Collegian alum publishes novel 2 February 2015

Student Writer Kayleigh Thesenvitz interviewed Collegian alum RJ Young about his novel “It Only Got Worse,” his time at TU and other projects he has worked on since he graduated.

Kayleigh Thesenvitz
Student Writer

“Neurotic newspaper reporter Mikey McNulty is in love with June Summers, and he has plans to marry her. But when fate and family have other plans, Mikey is forced to question what he wants and what he believes.” This is Amazon’s description for the novel, “It Only Got Worse,” written by TU alumni and sports reporter RJ Young.

RJ came to the University of Tulsa to study Exercise and Sports science. He dreamed of coaching the world’s most talented future athletes. While at TU he was a cheerleader, ran track and wrote for the Collegian.

After graduating, he realized coaching wasn’t quite the career he wanted to commit to for the rest of his life. His love of sports and talent for reporting instead led him to get his masters degree in Professional Writing at the University of Oklahoma.

Since then, he has written for the Tulsa World, The Oklahoman, Grantland, This Land, SB Nation Longform, Knoxville News Sentinel and the USA Today among many others. His favorite piece is a recent one that he wrote for SB Nation Longform about Langston University’s basketball coach, Cheryl Miller. “It was tough because my editor was pushing me to do my best,” Young said. Yet it was his proudest work because he felt that it was a growing experience that made him a better writer.

“It Only Got Worse,” Young’s first novel, was the brainchild of his masters project at OU. It took nine months to complete the first draft and is set in Norman, Oklahoma.

Yet, RJ claimed that only about 15 percent of the book was based on his own experiences. “There are some really bad things that happen to to the main character that I hope don’t happen to me,” he said.

RJ also said that it was difficult to find a publisher. He wrote the book in 2012 and sent it to many publishers and agents. He spent two years just waiting to hear some good news. It finally came in late 2014, and by December it was published and available online.

RJ’s novel is available to purchase on Amazon. There will also be a book signing on Wednesday, Feb. 25, from 6:30–8:30 p.m. at This Land Press, 1208 S. Peoria Ave. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.