Beverly Stowe McClure, a former teacher, is now enjoying a second career: writing. She never planned to be a writer, but in the classroom she and her students did such fun activities in art and science that she decided to write about some of them. Luckily, a few magazines liked what she sent them, and her articles have appeared in Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Ladybug, Focus on the Family Clubhouse, Jr., and others. Nine of her stories have been published as books, the latest one a MG/Tween eBook: A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. She also has two stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies.
Beverly enjoys discovering her ancestors in her genealogy research. She plays the piano. (Thank you, Mom, for making encouraging me to practice.) She takes long walks where she snaps pictures of wildlife and clouds, and of course she reads, usually two books at a time. She teaches a women’s Sunday school class. Watching baseball (Go Rangers) is another of her favorite activities. Retirement is fun.
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Q: Thank you for this interview, Beverly. Can you tell us what your latest book, A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat, is all about?
A: Yes, the book is about three thirteen-year-olds that decide to help three ghosts find rest so they don’t have to wander forever between this world and the next. Along the way, they survive a hurricane, a ninety-plus-year-old lady who may not be what she seems, and a seasick pirate.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?
A: Erik Burks is a typical thirteen-year-old, who loves baseball, his friends, and doesn’t understand girls. When he discovers a lace bra in the glove compartment of his dad’s car, his mom freaks out, leaves his father, and moves Erik and herself halfway across the country, where Erik goes from being the king of the hill in Texas, to the bottom of the pits in South Carolina. No Dad, no baseball, and no friends, except for the twins.
Starry and Stormy Knight are not your typical twins. Star can read minds. She calls them “mind dreams,” and she’s not shy about giving a person her opinion of their thoughts.
Storm is border-line genius. He’s funny and caring and tries to make Erik want to stay in SC.
A: My characters are mostly from my imagination. A couple of the ghosts in this story, Major Stede Bonnet and Blackbeard, are historical characters that really lived. I researched the pirates to make their roles in the book accurate and the events that happened to them are true, with a bit of extra excitement that I added for fun.
Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?
A: I usually have a general idea of the plot in mind, but it often takes twists and turns as the characters show me their ideas of what should happen. So I go with them. After all, it’s their story.
Q: Your book is set in Folly Beach, SC, and up the Carolina coast. Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?
A: I love the Charleston, SC, area. So much history is there. So many tales of ghostly residents living in some of the old homes. Their stories are just waiting to be told. This is my second book about SC ghosts. The idea came to me while visiting with my son and daughter-in-law, who live on James Island, SC. One morning, we went to Folly Beach to watch the sun rise. Across the inlet stands the Morris Island Lighthouse. Boy, did images appear to me that morning. A ghost had to be living in the lighthouse, right? Who was he? Why could he not rest in peace? This was the perfect setting for my next ghost novel.
Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?
A: Yes, it does, because not only does a ghost, who turns out to be a former navigator for a blockade runner, live in the lighthouse, a phantom ship cruises the inlet, with a clear image of a pirate, wearing a tricorn hat, a cutlass at his side, on board, telling me I had a pirate ghost, as well. A big part of the novel takes place aboard the Revenge, Stede Bonnet’s ship. My ghosts made for a perfect tale.
Q: Open the book to page 69. What is happening?
A: The teens are on Major Stede Bonnet’s ship, the Revenge, discussing Blackbeard’s fate years ago and why Bonnet wants to find Blackbeard’s wandering spirit.
Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?
A: (This is from p. 69.)
Storm grinned as he described the grisly scene in more detail. “They tossed Blackbeard’s body into the water.” He chuckled. “It gets even better.”
“Umm, we’ve heard enough,” I said.
Storm grinned even wider and went on. “Legend says Blackbeard swam around for days, in search of his head. Some people believe his ghost, minus a head, can still be seen today. Searching, searching, searching.”
“Wait a sec.” A disturbing thought had occurred to me. “We have a problem.”
“You’re right,” Star said. “No head, no brain, no logical pattern of action, no mind dreams to read to help us locate his remains.”
I tried to wrap my thoughts around this new idea. A headless ghost would be a challenge. I would not give up so easily, however. “Don’t worry. We’ll think of something.”
Storm shook his head. “Doubtful. Do you know how many people and scientists have tried to find Blackbeard’s head? And treasure?”
“You and your treasures.” Star almost snapped his head off. “More important things are at stake here.”
Storm shrugged. “So what’s the plan, Ek?”
I shrugged. “I’m thinking. I’m thinking.”
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Beverly. We wish you much success!
A: Thank you for letting me talk about my latest book for tweens. It’s been fun.