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Sandra Wickham lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and two cats. Recently, Sandra has been busy organizing the Creative Ink Festival for Writers, Readers and Artists, which you are welcome to join on Saturday, 25 April. To find out more about Sandra and the festival, please visit http://www.sandrawickham.com/
Sandra is also a writer and her short stories have appeared in Evolve, Vampires of the New Undead, Vampires of the Future Undead, Crossed Genres magazine, The Urban Green Man and more. She blogs about writing with the Inkpunks, is the Fitness Nerd columnist for the Functional Nerds, blogs for Luna Station Quarterly and slush reads for Lightspeed Magazine. Sandra competed in fitness competitions for ten years, including four years in the IFBB Pro ranks. She’s been a trainer for twenty years, offering programs designed for anyone looking to improve their level of health and fitness. Sandra has also acquired her black belt in martial arts.
Interview by Christel Bodenbender
The Creative Ink Festival is less than three weeks away, how has the response been in the community?
I’m overwhelmed by the support I’ve received from professional authors and artists as well as by companies willing to sponsor us. Our programming is stacked with talented and knowledgeable professionals, and our membership tote bags are going to be filled with great stuff, including free books, thanks to the generosity of those sponsors!
Is this the first major event you have planned and produced?
Over a span of ten years I promoted thirteen bodybuilding and fitness shows. Our last one had over 300 athletes, a sold out audience of over 1200, plus dozens of volunteers, sponsors and vendors. While it’s not the same type of event, the festival is similar in many ways and I’m hoping to use my experience to make it a great experience for everyone.
I saw the programming grid went up and am already selecting the panels and workshops I want to attend. How difficult was it to fill the day with these exciting events?
Once again, I’ll thank the presenters and panelists for their contributions, they’re providing so much experience and knowledge for festival members. Many of the panels are simply things I would love to hear about or have enjoyed at other events.
How nervous are you? This could become one of the major events for art and writing in Vancouver.
Well, now I’m extremely nervous since you put it that way! I do thank you for the kind words, but I’m just focusing on the details of this one, and promoting the 2016 event. I am nervous that after getting all these great presenters and sponsors on board, not enough people will come to see them. I’m hoping the “if you build it they will come” magic will work for me.
You had an exciting career in the fitness industry. Was writing speculative fiction something you always had on the backburner and can you live and breathe now?
I’ve always written, including writing my first novel at the age of nine. I dropped writing while I was at university pursuing my degree in English and Drama. After that came backpacking overseas, then competitions for ten years, none of which really went well with serious writing. Once I retired from competition, I went back to writing and started submitting.
What comes next? Are you right away going into planning mode for next year, or do you have other projects planned first?
The one day event has kept me extremely busy, for the full weekend event I will be taking the entire year to plan it. Of course, I also plan to continue with my own writing!
Sandra Wickham lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and two cats. Her friends call her a needle crafting aficionado, health guru and ninja-in-training. Sandra’s short stories have appeared in Evolve, Vampires of the New Undead, Evolve, Vampires of the Future Undead, Crossed Genres magazine, The Urban Green Man and more. She blogs about writing with the Inkpunks, is the Fitness Nerd columnist for the Functional Nerds, blogs for Luna Station Quarterly and slush reads for Lightspeed Magazine. Sandra competed in fitness competitions for ten years, including four years in the IFBB Pro ranks. She’s been a trainer for twenty years, offering programs designed for anyone looking to improve their level of health and fitness. Sandra has also acquired her black belt in martial arts. To find out more about Sandra, please visit http://www.sandrawickham.com/.
Interview by Christel Bodenbender
First of all, I want to congratulate you on the recent birth of your son. How does it feel to be a mother?
I absolutely love this new mom gig. The lack of sleep is difficult, to put it mildly, but baby cuddles trump everything else. Everything. We’re so happy and privileged to have our son in our lives.
Besides your new parental role, you are also busy in the fandom and are planning the Creative Ink Festival for this April. Can you tell us more about your vision for the event?
Thanks for asking about my new venture, I’m really excited about it. My goal is to provide a great event for writers, artists and readers, all rolled into one. I really want people to get inspired, motivated and encouraged when attending the festival. You know that awesome feeling you have when you attend a great workshop or informative conference or fun convention? That's what I want for attendees. I want it to be both fun and educational. For anyone who has attended When Words Collide in Calgary, I am modelling it after that.
What audience and participants do you want to attract?
I’m hoping to get people involved that are as passionate about the creative arts as I am. Any writers or artists looking to pass it forward make great presenters and panelists. We’ve got a terrific GoH for our one day event, author and publisher, Mark Teppo. Our GoHs for 2016 have also been booked! We’re thrilled to have New York Times Best Selling author Carrie Vaughn and Hugo award winning artist Galen Dara coming to Creative Ink Fest next year.
As for the audience, the festival is really for everyone! If you’re a writer, a reader, an artist or a fan of creative endeavours, there will be something there for you.
What are your plans for advertising and fundraising for the event?
Social media is our friend, we’ll be using our website, twitter and facebook to get the word out. I’ve contacted those in the community who run workshops and critique groups, I’ll also be contacting the wonderful members of SF Canada. We’ve been generously given a listing in Pulp Literature, who are also going to be one of our sponsors. Speaking of sponsors (see how I did that), the money to fund this event is going to come solely from memberships and sponsors. We’re keeping the cost of memberships extremely low to keep it accessible, so sponsors are going to be vital. We offer different sponsor packages, depending on whether people want a booth, program ad, etc. Yes! I’m plugging sponsorship. Please check out the website for more information!
How can people get involved in the Festival?
I’ll always be looking for presenters, volunteers, sponsors and vendors. Visit the website or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat!