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Stacy A. Nyikos (1969-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Writings, Sidelights

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Born 1969, in Houston, TX; Education: University of Notre Dame, B.A., 1990; Christina Albrecht University (Kiel, Germany), M.A., 1994; University of Virginia, Ph.D., 2000. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Unitarian. Hobbies and other interests: "Running, writing, playing with my children."

Addresses

Office—University of Oklahoma, 4502 E. 41st St., Tulsa, OK 74135-2512.

Career

University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK, research associate, 2000–; statistics lab coordinator, University of Oklahoma, Tulsa, statistics lab coordinator, 2004–. Freelance writer.

Member

Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, American Political Science Association.

Writings

Squirt, illustrated by Shawn Sisneros, Stonehorse Pub. (Tulsa, OK), 2005.

Shelby, illustrated by Shawn Sisneros, Stonehorse Pub. (Tulsa, OK), 2006.

Contributor to The State of the European Union, Volume 6, edited by Rachel Cichowski and Tanja Börzel, Oxford University Press, 2003; and Europeanisation: A Handbook for a New Research Agenda, edited by Paolo Graziano and Marten Vink, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Contributor to periodicals, including European Journal of Political Research, European Union Politics, and Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.

Sidelights

Stacy A. Nyikos told SATA: "I began writing children's literature about two years ago. My young daughters were my main motivators. They say, 'you write what you know,' and in my case I am immersed most of my day either in academic work or the world of children. Since I enjoy writing, I began to express some of my experiences with my children in the way I had been taught, through writing. I found that the exercise was immensely pleasing.

"I have been able to escape from the every-day and into the world of children. It's a wonder any of us willingly grow up. Imagination is still written with a capital 'I' when one is little. Faith in the unknown and the possible, even the impossible, is boundless. The world is a place to be explored, rather than tolerated or managed.

"Writing for children takes on many forms for me. Often I am hit with an idea and I walk about in a half haze, trying to remember what I was looking for in the kitchen, or why I was standing at the back door with a bag in my hand. It is as though the world of the new story merges into my everyday life, leaving me sensory impaired. I am caught between two worlds. Even after I get the story down, that world often takes a long time to unhook itself from my everyday experiences. It is as though the characters in my story follow me around, reminding me of new ideas, helping me to see my world differently. It is an incredible and, at times, surreal experience.

"This great experience is followed by rewrites, and more rewrites, and even more. Often I put the work away for a week, and try to concentrate on a new project, and get away from the old one. Then I go back to it with fresh eyes and ears, looking and listening for the inconsistencies, for my characters to tell me where I need to strengthen them.

"And all the while I am listening and living with my girls, watching them, learning with them. From them come my new ideas. They are my small, but persistent muses, helping me to discover the incredible."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Midwest Book Review, August, 2005, review of Squirt, p. 7.

ONLINE

Notre Dame Magazine Online, http://www.nd.edu/∼ndmag/ (July 15, 2005), review of Squirt.

Stonehorse Publishing Web site, http://www.stonehorsepublishing.com/ (October 10, 2005), teachers' guide to Squirt.

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