Nancy Stewart is a woman who has spanned the globe in travel and delved into a range of career endeavors, which include time as an elementary school teacher, a University Professor of Education, a consultant to several universities, during an eight year time-frame living in London, including Cambridge, as well as a Management Consultant with New Options, Inc, in New York City.
Ms. Stewart now delights in the joy of writing Children’s books full-time, including: Bella Saves the Beach and Sea Turtle Summer, and the one that she is currently hard at work promoting: One Pelican at a Time.
Nancy Stewart travels extensively throughout the world, including Africa. She is the U.S. Chair of a charity in Lamu, Kenya, an amazing group, which places girls within intermediate schools to allow them to further their education.
Please tell us a bit about your book: One Pelican at a Time – characters, plot, etc.
The book, One Pelican at a Time, is the story of two girls, Bella and Britt, who love living by the beach. During an oil spill, however, they realize their old friend, the crooked beak pelican, is in grave danger. The girls, after having been told by adults that kids can do nothing to help, take matters into their own hands and try to save him from the oily gulf.
If you could meet, in person, any of your characters, who would it be and why?
Well, of course, I’d love to meet the girls and, in a way, I have met Britt. This lovely young girl and her parents were splashing in the water at Clearwater Beach, Florida. I saw her and immediately had my Britt! Beyond that, I love the obvious friendship between the girls and hope it comes through in the book. And then there is their passion for all living things.
If you could fictionalize yourself and put yourself in any situation, how would it play out? Could you give us a scene/scenario of such an occurrence?
Well, as long as we’re imagining, I could see myself back in South Africa, under the full moon, watching two cheetahs stride along, hoping for prey. One chucks softly to the other, both of their tails twitching. And then they disappear into the blackness of the night, covered only by the blanket of stars in the southern sky.
Do you have any particular habits that you do while writing? Places you write the best, foods, drinks, etc that help set your “writing mood”?
Not really, other than usually having a glass of iced tea within easy reach. I usually begin writing and become so engrossed in the flow that pretty much all else goes away, most especially time!
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading, Inside the Neolithic Mind by David Lewis-Williams and David Pearce. My son, who is an Africanist Archaeologist, gave it to me, and it is wonderful.
Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books?
My favorite author is Mordecai Richler, and my favorite book of his is, Barney’s Version. I also enjoyed Mark Mills’ book, Amagansett.
If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I would have to say A.A. Milne. When we lived in London, we lived right on Hampstead Heath, the largest city parkland in the world, and still natural and in some ways, wild. Many mornings, I’d walk my dog, Harry, to Christopher Robin’s tree, which is still standing and looks much as it did in Winnie the Pooh. It was fun to walk where he walked and obviously got his inspiration for such marvelous works.
Okay, here are a few “get to know you better” questions:
Please share with us a favorite memory.
I have to say one of my favorites sprang to mind immediately. It was late in the evening, dark outside. As I came in the door from having taken the orals for my MA from Washington University in St. Louis, my husband and then five year old twin boys sat on the steps and sang, “Happy Masters to You…” and presented me with a pair of tiny diamond earrings. It is indelibly imprinted on my mind, every moment of it, and I hope it stays there forever.
Please describe a perfect meal – including menu and those present.
That’s an easy one. I adore cooking and actually took a Cordon Bleu course while living in London. It would be: French Onion Soup, recipe from La Grande Halle Market in Paris, sautéed chicken with pine nuts, garlic, black olives and mushrooms (my own recipe), braised fennel, salad to follow, finished with pear tarte tatin. Those present would be the usual suspects in my life: good friends and some family.
What are some of your favorite ways to relax?
I love to walk and try to do it at least several times a week. When we’re in Clearwater Beach, I do try to swim every day. Being with friends, for me, is a wonderful to relax and let the world just stop for awhile.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Oh, that’s a difficult one. I’ve been so fortunate to have been around the world and back again, and there are many places…I suppose it would be divided time between Florida and London. Why? Many friends are in both places and the difference in the two cultures compliment and enrich each other.
If you could only read books by one author, who would it be? *I know, this is an inconceivable thought, lol.
That is an impossible question! I suppose it would have to be Jane Yolen again. She’s written over three hundred books, each one a jewel for children. So prolific. Actually, I have a rather new entry about her on my blog, if any of your readers are interested.
Share with us a few of your dreams. Also whether they have been fulfilled or are still a work in progress.
My paramount dream has been fulfilled, and that is becoming published. I indulged in the notion that someday I’d write for children, and now I’ve done it. Another would have to be travel, which has always been a passion of mine. I’ve been able to do so much of it, and now my children are doing the same thing. It is, for me, an enriching, mind stretching thing to do.
What are some of your guilty pleasures?
Eating a few frozen Snickers after the Trick or Treaters have gone home and the front lights are out.
If you could leave the world with one piece of advice, what would it be?
Take care of that same world, or all will be lost for future generations. (Gosh, I hate to leave on such a dire note, but you asked…)