Rossco Robertson says his head is always filling up with story ideas that play out like little movies in his mind, so he wrote his story “The Boots” and was encouraged to submit it to a few publishers. It was not only picked up by a publishing house, but the South Sydney Rabbitohs loved the story so much, they wanted to get involved too. We spoke to Rossco about the writing process and how it feels to have had so much interest and success come from what started as a hobby.
Hey Rossco. Tell us about your connection to the Coffs Coast.
My family moved to Sawtell just before I started Year 7 at Toormina High School. After getting into surfing and skating, I fell in love with the coast. No other place I’d rather be!
You have recently written a novel called The Boots. What is the story about?
The story follows Mike, a typical 25 year old dude living in Sydney. What makes Mike different is he is best mates with one of the NRL’s star halfbacks, Jake Cassius. The Boots follows Mike, who is hungover and struggling to recollect the events from the night before, as he tries to get Jake’s lucky footy boots to the stadium for the NRL grand final. Mike’s day is turned upside down after he loses the “lucky” boots and the events from last night catch up with him.
What was the process getting your book published?
I was never planning on publishing, but my mum read the story and loved it and encouraged me to send it to some publishers. I submitted the manuscript to a few publishers in Sydney. A boutique publishing house read the story and loved it, so I went with them.
How long did it take you to write The Boots?
I watched an interview with John Hughes (writer / director) and he said he wrote the story to Planes, Trains and Automobiles in one weekend; it is one of my favourite movies, so I took on the challenge to try and write a story in a single weekend, and I got The Boots done in three days. Then, there was about a week of editing and cleaning up ALL the plot-holes and spelling errors.
Where do draw your inspiration from when writing?
Movies and TV shows for sure. My head is always filling up with story ideas that play out like little movies in my mind. The Boots references a lot of my favourite movies and TV shows, mainly Star Wars. The story is aimed at Star Wars / pop culture fans, as much as it is aimed at Rugby League supporters.
What was your reaction when you found out the South Sydney Rabbitohs football club had picked up your story and wanted to be a part of it?
I was stoked – happy that a well-respected club like Souths were keen to be involved, but happier that everyone at Souths who read the story really enjoyed it. It is made all the better that Souths are playing really well this year, and it will be very surreal for my story if Souths make the grand final!
You also illustrated the cover for the story. Has illustration always been a passion, or is it just a part of the job?
I love being creative, from writing, to painting and graphic design. Designing the cover of a book was always a dream of mine, and I never thought in a million years I’d be designing a cover for my own book. After Souths got involved it required a few changes, but was still a fun process.
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, do you feel you have experienced it, and how did you overcome it?
I do believe in it, and I struggled with it for years. For me, I find it’s best to map out your story, write down all the key things you want to happen in each chapter – don’t hope the story unfolds as you write. It’s best to have a plan and tweak it as you go. Also, like Ricky Gervais says, “Write about what you know”.
Are there any plans to start another novel and if so, what is it about?
I have started a new story called The Goanna Slide; it is about a young Indigenous boy living in a town like Sawtell. He stumbles across a Goanna Slide in the bush at his local beach; the slide doubles as a portal to another land that needs his help. It’s all about protecting and respecting the land we live on.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Finding and making time! Working full-time makes it tricky, but focusing on the feeling of completing a story is great motivation.
What advice would you give to any other writers?
Set yourself a plan, map out your story, and go for it. Have someone read over your work that will give you honest feedback, as what you’re thinking in your head may not translate through your words.
For anyone thinking of submitting a manuscript to a publisher, make sure you follow their submission process and go for it, be patient, and never give up! Don’t be disheartened if you get a rejection letter! For me, the feeling of writing and finishing an 80,000 word story was one hundred times better than getting a publishing deal.
If anyone wants advice or help, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org