Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Spotlight: Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage by Nancy Stewart

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Nancy Stewart about her newest picture book Katrina and Winter, Partners in Courage. Nancy is the author of several wonderful and inspirational books for children.

Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage
by Nancy Stewart

Synopsis from Amazon:
All Katrina Simpkins longs to be is a normal girl. Because she must wear prosthesis as a leg, she feels anything but. When she meets and befriends Winter, the tailless dolphin, at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, everything changes, including Katrina's whole life. Suggested age range for readers: 8-12

Please help me welcome Nancy!

Cherie: Tell us about your picture book, Katrina and Winter:  Partners in Courage.

Nancy: It came about in a circuitous way. My husband and I bought a condo on Clearwater Beach, Florida, four years ago.  One day I happened to drive by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter, the dolphin. I’d never heard of her so decided to have a look. I visited Winter and went in to see the video they were offering about her.  Featured in the video was an eight year old girl, Katrina Simpkins, who had to wear a prosthetic leg.  It told the story of her journey from being a shy, withdrawn and bullied child to one with more self-assurance and determination.  About a year later, I received a phone call from a woman called Maria Simpkins.  I knew I’d heard the name but couldn’t place it. Martie is Katrina’s mom, and she called to see if I’d be interested in writing a book about Katrina. The rest is, of course, history. 

Cherie: It’s wonderful that you were able to share Katrina’s story with the world. She sounds like an amazing young lady! What is your writing process like?

Nancy: Process, for me, is a funny old thing.  Usually I try to organize my thoughts, plot, characters, on paper.  This is the way I always attacked any scholarly work when I was a university professor of education.  Alas, or perhaps for the better, that technique never seems to work for me.  In fact, just yesterday I began a sequel to Skeleton Coast.  I sat with a blank screen too long, gave it up and began the book.  Now to be fair, I already knew the characters well, but even so, jumping in seems to work for me.  Once I’ve well and truly begun, I then go back, take a hard look at where I’ve been and give some bones to the form.

Cherie: Your writing process sounds similar to mine. What is your favorite thing about writing picture books?

Nancy: Here comes that U professor thing again:  I love doing research. Always have.  Even if I’m writing fiction (and not non-fiction, dealing with due diligence), I want it to be correct.  For instance, when I wrote the Bella and Britt Series, I spent countless hours researching dolphins, pelicans, what an oil spill does, manatees, etc.  Yes, of course, the beauty, lyrical language and whimsy have to be there but so does accuracy of the factual material.

Cherie: Do you have any advice for aspiring picture book authors?

Nancy: Read many picture books that have succeeded.  Don’t give up!  Keep working, honing your craft, join a critique group, attend conferences and write and edit some more!  Those who persevere are the ones who join the body of published authors

Cherie: Great advice! What are you working on now?

Nancy: I’ve just finished a middle grade novel called Lost on the Skeleton Coast.  It’s an adventure/mystery set in Namibia.   Two kids up against diamond smugglers, kidnappers and lions.  A very quiet little book…

Cherie: It sounds fascinating! Now for some fun questions. Favorite color?
Nancy: blue

Cherie: Favorite animal?
Nancy: cat

Cherie: Are you a morning person or an evening person?
Nancy: Both!

Cherie: Okay, that’s impressive!! Do you have any guilty pleasures that get you through the writing/revising process?
Nancy: Checking my stats and/or Facebook too much!

Cherie: Favorite food?
Nancy: Pasta—any kind, any time!

Cherie: Do you have a favorite place to write?
Nancy: In my sunroom

Cherie: Are there any types of books you don’t read?
Nancy: Si-Fi and Vampires

Thanks, Nancy, for being with us today!!

Learn more about Nancy and her books
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  1. Many thanks for hosting me on your great blog today, Cherie! I appreciate the opportunity.

    Best wishes to you and your followers (of which I am now...)

    1. It's my pleasure! Thanks for stopping by and following. :)