English Professor Motivates SCC Student to Finish Children's Book
Not many college students can claim Chris Bickley's credentials. This father of daughters Cleo, Olivia, and Lillian is also a proud veteran of the U.S. Air Force, as well as an up-and-coming children’s author.
Another unique aspect about Bickley is that he carpools to Santiago Canyon College (SCC) with two of his daughters and has actually been a classmate with one of them. His dedication to his family, which also includes his wife Teri, is pivotal to his story.
Fifteen years ago, Bickley started writing a children’s book for his three young daughters, but tabled the project when his computer crashed. Fast-forward to 2016 when Chris was enrolled as a full-time SCC student sitting in the office of English professor Roberta Tragarz, who was reviewing one of his class assigned essays about a high school challenge.
"She started laughing at the beginning of the essay, and kept laughing all the way through it," says Bickley. "Then she encouraged me to pursue writing and that led me to pick up the story I had abandoned years ago and finish a re-write in three days."
As that book was being peddled to publishers, another opportunity found him collaborating with illustrator Brenda Ponnay to create Professor McNasty’s Collection of Slimes, a picture book for kids that is now selling on Amazon.
In addition to the SCC faculty and counselors, Bickley acknowledged the Veterans Service Office on campus as another source of support on campus, where he’s generated a lot of excitement by publishing a book.
"They celebrate my success, and continue to address my needs and comfort on campus," says this dad, veteran, and author who aspires to transfer to Cal State Long Beach for a major in creative writing and a teaching credential so that he can share his enthusiasm of the written word.