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Thursday, September 13, 2018

#ThursdayThoughts with Matt Mikalatos

Good Morning Friends!

Whew! I finally feel as though I'm catching up after my Alaska vacation (8/12-21) and subsequent move into a new place. But enough about me...

Last month I introduced you to Tyndale author, Matt Mikalatos when he shared treasures with us. Please welcome Matt back as he shares some thoughts with us.

Take it away, Matt.....

It’s common in stories with teenagers to have them be brooding, angry creatures who hate each other and the world. I was thinking about this the other day while I was barbecuing in my back yard. 

I have two teenaged daughters, and while they certainly have moments where they are upset, angry, or broody, I don’t think it’s any more often than my nine-year-old or, for that matter, their 40-something parents. In fact, when I look at my kids I can’t help but notice that their main motivation in life seems to be to do the right thing. Sure, they miss cues and are lacking life experience in certain areas, but the fact is whether it’s at school or in extra-curricular activities, at home or in the culture at large, my kids want to do the right thing, and they want good things for the people around them. They want their friends to be well and cared for. They’re typically kind to strangers. 

Sure, I understand that might not make for compelling fiction a lot of times, which may be part of the reason we end up with snarky, angry characters in so many novels. Personally, I get a little tired of the cranky, overwrought teens in some YA books.

In my novel, The Crescent Stone, I wanted something different. In this book, the teen characters are passionate about doing the right thing, and taking care of each other. When Madeline Oliver faints in chemistry class, her friend Jason Wu jumps into action to help her. No complaints, no eye rolling, no hesitation. 

When Madeline is promised a healing of her terminal illness in exchange for a year of service in a fantasy land, Jason says he’s going with her to keep her safe, no arguments. When Madeline discovers injustice in the fantasy world, she sets out to fix it, regardless of the cost. 

Throughout the book the teen characters work for justice, are kind to each other, are generous in their relationships, and show loyalty and love for each other. They don’t only love their boyfriends or girlfriends, they love their friends, too, and with a deep commitment to friendship. 

That’s something we could use a lot more in this world, and it was, frankly, a relief to write a book where the strength of teen friendships is put front and center as a virtue, not a conflict. 

You are so right, Matt! We need to focus on the positive and the good our teenagers do and are capable of instead of their bad or negative behavior! 

About Matt:  Matt Mikalatos writes books (surprise!). In the past, Matt worked as a high school teacher and a comic book clerk, but currently focuses on nonprofit work devoted to helping people love one another despite their differences. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, three daughters, two unicorns, a gryphon, a dragon, and three brine shrimp. 

His latest book, The Crescent Stone can be purchased at Amazon and Tyndale.

Hope you enjoyed today's post and that you'll check back regularly for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time take care and God bless.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

In my latest YA novel, WITCH WISH, teens are coming of age and trying to find themselves. They recognize their mistakes and try to act in a more mature manner. I know this was true of my own children when they reached that age. Also true of my high school students.

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Matt,

That sounds like a great book for all teens to read. Congratulations! on the book and the family that inspired it.

Alina K. Field said...

This story sounds wonderful! Our society and mainstream media loves to emphasize the bad, the negative, and the disfunctional. There are lots of good kids in the world!

marilyn leach said...

Thanks for letting us into your story, Matt. I taught art for several years and saw how books can influence teens lives. I love this positive point of view. I pray it points the way for many teens. Cheers