Nikole (Nikki) Brooks Bethea’s career took a drastic turn in 2009. Nikki is the mother of four active boys and after her third son was born, she realized her career need to make a change. Nikki readily acknowledges it was a little difficult to do engineering with three boys.
Bethea is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering and a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering.
Asked how she got her start in writing, coming from an engineering background, Bethea says, “With the educational books, the publishers have a series in mind and they hire certain authors to write certain books in a series. So, most of mine are based on my science and engineering background. So, they found me. I had taken a course in writing through the Institute of Children’s Literature I took a course in writing for children and teenagers. After I finished that I took a course in writing for the educational market through a teacher I had met in the first course. In that class I took one of the homework assignments I had done based on the teacher suggestion, and I sent it in to a magazine. The magazine published it. It was on beavers and how a beaver is an engineer, A Beaver is Nature’s Busy Engineer.
Bethea said in the classes she took, they said to write what you know and with her science and engineering background it was a perfect fit. Nikkis says, “That’s how I got started. I used that as a clip and I started sending in to companies and they started contacting me to write.”
Bethea’s first writing contract came in 2009 with her first book scheduled to come out in 2010. A little delay had in on the market in 2011 and she’s had at least one book published every year since 2011. Bethea says, “I have 11 that are actually out now, two due to be out in January and one that I just finished up last week so it should be out later next year.”
The two newest books set to come out are for an engineering series with Bethea’s two books on the cotton gin and the assembly line. Those are entitled Inventing the Cotton Gin and Inventing the Assembly Line, both books will be in the series Engineering that Made America.
Bethea has had one of her books on the Top 10 Non-Fiction Series for 2015, The Science of a Bridge Collapse.
Nikki’s success at writing did not start with her children’s books. She was the recipient of an award in the 11th grade from the Daughters of the American Revolution for essay writing. While in school, she was writing engineering reports all the time and transitioned that to her job as an engineer. So, it was just kind of a refocusing for her. She was part of PAEC stem program that aided her in her educational writing.
Bethea is married to Patrick Bethea who is also an engineer and they have four boys. Lee is 13, Chase is 11, Rhett is nine, and Brooks is 7 years old. She is the daughter of Leon and Carolyn Brooks and is the oldest of four children, Trason, Trevor, and Lacarole.
Nikki’s books can be purchased from Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, or through the publishers. Her titles are G is for Grits, Science Foundations: The Water Cycle, Engineering an Awesome Recycling Center with Maxaxiom Super Scientist, The Science of Football with Maxaxiom Super Scientist, The Science of Basketball with Maxaxiom Super Scientist, The Science of a Bridge Collapse, Oil and Coal, Ecosystems of the World: Wetland Ecosystems, Power Plays: The Next 100 Years of Energy, and High-Tech Highways and Super Skyways: The Next 100 Years of Transportation.