© 2008 by Matt Richman/Upper Case Editorial Services
Mark Stewart has authored more than 250 nonfiction books for the school and library market. He also has interviewed a diverse group of famous Americans in his role as a magazine writer and editor—including Arthur Ashe, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Peter Max, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Big Bird (aka Carroll Spinney), Darryl “Run–DMC” McDaniels, Mike Wallace, and Brian Williams. Mark comes from a publishing family. His grandfather was Sunday Editor of The New York Times, his father ran The New York Times Book Division, and his mother was Articles Editor for Ladies Home Journal and McCall’s. Mark’s web site, JockBio.com, features comprehensive biographies of hundreds of athletes, and attracts more than one million readers a year. Mark graduated from Duke University with a degree in History. He serves as Board Secretary for two National Historic Sites, including the Twin Lights near his home overlooking Sandy Hook, New Jersey.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
- I liked the books of John R. Tunis, which were recently reprinted by Sandpiper. He was my father’s godfather, and on visits to his home in Connecticut I read the sports books he authored—including Highpockets, The Kid from Tomkinsville, and Young Razzle—and talked to John about the characters. I also liked The Story of Zachary Zween, the story of a boy whose class did everything in alphabetical order. Five years after receiving the book as a gift, I was chosen to play Zachary in the movie The Story of Zachary Zween. What are the odds?!!! But my favorite book as a child was The Dragon Who Liked to Spit Fire by Judy Varga. She also did the enchanting illustrations.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
It’s a tie: Goodnight comb, goodnight brush, goodnight bowl of mush. and Stop! You must not hop on Pop!
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Children’s books: Roald Dahl, Rodney Greenblat, and illustrator Mark BuehnerGrownup books: William Faulkner, E. L. Doctorow, and Roger Angell
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
No choice. It was in my DNA.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
1) There is almost always a better word. 2) Talk to your readers whenever you can. They usually are usually smarter than book editors.