out as a storyteller. He was, however, born into a family of that encouraged imagination. He became a fan of history in school and then went to college to become a construction engineer, to build a world of straight lines, angles, and equations.

He was just as surprised as everyone else when he realized that he believed in magic, and might just know the secret of how to jump through time. Since then, he’s been researching the possibility and learning everything he can about history. Just in case the opportunity arises.

PT was born and raised in New Hampshire and currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife, two daughters, and a dog named Bob, daring to dream of alternate worlds and cheering for his beloved New England Patriots.

His latest book is the YA fantasy/time travel, Keeper of the Stones.

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