Beverly Stowe McClure is a retired teacher turned writer. She’s affectionately known as the “Bug Lady” because she rescues butterflies, moths, walking sticks, and praying mantis from her cats. She enjoys taking long walks where she snaps photos of birds, clouds, and deer. Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly in front of her computer, writing the stories little voices whisper in her ear. She teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church and spends her spare time researching her family history. She lives with her two cats, Patches and Tiger, in the country. An occasional deer or roadrunner stops by for a handout.
Beverly is published in leading children’s magazines, and two of her stories are in Chicken Soup for the Soul Anthologies. She has nine novels published, with more on the way.
Congratulations on the release of your latest book, A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. When did you start writing and what got you into contemporary and historical fiction for children and teens?
Thank you. I started writing in the 1990s. As a teacher of children in elementary school, I read a lot of books with my students, many of them Newbery winners. I had never considered writing a novel, but seeing how the children enjoyed the books (most of the children) and the great ideas they came up with for their reviews, made me wonder if I could possibly write a book the students would like. So I give the children in my classroom the motivation behind my decision to become an author.
What was your inspiration for A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat?
Early one morning when we were visiting our oldest son and his wife in South Carolina, we went to Folly Island and watched the sun rise over the lighthouse. It was beautiful, and of course my writerly mind went to work. The lighthouse was dismantled years ago, but was used during the Civil War. Now that era is one of my favorite time periods in history. And a lighthouse must have a ghost, right? Add a couple of pirates, along with a cat, and a lot of research of the area to get facts correct, and my story came to life.
Who is your target audience?
The novel is written for readers ages 8-12, grades 3-7. The main character is a male so I hope the book will appeal to boys, as well as to girls.
What do you hope readers will get from your book?
I hope they have fun reading it, but also learn a little history (though they don’t realize they’re learning). I hope readers see that when life seems impossible and those you love have let you down, there’s a rainbow waiting just ahead. All you have to do is look and you‘ll find it.
Yes, I did quite a bit of research because I wanted to see how ghosts behaved and also to make sure the places the kids visit were accurate. Where they lived had to be right too, because a reader might be from that area and they’d know if I was wrong. I read lots of books of the area and about ghosts. I had been to some of the places, which helped. And the Internet is filled with information about lighthouses, pirates, and anything else I needed.
What do you do when your muse refuses to collaborate?
That happens quite often. When my muse takes a holiday, I’ll go for a walk to clear my mind and just forget writing for a bit. Seeing the clouds and flowers, butterflies and bugs helps me to relax and enjoy life. If that doesn’t work, I’ll play the piano and lose myself in the music. Getting away from the story for a while helps me see a possible solution to my mind block.
Do you have a writing schedule? Are you disciplined?
I try to stick to a schedule. Around 8 AM I check email and my blogs. Then I write until noon. Usually I work on my new story or stories in the morning. Most of the time, I’m working on two or three ideas at a time, so I divide the different stories up during the week. After lunch, I edit manuscripts that are due for publication, or a work in progress. In the evening I review books for others and whatever else I need to do. I’m pretty well disciplined, though I have my days when the lazy bug takes over.
Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work?
Yes and I love visitors and comments. Stop by the below sites anytime.