Posts

TV personality, Talitha Vickers, releases first book

TV news anchor, Talitha Vickers, recently released her first book entitled ‘Why My Hero Had to Go.’

TV personality, Talitha Vickers, releases first book
February 17
13:48 2021

Talitha Vickers has blessed the Triad community with her on-air work and community service for years. After years of effort and planning, Vickers now has become an author by releasing her first book, “Why My Hero Had to Go.”

The book was inspired by the relationship between her brother, who is in the armed forces, and her nephew. She had wanted to find a way to shed some light on the difficulties her brother and nephew had to deal with when her brother was deployed overseas.

“Every time that my brother had to leave for deployment, no matter the age of my nephew, it was very difficult,” said Vickers. “Whether he was two years old and tugging at my brother’s leg, or he was five years old and my brother would try to sit him down and explain where he was going and what he was doing, and even up to his teenage years, it was just a constant struggle for a child to understand why his dad was leaving again.

“During those deployments, we were always there, and we would always try to explain it to my nephew, but he could never grasp it. I drew from all of that and I said I need to make something, even if it’s a coloring book, so he could understand his dad was doing something really important and special.”

Following several deployments by her brother, Vickers noticed her nephew becoming more withdrawn when that typically wasn’t his personality. She found out kids at her nephew’s school were giving him a hard time by saying “your dad doesn’t love you” and “your dad never shows up to football games.  

“That just crushed me, because we had worked so hard to find ways they could stay connected, like the book said, through the stars and looking at the same moon even though they were hundreds of miles apart,” she said about her feelings. “That really pushed me even further in writing the book, not only for military families to understand, but also for their peers to understand that just because there is a different family dynamic from your own, doesn’t mean that child isn’t loved.

“I drew from my nephew and what I physically saw from my brother. My nephew would share with me the things I didn’t see when he was at school and things kids would say to him and I said I had to include that in the book so kids could also understand the life of service men and women.”

According to Vickers, the themes of the book center on love, inclusion, and kindness. “It really shows how family can stay connected through their daily routines and their environment,” she said about the book. “So, it’s showing through daily routines how kids can stay connected to their loved ones dealing with deployment, but also really drive home the message and show you can stay connected with any loved one.

“I have yet to meet a child that can grasp the word deployment and what it means. So, I wanted to break it down and chop it in little pieces so it’s bite-sized for children to understand what it is they’re doing and really pull back that curtain through the illustration from Keith Hobgood to be able to have the lightbulb go off for children.”

This is Vickers first time as an author of a book, and she is very happy to have the opportunity to tell this story to kids.  

“I am overwhelmed, and this is something that has always been in my heart,” she said about being a first-time author. “I’ve always loved working with children and I am a Sunday School teacher. I just love working with children and seeing the magic in their eyes through books, so to be able to write my own and share that with my children and read the book to the twins is so magical.”

From start to finish, the book took eight years for Vickers to complete. With work, family and community involvement, Vickers had little time to write, find the perfect illustrator, or a publisher.

“When you sit down and think, okay I am going to write a book, in my mind I was thinking I could bang this out in a couple months or a year because I know this story and it’s a true story and I know the themes I want in there, but it was eight years,” she said. “Eight years of stop and go, eight years of moving to different states for my job and I am so glad that it took that eight years, because it allowed me to really hone in on exactly how I wanted the book to be written and the look of it.

“I cannot thank Keith Hobgood enough. He is the illustrator from Out of Our Minds Studios, and he is the illustrator that really brought the book to life in a really magical way. He even put little hidden messages in the actual illustration so that even though the dad isn’t in every illustration, there is a piece of him in each illustration. He really took the words and made the book come to life and I am so grateful to have worked with him.”

Even as a well-known public figure in the community, it was difficult for Vickers to find a publisher for her book. Being a first-time African American female author writing a book about a young Black boy and his father made some publishing companies hesitant about the book.

“Some people will look at me and say, ‘that was easy for you, because you are a public figure’ and actually it’s not,” she said. “I think that people don’t realize that just because you are on television, or just because you do a lot of community service and people may know your name doesn’t mean that they’re going to be so willing to help you publish your book.”

Vickers says there are many “gatekeepers” in the book industry and she found out the hard way when she attempted to send letters to agents about her book. She found that just being a public figure was not enough to entice agents and publishing companies to her book. Through hard work and dedication, she chose to self-publish her book.

“I went the route of self-publishing because I found there were so many gatekeepers in this industry that do not believe in the books of our stories, the stories of our lives, the stories of our own voices,” she continued. “They don’t believe there is enough of a big market out there for our books to have a Black child on the cover.”

Vickers emphasizes the point by telling a story that told her they liked the story and the book, but asked if she could lighten the skin color of the child. She vehemently refused.

Throughout the eight years Vickers worked on the book, she kept it a secret from her brother and nephew. Once she finished the book, she sent her brother a copy in the mail as a surprise. Her brother was overjoyed to have Vickers express in print the emotions he has had to deal with every time he has had to leave his family.

“When he got it in the mail, he sent me a text message and he said, ‘I just received your package, I can’t talk right now, I’m only up to the third page and I am in tears’,” she said about her brother reading the book for the first time. “That for me was so powerful, because I gave it to him as a gift just to let him know that even in those quiet moments when we were apart and we couldn’t be together, I felt your pain and love and wrapped it up in a book.”

Her nephew echoed the sentiments of his father. He was happy that she was able to show how hard it was as a child to endure having your father leave to serve his country.

Vickers is a firm believer in getting more Black authors on the shelves of book stores, schools and libraries. She feels the best way to accomplish that is by having the Black community support Black authors. Currently her book has been fast tracked by the Forsyth County Library system and is on the shelves of every library in the county.

It was intentional for Vickers to bring to light what the men and women of the armed forces have to deal with when they leave their families for deployment.  She knows her brother and nephew are not the only ones dealing with this issue, so it was a hope that other families could benefit from the book.

“A lot of times we see the big happy reunion when they return from overseas, but we don’t often hear the backstory, we don’t see the struggle, the tug of war or the crying nights of the child laying in bed wondering, where is my dad,” she said. “That is often lost on so many people. It was lost on me until I saw it once my brother joined the Army.

“I have such a profound respect for service men and women, because what they do and what they give up and the families that serve a special mission of their own and what they do and what they give up in order to keep all of us safe, it is beyond profound and it is critical that we recognize and support them. I wanted to make sure people on the outside, or civilians, to understand there is so much more beyond the happy reunions and the tearful goodbyes.”

Vickers plans to have more books in the near future that will include other branches of the armed forces, as well as for little girls. 

For more information about “Why My Hero Had to Go,” visit www.talithavickers.com.

About Author

Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

Related Articles

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

Search wschronicle.com

Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Categories

Archives

More Sponsors