After publishing 28 books, local author Robert Young treads into new storytelling territory.

Young’s first graphic novel, “Lobo: The Hunted and the Hunter,” is based on the true story of a cunning wolf and a relentless hunter who becomes one of America’s first conservationists

Representing “Lobo” at several community events this month, Young also plans a special presentation at Kids Unlimited Academy’s Feb. 29 Family Literacy Night. Copies of “Lobo” will be available for purchase.

No stranger to Southern Oregon schools, Young is embarking on his 34th year of author visits, including collaborations with local musician Jon Martin, who helps Young demonstrate how to write lyrics. Young plans a lyric composition session with KUA fifth graders next month.

What’s it like to be a writer? Here are some of Young’s answers to students’ top questions, plus a couple from KUA staff about building kids’ literacy skills.

Where do you get the ideas for your books?

Young: My ideas come from everywhere. I get ideas for books when I’m traveling. I get ideas when I’m reading. I get ideas when I watch TV, search the internet, talk to friends or when I’m hiking, swimming or sailing. Most of the time the idea comes in the form of an “I wonder” question, like “I wonder how chewing gum is made?” or “I wonder what people around the world have used as money?” or “I wonder what Thomas Jefferson’s everyday life was like?” I have folders filled with ideas. Sometimes I wish I had fewer ideas because it is impossible to work on them all. So, I choose the one I’m most excited about, the one I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about, the one I can’t keep out of my mind. And then I begin.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Young: It’s different from book to book. The first book I wrote, “The Chewing Gum Book,” took two years. That’s because it started out as another book — a book about peppermint. When the peppermint manuscript didn’t sell, a local librarian asked me what peppermint is used for. After I told her “chewing gum,” she remarked that this would be a great subject for a book. An idea was born! So, I went back and rewrote the book. Most of my books take from six months to a year. That time is spent coming up with good questions, finding the answers to those questions and then writing, rewriting, rewriting and rewriting some more.

What do you like most about writing?

Young: I like words, playing with them, then shaping them into sentences, paragraphs and books. Writing books provides me with an outlet for my curiosity. I wonder something, develop questions about it, seek answers and then share the answers with readers. The best part of it all is seeking the answers to my questions. I feel like an explorer as I travel, interview people, take notes and photograph. And when I find fascinating facts, I feel like an explorer discovering lands I hadn’t known before.

What do you like least about writing?

Young: Imagine researching and writing a manuscript for six months to a year and then not being able to find a publisher who wants to make it into a book. This happens sometimes, and it’s very frustrating. So, you have some choices. You can keep sending out the manuscript to publishers and hope you find one who likes it. You can put up the money and publish it yourself. Or you can file your manuscript in a drawer and forget about it. I have done all three of these. I don’t have trouble coming up with ideas for topics to write about, but sometimes I can’t think of the right words to write on the paper. When this happens, I just leave a space and come back to it later. At some point I will be able to find the right word. My favorite saying about being blocked as a writer is: “Lower your standards and move on.”

What advice would you give someone who wants to become a writer?

Young: Write, write, write. And write some more. Just like anything else, you’ll get better at writing by writing. You won’t get better by wishing or hoping or thinking about it. You will get better by doing it. Write notes and letters and emails, keep a journal, a blog or both, compose stories, create poems, think up songs. What are you passionate about? Write about it. That’s how you share your interests. That’s how you make sure your ideas will be remembered. Don’t forget to read, too. See what other people are writing, and how they are writing it. From them, you’ll get ideas to help make your writing better.

I don’t want to be a professional writer, so why should I care about writing?

Young: That’s a great question, since the percentage of people who earn their living by writing books is very small. The reason to care about writing is that it will help you in many areas of your life. Writing well will help you get better grades in school. It will help you get into schools to further your education. Studies show that writing helps people get jobs, and it helps them get promoted in their jobs. Best of all, though, is that writing helps you think.

How can families help kids to build a love of reading amid so much electronic media?

Young: As far as technology goes, it is an integral part of our lives now, and it has many advantages. However, there is no substitute for reading a book. A good book will engage a reader. It will help develop imagination. How can parents help encourage that? Simple: model it. Let kids see you reading. Read to your kids. Have them read to you.

How does the experience of reading a physical book compare with reading an electronic version?

Young: For me, an e-book is no comparison to a physical book. I’ve read that you retain more when reading a physical book. But, it’s more than that. I like the feel of them. I like the smell of them. I love holding them and turning the pages. And when the power goes off, you can always read. Just light a candle.