Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

UT alumna Nikki Loftin shares her experience as a published author

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Author Nikki Loftin with her recent book “If You Get Lost” on Oct. 15, 2023.

At the age of nine, Nikki Loftin knew that she wanted to become an author. 30 years later, her dreams came true. 

Over the past 11 years, Nikki Loftin, children’s author and UT Alumna, successfully published four books. After facing her fair share of struggles, Loftin shared her experiences being an author in 2023 and urges aspiring writers to chase their dreams. 

“One of the things you think is, ‘Can you make a living as a writer?’” Loftin said. “It was an impossible dream, but I was 20, so I chased it.”

Loftin’s career as an author, however, didn’t occur overnight. After obtaining her bachelor’s in French at UT, Loftin went through the fiction writing program to also earn her English master’s here. Yet, Loftin said things didn’t go to plan. 

“After a year I was flailing, I didn’t feel like I fit in,” Loftin said. “(Instead) I got certified and hired as a music teacher in New Braunfels ISD.” 

Loftin stayed in education for a few years until she received a call informing her that the hours she received from graduate school would soon expire, so she returned. Loftin said she never knew she could write children’s books until she sent a story to Scout Life Magazine, formerly Boy’s Life, and they bought it.  

“My oldest (child) was telling me this story, and I thought, ‘That’s hilarious,’ so I wrote a story and sent it,” Loftin said. “I did not know that magazine had the highest circulation and payout of any children’s magazine in America.”

After that, Loftin said she wrote more books and eventually signed with an agent in New York.

“The third novel I sent her was, ‘The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy,’ which sold to Razorbill,” Loftin said. “They bought another book, and then another, and that was the beginning of the roller coaster it is to be a traditionally published author.”

Dave Wilson, Loftin’s husband, said their sons inspire her books. 

“She wrote the books with them and her in mind,” Wilson said. “Some of the stories are drawn from (her) life experiences. I can read the books and think, ‘Oh, I recognize that story and that situation.’”

Loftin said her books interlace personal experiences with an underlying message of self-love. 

“My books are about loving yourself when you’re a kid and being okay with what’s going on in your life,” Loftin said. “Even if the world around you is filled with things you can’t change.” 

Loftin said authors can’t control many factors of their journeys, including traditional publishing as a rejection-based industry. 

“For every book I wrote, there were three that did not get published,” Loftin said. “The difference between a lot of incredible writers that I’ve worked with is the ones that were able to hear ‘no’ and just keep telling themselves ‘yes.’”  

Cynthia Leitich Smith, a friend of Loftin and fellow author, said Loftin’s accomplishments prove any dream can turn into a career. 

“She has so much energy in her voice and enthusiasm for the creative life,” Smith said. “For students, she is an example of someone who chose a dream that may not seem sensible and managed to not only have success (but) lead.”

Smith said at this age in the publication industry, Loftin reminds writers of the uniqueness of the human voice. With this, Loftin said any aspiring writer should write stories that matter to them. 

“We only have so much time here,” Loftin said. “If you’re going to leave your mark, leave a mark you want to leave.” 

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