Tiffany Dickinson - ICL Published Grad

Tiffany Dickinson

Published Work: Kaleidoscope

Tiffany is a graduate of Institute for Children’s Literature. View Course Catalog >

Welcome to the Winners’ Circle where we celebrate the success of our IFW and ICL published graduates. Today we are celebrating author Tiffany Dickinson!

Kaleidoscope by Tiffany DickinsonWhat is the name of your book? Who is the publisher?


I published independently through my own imprint, Grumblepug Press

Give us a short summary of your work.

Kaleidoscope is a middle-grade historical fiction novel about Tabby, a bi-racial girl living in Portland, OR
in 1980. Tabby navigates all the usual 7th-grade stuff like friends, school, and boys, but she’s also trying to determine who she is. Is she one race, or another, or both? All this while trying to get into a city-wide science fair with her non-academic best friend. There are ups and downs, laughs, and lots of
learning with her eclectic group of friends and close but imperfect family in this own voices story.

Tell us a bit about your path to publishing, from idea to submission to published.

I originally intended Kaleidoscope to be a memoir, but as I started laying the story down, I felt it would be better as fiction. So, while I lived where Tabby lives, went to the same school, and have the same background, this story is pure fiction.

I had a strong concept and short outline when I started the ICL Writing and Selling Children’s Books course. Instructor Victoria Sherrow helped me to narrow the focus of the story to really being about Tabby and not just a general tale of the times. It took about a year to write and another year of editing before it was done.

When I began the story, I planned to submit it for traditional publishing, but at some point I decided I wanted to publish the book on my own timeline and I wanted to keep my own flavor for the story.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing seriously for about six years.

What’s your favorite genre to write and why?

Middle Grade is my favorite genre because I can touch on both serious and silly themes without some of the requisite adult content that older readers sometimes prefer. Also,
middle-graders are fun people.

Tiffany Dickinson Profile PicPlease list the course or courses you’ve taken with us.

Writing for Children and Teens

Writing and Selling Children’s Books

How has taking our courses helped your writing and/or career?

Writing for Children and Teens helped me to hone my skills in writing for today’s kids. It helped me look at the market and understand the publishing industry.

Writing and Selling Children’s Books helped me fine-tune my voice and actually get a whole novel completed.

Have any of your class assignments been published?

This novel.

Do you have a favorite writing tip you’d like to share?
Find a community—whether it’s an online support group, an in-person critique group, or simply a group of friends who understand what it means to be a writer. It’s important to have people who care about you and “get” the writing bug to commiserate with and bounce ideas off.

If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of writing advice, how far back would you go, and what would you tell yourself?
I would go back to high school when I thought I wanted to be a journalist. I would tell myself, “Go for it. And you might want to try fiction writing too. Don’t choose a ‘safe’ career, then wait until your kids are almost grown to start writing!”

Why do you write?
I write to entertain, inspire, and maybe enlighten readers. I write to get the many stories out of my head. I write because it’s super fun!

Please tell us the best or most valuable thing you learned from your experience with ICL and IFW.

The ICL courses forced me to develop a regular writing habit. Without the scheduled accountability of having to turn in an assignment and time running out on the course, I might still be muddling around in the middle of my first novel!

Tiffany Dickinson is a former nurse, homeschooling mom, and military spouse. Between these rich experiences and her own fertile imagination, she won’t have enough time to write all the stories in her head in this millennium. In addition to being grandma to a stunning grand princess, and mom to two amazing kids, she lives with two crazy pugs, a geriatric spaniel, and a venomous black cat. Oh, and her extremely supportive husband lives there too.


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