This busy Monday we are excited to welcome Children's Book Author, Stephen Swinburne.
Steve was born in London, England. When he was 8, he left England with his family and sailed on the Queen Elizabeth to New York City.
Steve holds a bachelor of arts degree in biology and English from Castleton State College, Vt. He has worked as ranger in a number of national parks.
He loves to travel and observe nature and wildlife. A safari in Africa, hiking in Scotland, monitoring sea turtles on a Georgia island, a winter trek through Yellowstone and watching shorebirds in New York have all led to book projects.
Steve is the author of Wiff and Dirty George, Ocean Soup, Whose Shoes, Armadilo Trail, and A Butterfly Grows, just to name a few! He lives in South Londonderry, Vermont, with his wife Heather and daughters Hayley and Devon.
EEM: Did you always want to be a writer?
SRS: No I wanted to be an adventurer, a marine biologist, and then in my teens, a rock star. I love being a writer but I still think a rock star would be pretty cool.
EEM: When you began writing, was it instant success and riches or did you find you had to work other jobs in order to continue your dream of being a writer?
SRS: It was NOT instant success. Even after my first book was published, it took many many years to achieve any name recognition. I have over 25 books published and I wish I had a nickel for every librarian who says, “I’ve never heard of you but it’s great to discover your books.”
EEM: What jobs have you held, current or in the past, to help sustain your writing career?
One of the jobs that helped pay the bills and gave me a chance to write was photographer. If you can handle a camera and take photos, so many opportunities open up to you.
EEM: Which job was the most challenging or strange to you?
SRS: Working in the corporate world was a real challenge. I once had a job as a manager of financial and employee communications at an electric utility company. I managed to keep that job for over 7 years and never once felt like I was an electric utility employee. My head was always in children’s books.
EEM: Did your day job(s) allow you to write regularly? Or did you have to get creative to get those word counts in? What other effects did it have on your writing?
SRS: Once I was a waiter at the London Business School of Economics. I’d write poems on the scraps of paper I was meant to write orders on. You can always find time to write, if you want to. Get up early. Stay up late. Miss an hour of TV. Carve out an hour to write. Do it every day. Read Annie Lamott’s Bird by Bird, a great book on writing.
EEM: Have you ever based a loved protagonist or an evil villain on one of your co-workers? Wished you had?
SRS: No and No.
EEM: What are you working on now and is the process any easier than your first work?? If so, in what capacity (people noticing it, the writing itself, the confidence?)
SRS: I am writing a sequel to my first mid grade novel, Wiff and Dirty George. The Z.E.B.R.A Incident (Boyd Mills Press, Spring 2010). As this was my first novel after writing over 20 nonfiction titles, I’d say I’m still a newbie at novel writing. I love the challenge of developing characters and setting them on a journey and bringing them back. One of my favorite novels is The Hobbit. What a beautiful arc to the story.
EEM: Would you change anything if you could begin your writing journey over again?
SRS: I'd Begin writing my novels sooner in my writing career. Please check out my websites: