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Ebony Joy Wilkins
SELLOUT is not the worst name Ebony Wilkins heard in middle school, but the word did inspire her first novel for young adults. She spent her teenage years exploring words, her college years reporting words, and later years earning an MFA in writing for children from New School University. In her free time she enjoys reading, visiting family, and playing board games. 
   
Just in case you were wondering:
1. Is SELLOUT based on your life? There are a few similarities between NaTasha’s experience and my own, but most of this story is fictional.
2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? My earliest memory of writing was elementary school. My parents bought a computer writing game for me when I was in fifth grade. I remember ‘writing’ mystery stories and then reading them for all of my friends. I’m pretty sure my parents still have a few copies of those early stories lying around.
3. What are you afraid of? FLYING … even though I’m on a plane at least once each month. The idea of not being able to stop and get off if I need to is terrifying to me. And really, is all that turbulence necessary? But as much as I hate getting on a plane, I pray continuously, and keep exploring the world.

4. What do you like to do in your spare time? I love to read, write, and visit with close friends. I also love to travel to different places around the world and to visit my family as much as possible. My favorite trips so far have been to Zurich , Switzerland for a family vacation and to East London , South Africa for a mission trip with my church.
Ebony Joy Wilkins
Ebony Joy Wilkins
5. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Fiji , but I’m not sure if I’ll ever get there –that’s a really long flight!
6. Do you have any pets? Not currently, but I had three fish in college that I cared for deeply. I made sure the water was clean, the temp in the tank was perfect, and they ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. So, all you fish lovers can guess what happened to them…I was devastated.
7. How do you like living in New York City ? The song “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z sums it up perfectly. The opportunity, the arts, the lights, the diversity, the culture in New York City makes this city one of the best in the world and I am excited to be a part of it!
8. What weird thing do you do that no one knows about? I was never very good in math class, but I count everything now…the number of tiles on the floor, the number of steps it takes me to get to the subway station, etc. I also have a habit of doodling on my papers, usually pictures of hearts, flowers, or Tic Tac Toe boards.
9. What experience have you had that would surprise us? I marched in the All American Marching Band at Purdue University in the flute and piccolo section. I wore the uniform proudly, including the funny hat, and even got to bang the Big Bass Drum, which stands over ten feet tall! Boiler Up!
10. What are you working on now? I am writing a new novel about a boy chosen to go on a school camping trip with his best friend and his worst enemies. My main character is struggling to outsmart the boys who have been bullying him for years and he isn’t the only one. He is also fighting another battle not even his best friend is aware of!
Ebony Joy Wilkins
Ebony Joy Wilkins
11. What is your sign? My birthday is January 22, so I am an Aquarius! I am the oldest child in the family and the only girl. I have wonderful parents, three amazingly talented younger brothers, an adorable niece, and a large extended family.
12. Where are you from? I am from the Midwest. I spent equal time growing up in Evanston, IL, Indianapolis, IN & Midland, MI before moving to New York in 2004.
13. What don’t you like? I tried liver once and vowed I would never do that again. I also dislike slow walkers. They annoy me, especially when I’m in a hurry.
14. What are some of your favorites? SPORTS: Swimming & college football FOOD: Seafood, rice & beans COLORS: Purple & Black MUSIC: R&B and Gospel SEASON: Fall TIME OF DAY: Early evening DESSERTS: All! BOOK: To kill a Mockingbird
15. Do you write everyday? NO. But I think about writing every day. I do make a million to-do lists with things that I want to add to my stories. I also read every single day. I probably finish three-four books each month, sometimes more.