Nancy Stewart has been an elementary school teacher and a professor of education. Having lived in London for ten years, she was a consultant to the University of Cambridge. She is the author of the Bella and Britt series picture books and the authorized biography of Katrina Simpkins, a young girl whose life was forever changed by Winter, the dolphin (Guardian Angel Publishing.) Her writing of One Pelican at a Time was featured on the PBS special, GulfWatch in 2011. Nancy’s YA-LGBT novel will be published by Interlude Press autumn of 2017. She is a member of the Rate Your Story organization as a critique judge.
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About the Book:
Bella and Britt love to explore along the beach and at more remote places like Manatee Key as well. It is there that they discover a manatee smuggling ring.
The manatees have already been netted, so the girls must act fast! But a kidnapper snatches Bella, hustling her into their hideout. When Britt sneaks a look in the window, she discovers that the ranger is being held, too. Now it’s up to Britt. But what can a single girl do?
Mystery at Manatee Key is available at Amazon
As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Mystery at Manatee Key is the fourth in the Bella and Britt Series, all of which take place at/or around the beach where the girls live. (And so do I!) Manatees, timid and peaceful mammals, are favorites of mine, and I wanted to showcase them. It was also time for Britt to shine as the lead character, so she’s the one who solved the mystery and saves the day!
Can you tell us what your book is about?
Mystery at Manatee Key is the story of Bella and Britt’s happening upon a ring of manatee poachers. Bella is kidnapped, and it is up to Britt alone to rescue her and the beach ranger who has gone missing as well.
Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?
Bella and Britt love exploring the beach. Bella is impulsive and spontaneous. Britt is serious and thoughtful. Opposites do attract, and these best friends complement each other as they set out to have fun or solve a problem or, in this case, a mystery at the beach.
If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would that be?
Read the genre in which you are writing constantly. Always have a book at hand. Listen to how children speak; how they interact and relate to adults. Do your research thoroughly—and then do some more! And always have fun with your writing.
What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?
I have to edit as I go. I think it’s the teacher/professor in me, because it is an obsession. I cannot allow a comma out of place, a dangling participle to remain. It even took me a while to allow myself the freedom of beginning a sentence with “And.” Definitely a quirk!
Do you hear from your readers? What do they say?
Yes, I do. Generally, they love the books and find them “happy reading.” I even had one fan (if I can use that word) make me the most beautiful plastic’ish painted pelican, from the book One Pelican at a Time, to slip onto a wine bottle. Each time I use it, I think gratefully of her!
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
Fortunately, I don’t have many. One reviewer, however, said I didn’t dig deep enough into my character’s personality to find the truth. (This was not one of the Bella/Britt beach books.) Although I didn’t like it at the time, she was right, and I owe her a debt of gratitude because it raised my awareness of mining the depths of a character’s soul until I find the ultimate reality.
What has been the best accomplishment?
This is a hard question. I suppose the hurdle of actually being published could rank right up there. But another accomplishment is the growth one experiences with honing his/her craft and becoming a better writer. And finally, being able to successfully make the leap from one genre to another, from picture books to young adult, is one as well.
Do you Google yourself?
Not very much at all. I just don’t think about doing it.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have no half-finished books. As to unpublished works, I have very early ones which should never see the light of day! Writing is a lifelong process, so many of us have stories that are, shall we say, trial balloons. I have three or four unpublished later manuscripts. Will I revisit them? Maybe. Someday.
Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?
Foremost, I’d like to thank them for supporting my books. If it weren’t for them, authors would not stay in business. Also, I love to get feedback from my readers. I believe they keep me honest, and level-headed, and true to myself. So, a heartfelt thank you! And thank you for showcasing me on your lovely blog!