Vikki VanSickle was a university student when she made a stunning connection.
“I had this ‘ah ha’ moment where I thought that this is what I should be doing,” VanSickle recalled.
At the time VanSickle was studying drama at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., when she realized she wanted to be a children’s author.
“I used to work at a kids’ theatre and I have always been a huge reader,” VanSickle said. “But I had just never connected my love of reading and my love of children.”
As soon as the Woodstock, Ont., native graduated from Queen’s, she applied to the University of British Columbia.
“I applied to the masters of arts in children’s literature program and I never looked back,” VanSickle said.
Since then, VanSickle has written four books – Words That Start With B; Love is a Four-Letter Word; Days That End in Y; and Summer Days, Starry Nights.
“I am mostly writing for my 11-year-old self,” VanSickle said. “I think all of my books are a love letter or a response to things that I loved when I was that age.”
On Saturday (May 2), the 2015 Red Maple Award nominee will be sharing her work and her story at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre as part of Bookfest.
— Vikki VanSickle (@vikkivansickle) April 29, 2015
Despite realizing in university that she wanted to be a children’s author, reading has been a lifelong passion for VanSickle.
“I would read everything,” she said. “I loved giving my favourite books to my friends and working with kids that age again really reminded me of how special a time that was.”
She says the best part about being able to write to children is that it brings back memories of when she was that age.
“Being able to write for that age group reminds me of that time period again,” VanSickle said. “It is such a great feeling.”
When it comes to writing for children, VanSickle says there is much more room for creativity than in adult writing.
“In adult fiction the genre lines are more specific. You could write science-fiction and people will call it science-fiction … but in kids books you could write a historical novel that re-imagines the moon landing … and no one tries to put it in a box that way we do with adult fiction,” she said.
VanSickle is currently working on her first children’s picture book, If I Had a Griffin, which will be released next year.
For more information, please visit www.bookfest.ca.
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