Weekend with a Writer is a new monthly feature on this blog, and it is my great pleasure to start off the series with Beverly Stowe McClure. Beverly writes young fiction, and a few weeks ago, we read one another’s novel at the same time. It was a great experience, and I look forward to introducing you to a fellow YA author.
Interview with Beverly Stowe McClure
If anyone had told Beverly she’d be a writer someday, she’d have thought they were crazy. When Beverly was a child, she hated to read. Even though her eighth grade teacher sent her poem “Stars” to a high school anthology and it was published in Young America Sings, she hated to write. So what happened to change her mind? Here’s what she has to say:
When did you realize that reading was fun?
In spite of my rocky relationship with books, I attended the university which meant reading hundreds of books. (What was I thinking?) Surprisingly, I graduated with a degree in elementary education and became a teacher. Yes, I know, an unlikely career for me. But life has a funny way of pointing us in certain directions. My teaching was the beginning of my love of reading and writing. Listening to my students report on the Newbery books they read, sometimes dressing the part of the characters, other times acting out a favorite scene woke me up to what I’d been missing: Reading was fun. I also read to my sons and fell in love with Dr. Seuss. And I started wanting to write too, to have children read my stories and become the characters, for a time.
Why did you choose to write for children and teens?
Actually, children’s books chose me. I discovered that I enjoyed reading books for young people, especially for teens, more than adult books. I think I’m still a kid and don’t really want to grow up.
How did you get started writing?
I really had no idea where to begin, so I took a course from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Through them I learned the basics. I began by writing articles based on science experiments and art projects we did in school. At this point I was teaching fifth-grade science, reading, spelling and art. After a couple of years of submitting my articles, I sold my first one to Happiness, a TV type magazine. I still have the money in a frame on the wall. Other articles sold to leading children’s magazines such as Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Ladybug, Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr. and others.
Why did you decide to write novels?
I was having fun with the magazine articles, but my dream was to write a novel. So I signed up for the Institute’s course on novel writing. Two years later, my first full-length story was complete. It now resides in a box in my writing room. Maybe someday I’ll revise it and send it off, maybe not. Since then five of my stories for teens have been published. The latest one, Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, is scheduled for released June 15, 2010. I also have five more stories under contract.
What is your writing schedule like?
I’m a morning person and like to write from about 9 to 11 or 12 AM on my current WIP. I usually have 2 or 3 stories going at a time.
I prefer a schedule. (The ex-teacher in me, I think.) Every day I write down what I hope to accomplish that day. I don’t always complete everything on the list, but I get the basics done.
In the afternoon, I do promo work, post on blogs, and answer email or run errands.
Where can we learn more about you and your writing?
My sites are: http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com
*Tomorrow I will post my review of Beverly Stowe McClure’s Just Breeze. *