About Brenda

I was born and raised in Camden, Arkansas. It's fun to write about the places that are still important, impressionable locations from my life. I graduated from Fairview High School in Cullendale in 1971; was married in a little church at Cross Roads, between Camden and Smackover, in 1972; and gave birth to both my girls at Ouachita County Hospital in Camden. My roots run deep in the region of Frenchport, out on the Old Smackover Road, where I have chosen to set my books in The Arkansas Oil Days Series.

Each book in The Arkansas Oil Days Series starts with a story from Granny's past that I remember her telling me when I was a child. Then I create a new plot around her story to address a specific theme that is relevant to today's kids. Because these novels have the element of surprise, mystery, and suspenseful intrigue today's readers want, they are entertaining, complex, unpredictable, and rich with teachable moments. The setting is exotic because of the rich history surrounding the Smackover oil fields during the oil boom days.

I am both an educator and an author. I have a BA in secondary education in the fields of English and history/social studies and an MEd in English and language arts. My education career began in 1980 and continues to the present. Currently, I am teaching writing as an Adjunct Professor to AP Language and Composition students (11th grade) and AP Literature and Composition students (12th grade) in conjunction with Southern Arkansas University Tech for concurrent credit while they finish their high school careers. Writing has always been my passion. I have taught it for more than 30 years now, and I still have fun doing so! Writing my books keeps me on top of the game. It's a way to connect with my students and help them realize the work that it requires is not beyond my understanding. They trust what I share with them because I am always honing my craft...just like I ask them to do.

I started writing historical fiction/mystery/suspense books loosely based on my family's history with the oil boom days of the 1920's in South Arkansas in 2006. Because I understand the struggles, I write for the middle reader, ages 8 - 12, targeting reluctant readers of all ages and boys specifically. In addition to the reading issue already mentioned, I chose this group because of the gap in the market for these at-risk readers for good, quality storytelling to hold their attention. My work is paying off even more than I expected. My books are very popular with boys, girls, grandparents, parents, families, and educators alike. According to my fans, they feel like part of Hank's team while reading my novels. The storylines make them forget the time setting is 1925. The conflicts are timeless; therefore, the stories are credible. An added attraction to the reading experience is the length of time the stories stay with readers long after they have finished reading them.

Several years ago, a fellow writer gave me the title of scop (pronounced shop) because I am a storyteller whose mission is to encourage and motivate the reader/audience to act honorably for the purpose of making a difference. Life is messy and chaotic, but there is meaning behind the messiness and chaos we experience. We are, more often than not, too close to see the real struggle behind the behavior in any given situation. My stories offer alternatives to consider when facing struggles, while leaving the choices up to the readers for solving and resolving their own specific issues.

Because I was a reluctant reader myself, I know what hindered me and what helped me overcome my dislike for reading. It makes me a better teacher and gives me a purpose for my other career as a writer/author. Enjoy the escape to the past that mimics the present and prepares the reader for the future.

Brenda Hutcheson Fickey
The Reluctant Reader's Friend and Scop

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