Local youth worker launches debut book

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Peter Waugh, whose lifelong ambition was to write and publish his first novel before the end of his 30th year, hasn’t let a full time job or the little task of completing a Masters get in the way of his dream.

he full time youth worker who works for Lisburn based charity Damask, began writing four years ago after his new bride fell ill on honeymoon and he was forced to spend much time exploring New York alone, subsequently filling him with inspiration for the plot and characters to shape his first novel.

Half Irish tells the story of Tyler, a young high school graduate from New York, who comes to Belfast to spend the summer with his cousin. The book explores issues very prevalent for young people such as loss, depression, failure, love and friendship, but “It’s a story of hope fundamentally,” says the self-published author.

Peter who has been a youth worker for nine years in various locations across Northern Ireland said the young people he has worked with over the years were an inspiring factor throughout the entire process:

“It’s really important to encourage young people to pursue their ambitions, hopes and dreams and I think the best way to do that is to lead by example.

“It was also really important for me that the novel was set here. I really like how other Irish authors such as Cecilia Ahern and Marian Keyes base a lot of their novels in Dublin and I wanted to do the same here. I really enjoyed exploring it through the eyes of a character who isn’t from here - our humour, the beauty – it made me see Belfast through different eyes and appreciate it from a whole new perspective.”

The first time author has also been confirmed to take part in this year’s Belfast Book Festival: “Taking part in the festival is a big coup for me. Events like the Belfast Book Festival are fantastic and hugely important as it not only provides a platform for new writers to showcase their work but is a celebration of the huge creative talent we have here.”

When asked who he aligns himself with, the novice writer doesn’t mind being compared to other chick-lit authors and is happy to be described as a male Cecilia Ahern. “This novel is geared towards the young adult genre - anyone aged from teens to early 20s I suppose, but adults will also enjoy it.”

This is just the beginning of his writing: “I already have plans to write a fantasy series of other young adult literature and a novel about a group of cyclists. People think it’s near enough impossible to be able to write and complete a book while working and studying full time, but the hardest part is actually starting and I feel like there’s no stopping me now.”