Writer Wednesday Welcomes Jason Paul! (on Tuesday)

Today Writer Wednesday Welcomes Jason Paul!!! Jason is yet another a-m-a-zing writer of awesomeness for teens. I’m thrilled to have a guy here to talk YA. We all know I’m obsessed with the genre, but I’ll admit I tend to chose the most lovey-girlie sort. Jason’s reaching a whole other audience with his YA. He’s getting teenage BOYS into reading! That’s not as easy as you think (I know – you didn’t think it was). Jason’s written something boys can sink their teeth into, and I can’t wait to introduce you and his fierce new story Gladius and the Bartlett Trial

Meet Jason!: J. A. Paul started writing short stories ten years ago. He spent many years learning the craft of writing through the constant study of books and articles on writing. He also enrolled in and completed a two-year writing correspondence class along with various other online writing workshops. Then one night after a long bedtime story, his sons challenged him to write a book.  He borrowed an idea from a friend and asked them to choose three things to go in the story.  They chose a dragon, a tree, and a ruby, and from the seed of that idea, the story of Gladius grew.  J.A. Paul set out to show his three sons that if you set your mind to something, it can be done.  Once he started writing Gladius, he knew he wanted to create a fantasy adventure novel that would encourage preteen and teenage boys to read more.


Gladius and the Bartlett Trial Excerpt:

Turning to the interior again, Gladius thought he saw another shadow – as if it had suddenly darted between trees like an enemy spy.

Was it following his every movement? He wondered.

He strained his eyes on the new spot.

Is something there? He could see nothing, but definitely heard movement in the underbrush; perhaps it was stalking him, ready to jump him at the first chance, gnaw on one of his limbs?

Blurry instances of gloom flashed behind the trees sending shivers down Gladius’ neck. A putrid scent stung his nose.

“Who are you?” Gladius called out to the mysterious shadow.

Silence was the only response.

A gut instinct told him to turn back, to return to the comfort of his warm bed, but he suppressed his inner warning.

“Show yourself,” he called out in his most confident voice.

Fighting back the increasing tension, Gladius struggled to fill his lungs. His face flushed. His knees weakened. Fear itself was reaching out its cold bony fingers and slowly wrapping his body in a death squeeze. He tightly scrunched his toes. Afraid to die, he felt his nerves tug and rage at each other.

He backhanded the sweat from his forehead and inhaled deeply, searching for the shadow again, but it was gone.

He sensed something standing behind him. His shoulders tensed. A feeling like that of a dragon’s hot breath cascaded down his back. Immediately he withdrew his dagger and spun quickly.

Long menacing fangs and yellowed sharp claws appeared between the leaves. Gladius faced the stare of orange-slotted eyes from a large cat-like creature. A spike of dread burned through his heart.

Instantly the short pinned ears of the creature flattened and it lunged forward.

Gladius threw up his forearm…

Gladius and the Bartlett Trial is book one of a planned trilogy.

Teenage reading habits

One of my more motivating factors in choosing to write an adventure fantasy story is to get more teenage boys reading. There are many great books written for teenage boys and girls but studies have shown the male readership drops off significantly when they reach the teens. For teenage girls it remains the same or grows.

I have three boys myself so I have been very interested in these studies for some time. I work hard to find good exciting books for them to read. For my younger boys it is easier to find something they love to read, but my oldest seems to have lost his interest in reading books for enjoyment. In today’s world, there are so many distractions for the teenage boy: friends, girls, video games, sports, and more girls. One challenge is time. Books take hours to read. Their time is limited and books drop on the priority list so if they are going to read it has to be engaging.

Not all boys lose their interest in reading. If they did, authors like me would struggle to find a readership and spread the word about our stories. For those who do continue reading I think there are two divides. Those who love urban fiction and will only read books with characters that look like them, and the storylines romanticize the lifestyles they want to have. The other group will avoid urban fiction and want to escape into worlds that are very different from the challenging, unglamorous lives they lead.

I have always used fiction books to escape from my world and Gladius and the Bartlett Trial is that type of story. So far, it is receiving good reviews and not just from teenage boys but girls and adults as well. My hope is that it catches on and word of it spreads to teens who normally would not read a book — perhaps even sparking a lifelong love of reading. I remember distinctly J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit doing that very thing to me. If I would not have read that book, I may not have ever started writing.

You can read more on this topic here, it’s a great “teacher” story: How do you get boys into reading? Girls

HUGE thanks to Jason for stopping by today!!! If you’d like to know more about Jason and his book, you can find them both on the web!

Amazon Kindle and paperback

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3 comments to Writer Wednesday Welcomes Jason Paul! (on Tuesday)

  • This was a great feature. I applaud Jason’s efforts for promoting literacy to male teens. That is one of the main reasons I fell into YA myself and I think it is a great mission for men to have in this genre. Like you, I remember reading ‘The Hobbit’ in eighth grade language arts. It was the first (and only) required reading I enjoyed in middle school. I think teen boys want options – they want to find books that interest them and they want characters they can connect with. It’s great you have provided another option for them.

  • Thank you Paul! I think The Hobbit was a starter book for many boys around that age. Another one I remember is ‘A Separate Peace’. I think I read that book in 9th grade but it has stuck with me all these years.

    In today’s world with Hollywood creating so many great movies I think books like ‘The Hobbit’ and the ‘Lord of the Rings’ series get overlooked because the kids have seen the movie. Hopefully they will still one day read the book. My son just finished ‘Inkheart’ and proclaimed it much better than the movie and now he is on part 2 and 3!

    Thanks again for the comment!

  • Interesting! I think as a teenager (boy or girl), kids find themselves with so many new options for how to spend their time. With driver’s licenses, they can hang out at the mall or movie theater. There’s dating, heavier school-work, etc.

    I know when I was a late teenager, virtually all my reading time went to school assignments, and even though I’d been a heavy reader my whole life, I never picked up the habit again through my 20s. It wasn’t until Harry Potter came out that I re-discovered the joy of reading. Now I *make* time to read. It’s all about choices – TV couch-potato time or reading? I choose to read. Thanks for the great article. :)

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