Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Author Beverly Stowe McClure

I’m pleased to welcome children’s author Beverly Stowe McClure on my blog today. A self-proclaimed non-reader as a child, she nevertheless attended college and read hundreds of books! While teaching school and reading to her students, she discovered that reading is fun! She also started to write and was surprised that her stories and articles were published in leading children’s magazines. She is the author of four novels for teens.


Katie: Your tween/young adult contemporary story is entitled “Just Breeze.” Can you please give us a synopsis of this book?


Beverly: Eighth grade starts out the same as every other day for Breeze Brannigan. She’s still the tallest student, boy or girl, in her class, wears shoes that would fit an elephant, and her smile reveals dazzling braces that blind everyone within ten feet.

Then she meets Cam, the new boy in school, who speaks with an accent and must be from another planet, for none of the earthling boys she knows are so polite. He also has a secret that could mean life or death for Came and his mother, and that Breeze must help him keep.


Katie: After discovering that you loved to read, what prompted you to begin to write?


Beverly: I think reading fun stories in children’s magazines and Newbery winning books and seeing how much the students and my sons enjoyed them was the beginning. What if I could write stories and books that the kids liked and even helped reluctant readers discover the excitement of books? So I decided why not? I started with magazine articles first, since I’m interested in animals and science and had a lot of ideas from things we did in the classroon. Fiction soon followed. I’ve been writing ever since, and loving it.


Katie: What prompted you to write children’s stories specifically?


Beverly: I’m still a kid at heart. I loved teaching and the school environment. Kids are super. And frankly, children’s and teen’s stories appeal to me more than most books for adults. Maybe I’m just a simple person, or perhaps I don’t want to grow up.


Katie: Are you traditionally published? If so, what led you to your current publishing house?


Beverly: Yes, all but one of my books are traditionally published. Twilight Times Books, publisher of Listen to the Ghost, Rebel in Blue Jeans, and the forthcoming Caves, Cannons and Crinolines started as an e-publisher then went to print books in 2004. When I was looking for a publisher for my paranormal story, I saw TTB mentioned on a message board. They sounded right for my story, so I sent a query and a few months later had a contract.

Just Breeze, my latest novel for tweens or middle-grade readers is 4 RV Publishing, another traditional publisher. I heard about them at the Muse Conference and also noticed other children’s books they had published, such as Bubba and Giganto: Odds Against Us, that I reviewed. I really liked their books so sent them a query and now Breeze is out.


Katie: Do you have an agent? Why or why not?


Beverly: No, but it’s not from lack of trying. When I first started writing, many large houses accepted unagented work, and I wasn’t too concerned about having an agent. I just sent my manuscripts to the publishers. As you know, that has changed in the past few years, and it’s almost impossible to break into the “big” publishers without an agent. So I’m looking. Several have responded positively to the manuscript I’m shopping around, but haven’t signed me.


Katie: Breeze sounds like my kind of gal. What prompted you to create this character?


Beverly: I don’t know. This girl with the frizzy hair, who hates the way she looks, just popped into my head one day. From years of teaching I know how important “fitting in” is to most (not all) girls in elementary and middle school. So Breeze told me her troubles and I wrote them down.


Katie: What is a “typical” writing day like for you?


Beverly: My favorite day is when I can write and write and write and forget about the world. Unfortunately, that seldom happens. Usually, I check my emails first thing and reply to those that need attention right away. The others I wait until later in the day to answer. Sometimes several days later. I like to write on my current story from about 9 am to 11 or 12.

Afternoons are spent on promo: calling to book signings, typing media releases or brochures to mail, answering mail, blogging, and stuff like that. Saturdays are catch up days. I might work on a synopsis or character profiles, but mostly promo and keeping track of expenses and sales for the IRS. It never ends, but one day I will catch up.


Katie: For words of advice would you have for other writers who want to write for children?


Beverly: Basically, if you want to write for children then do it. Don’t let others tell you you’re too old, too young, too this or that. Just do it. Be patient. Be persistent. Be positive. And never, never give up. I tape “no thank you” letters where an editor has written nice remarks about my work or words of encouragement to the wall by my desk. They lift my spirits when I’m having a rough day. Hang in there. It’s a tough business, but one day, you’ll be glad you did. You can read my “Breakthrough” article in the June 2007 issue of the Writer magazine.


Katie: Thanks, Beverly, for being my guest today. For more information, check out Beverly’s sites: http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com; http://justbreeze.wordpress.com; http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com


Beverly: Thank you, Katie, for hosting me.

11 comments:

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Good Morning, Katie,

Thanks so much for interviewing me. I've enjoyed visiting with you and sharing a little about myself. Best of luck with your forthcoming book.

Bev

storylady said...

Hi Bev/Katie. I always enjoy your blogs Bev. Just Breeze sounds like a very interesting and entertaining. There is always someone who feels out of place/different, but there is always another preson who feels the same to connect with.
Good inrerview.

Sharon

bbockman said...

Hi Bev and Katie,
Great interview. Congratulations, Bev, on the publication of your book. I was just looking at you on the 4RV web site.
Also, we've been communicating during the Muse conference on your forum.
I hope my writing shows that I understand the kid/teen mind as much as you in your book appear to.
See you in cyber-space,
Barbara Bockman

Donna M. McDine said...

Hi:

I always enjoy getting to know Bev and her characters better each time I read about them. Great interview!

Best wishes to you both for your continued success,
Donna

Vivian Zabel said...

Breeze is an interesting character, and young girls, especially, will relate to her. Ha, some of us older ones remember being her years ago.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Hi, Sharon, Barbara, Donna, and Vivian. Thanks for your kind words. Are we having fun at the Conference, Barbara? I am. :)

Bev

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I'm back because I must add this:

I have discovered that small publishing houses are great. They truly care about you and your book. In case you haven't guessed, I'm speaking of 4 RV. They are a delight to work with. I hope to work with them again.

Bev

6p010535cd0de2970c said...

You have a gift for summaries; that was a great enticing excerpt, a hat off for you :)

Maryann Miller said...

Enjoyed the interview. I love children's and Y/A books, although I have only written one. I volunteered in the school library when my kids were young and loved talking to the students about books and stories. Some of them were amazed that I had read so many of the books in their library.

Beverly, if you ever do catch up, let me know how you did it. LOL

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thank you, 6pO. I appreciate your kind words.

:) I will, Maryann, but don't hold your breath. It may take forever. I love children's and YA books too. I loved teaching. Guess I'm still a kid in many ways.

Bev

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Hi Barbara. I found you. :) I enjoyed your comments at the Muse Conference and wish you the best of luck with your characters and stories. Thanks for your kind words. Remember, never give up.

Bev