Beverly Stowe McClure, a former teacher, is now enjoying a second career: writing. She never planned to be a writer, but in the classroom she and her students did such fun activities in art and science that she decided to write about some of them. Luckily, a few magazines liked what she sent them, and her articles have appeared in Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Ladybug, Focus on the Family Clubhouse, Jr., and others. Nine of her stories have been published as books, the latest one a MG/Tween eBook: A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. She also has two stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies.
Beverly enjoys discovering her ancestors in her genealogy research. She plays the piano. (Thank you, Mom, for making encouraging me to practice.) She takes long walks where she snaps pictures of wildlife and clouds, and of course she reads, usually two books at a time. She teaches a women’s Sunday school class. Watching baseball (Go Rangers) is another of her favorite activities. Retirement is fun.
Would you call yourself a born writer?
Nope, not even close. Everyone might think I was, since my eighth-grade teacher sent “Stars,” a poem I wrote for a class assignment, to a high school anthology and it was published in Young America Sings, a high school anthology. That poem was my only claim to publishing, as well as my only attempt at writing anything except school papers, until I grew up into an adult. I wasn’t really interested in becoming an author. When the writing bug finally bit me at a much older age, and I decided to become a famous author, haha, I had no idea how to start, so I took a couple of courses on writing for children. I worked hard, following my instructor’s directions. Writing was tougher than I thought it would be. I kept at it though and am so happy I did not give up.
What was your inspiration for A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat?
On a visit with my son and daughter-in-law, who live on James Island just outside Charleston, SC, we decided to go to Folly Beach and watch the sun rise one morning. Morris Island Light House, built before the Civil War, sits in the Inlet. As the sun peeked above the horizon, turning night into day, I pictured a ghost living in the light house. Who was he? Why was he a ghost? Why was he in the lighthouse? Then the vision of a pirate ship cruising in the waters, searching for something appeared. A pirate, tricorn hat on his head, cutlass at his side, stood on board the ship. Some people might think I’m a little on the weird side. But isn’t the imagination the place where many stories begin? Ghost stories are quite popular in Charleston. I heard a lot while I was there. According to legend, many of the old houses have resident ghosts. I’ve written one ghost story and knew I’d soon write a second one. Now I have: A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. Since my target audience is children and teens, my characters are tweens, thirteen years old. And the ghosts … well, you may recognize a couple of them.
What themes do you like to explore in your writing?
I seldom think of themes when I write, but I’d have to say “family” is an important theme to me. I’m big on family and I think it shows in my writing. Also honesty and love are found in many of my novels.
How long did it take you to complete the novel?
I started the novel in early 2010. Revised, revised, and revised. My critique group gave me expert advice. I revised some more. I confess to being a slow writer. The English teacher in me cringes at punctuation errors and such, so I spend a lot of time correcting myself. Finally, the manuscript was ready to submit in fall of 2011.
Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.
Most of the time, yes, I stick to a schedule. Having a set routine goes back to my teaching years, I think. I accomplish more if I write down my goals for each day, not that I always reach them, but they motivate me to stay busy. I generally start writing around 9:00 AM, after I’ve checked email. If I’m working on a new story, I do it first, and write until 11:00 or 12:00. I usually have more than one story going at a time, in different stages. Right now, I’m working on a new YA historical fiction novel, editing a YA contemporary that I hope to submit around the first of the year, if not sooner, and tossing about ideas for a couple of new stories. I alternate working on the new and editing the old.
Afternoons I search for promotion ideas, post blogs, read other’s blogs, and read books to review. My brain doesn’t create well in the afternoon, so I seldom write then. Perhaps a short story, but nothing that takes a lot of energy. Evenings I spend reading.
Since the pirates in the story are “real” instead of fiction, I had to do a lot of research to make sure I portray them accurately. Many young readers will be familiar with Major Stede Bonnet, the gentleman pirate, and surely they’ll know Blackbeard, one of the most notorious pirates that ever lived. Also, the setting had to be authentic, because it’s where the pirates were part of the time in real life. Children are smart. They catch the little details and being wrong will stop them reading.
What do you love most about being an author?
When someone tells me they love/like/relate to my story, and that it helps them see a solution to a similar situation they might be facing. I write for the reader, and for the reader in me.
Where can we find you on the web?
Thank you for hosting me today. Please stop by my blog and leave a comment. Thanks.