Monday, May 16, 2011

First Book Stories: Secrets I Have Kept by Beverly Stowe McClure

Joining us today is my good friend, Beverly Stowe McClure. Bev and I met through the Muse Online Writers Conference. Since that time we've stumbled around each other on the Internet on a regular basis. I coordinated a virtual book tour for her and she hosted me when I was promoting Little Shepherd last fall. They just don't make them any better or more wonderful than Bev. I'm honored to have her as my special guest.

My First Published Book by Beverly Stowe McClure

Many of the drugs we use today or that are being tested for future use are made from plants. Scientists are also discovering plants from the ocean that have great possibilities in medicine and food production. I wasn’t aware of the work being done until I read an article in Discover magazine. Another article in the local newspaper mentioned a 1,288-year-old lotus seed from China that actually grew when planted in recent times. New drugs made from the sea plants and from alfalfa seeds are being genetically engineered to use as vaccines. Wow! Imagine being able to produce drugs from common plants that could cure dreaded diseases. The idea fascinated me, and I started asking What if, two of a writer’s favorite words. What if a flower was discovered that could change humans, heal their bodies, or even prolong their lives? With these thoughts scrambling around in my head, and a girl telling me her story while a boy told me his, Secrets I Have Kept, a young adult mystery, was born.

Sixteen-year-old Jennifer Barret’s father, Sam, a molecular biologist at Orion Laboratories, is kidnapped. Armed with nothing more than her own courage, a phone number on a candy wrapper, and her loyal Australian cattle dog, Chopin, she begins a desperate attempt to rescue him. In her search, Jen meets Casey Christopher, a runaway on a quest of his own--to find his father who walked out on Casey and his mother thirteen years earlier. As they follow a trail of unusual clues, a chilling secret is revealed.

After working for a couple of years on my story and several months of submitting the manuscript to likely publishers, in October of 2000, Bookmice, an eBook publisher, accepted my story. Yay! The only problem was, I knew nothing about eBooks. Well, I learned. Back then I had no blog or Website. I had no “followers” to encourage me or comment when I had good news like the friends I have today. It was overwhelming. Thankfully, the publisher offered suggestions for promotion.

In 2001, Bookmice went out of business. So what’s a girl to do? For a while I did nothing. Another of my stories was published by Twilight Times Books, but I still liked Jen and Casey. So I sent the manuscript to another publisher, Wings ePress. In January, 2006, Secrets I Have Kept was published again, in eBook and also trade paperback. I was glad I didn’t give up on the story.

When Beverly was a child, she hated to read. Even though her eighth-grade teacher sent her poem “Stars” to a high school anthology, and it was published in Young America Sings, she hated to write. Nevertheless, she attended Midwestern University, graduated, and became a teacher. Reading Dr. Seuss and other great children’s books to her sons and to her students made her realize what she’d been missing: reading was fun. Now, she reads and she also writes. Her stories and articles have been published in leading children’s magazines. One article was reprinted in a Scott Foresman PreK-K Anthology. Her “Breakthrough” article appeared in the June 2007 issue of Writer Magazine. She has five novels for tweens and teens published.

She lives in the country with her husband and cat and a variety of wild critters.



Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thank you for including me in your series about first books, Cheryl. You are so supportive of other writer. I don't know how you find the time to do all that you do. I'm so glad you're my friend. :)

Cheryl said...

I love what I do, Bev, so that helps. Wishing you the best. You're salt of the earth, my friend.

Pat McDermott said...

Beverly, one of the most consistent pieces of advice I see all writers offer is "Don't give up." This clearly applied to "Secrets I Have Kept." Good for you, and for Jen and Casey and all the readers they've entertained.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Hi Pat. I so agree with you. No one ever promised life as a writer would be easy. :) Thanks for your comment.

kathy stemke said...

I loved hearing how your book was born, Beverly. i wish you great success!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Kathy. Thank you for stoppinb by and for the kind words. The same for you.

This is my 3rd try at posting. For some reason Blogger isn't letting me post on some blogs. I'm using another profile, but I'm Beverly. :)