When Kelsey Vickers was a kid, she dreamed of becoming a published author one day. She kept a notebook of story ideas, and she would spend time with her father bouncing them around. The notebook is no more, but Vickers’ dream came true: She recently published her first children’s book.
Vickers grew up in Phoenix for a short time before her family moved to Flagstaff. She’s a graduate of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and now resides in Cave Creek, but often frequents the Arcadia area, where her family lives.
“I decided to finally put my efforts into publishing when my husband and I began discussing starting a family,” she said.
Vickers’ inspiration for becoming a writer started back in high school. She had an English teacher who was known for his challenging classes.
“He was the first to push me creatively in my writing and encourage me to think hard about pursuing it further in college,” Vickers said. “After that school year, I didn’t think about it again until my second year in college.”
Vickers said that she felt unsure of her writing when she started at ASU, so she majored in a different field. She then switched gears and applied to the journalism program to pursue writing as a career.
Vickers’ book, Tails of Harlow, is inspired by her sister’s Bernese mountain dog, Harlow.
“She is clumsy, messy, and so much larger than she believes she is,” Vickers said. “But with all the mess comes the most loving, gentle giant. The stories in the book are inspired by true incidents and the mess her tail causes.”
The process of writing a book was challenging for Vickers. First, she said she had to overcome her lack of confidence.
“I had to continuously remind myself that everyone has to start somewhere, and most people don’t know what they are doing at the start of anything new,” she said.
Once she completed her research, Vickers said she decided to share the news with everyone that her goal was to get her book published.
“I truly believe the best way to stay motivated and to complete something challenging is to tell everyone you know about it. With people continually asking me about how the book was going, I always had it at the forefront of my mind,” she said.
After several edits, Vickers sent a first draft to a professional editor. Then, she started to search for a local illustrator to help bring the book to life.
“While waiting in line to get a coffee, I overheard two women having a conversation; one worked in publishing. It truly felt like fate stepped in. I introduced myself, and it turned out to be the best thing I had done,” she said.
The woman shared referrals to groups that Vickers could turn to for help. She joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and shared her idea.
After reaching out to numerous small and large independent publishing companies, and a few rejection letters, Vickers received an email asking to attach the entire manuscript.
“I feel fortunate to have my name printed on a published book,” Vickers said. “I am extremely happy.”
Vickers plans to continue writing children’s books and hopes to create a Tails of Harlow series with five more books.
Tails of Harlow is available on Amazon.