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Happy Monday, Beverly! Today I’m excited to have Beverly Stowe McClure here to share about her new contemporary YA GABE’S GUARDIAN ANGEL. I don’t usually read contemporary YA, but Gabe’s story sounds compelling.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads

Gabe Montana's clumsy. He's overweight, and he's dyslexic. Worse yet, the bullies make his fifteen-year-old life even more miserable--so miserable he wants to die.

Charley, his guardian angel, says no to that idea, and comes up with a different plan. He'll give Gabe self-confidence so he can solve his problems, not run away from them. But Gabe wonders why the angel doesn't just help with the bullies. What's with this self-confidence stuff?

Can Charley help Gabe stand on his own two feet? Will Gabe give up hope life can improve for him? Or will he finally listen to the angel's advice?

Hi Beverly! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

This goes way back to when I was in eighth grade and my teacher sent my poem to a high school contest. To my surprise, it was published in the anthology Young America Sings. At the time, I thought nothing about it. Went on to the university and became a teacher. And there is where my life took a turn I never expected. When I was teaching fifth-grade science we did a lot of experiments, and the students really enjoyed them. They also liked to read the articles and activities in the magazines we had in the classroom. And I started thinking. Could I write for those magazines? My poem was published, although a long time earlier. Could I write something different? I wouldn’t know if I didn’t try. So, I wrote an article on how to do a simple experiment and sent it to one of the popular kid magazines. Guess what? It was published. So, I sent more articles and short stories to magazines like Jack and Jill, Clubhouse Jr., and others, and they were also published. That was the beginning. I tried writing novels next and haven’t stopped for twenty plus years.

2. Awesome story of how you got into writing. Where did you get the ideas for GABE’S GUARDIAN ANGEL?

Mostly, the idea came to me from all the news reports and stories I read and heard about the bullying going on in schools, in homes, and just about everywhere. I know it probably was the same when I was young, we just didn’t hear about it. Then, when a sad incident occurred near to where I live, where some boys told a classmate to go kill himself and he did just that, I knew there was a story that needed to be told. Putting it together was the tough part.

3. Oh, that is so sad. Gabe is overweight and dyslexic and is being bullied. He is totally depressed and ready to give up on life. Was it hard to write his story and show his emotions? Was it any harder to write the story from a male’s point of view?

Writing Gabe’s story was hard because I wanted it to be real, to show the emotions of not only Gabe but the other characters, as well. I hope I caught his feelings, the bad but also the good, since he had moments when he was happy. Since I have three sons, all grown, I enjoy writing from the male’s point of view.

4. I'm imagining having sons or brothers would help. How did you plot out your story? What’s your advice on plotting for writers who write contemporary stories?

Shh! I don’t really plot. I start out with the major characters, like Gabe and his sister and Mick. I like to know a little about them, although they may change as the story progresses. The characters make the story for me. What does Gabe want? Who/what keeps him from getting his desire? They have to be like real people, not perfect, but doing the best they can. I have an idea of what will happen in the story. Like Gabe is bullied, but I didn’t know why Mick was bullying him at first. It came to me, though. Each character has his/her role to play and discovering what it is sometimes surprises me. In writing contemporary stories, we have to be careful and not use language that’s in the past, which means a lot of research listening to teens today and seeing what their lives are like. It isn’t easy, and I read a lot to understand the minds of teens, if that’s possible. If plotting is the way you write, great, plot the story from beginning to the crisis point and then the end. That may be the best way. Just do what seems right. And write your story.
5. You ask your characters interesting questions. You’ve written PB to YA in your writing career. What draws you to write for so many different age groups?

Yes, I love all ages, from babies to teens, and even adults. Each age has something special that makes
me want to tell their particular story. Sometimes, I have no plans to write for a certain age, but I’ll hear something interesting or see four baby armadillos in the pasture that resulted in my picture book Frankie’s Perfect Home. I never know when or where I’ll discover the next story. Each age group is special and different to write for. Young Adult and teens present a challenge because their lives are so complicated. A tough age, but I learn from them. And middle grade boys and girls are so interesting as characters. They’re learning about their world.

6. Tell us about your publication journey.

I started writing articles and short stories for children’s magazines as I mentioned. It was fun, and I sold quite a few of my submissions. Thinking about children reading my words was so exciting, so I decided to be brave and write a novel. In 2000, Secrets I Have Kept was published by a publisher that went out of business soon after the book came out. It was not in print, but on a disk, which I still have.  I sold the story again, and in 2016 it was published in paperback and e-book by another publisher. Since then I’ve had fourteen novels published and then two of the older ones have been returned to me. I haven’t decided what to do with them. It’s been a fun journey. I’m looking forward to the next one, Gabe’s Guardian Angel, YA novel due out March 17, 2020.
7. Dancing Lemur Press is your publisher. It sounds like a fantastic small press to work with. What are some of the benefits you’ve experienced in working with your current and other small press publishers?

Dancing Lemur Press is a great place to be. The publisher, L Diane Wolfe, helps me and all her authors in so many different ways. She’s an expert at editing and finds every little thing that needs fixing. She helps with the promotion of my work by making great posters, finding reviewers and places to talk about my work. Being the owner of a small press, she stays busy. but she still has time to answer my questions.

