Matt Myklusch is here today with a Teenage Garage Sale courtesy of the Teen Book Scene blog tour for his newest release, The Secret War. Thank you for being here today, Matt! You can follow along with the tour here, or by clicking through the banner. Enjoy!
Thanks for having me on the blog! This is a great post topic and a great way to get to know someone. I think that there is part of us all that is “just us,” and that part is there from day one, but the rest… the rest comes from where we’ve been and what we’ve done. For the most part, I think we are the sum total of our experiences. High school, growing up… these are experiences that really shape us, so my Teenage Garage Sale is great way to get an inside look at my early environment, who I am, and what I am all about. Here goes:
Yankees Ticket Stubs
My friends and I used to drive into the city or take the train up to Yankee Stadium and buy bleachers seats for six dollars apiece. Six dollars! It boggles my mind how cheap it used to be to go to a game. I’m a huge Yankee fan, but the Yanks weren’t very good in those days. In fact, they stunk my whole childhood. But, those past hardships just make it all the sweeter now. In sports, like in life, you have to be there for all the ups and downs for the big moments to really matter.
Growing up, I was always drawing. Always. In class, at home, in front of the TV… everywhere. I’d read comic books or watch TV shows and movies, and I’d want to create my own versions of what I had just read or saw on the screen. For the most part, I spent my time creating my own super heroes and super villains. I filled up sketch pad after sketch pad. I thought you could get a job selling characters to Marvel or DC Comics. Unfortunately that job doesn’t exist. The “character creator” job is actually a little job called “writer.”
Luckily, I found out that artwork was just the first step in my creative process, and a lot of the characters I came up with back in those days found their way into THE ACCIDENTAL HERO. You can see some of them by clicking here.
Comics (specifically Uncanny X-Men # 275)
I’m a big comic book fan. I doubt that comes as a surprise to anyone who has read my books, but it often surprises people to learn that there was a time in my life when I gave up comics and drawing for almost a whole year. It was my freshman year in high school. I felt like it was time to grow up, so I stuffed all my comics in the attic and I stopped drawing. It took a long time for me to wise up, but I remember the moment when I finally did. It was when I saw this comic book on the shelf:
This was drawn by an artist named Jim Lee, who was one of the hottest artists in comic books at the time. Today, he is the co-publisher of DC Comics and maybe the hottest artist in the business. When I saw this picture it hit me right in the gut. I got inspired. I wanted to do what this guy was doing. One look, I knew I had to get back in the game and start flexing my creative muscles. This image reopened the floodgates of my imagination, so if you’re reading this Jim Lee… thank you.
Music is a huge part of my life. Some of the albums I listened to over and over and over in high school are listed below:
- Pearl Jam, Ten, Versus, Vitology
- A Tribe Called Quest, Low End Theory, Midnight Marauders
- Beastie Boys, Ill Communication
- The Rolling Stones, Hot Rocks 1964-1971
- The Beatles, Best of 1962-1966 and 1967-1970
- Bob Dylan, Best of
- Bob Marley, Legend
- The Doors, Best of
- Dave Matthews Band, Under the Table and Dreaming
- Green Day, Dookie
- Nirvana, Nevermind
I worked at a deli all the way through high school. My hours were from 3pm - 9pm two days a week after school, and from 6am – 2pm on Sundays. That was the minimum. A lot of times, I ended up working one more weekday or weekend day. That made getting my schoolwork done a challenge, but I did get it done. The upside was, I had money to pay for my own car (a must). The downside was some very early mornings on the weekends. Also, sometimes I can still smell the oil and vinegar from the Italian subs on my hands…
I was a huge movie buff back then. I still am, but I have a lot less time to watch movies these days. When I was in high school I not only saw everything, but I also prided myself on knowing what was coming next. This was before the internet, mind you. It wasn’t so easy back in those days. I was especially proud of knowing what the hot independent movies were. I knew about Pulp Fiction before all of my friends. Same with Reservoir Dogs, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Trainspotting, and Swingers. My first date with my wife (while we were in college) was a screening of The Usual Suspects.
I played football my freshman year. It was a great experience, even if I decided not to keep up with it the following year. Football is a total team sport. The greatest things we get out of team sports are lessons about commitment, dedication, and teamwork. Pride, confidence, and a feeling of accomplishment can be part of the bargain too. I got all of that out of my freshman football experience. People who know me always find it funny when I tell them I played right tackle and defensive end. (I’m not nearly big enough to play either position).
I read my fair share of books growing up too. (Shocker, right?) I remember reading a lot of Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Michael Crichton, and Stephen King on my own, but the book that sticks with me the most from my high school days was Orwell’s 1984. The thought of that book still gives me chills. It’s funny how a book can stay with you that way. I hope I’ve created some moments in the Jack Blank Adventures that will stick with my readers too.
Thanks so much for reading!
Awesome garage sale, Matt! What a great selection of items! =) Thank you so much for being here today!
Picking up a year after the events of Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation, Jack and his fellow students are now well into their School of Thought training and are "sidekicking" for official, card-carrying super heroes. But, even though Jack feels more at home in the Imagine Nation, he’s still hiding secrets from his friends Skerren and Allegra, both about his shocking connection to their enemy Revile and about his “Top Secret” school assignment, which involves investigating the Rüstov computer virus that affects the Mechas. Jack is busy trying to find out how far the Rüstov sleeper virus has spread, working to find a cure, and striving to avoid the dire future that Revile warned him about. Meanwhile, Jonas Smart is working just as hard to discover what Jack is hiding from everyone. When a rogue Secreteer—the protectors of secrets of inhabitants of the Imagine Nation—starts selling secrets to the highest bidder, Smart is ready and waiting. Jack knows that if Smart finds out the truth about him and Revile, he’s as good as dead. When Jack discovers that the Secreteer causing all this trouble also has information about his father, the distractions really start piling up. If Jack is going to help prevent a second Rüstov invasion, keep Smart from discovering his secrets, and find out what a shadowy, half-mad Secreteer knows about his long-lost father, he'll need to learn to trust his friends, and to find the true path toward becoming a hero himself.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.