Whitney Stewart is an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction books for kids—for toddlers to young adult. Her research has taken her to Nepal with Sir Edmund Hillary, to India to interview the Dalai Lama, and to China’s Great Wall. She also teaches mindfulness and meditation and lives in New Orleans.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
In elementary school: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
In middle school: The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
What’s your favorite line from a book?
“And when he came to the place where the wild things are they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws till Max said ‘BE STILL!’”
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Impossible to pick three: Eric Larson, Ruta Sepetys, Marcus Zusak, Laurie Halse Anderson, Linda Sue Park, Christopher Paul Curtis, Candice Millard, and MANY MORE.
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I write to make sense of my emotions and to explore events/people/stories that grab my attention and don’t let go.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
My advice is to READ all different kinds of texts—books, graphic books, scripts, articles, blogs, comics, etc.—and explore their strengths and weaknesses. Study human interactions and listen to conversations. Look up from your device and be observant. Ask yourself what’s going on under the surface . . . of everything? Get out of your world and ask a ton of questions. Then, after you write, be ruthless. Cut everything that doesn’t help your manuscript. Let others critique your work and decide if their comments make sense to you and serve your writing. Go to book conferences. Study what publishers and agents want. Sign up for manuscript critiques. Intern at publishing companies. And if you receive rejection letters, submit again. Polish your work. DON’T GIVE UP.