Other small press publishers I’ve worked for and still do, like 4RV, seem like family in helping each other out, no matter what the problem is. I think with small publishers we know each other better and are able to communicate with each other when things are running smoothly or when there’s a problem. I’ll keep my small publishing houses, thank you.

8. That's good to know that small press publishers can be really good to work with. How are you planning to market your book? What advice do you have for other writers from your years of promoting your books?

Promotion is not easy. There are so many books out there one can get lost in the crowd. Book reviews and interviews are on my list to spread the word about my novel. Thank you, Natalie, for this great interview. Which helps spread the word. Author Donna McDine recently interviewed me and also reviewed Gabe’s Guardian Angel. She did a marvelous job. I have a Blog-Talk Radio discussion scheduled for March. I’ve joined Instagram and am learning how it works. I like Good Reads and Library Thing to spread the word, along with Book Bub, Pinterest, and Twitter. I’m thinking about a Face Book Party for a couple of hours one day. Not sure about that. Still looking for good ideas.

9. What are you working on now?

I have a middle grade story in the works. Also, titles and rough ideas for another middle grade, a young adult, and possibly an historical story. It’s strange, I know, but the titles usually come to me first.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Beverly. You can find Beverly at:

 Beverly has generously offered a paperback of GABE'S GUARDIAN ANGEL for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through March 27th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog or follow me on Twitter, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is U.S.

Here's what's coming up:

Monday, March 18 I have an agent spotlight interview with Ann Rose and a query critique giveaway

Monday, March 25 I have an interview with debut author Alechia Dow  and giveaway of her YA sci-fi THE SOUND OF STARS

Wednesday, April 1st I have an interview with debut author June Hur and a giveaway of her YA historical mystery THE SILENCE OF BONES

Monday, April 6 I have an interview with debut author Jessica Kim and a giveaway of her MG contemporary STAND UP YUMI CHUNG

Tuesday, April 14 I am participating in the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop 

Hope to see you on Monday!


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Congratulations, Beverly! You have a great publisher to write for. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Dancing Lemur Press is great!
Four baby armadillos? Now that's an interesting story spark.
Congratulations, Beverly!

Karin Larson said...

Terrific interview. Congratulations, Beverly!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thank you, Elizabeth. Yes, she is a great publisher and has the best advice to improve my work.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Yes, Alex, Dancing Lemur Press is wonderful to work with. And those story ideas are everywhere, if we just see them.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Natalie is a great interviewer, Karin, with all the right questions. Being on her site is a pleasure. I'm excited.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank you so much for featuring Beverly and her new book today.

Elephant's Child said...

What a great interview.
And how I would love a guardian angel to bless me with self confidence.
Dancing Lemur Press has some of my favourite authors in its folds...

Pat Hatt said...

Hard topic but one that sure needs to be told. The small publishers sound like the way to go. Getting the word out there with the masses of books about is rough indeed.

Janet, said...

Great interview, Beverly and Natalie! Good luck with your new release. I don't plot either, Beverly. I usually just let the words come.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

And thank you, Diane, for your patience and advice.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

You know, Elephant's Child, I'd love to have a guardian angel, too.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Yes, Pat. Sadly it is a problem and not easy to deal with. Hopefully, some day people will learn to get along with each other.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thanks, Janet. Natalie has great questions, and I appreciate the good luck. Will need it. And isn't it great when the right words come to us.

Jenni said...

Great interview! I've seen Beverly around on ISWG. This sounds like a really interesting read. Bullying is something that so many kids deal with, but this sounds like an interesting twist with the Guardian Angel and reminds me of Wonderful Life. I really enjoyed hearing about Beverly's process and journey to publication.

Danielle H. said...

Thank you for the interview and insight into Dancing Lemur. your book sounds fun--congratulations and best of luck with book promotions. I shared on tumblr: https://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/612836469684453376/beverly-stowe-mcclure-interview-and-gabes

BarbaraB said...

Thanks Beverly and Natalie for a great interview. Congratulations on your newest book, Beverly.

Donna McDine said...

Wonderful interview of Beverly. You have terrific stops along the way of your book promotion. Best wishes, Donna

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thanks, Jenni.Yes, I'm around ISWG, a great place to learn about the publishing world. Glad you enjoyed my journey. It's been fun.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I hope the book is fun along with the serious, Danielle. I can use some luck with promotion. It's not so easy for me. Thanks.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thank you, Barbara, for your kind words. Natalie has the best questions. Fun to answer.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Yes, Donna, some awesome people are helping me on this tour. Couldn't do it without them. Including you and your encouragement.

tetewa said...

New author for me, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com

Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad you enjoy my blog. Welcome! I just stopped by your blog.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Nice to meet you, tetewa. Thanks for your kind words.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Congratulations, Beverly. I agree that small presses are wonderful to have publishing your books. They really are like family, looking out for you, and also the camaraderie with other authors they handle. Stay safe, and stay well in these worrisome times.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Beverly is wonderful! So happy for her. Congratulations!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thank you, Elizabeth. Yes, my publishers are super. You stay well too.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thanks for your kind words, Sheri. You're a very special lady, yourself.