The magazine for Western Washington University

Performing Arts Center

Nick James ('06)

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Nick James | Photo by
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"I had always enjoyed writing, but really started looking at it as a possible career when I was attending WWU," writes Nick James ('06, English - Elementary).

"I remember using breaks between classes to work on a couple of fantasy novels (that never were published, but were learning opportunities). Some of my favorite places to write were Arntzen Hall (random, but there were comfortable seats) and the library (near the YA/children's book section, for inspiration).

"While attending Western, I was lucky enough to be in several of Professor Nancy Johnson's literature classes. The one I remember as being the most influential was the Children's Literature class, held in Bond Hall that particular quarter. It was my first time looking at children's lit as more than something just for kids.

"For the next several years, I assisted with the Children's Literature Conference (held in the Performing Arts Center), acting as an ambassador to authors like Avi, Lois Lowry, Deborah Wiles, Jon Agee and many more. I recall a workshop with Deborah Wiles in the library that was particularly inspiring, including a poetry activity that I still use with kids today when I'm teaching.

"I also took an introduction to young adult literature class in Old Main that introduced me to one of my favorite books ever (Feed, by M.T. Anderson). This book has gone on to influence the Skyship Academy series a countless amount of times."

James' books include The Skyship Academy series, including "Strikeforce" (Flux, 2013).

Learn more about James at