On March 23, Southern Utah University chemistry professor Elaine Vickers held a signing for her first young adult novel “Fadeaway,” which was published under her pen name, EB Vickers.
The novel is a thriller about a popular high school basketball player who is abducted from under the noses of everyone in his town.
“Fadeaway” is a step up from the target age ranges of Vickers’ earlier novels, “Like Magic” and “Paper Chains,” which were aimed at a middle school audience. Middle school readers are around 8-12 years old, whereas a YA novel targets the interest of teen readers around or older than 14 years.
It felt like a natural progression for her fiction to take, Vickers said.
“Like Magic” is a coming of age story about three 10-year-old girls overcoming their loneliness with the help of a mysterious box they find in their school’s library. “Paper Chains” features two young girls whose lifelong friendship starts to strain under the burdens of secrets they keep from each other. I
“As my kids are entering that age range, I feel like my writing is sort of following them,” she said.
When an instructor is as dedicated to her subject as Vickers is to her chemistry instruction and studies, it can be easy to forget they pursue extracurriculars of their own. However, Vickers has grown and discovered her passion for writing throughout her teaching career, and she said her relationship with fiction didn’t begin much earlier than when she took a creative writing course during her undergraduate studies at SUU.
Vickers said Knopf/Random House bought “Fadeaway” for publication in summer 2019, so the authorship was relatively unaffected by the pandemic. The novel’s promotion has been another story.
“My publisher’s website lists me as being ‘on tour,’ which in this case means that I’m doing Zoom events with other authors and bookstores and libraries across the country,” Vickers said.
Vickers’ signing on March 23 was contrary to the COVID-19-driven Zoom events. She had a small table and display between the pharmacy and candy store sections of Bulloch Drug, where her colleagues and fans perused nicknacks and chatted.
The next book on Vickers’ docket is a children’s picture book called “Thankful,” which is set to release in fall 2021. She is also working on another YA novel titled “How to Make a Memory,” which is due in Spring, 2023. In the meantime, however, Vickers’ virtual “Fadeaway” promotion tour will continue with several more events and conferences, which are free to attend, and Vickers’ website has “more info than you could possibly want” about her writing.
Story and photo by Janzen Jorgensen