Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am a writer inspired by nature and human nature, a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Home is Central Maine where my husband and I live and work on our 37-acre farmstead. I enjoy reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. I continue to advocate for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies—an endangered species (and milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).
Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her debut novel, DOG BONE SOUP, a Boomer’s coming of age novel published in January 2015.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
DOG BONE SOUP is my latest book and first novel, written for middle-grade through adult readers. It is a coming of age story set in 1950s and 60s rural America, where Shawn Daniels, the story’s main character, grows up and not only survives, but remarkably overcomes the challenges of poverty, foster-care, bullying and a father’s alcoholism and abuse–all during an era when many families were living “The American Dream.” I wrote DOG BONE SOUP to help readers to better understand what many children living in poverty, then and now, experience. The book was inspired by stories of friends who grew up in that era and by my own students, many of whom were living in poverty.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I like to take a small notebook and pen along when out for a walk or on a day trip. The world and the people around us are inspiring; I often write down little nuggets to file away for a rainy day or sometimes type up a paragraph or poem as soon as I get home. I keep a SMILE FILE and an IDEA FILE (on my writer’s desk and computer desktop). That’s probably not unusual, but it is a habit that keeps me writing and smiling.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Every writer I have ever read has influenced me in some way. Some of my favorites are Harper Lee, Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Amy Tan and the list goes on…
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on several projects, plus keeping up my author website/blog http://www.4writersandreaders.com where I feature fellow authors and their books, my own poetry, writing tips by guest authors and my own books as well. I also design my own ads and posts and am currently outlining ideas for two upcoming books.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Rave Reviews Book Club is one of my favorites. It’s a fantastic club for authors and readers of all genres. I also write press releases via PRlog when any of my books are on special. In addition, keeping up with my media sites and helping promote other authors and their books as well as my own is a great way to build friendships, find great new books and awesome readers too. LinkedIn is a great place to meet fellow authors and get to know them (messaging and connecting on other media sites/offering to help).
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write, write, write… Read, read, read… Join clubs for readers and writers online and in your local community as well. Help your friends and don’t be afraid to ask them to help you.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Never give up!
What are you reading now?
I recently read and reviewed GO SET A WATCHMAN (historical fiction) by Harper Lee and HIS REVENGE (fictional thriller) by John W. Howell. I’m currently reading I’VE LOVED THESE DAYS (contemporary romance) by Bethany Turner and FROM AFAR (literary fiction/romance) by Frank Scozarri.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Writing and self-publishing more books.
What is your favorite book of all time?
THE FAR PAVILLIONS (historical fiction) by M.M. Kay