Author M. Byerly shares how growing up inspired his newest novel

Each week, an accomplished published author takes over the YEM Twitter account for Thursday’s Twitter Takeover. During the takeover, the YA author will answer questions, tell stories, and give advice on our social media. This week author M. Byerly will be taking over our Twitter account. M. Byerly is the author of Stuck and Drunk in Shadyside. Read YEM’s interview with M. Byerly below! 

Young Entertainment Mag: How did you first get involved in writing? 

M. Byerly: I always enjoyed writing, but in high school I was more involved with math, compared to my English classes. When I got to college, I had this creative writing professor that showed me that I could actually write. Tess Barry was a big influence on me, understanding writing and poetry, as well as helping me believe in my writing.

YEM: What has your experience been like writing for a young adult audience?

M. Byerly: I feel like it’s a mindset that never leaves. Everyone’s always growing up or learning about themselves or life in general.

YEM: You are the author of Stuck and Drunk in Shadyside. Where did the idea for the story come from?

M. Byerly: Well, the story was developed from the idea of a group of friends sharing a six pack in the woods, so I knew the story was going to revolve around six friends. The story ended up not being too much about the six pack, but it’s more about friendships.

YEM: Does your writing reflect your own upbringing? For example, can you relate to the characters in this story? Are any of them a reflection of you? 

M. Byerly: Each story is based off a situation that has happened to someone in my life. The only difference is the characters involved in them. The main characters are all connected to my friends in real life. For example, the main character Max is a combination of two of my friends. Some of the characters are really similar, like I have a friend that’s like Felix, who’s currently getting his doctorate. I can relate to most of the characters, but I am one of the characters in it as well…

YEM: This book combines elements of drama and comedy. How do you balance the two? Is it difficult to find the right place for each?

M. Byerly: To me, that’s just how life is. It’s serious in a lot of respects like getting older and dealing with stuff you don’t want to really deal with. But there will always be hilarious stuff that’ll make you shake your head. Life is funny, and people will surprise you. I don’t think there needs to be a balance. It all depends on the situation, really.

YEM: What do you hope readers take away from Stuck and Drunk in Shadyside?

M. Byerly: I feel like the most important themes are related to hopes and dreams. Your dreams may not be what you’ve expected, but you can still find love in other ways. There’s a lot of components that make up a life. Sometimes, it’s the way you look at things that will show you the light.

M. Byerly will take over YEM’s Twitter today!

To follow along with this week’s Twitter takeover, follow our Twitter account @YoungEntmag and follow the hashtag #YAAUTHORTAKEOVER.