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 It told the story of her journey from being a shy, withdrawn and bullied child to one with more self-assurance and determination.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.
What is one thing you hope readers will take away from this book?
It is my great hope that when people pick up this book and read it, they will relate to everyone who has a special need, whether it is physical or emotional. I also hope that we all realize how much courage these fine people show the world “every minute, every hour, every day.” Heros like Katrina and Winter.
How is your book different from others on the market?
Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage is a story of the human spirit. It is a story of hope in the face of adversity, of perseverance by a child who was too young to cope with huge burdens, of staying strong and positive when so much of her world was not. I know there are many such books out there. What I can say about this one is this: Through meeting and befriending a dolphin, a high-order mammal like humans, Katrina emerged from darkness into light. She, with Winter’s friendship and acceptance, became one of life’s winners and is helping others to be winners as well. That’s something about which to write a book.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
It can be bought at:
guardianangelpublishing.com/, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.
What is up next for you?
I am just finishing a middle grade novel called Lost on the Skeleton Coast. It is an adventure set in the African country of Namibia in the Namib Desert where a brother and sister, Olivia and Andy, are on an archaeological dig with their Uncle Blake. The kids find themselves swept up in a kidnapping and getting lost in the desert, where they contend with diamond smugglers and lions that may be ready to attack. It was fun to write, and I hope it’ll be as much fun to read!
Is there anything you would like to add?
I would like to thank you very much for this interview. I appreciate the opportunity to be here. Readers can also find me on:
Facebook: Nancy Rosenthal Stewart