Monday, Mar 22, 2010
By Cameron Probert
Herald staff writer
MOSES LAKE — Tracy Nickels smiles as she starts reading the first story from her new children’s book.
“Miss Violet was a single lady between the ages of not quite young and nowhere old, average height,” she read from the book, “It Happens at Miss Violet’s.”
The 58-year-old Moses Lake resident recently released the book containing 10 stories featuring Miss Violet’s house, a place where magical events occur. Nickels said the book started when she received a Christmas card from a fellow fan of a Shakespearean actor.
“I wrote back and gave her my phone number,” she said. “Before you know it, she called me back and, well, we got to talking and I told her, ‘Yeah, I like to write,’ and she was a publisher and I sent her a bunch of my things that I had already done.”
After receiving some of Nickels’ work, Cheryl Pillsbury, president of AG Press, asked Nickels to write some stories for children’s magazines. The 10 stories she wrote became her new book.
“(The book) is about a magical, mystical neighborhood and anything that happens that way, happens at Miss Violet’s,” she said. “Sometimes, there will be something that … I just want to write a story around it.”
She said the first story about how Miss Violet’s kitchen utensils protect her from burglars was inspired by a timer she had.
“I thought wouldn’t it be great if Miss Violet had these old kitchen tools, appliances and utensils, but she uses everything and she takes good care of them,” Nickels said. “Then, one fine day, when she is in trouble, her appliances come and rescue her.”
The book is geared for children 3 years old or older, she said, adding there is something in the stories for older children as well.
“When I was little my mom read to me,” she said. “Every little kid just loves to get read to. Find a good story and they’re going to read it to them before they go to sleep.”
The process of having a published book is a new experience for Nickels, but she’s been writing for most of her life, she said.
“It’s in my blood. My mother was very creative. She liked to sketch. She liked to paint and she liked to write too,” Nickels said. “So I think I got most of that from mom. In fact, I dedicated my Miss Violet book to her too.”
Along with her children’s book, Nickels also published a book of poems and short stories called, “Art of Words.” The Moses Lake resident isn’t finished writing yet, she is also working on a second collection of stories based on Miss Violet’s house.
“(Pillsbury) said, ‘You don’t get rich, but, boy, it’s a lot of fun.’ It has been really,” she said. “It’s something I’ve been doing for three or four years now. You still learn. Even as you’re going along, you still learn a whole lot about what it’s like to put a book together. And, so far, it’s the beginning of a real cool journey and it’s not ended yet.”
Nickels, a Pioneer Village resident, celebrated her book with a book signing open house at Pioneer Village Senior Apartments