Inkpop Blog

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Publishing at Sixteen: Inside the Mind of Ross Workman

Posted by inkpopbecki on January 12, 2011

One of the biggest questions we receive from inkpop users is, “Does age matter when it comes to getting published.” Ross Workman was 13 years old when he wrote to his favorite author, Walter Dean Myers, and the two embarked on a project together. Now at sixteen, Ross has co-written a book with a bestselling author, which will be published by HarperTeen on February 1st. We caught up with Ross to ask him about the experience. If you want to hear more from Ross and his co-author, New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers, join us for a live chat with both authors on Thursday January 13th at 7 p.m. EST in our inkpop Forum Events.

You were thirteen-years-old when you began collaborating with Walter Dean Myers on this project – the same age as Kevin Johnson, the character you wrote for. Do you feel that you put things that you were experiencing and going through into Kevin’s personality?
Kevin is actually very different from me. I think he’s less level headed, and I don’t really have a temper like he does. I’ve certainly never gone to jail or been thrown out of a soccer game. So he is really an invention, not like me at all, except that we both play soccer and live in New Jersey.

Did you ever think that a simple fan letter to one of your favorite authors would result in you landing the opportunity of a lifetime?
Absolutely not. I was really taken by surprise when Walter asked me if I wanted to write a book. I just couldn’t believe it. I had written to him because I wanted him to know how much I loved his books. And this really has been the opportunity of a lifetime.

Sgt. Brown takes on the role of mentor to Kevin within the pages of your debut novel. Do you feel that Walter Dean Myers took on the same role towards you while you were working on this project together?
I would say yes. He really took me under his wing and taught me the methods he uses for writing a book. And what better way to learn how to write than from one of the world’s best? Walter always trusted in me to be able to come up with ideas and to write my chapters, but he didn’t pressure me. It was ideal.

You are sixteen-years-old now. Do you have any words of advice for others who want to publish projects young?
I just turned seventeen, and I’m a junior in high school. Not to sound clichéd, but my advice would be not to give up. You need to be willing to work very, very hard and be resilient. If it means not hanging out with friends for a weekend (or many weekends) or giving up vacation time, then that’s what it requires.  It’s worth it.

Join our live chat with  Ross Workman and New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers, join us for a live chat with both authors on Thursday January 13th at 7 p.m. EST in our inkpop Forum Events.

One Response to “Publishing at Sixteen: Inside the Mind of Ross Workman”

  1. Leslie said

    When are the inkpop changes coming? You said November, then December, and now nothing at all. Are they coming at all?!

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