Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Best-selling Children's Author, Nancy Stewart Visits Write What Inspires You

Welcome to Write What Inspires You! 

I'm delighted to host Best-selling and Award-winning children's author, Nancy Stewart on her latest virtual book. I had the honor of meeting Nancy in person in the fall of 2010, I can hardly believe how much time has past since our first meeting! I was unable to travel to Florida for the February 2013 Guardian Angel Publishing gathering and hope to meet up with my fellow "Angels" at the next gathering.

Without further ado, I present to you Nancy's guest post and be sure to follow Nancy throughout cyberspace during her latest virtual book tour. Welcome Nancy! 

You Have a Great Idea for a MG or YA Book? Now What Do You Do?
by Nancy Stewart

So you have a wonderful idea for a book.  How can you turn that fabulous idea into a great book?  And how do other authors do it?  Certainly middle grade novels require a bit of amping down, but with young adult, all bets are off.  You can create the creepiest, meanest, or most selfless and heroic characters you want without fear of doing so.  In fact, young adult novels have become known as “crossovers,” appropriate for teens and adults alike!

Let’s start with characters—protagonists and antagonists.  Immediately move them out of the ordinary but not too slant.  By that I mean, keep them a little bit “everyman” while making them non-ordinary.  Most of us write characters with which we can identify—those within our comfort zone.  Get rid of that notion.  Try writing about the hapless, the flawed, those who are different than you but, of course, are still human with many of the same desires and wishes.  Hard to do?  Yes, but so worthwhile in creating a complex and memorable character.  (Think Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemmingway, Margaret Atwood.) In The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood gives the Cinderella protagonist no quarter—and no handsome prince to save the day.  She’s on her own, and the readers love it!

Have your characters do—not describe, or talk the reader to death, or kill them with boredom.  In other words (and I hate to say it again but will) show, don’t tell.  Let the people you’ve brought to life on the page live, betray, love, and hate—all the time showing what they do instead of describing how they do it.

Think of gestures you or others do.  Things we’re not really aware of many times on a conscious level. A look, a non-look when one should occur, a gesture, a speech hesitation, too much speech, a realization that one knows s/he has said too much, and s/he knows you (and perhaps the whole table) knows…I could go on forever.  These human markers drive fiction, they drive the story, heck—they drive life!  Use them to your advantage.  But remember, don’t describe them, make your characters live them.

If we (and I place myself first here) can infuse our writing with such techniques, our stories will improve. They will stand out.  They will shine. They will be art imitating life.  And who knows?  They may be as true to life as life itself.

About the book:

Bella and Britt are worried about all the trash appearing on their beautiful beach.  But what can they do?  Britt is leaving on vacation, and Bella can’t solve the problem alone.  Without  adults to lend a hand, can they possibly save their beach?


Bella, Britt and all their friends built sand castles and filled moats with salty sea. But this summer, the girls were worried.

“Look at all this trash, Britt,” said Bella.
She nodded. “Yeah, and I leave on vacation tomorrow. I can’t help pick it up!”
Next morning, Bella walked along the beach alone. “Hello.” Bella said to the old crooked beak pelican, perched on his piling. “Somebody has to help, and I guess it’s me.”
Purchase from:

Nancy Stewart Bio:

Nancy is the bestselling and award winning author of the four Bella and Britt Series books for children:  One Pelican at a Time (eighteen weeks on Amazon Bestselling List), Sea Turtle Summer, (which won the Children’s Literary Classic Gold Award), Bella Saves the  Beach (which won the Gold)  and Mystery at Manatee Key.  The authorized biography, Katrina and Winter:  Partners in Courage, is the story of Katrina Simpkins and Winter, the dolphin. One Pelican at a Time and Nancy were featured in the PBS Tampa special, GulfWatch.   All are published by Guardian Angel Publishing. 

Nancy is a frequent speaker and presenter at writer’s conferences throughout the United States.  She conducts workshops and seminars and speaks to school children on writing and helping save their planet.  A blogger with a worldwide audience, she writes of all things pertaining to children’s literature.

