Today's guest is Beverly Stowe McClure, author of the children's book, A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. Beverly is a former teacher, 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.
Thank you for this interview, Beverly. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Be happy to. I think my life is fairly typical of many other people who have no clue as to what they really want to do until they’re, well, older. For twenty-two years I taught children in elementary school. In 1994, I retired and became a writer. I’d been writing a little before my retirement, mostly non-fiction articles for children’s magazines. When I suddenly had all this free time, without grading papers and making lesson plans, I started taking my writing more seriously. In the late 1990s, I turned to fiction novels, which really surprised everyone that knew me. I imagine my former teachers would wonder who this girl is that spends hours a day typing stories. And, gasp, reading books.
When I was a kid, I had no desire to be an author. In fact, I hated to read, the reason my teachers would not recognize me today. I love music and played clarinet in the junior high and high school bands. I also was a majorette, and I treasure those memories, bruises and all. I still play the piano to relax. My cats do not appreciate good music and run and hide when I tickle the ivories. Today, I live in the country with Patches and Tiger (the cats), along with a variety of wild critters that stop by for a handout. Next to my sons, grandchildren, and great-grands, writing is my passion and joy.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
Yes, the book is about three thirteen-year-olds that make a deal to help three ghosts find rest so they don’t have to wander forever between this world and the next. In exchange for the teens’ help, the ghosts will convince Erik‘s mother to return home to his dad so they will be a family again. Along the way, they survive a hurricane, a ninety-plus-year old lady who may not be what she seems, a seasick pirate, and a pirate that just wants his head back.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
Ever since I took a twilight ghost walk through the old town of Charleston, SC, one summer and heard tales about the ghosts that supposedly resided in many of the old mansions, ghosts have fascinated me. A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat is my second paranormal novel. The first is Listen to the Ghost, for YA readers.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
Making sure the historical facts about the pirates were accurate required a lot of research, which isn’t really a challenge since I love to read about the past. The setting is real so I had to be careful of my facts, again requiring research of the area. Also, how the kids could see the ghosts and talk to them needed to be realistic and consistent.
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
My publishers are all small, indie presses.
Was it the right choice for you?
I think so.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
I’m talking about my book at the usual places: Facebook, Twitter, my blogs, YALITCHAT, and other sites I belong to. This virtual tour with Cheryl and Pump Up You Book is the biggest promo I’ve done. I have a few reviews and am requesting more. Other authors and I are exchanging reviews too. I’ve joined the Character Book Club where the characters of different authors interview each other. It’s a lot of fun.
How is that going for you?
So far I can’t complain. I’m looking for other ideas to help increase sales.
Can you tell us one thing you have done that actually resulted in one or more sales?
The only thing I can think of is the exchange with another author. I hope to have the book on sale soon to see if that will help.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Not anymore, unless you count playing with and cleaning up after two cats and feeding the hummingbirds and deer. I’m blessed to be a retired teacher.
What’s next for you?
My tween novel Star of the Team, about a girl that wants to be the star of her basketball team but her dreams are threatened when she loses a tooth in a game, and her mom says she can’t play until the replanted tooth has healed, is due out soon. We’re waiting for the cover illustration. All else is done.
Thank you for this interview, Beverly. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
Thank you for letting me visit with you today and share about my latest novel. You can learn more about my characters and me at my blogs.
And just about anywhere on the Internet.
Thanks. I’m happy to answer questions and comments