Nancy Stewart is the award-winning author of One Pelican at a Time, Sea Turtle Summer, Bella Saves the Beach and Mystery at Manatee Key. She is a frequent speaker at conferences. Her latest book is Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage. Nancy and her husband live in Tampa and St. Louis.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Prior to writing books full-time, I taught elementary school and then the university, where I taught pre-service teachers. Two of the courses I taught were Children’s and Young Adult Literature. They whetted my appetite for writing children’s books. I’m fortunate to have traveled the world, and many of the ideas used in my books come from those experiences on so many levels. Today, I not only write books for kids but attend and speak at national conferences on the art of creating those books. I also am an avid blogger and find myself with a worldwide audience.
When did you begin pursuing a career in writing?
I’ve been writing scholarly works my entire professional life. As far as writing for kids, that began about seven years ago. The catalyst was the birth of my first granddaughter, Leah. I was able to hold her several hours after she was born. The next day, I wrote a book called I Held You on the Day You Were Born. I have simply never looked back.
How many of your books have been published?
The Bella and Britt Series is made up of four books, the first of which is One Pelican at a Time. There will certainly be more of them to come. My latest is Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage, the first biography I have written.
How do you end up writing the authorized biography of Katrina Simpkins?
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 It told the story of her journey from being a shy, withdrawn and bullied child to one with more self-assurance and determination.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.