Last month, a Whitestone editor and author released his second book, which takes deep dive into the world of Indy car racing.
In February 2019, Lerner Publishing Group approached Joseph Wolkin for an opportunity to contribute to the company’s Extreme Speed series. The six-book collection includes Wolkin’s “Superfast: Indy Car Racing,” an explainer for elementary and middle school readers looking to learn more about the sport.
“I’ve been interested in racing since I was a little kid. Over time, combined with my passion for reporting and writing, [it] really coincided quite well with being able to pursue that field. Over the last few years, I’ve been able to have some amazing experiences interviewing everyone in the NASCAR garage, the Indy Car Paddock — it’s just been an incredible journey. So that really helped spearhead this project specifically,” Wolkin said.
The book began as a freelance project after Wolkin finished an internship at a TV station in Tel Aviv. He had just graduated from college and shared that working on the book “helped me get the job I have now.”
Wolkin currently works at Anton Media Group, where, among various other roles, he serves as the editor of the Long Island Weekly’s automotive special section. His automotive, NASCAR and Indy car coverage has been featured in publications like NASCAR Pole Position Magazine, Frontstretch.com and RantSports.
He exchanged “initial emails” with Lerner in February and finished the entire book by the end of October 2019. The book officially came out on Jan. 1, 2020.
“The good thing about writing this book was that I know a lot of the people who I was writing about already and I didn’t need to do an insane amount of research because of that,” said Wolkin. “Overall, it was a very simple project for me to work on just because of my knowledge about the sport in general. It did make me go back in time and it really gave me a better understanding of the motorsports history.”
He shared that writing his first book, “Grandma: The Story of a Boy and His Grandma,” helped him to write for a younger audience. He wrote his debut book after his grandmother passed away in an effort to “continue her legacy.”
“Once you start writing, you just go with the flow and the words write themselves. The fact that I have the experience writing the first book helped me to write this even quicker because the original manuscript didn’t even take that long,” Wolkin recalled.
At times, the author did find it difficult to articulate a comprehensive history of Indy car racing and found that writing for a younger audience required him to “editorialize” and be careful with his diction.
“It’s very challenging considering my daily routine is that I write for a very wide audience. You’re taught to write in the sense that no one else besides you understands what you’re writing about. But it is very difficult to articulate [Indy car racing] history and one that’s very complicated for elementary school kids,” he said.
“Nothing I’ve ever written has ever been like this in terms of writing for middle [and] elementary school kids,” Wolkin added. “Knowing that it’s going to be in a lot of classrooms throughout the country is very exciting,” Wolkin said. “It’s a great book. It’s something that excites people about the racing world.”