In August, I had the privilege of being interviewed by a reporter from one of our local papers about my book. She did a wonderful job putting together the story below!
Derby Resident Shares Homeschool Experience
by Esther Hoffman
Natalie Wickham is a 28-year-old homeschool graduate, piano teacher and longtime Derby resident. But Wickham holds yet another title: author. Wickham’s book, Pajama School, was released in April, and is available in local and online bookstores.
Pajama School contains a collection of stories telling about Wickham’s experience as a homeschooler. She was motivated to write it because people around her were curious about homeschooling.
“They would find out that I graduated as a homeschooler and they would just start pummeling me with questions,” Wickham said.
“I just felt like there was a need for someone who had graduated as a homeschooler … to share what it was really like,” she said. “There are a lot of misconceptions about homeschooling.”
Even before Wickham graduated, people asked her what it was like. “The number one question that kids would ask is ‘Do you get to do school in your pajamas?’” Wickham said. That question became the basis of the book’s title. But before she thought of the title, Wickham spent two years writing the book. She started in 2007, slowly gaining speed as she realized how important the book could become. By the time she completed the manuscript in summer 2008, she was writing every day. Pajama School is written from a Christian perspective, because Wickham’s inspiration for it came at the end of 2006, when she was praying about her goals for the next year. Parts of the Bible verse in Daniel 12:3 became her aim; she wanted to become wise and turn many to righteousness. She realized that she should write a book about her experiences as a homeschooler.
“I want to convey the hope and the purpose that my faith in Jesus Christ has given my life,” Wickham said. That is not to say that only Christians will appreciate Pajama School. The book contains practical ideas and perspectives on education which will provide insight to any parent looking into homeschooling. “Education is much bigger than it is made out to be,” Wickham said.
The full-time teacher at “Natalie’s Piano Studio” has a well-versed knowledge of Music Education without the experience of going to a traditional college. She believes that homeschool graduates who forgo college are “blazing a new trail into higher education.” She encourages homeschool graduates to rethink going to college just because “that’s the thing to do,” but instead, to look for alternatives and ask what their options are.
For Wickham, education comes in many forms. As she neared completion of the book, Wickham learned more about self-publishing, and decided to set up Sibro Publishing with the help of her family members, who she appreciates for all of their support and guidance. Pajama School is currently the only book published by Sibro, but Wickham said there is a possibility for more.
Wickham said the hardest part of self-publishing is getting the word out to book distributers. But she believes the benefits outweigh the difficulty. Authors who go through an established publishing company usually get only 8 or 9 percent of the royalties, Wickham explained. Her long-term goal is to start a foundation that is funded by her book sales.
Self-publishing allowed her to have the final say on what it looked like. The cover was designed by her friend, Hannah Gleghorn, and the interior was designed by another friend. “It was really important to me for the book to look professional,” she said. As she works to establish sales channels for Pajama School, Wickham maintains a blog at www.pajamaschool.com to discuss homeschool resources and topics related to the book. Another of her blogs, www.journeytoselfpublishing.com, contains advice for others who aspire to self-publish.
Wickham continues to create more side-projects emphasizing creative endeavors. Her latest project is a cooperation with Advent Film Group to create a contest that any of her readers can enter. “What we’re doing is giving people the opportunity to put together a 30 to 60 second promo video clip,” Wickham said. These clips, made to promote Pajama School, will be reviewed by a panel of judges who will determine three finalists whose entries will be voted on by readers of the Pajama School blog. “The winners of that will receive a free family pass to the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival,” Wickham said. The contest rules and guidelines will be posted on the Pajama School Blog on Sept 1.
Click here to buy your own copy of Pajama School! I’ll even autograph your copy if you leave a comment in the customer note section to that effect. 🙂