|Tween Ghost Story|
Please welcome children's author, Beverly Stowe McClure, to the Girls Succeed blog. Beverly is a wonderful storyteller. Today she tells us the story behind her career as an author.
ME, A WRITER? HA, HA!
by Beverly Stowe McClure
If anyone had told me I’d be a writer someday, I’d have thought they were crazy. When I was young, I hated to write. Even though my eighth-grade teacher sent my poem “Stars” to a high school anthology and it was published in Young America Sings I had no desire to write more poetry or anything else. It was a class assignment. Nothing more.
Fast forward a few years. In spite of my rocky relationship with books, I managed to graduate from high school, got married, and had a family. I also had a boring job. (Not the kids; they’re never boring.) So, this non-reader, non-writer decided to go to the university and take courses to help me find the perfect job, which meant more reading and writing. Yeah, what was I thinking? Anyhow, four years later I graduated Cum Laude (who would have thought it?) with a Bachelor of Science in Education. This was one of the best decisions I’d ever made in my life. Soon I was teaching in elementary school and loving it.
Reading great Newbery books with my students, hearing their reports on these books and how enthusiastic they were about the stories, sometimes even dressing like the characters to give their reports, opened my eyes to what I’d been missing: Reading was fun. I also read to my sons because I wanted them to do well in school and to discover new worlds, travel to new countries, and meet new people.
Somewhere along the way, I started wondering if I could write a book for children. I’d never know if I didn’t try. The problem was I had no idea how to begin. Sure, I’d written tons of papers in college, but books were different. So, I signed up for a course with The Institute of Children’s Literature to learn the secrets of writing. My first attempts were magazine articles, most of them based on art projects or science activities we did in my fifth-grade classes. And, surprise, surprise, some of them actually sold. A TV guide magazine called Happiness bought my article on fire safety in the home. Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Ladybug, Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr., and other magazines published my work. I was on my way. But I still had not written a book, my original goal.
So, I took a second course at The Institute of Children’s Literature and with the help of a great instructor wrote my first novel for young adults. It still sits in a box, unsold, but I’ve improved (I hope) and now have nine books, including a picture book, early reader, two tween novels, and five novels for young adults published. If I’d never taken the first step by deciding to try something new, to make a change in my life and write the magazine articles, I’d likely still be working at a boring job. But I did, and I‘m thankful.
Why do I write for young people? I love children and teens. I love their innocence and their quirkiness. I love their honesty. I hope my work might make a difference in some young life. We don’t know the path our lives will follow. I never dreamed of being a teacher or a writer. But I’ve been both. Listen to your heart. Listen to those little voices in your head, telling you their stories. Write their words. Send them off to a magazine or book publisher. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results. I’m so glad I listened.
When Beverly Stowe McClure was a child she hated to read. Even though her eighth grade teacher sent her poem “Stars” to the National High School Poetry Association, and it was published in Young America Sings, an anthology of Texas high school poetry, she hated to write. Nevertheless, she managed to squeak through high school, where she played the clarinet in the band and was a majorette, and graduated.
Then she got married, had three sons (one an angel in heaven), and attended Midwestern State University, where she read more books than she had ever imagined. What was she thinking? Finally, she graduated cum laude with a teaching certificate and had a fourth son. She taught children in elementary school for twenty-two years. And along the way she discovered that reading was fun and writing was even more exciting. Forty years after her poem was published, she sent an article on fire safety in the home to Happiness magazine, and it was published. She was on her way.
Beverly and Jack have five granddaughters (one also an angel in heaven), two grandsons, two great-grandsons, and one great-granddaughter. They live in the country, with two cats that adopted them and a variety of wild critters that stop by for a visit. To relax Beverly plays the piano, enjoys discovering ancestors in her genealogy research, and takes pictures of wildlife and clouds and sometimes people. She teaches a woman’s Sunday school class. And she writes most every day.
Find Beverly on line at these links.