Award-winning, Young Adult Author Steve Watkins will offer practical advice on how to write for younger audiences at the Northumberland Public Library Thursday, October 13 at 7 p.m.

Watkins, who lives in Fredericksburg, has written numerous fictional books inspired by real stories and history including, the “Ghosts of War” series. His topics have dealt with foster care, teen incarceration, war, segregation and racism, and most recently post traumatic stress disorder.

The third book in the “Ghosts of War series, “AWOL in North Africa” was inspired by a friend of the author who served on an Army review board.

“He told me the story of an elderly man who had been a medic in North Africa in WWII and was put in prison and then dishonorably discharged because he used donated blood from African-American soldiers for transfusions for German and Italian POWs.”

Watkins said his workshop is geared toward authors of all ages and offers tools to get started and how to get published.

People tend to write in very expository ways, leaving out scenes and dialogue, said Watkins. “I want to get them to slow that down and crack it open with ways that reveal more action and character,” he said.

Most people are used to writing essays using the paragraph to develop an idea, Watkins wants to show how to develop a chapter. He’ll also address how long a middle grade book should be, how many pages you should try to write in a day, as well as commercial publishing verses self-publishing.

Watkins said he hopes people will come with questions.

A graduate of Florida State University, Watkins taught journalism, creative writing, and Vietnam War literature at the University of Mary Washington for 22 years. He now writes full time. He won the Golden Kite Award for his book, “Down Sand Mountain.” You can read more about him and his books at

For more information about the workshop contact the library at 580-5051

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