Several pieces of information about me might surprise readers, and certainty several events in my writing career have surprised me.
First of all, I’m a retired high school teacher who is a lousy speller and one who doesn’t type very well, either. A bad combination.
Imagine that: An English teach who can’t spell. Can’t type.
Are you kidding me?
Nope. It’s true.
The urge to write for young adults hit me long before computers and spell-check features, so after I finished a manuscript, I checked every word I thought I’d misspelled with a dictionary. You cannot believe how much time that took. If it were summertime, I sat outside at a picnic table under the shade of our sycamore tree and looked up word after word after word. Exhausting. If it were winter, I sat at the kitchen table. I didn’t have my own writing space at that time, not with six kids in the family and my mom living with us.
A lot of today’s successful YA writers are young, attractive people who grew up reading YA novels. Not me. When I was a teen in the late 1940s and early ’50s, the genre didn’t exist. Besides that, I wasn’t a reader. Upon graduating from high school, the only novel I’d ever read was Silas Marner, required reading in one of my lit classes. I didn’t meet up with young adult novels until sometime in the late 1970s, when I’d been teaching English for years. I read Judy Blume’s Forever and thought, Man, I can write a book like that! But I found it surprisingly more difficult than I’d imagined. I didn’t find an agent until 1992. She found a publisher for my novel Triangle in 1994, when I was sixty-one years old and had just retired from teaching English in public high schools for thirty-five years.
At that point I thought I was on my way to a new career. I had an agent—the future was rosy. But here’s something that really surprised and frustrated me. My agent dropped me because she felt there wasn’t enough money in YA books. Though I kept on writing book after book—I’d fallen in love with the process—it took me a surprising seven years to find another agent and finally publish another book.
Things have gone well since then. A Frayed Web is my ninth published YA novel. The surprising thing about this book is that I wrote it during that seven-year drought. It sat in a file drawer until 2012, when I took another look at. I revised it and then sent it to be professionally critiqued and edited before I sent it off to Red Adept Publishing.
The last surprising thing about me—which totally surprises me and might surprise readers—is that I am now an 83-year-old writer who is still successfully writing and publishing young adult fiction. Maybe I’m the oldest YA writer in the country. Now that would be very surprising.
Title: A Frayed Web by Jon Ripslinger
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Thriller/Suspense
Length: 264 pages
Walter Bohannon fears love has blinded his mom. After his dad’s death, she reconnected with an old sweetheart, but Adam Kingsley may not be the same person she dated in high school. Even his teenage daughter doesn’t seem to know him very well.
Probing into Kingsley’s background, Walter discovers some disturbing things about his soon-to-be stepdad. Kingsley has secrets, and he might be willing to kill to protect them.
Can Walter convince his mother of the danger before it’s too late?
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After Jon Ripslinger retired as a public high school English teacher, he began a career as an author. He has published many young adult novels and truly enjoys writing books for teens. He has also published numerous short stories in Woman’s World magazine.
Jon and his wife, Collette live in Iowa. They are the proud grandparents of thirteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
When not working writing, Jon enjoys the outdoors, especially fishing. He waits patiently for the next “big one” to strike.