A teenage boy with deep thoughts? What a concept!
No matter how surprising it sounds, we all know that yes, teenage boys do have deep thoughts. But admitting it, to one’s self or to others, is hard.
That’s one reason my protagonist, William Hawk, really came alive for me while I was writing the William Hawk series: the bizarre circumstances he finds himself in are a manifestation of deep thoughts on identity, spirituality and faith. Through them, he is forced to face hard questions without necessarily having to express them aloud.
Early on in the first book, Ignition, William discovers his latent powers. Upon turning 16, William is gifted (or cursed) when his Change Agent III status is activated -- complete with strange new powers and a responsibility to save Earth from evil.
That’s a pretty tall order!
As he realizes just how powerful he can be and what his new responsibilities are, William begins to evolve from an ordinary car-loving, girl-chasing kid to a superhero fighting evil and promoting selfless love. Yet all the while he remains relatable and quintessentially, a teen.
Perhaps that is why there are so many books with young male protagonists who have to save the world. When they’re both normal and extraordinary, heros are more relatable. They give young readers a chance to dream, and to do a bit of self-discovery as they question how they would respond given the circumstances, what their deep thoughts and feelings would be.
One fan summed up Ignition by saying, “What if the fate of humanity hinged on the enlightenment of...a teenage boy?”
I’m a fan of this reading of the book. In the beginning, William is just a teen -- gifted or not. Throughout, his powers aren’t what defines him, it’s how he chooses to use them. Ignition is his journey towards growing into his gifts, and discovering what self lies below the surface.
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