Author W. James Dickinson

James came from a family of story tellers.  With their hand-made toys, costumes and bed-time stories, a foundation was laid that dreams were made of.

His early stories  were supported by extensive drawings. This led to his first editorial cartoon being published at the age of nineteen. Over the next two decades, James published over 700 strip and editorial cartoons in Alberta and British Columbia. This netted three awards with the Gulf Islands Driftwood.

Although he gained some local notoriety, James returned to the University of Alberta. He studied art and design, graduating with honors in 1989. This opened doors to the museum industry, where he was a creative force behind many exhibits and documentary videos in Western Canada. Embedded within these exhibits was his love of bringing a story to life. Writing became a passion leading to the publishing of several short stories, two local history books, Night of the Raptors and most recently Marooned in a Strange Land.

W. James Dickinson lives with his  wife, Judy on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. They can often be seen sailing within the Salish Sea.

4 thoughts on “Author W. James Dickinson

    1. I had a very talented artist help me upgrade my cover design. Felicity made the whole process of publishing this book a great experience.

  1. Dyslexic Novelist Tells All

    A Short Lecture on Overcoming ADHD & Dyslexia

    On Sept 11, 2015, The Salt Spring Library sponsored a book release for Raptor Night. After talking with two teachers present, they suggested I come forward with my real background story:
    Within the first three months of being in grade one, I knew I was different. It would be nice to say that I was much brighter, but the truth is, I was struggling. Nobody understood dyslexia or ADHD.

    For the next 12 years, it was a struggle to get passing grades in math and English. I could not add a column of numbers up and get the same total twice. I understood the principal, and always got my marks from showing my work. Then there was my abysmal spelling. There were more recesses spent at the blackboard writing out the spelling list for the day, over and over. Did it work? No, not really.

    While my skills in English were just passable, I could draw very well. I published my first cartoon at 19 and went on to get three awards while drawing editorial cartoons for the Gulf Island Driftwood.

    I was a slow reader, but I eventually learned to read for fun. By my mid-thirties, I went back to university, but this time in a creative program where I excelled and found all the other artists who could not spell. We jokingly thought the lawyers should have to pass a basic drawing test to graduate, just like we had to have a basic English course. In 1990-91 I taught Industrial Design at the University of Alberta.

    As I was raising my two small girls, I worked as a museum designer and project manager. During those 15 years, my assistant was an English teacher, who loved history. All of my proposals were proofed and sent back with red ink. We worked on developing storylines for exhibits, and when she retired, she said, “I have no more to teach you. You have been my best student.”

    The computer was my saving grace because I have never been able to spell. If I can get the word close, it corrects it. If not, I had Judy my wife correct it when she proofs the document. It was my creative storytelling that became the most important skill.

    The Wimborne & District History Book has been described by Friesen’s Press as their best local history book to date. I did a good deal of research and wrote the 50-page introduction as well as many support stories. All the photos and text were laid out in my design studio. In 2016, the Torrington and District History was released.

    Night of the Raptors was my first novel. The feedback that has come in from the first 100 books confirms that it is an engaging story that keeps most of the readers looking forward to the next chapter. Marooned in a Strange Land (2017) is a prequel to the series. I have started book three, Return of the Queen.

    Based on my aptitude test 50 years ago, finishing my career as a writer would have been considered impossible, but heroes often overcome great difficulties by the end of a good novel.

  2. Jim, kudos for telling “your story” – ADDHD is a strongly reoccurring theme in our family, and as you note, thank goodness it is frequently off-set by other valuable skills and talents.

    Best wishes for you continuing writing and publishing.

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