Nancy’s travels take her extensively throughout the world, most particularly Africa. She is US chair of a charity in Lamu, Kenya, that places girls in intermediate schools to allow them to further their education. She and her husband live in Tampa and St. Louis.

Bella Saves the Beach Tour Schedule

Monday, April 22nd
Tuesday, April 23rd
Book trailer feature at If Books Could Talk
Wednesday, April 24th
Thursday, April 25th
Book spotlight and giveaway at The Busy Mom’s Daily
Monday, April 29th
Book review at Hook Kids on Reading
Guest post at The Pen and Ink
Tuesday, April 30th
Wednesday, May 1st
Book review at LadyD Books
Thursday, May 2nd
Book review at Kid Lit Reviews
Friday, May 3rd
Monday, May 6th
Tuesday, May 7th
Book reviewed at The Picture Book Review
Wednesday, May 8th
Book reviewed at My Devotional Thoughts
Thursday, May 9th
Book review at It’s About Time Mamaw
Friday, May 10th
Monday, May 13th
Book review at 4 the Love of Books
Tuesday, May 14th
Book spotlight at Review from Here
Book review at The Jenny Revolution
Wednesday, May 15th
Guest post at Literarily Speaking
Thursday, May 16th
Friday, May 17th
Book spotlight at I’m A Reader, Not A Writer

Nancy, congratulations on your latest release! It's always a pleasure to host you!


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
Connect with

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist


  1. Donna, I cannot thank you enough for hostin me on your wonderful and always interesting blog It is always such a pleasure appearing here, and I hope your readers enjoy getting to know Bella and Britt!

    1. I have to say I apologize for the couple of typos in my original message! My computer was doing updates (it told me a few minutes later) and was running slowly. Should have previewed it...

  2. Thanks for hosting Nancy during her Bella Saves the Beach blog tour. Readers will find chances to win a copy of the book at:

    http://www.thebusymomsdaily.com/2013/04/book-spotlight-and-giveaway-bella-saves.html and


    Wishing you and your readers a wonderful day.

  3. I love writing for middle grade readers because it is such a tough stage in life & I think reading really helps them to navigate through it. I love writing ya because, like you said, there are no limits. Great post, Nancy! Thanks for letting her share it with us Donna.

    1. Many thanks for your comment, Kai. I taught middle graders and loved their bravado and timidity at the same time. Such a fun and callow age.

      Thanks again!

  4. You couldn't have written anything better than what you did about making the characters everyman and quirky at the same time. That's the challenge and that's the fun.

    So enjoyed meeting your guest today, Donna. Thank you.

    1. I appreciate your comments and am glad you found them useful. It is the challenge, I agree, and keeps a writer on his/her toes! Thanks.

  5. Hi guys, thanks for a great post. Best wishes to you Nancy and Donna.

    1. Thanks, as usual, Susan, for your support. I appreciate your best wishes!!

  6. Very good advice, Nancy. Congratulations on your book and best of luck to you.

    1. Thanks so much, Beverly. I am flattered to have you say this and appreciate your visiting!

  7. This is a great article to go with your Book Tour, Nancy. Excelent advice all around. And I love your seaside series. Bella Saves the Beach is the icing on the cake!!

    Pinned it to my Writing Help board on Pinterest.

    Books for Kids Manuscript Critiques

    1. Thanks so much, Margot, for your comments. You are always so supportive, and it is very, very appreciated!

  8. Great, helpful article, Nancy. Thanks & thank you, Donna, for a continued great blog.

  9. Thank you one and all for stopping by and visiting with Nancy today. Your never ending support is truly appreciated!

    Nancy, as always a thrill to have you visit and share you expertise!

    Warmest regards,

  10. Replies
    1. Hi Donna,

      Thanks for stopping by and supporting Nancy. We truly appreciate your time!

      Warm regards,


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