I received my first publishing rejection at age eleven for a picture book I wrote and my brother illustrated. I still have ‘BJ’s Adventures’ and the rejection letter – I get them out occasionally to remind myself of the boy who once dreamed he could be an author.
2. What is your nickname?
Ross the Boss or Rosco PeekoTrain or Rishta or Rossy or Dr Dogson. None seem to stick.
3. What is your greatest fear?
Not publishing another book ever again. Oh, and skydiving.
4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
Sometimes sparse, sometimes generous – always with a touch of melancholy.
5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Empathetic, unhurried, methodical, precise, perfectionist.
6. What book character would you be, and why?
Max from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Because not only do I get to wear a wolf suit, I can enjoy the wild rumpus and be home in time to eat my supper – and it’s still hot!
7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I’d leap forward to the year 2030 to meet the men my two young sons become.
8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
You’re telling me ‘BJ’s Adventures’ gets rejected?
9. Who is your greatest influence?
My mother – because she never laughed at my aspiration to be an author.
10. What/who made you start writing?
1980s science fiction and fantasy movies. In particular, watching Bastian from The NeverEnding Story lying under a blanket in the school attic, reading a big old book while a storm rages outside. Where else would you rather be?
11. What is your favourite word and why?
Spine – because it’s the only part of human anatomy we share with a book.
12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The fattest dictionary I could find.
Ross Watkins is an Australian author and illustrator of books for children, teens and adults. His latest book is One Photo, illustrated by Liz Anelli and published by Penguin. Visit Ross Watkins's Facebook page for more information about his books, writing and illustrations.