Today’s guest is PT McHugh. He’s here as part of the Keeper of the Black Stones Blog Tour sponsored by Pump Up Your Book.
Jason Evans, a shy, introverted high school freshman, thought that his mundane life was all there was – girls, golf, physics, and the occasional bully. Until he found out about the secrets his grandfather had been keeping from him … a set of stones that allowed them to jump through time … a maniacal madman who used the stones to shape history to his liking … and Jason’s role as one of the few people in the world who could stop that man.
Against impossible odds, a fourteen-year-old boy must take up his legacy, learn everything he needs to know within one short day, and travel helter skelter into the Middle Ages, to join Henry VII’s fight against Richard III, end the Dark Ages, and stop the man who now holds his grandfather captive. In this romp through history, Jason and his friends must race against time to accomplish not one, but two missions.
Save his grandfather.
And save the world.
Available on AMAZON or BARNES & NOBLE
Tricia: Welcome, PT. Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.
PT: I’m a husband and father of two amazing girls, and an avid sports fan. I worry way too much about anything and everything, including things that most people don’t think twice about. I’m working on it, but I think I’ll always be a glass-half-empty kind of person (just ask my editor). I decided a couple of years ago that if I didn’t work on my dream of being a writer, it would never happen … and now here I am, doing interviews like this. It’s all very surreal.
Tricia: When did you begin writing?
PT: I’ve always enjoyed writing – when you have an overactive imagination like mine, you need an outlet! I first started when I was in college, and kept it up even when I got a job and had to start acting like a grown up. Now with that being said, most of my work didn’t see the light of day. I guess I spent a LONG time ‘finding my voice.’ Then one day I wrote something down that worked better than anything else, and thought I might as well send it out to see what everyone else thought.
Tricia: Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?
PT: I’ve actually grown in that regard. I used to write by the seat of my pants, which is fun and all, but when you don’t know where the story is going you can find yourself trapped in a lot of situations with no clear way out. You also end up with a lot of things that don’t quite work, and loose ends galore. My current editor, Carrie White, taught me the art of plotting the entire story beforehand. It wasn’t neuroscience by any stretch, but it certainly helped me save a boat load of time. As for where and when, I’m an insomniac, so I write at night when I should be sleeping!
Tricia: Can you tell us about your most recent release?
PT: Keeper of the Black Stones was released the last week of February this year. The book (which is the first in a series) was something I’d been dreaming up for years, and to see it finally come to fruition was an amazing experience. The story embraces both of my passions, the first being history, and the second being the classic tale of adventure. I wanted to take a close-knit group of kids out of today, give them a kick-ass body guard, and throw them into the past to see what would happen.
Tricia: How did you get the idea for the book?
PT: My favorite cartoon growing up was Johnny Quest, hands down. It’s flat-out the best cartoon ever made, about two smart kids, their body guard, and the boy’s father, who just happened to be a scientist hired by the government. That combination has all the makings for a great story, so I borrowed it, then changed it around to make it my own, and Jason, Paul, Doc, and Reis were born.
Tricia: Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
PT: Ironically enough, my favorite character wasn’t even in the first manuscript. Her name is Tatiana. She’s a year older than the boys, fiercely independent, intelligent, beautiful, and a lot tougher then the boys. She was terrifically fun to write, and she really takes over the book. I can’t wait to give her a bigger part in the next one!
Tricia: What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
PT: The editing process was definitely the hardest part, particularly the first revision. You spend years writing your manuscript and then the bitter truth comes out – it’s great, but it needs monumental changes if it has any hope of moving on to publication. I had to develop thick skin, learn a lot in a short amount of time, and trust my editor. In the end, it all worked.
Tricia: Which authors have inspired your writing?
PT: I was a huge fan of Tom Clancy growing up, along with Robert Parker, Bernard Cornwell, Robert Ludlum … those authors wrote some amazing stories, which prompted me write.
Tricia: What projects are you currently working on?
PT: Stone Ends 2 (title reveal in July) is currently in editing. We’re looking for its release in late winter, early spring next year. I’m really excited about this one. We dialed up the action and drama, and resolve a lot of unanswered questions from Keeper. Of course then we opened up a lot of NEW questions, and introduced a couple of mystery characters…
Tricia: What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
PT: It’s a cliché, but it’s absolutely true. If you have a passion for writing (or for anything, I suppose), the only one holding you back is you. Keep writing, and don’t think it’s a waste of time, even if no one else gets to see most of what you write. Even published authors throw away most of what they write – it’s part of the process. But keep writing! If it’s your passion, you owe it to yourself to do it. At some point, you’ll write something that you want to show everyone else, and from there, you never know what will happen.
About the Author:
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 Black Stones.