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Meet & Greet Stephanie Bearce

I met Stephanie Bearce in 2004 when I attended a writers’ retreat in Columbia, MO.  I “re-met” her last fall at a conference and later learned she won an SCBWI grant for a novel.  Then I found out about her nonfiction books coming out, and wanted to know more.  Here are the questions I emailed Stephanie, and her answers.

1.       I see you have 6 nonfiction books coming out this year (4 in June and 2 this fall).  Can you tellStephanie Bearce us about the projects?

I am working on a contract basis for Mitchell Lane Publishers.  It has been a lot of fun because I have been able to write on a variety of science topics.  I’ve written about taking care of guinea pigs, how to build container gardens, and how a hybrid car works.  I love research and I have a science background so I find the work very interesting.

2.       In 2008 you won a work in progress grant for your book, Maddie’s Miracle.  What has happened since then?

When I entered Maddie’s Miracle it truly was a work in progress and was not finished.  Since that time I have finished a first draft and I am now working on revisions.  I’m hoping to get a solid second draft finished by the end of the summer.  Rewriting takes just as long as the initial draft, but it’s so important.

3.       How long have you been writing?

I have had what might be called a “spotty” writing career.  I actually studied journalism in college, but ended up with a science degree.  I then went on to teach science for many years and did not do much writing.  But in 2000 I published my first two books: And God Created Science – Space, And God Created Science – Weather.   Unfortunately, soon after those books were published, my husband became very ill with cancer and died.  I spent the next several years learning how to be a single working mom.  It has only been in the last three years that I have been able to devote significant time to writing once again.

4.       What made you want to be a writer?

I loved to read.  I was the kid that literally had a flashlight under the covers.  I read everything there was in my tiny hometown library.  Then every week my mother would drive me all the way to the county library so I could get new books.  I am still a voracious reader.  Reading has made me want to write.

5.       What was one thing that was hard for you to learn about the craft of writing?  How did you overcome/solve the problem?

I am horrible at grammar and I am still trying to solve the problem.  The best help for all of my writing problems is a wonderful critique group.  Every good group has people with a specialty.  One person will be terrific at plot, and another will be wonderful at character development.  I am especially grateful for the grammar gurus. Who knew that gerunds and infinitives were actually important?

6.       I understand you live in St. Charles, Missouri.  Have you always lived there?

No, I grew up in Kansas.  I lived on a farm near Council Grove and got my undergraduate degree from Kansas State University.  My family still lives in Kansas and I visit there often.  I even used Kansas for my setting for Maddie’s Miracle, and I recently sold a non-fiction story to Spider Magazine about Kansan, Samuel Peppard.  My heart belongs to Kansas!

7.       What’s your current work in progress?

I always work on multiple projects.  I usually have one fiction and one non-fiction project going at the same time.  When I get tired of facts, I can make up my own world.  Right now I am putting the finishing touches on a mid-grade mystery, The Guinea Pig Curse.  I am also working on a biography of aviation pioneer, Glenn Curtiss.

8.       What’s one thing you would like to tell someone starting out in this business?

Join SCBWI.  I know I’m “preaching to the choir.” But my involvement in SCBWI has led me to the best critique group in the world.  (Hooray for the Ladies of the Gordian Knot!)  It has provided me with classes, retreats, and introduced me to editors who have been interested in my work.  I don’t think I would have been published without the help of the wonderful people of SCBWI.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jun. 15th, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
Best wishes with all your projects, Stephanie!
Sounds like you are keeping busy. :-)

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )