Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Books for Teenage Guys

A few weeks ago, I came across a posting on Google plus about my Screwing Up Time books. The teenager guy who wrote the post commented that my books were “written for them.”

That made my day. When I first started thinking about Screwing Up Time, I focused on who Mark was. I wanted him to be like all the teen guys that I knew. When I started writing, my three sons were teens. So I knew a lot of teenage guys. And they were great people. I could say, “Okay, guys, old Capt. Kirk vs. new Capt. Kirk. Who wins?” And we’d discuss it. (New Capt. Kirk takes the old one, in case you’re wondering.)

I wanted Mark (Henry) to be like one of these guys. So Mark couldn’t be perfect. He had to be a real person with real problems. In fact, Mark’s far from perfect—he’s a slacker who has been getting by in life based on the gifts he’s been born with. I wanted him to face huge obstacles and decide who he was. And what kind of man he wanted to be. And I still wanted it to be like real life. A series of small decisions (sometimes bad ones) leading to bigger ones—should Mark believe the unbelievable story Miranda told him? Because if he does, then he’s got to break into the locked ward of a psych hospital to meet his crazy grandfather who tried to kill him. And if he believes Miranda and his grandfather, then he has to travel through time. And if he travels through time, then he has to deal with a murderer, who’s out for his blood too.

And maybe it’s not just Mark who’s there. We’re all trying to make decisions—trying to choose what’s right over what’s easy. And I think that’s what appeals to us about books—we see ourselves, for better and for worse, in someone else.

Quick note: I’m more than halfway through the first draft of book 3! And Screwing Up Time and Screwing Up Babylon should be available at Barnes & Noble.com for Nook by the end of the week. 


  1. My now 18 yr old boy is now an avid reader because I worked hard to find him books that were told from a male POV, kept the action high, and were un-put-downable. I have Screwing up Time and he's read it, I now will get on him to write a revies.

  2. I think you've captured a lot about teenage boys in Mark. I find him very real: his thoughts, actions, his confusion and doubts. I'm sure most teenage boys would jump at the opportunity to go on a time-travel adventure :)