Amidst educating students on a daily basis and taking care of her family, one Bronx teacher still had the time to have two books published.
In December, Jessica Sticklor, who teaches AP English at the Academy of Mount St. Ursula, 330 Bedford Park Boulevard, had a young adult fantasy novel, ‘Into the Fairy Forest’ and a literary novel, ‘The Beekeeper’s Daughter,’ published.
A few years ago she also won the Bronx Council on the Arts Chapter One Award.
While she had a book published in 2012, ‘Betwixt and Between,’ she told the Bronx Times, these two books made her know the juice was worth the squeeze.
“You really work hard at it,” she stressed. “It’s a lot of rejection. You have to be okay with people saying ‘no’.”
‘Into the Fairy Forest’ deals with Lorelei Bauer, a modern-day woman with a penchant for Sylvia Plath, the icon who struggled with the injustices against women in the fifties, her role and status as a poet, her job as a mother, and her mental illness.
‘The Beekeeper’s Daughter’ is about Pippa is a typical teenager, if you don’t consider her inability to operate a cell phone. But then a-typical things start to happen.
Sticklor, 37, who grew up in Chicago, and now lives in Washington Heights, fell in love with writing at a young age. She recalled how she wanted to move to the Big Apple after watching ‘The Muppets Take Manhattan’ as a child.
In fourth grade she entered a writing contest in school and was instantly hooked.
“All the kids in school were like she’s going to be a writer,” she recalled.
Sticklor made the move to the big city when she attended the New School in the Village. While studying writing, she realized she also had a thirst to educate and give back. She holds a BA English literature in social research from The New School and an MFA in Creative Writing from CUNY.
She taught five years at a school in Queens and for the previous five has been in Bedford Park.
“I really found it (teaching) to be a very rewarding profession,” she said.
According to Sticklor, writing is easy, while publishing is challenging. In fact, after she wrote ‘Into the Fairy Forest,’ in 2014 and it was never picked up, she figured it was never going to happen.
“I sent it to agencies and publishers and it didn’t really hit,” she said. “I really wasn’t counting on it getting published and I had moved on.”
Then much to her surprise, her two books were suddenly given the go ahead at the same time. It was an early holiday gift.
She noted that with her husband Adam, two kids, Jacqueline and Addison and students in school, she would often wake up early to write for a couple hours.
She looks forward to writing more as ‘Into the Fairy Forest,’ is a series and she is signed on to do three more books in the next three years.
Sticklor noted her students are looking forward to reading the books.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” she said. “It’s been great. Seeing their teacher in print makes them proud.”