Getting to Know the Author: Stephanie Parker McKean

 

ImageImageWelcome Stephanie. Let’s get to know more about you …

 

Thanks, Glynis. I appreciate the invitation to spend time with you.

 

What is your genre? Why did you choose it?

 

I mostly write Christian mystery-romance-suspense books. When I was a teen, I read Sea Jade by American author Phyllis A Whitney and fell in love with her writing. I’ve read all of her 37 books several times because I couldn’t find anything else I enjoyed reading more. I wanted to write exciting, gripping novels like she wrote – and like you do, Glynis. I’ve loved your historical suspense novels Ripper, My Love and Maggie’s Child. I’ve just started Ripped Genes. My mystery-romance-suspense books Bridge to Nowhere, Heart Shadows, Shadow Chase and Until the Shadows Flee are unlike Phyllis Whitney’s in that the characters, action and adventure spin around a Christian pivot.

 Thank you for the compliment!

Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?

 

Sometimes. I entered the 3-Day Novel Contest this year even though I’m working on my sixth Miz Mike Bridge series. I wrote my most recently published book, pro-life adventure-romance Love’s Beating Heart for teens and young adults, while I was writing another of the Miz Mike Bridge series.

 

Do you work with a writing/critique group?

 

Not now. We had a fun writing group in Bandera, Texas. We wrote a book together and published it, “How I Got to Bandera.” We had planned to write another, “How I Got to Bandera & Why I Stayed,” but several of us moved.

 

Can you remember your first reading book?

 

Oh, yes! I we’re talking about school. Our first grade reader: “See Dick run. Dick runs fast. See Jane run. Jane runs fast. See Sally run. Sally runs fast. Here comes Spot. Run Spot, run!” The illustrations were lovely.

 

Do you nibble on snacks while writing? If so, what is your chosen treat?

 

No. I love chocolate, but try to stick to drinking chocolate milk once a day to keep from gaining too much weight. I do sip on Diet Coke while I write. I don’t drink coffee or hot tea. I love Texas iced tea. We drink it year around.

 

Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us.

 

You would ask that question today! Today is definitely a bombsite! I just caught something attempting to escape the clutter by making a suicide dive to the floor. Usually, my desk is fairly tidy with everything I use regularly within grabbing distance.

 

ImageAre you published in the traditional manner or self published? Share your journey.

 

Both. Sunpenny Publishing released Bridge to Nowhere and has accepted three other mystery-romance-suspense books in the Bridge series. My newest book Love’s Beating Heart is a self-published e-book. My three older books were already out on the market, Heart Shadows, Until the Shadows Flee and Shadow Chase. I’m self-publishing my next mystery-romance-suspense within a week or two, Fear of Shadows. After it comes out, I think I’m finished with shadows!

 

Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?

 

That’s a great question. From when I was a child, I’d have to day Anna Sewell, Black Beauty; Johanna Spyril, Heidi, and Margaret Marshall Saunders, Beautiful Joe. These were books with the capacity to move me to tears. They started a fire within my bones that could only be released through writing. I wanted to use words to make the world a better place by illustrating the power of love, kindness and laughter.

 

What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript?

 

Edit, edit, edit. Every time I’m forced away from a book I’m writing and go back to it again, I read it from the first page to as much as I’ve done and make additions or changes. When I read from the first page on through and don’t find anything else to change – I know it’s finally right.

 

The other biggie – don’t give up! I’ve received 150 rejection slips from different publishing companies on everything from children’s picture books to adult mystery-romance-suspense. I started trying to get books published while I was still in high school, so my journey to getting a traditional publisher for Bridge to Nowhere took 40 years.

 

If the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters?

 

Sorry, but I’ll have to pass on this question. I don’t have a TV and almost never watch movies. I don’t know any actors or actresses. When I do watch movies, they’re Walt Disney or Musicals like Brigadoon, Sound of Music, Flower Drum Song, Show Boat, Annie Get Your Gun, etc. I think those actors would all be too old for Bridge to Nowhere or Love’s Beating Heart!

 I rarely watch TV, and would be hard pushed to name actors, so you are not alone, Stephane.

Image

I was on my way to the supermarket, when … Do you have a tale to tell relating to an everyday, boring event?

 

It was July 2002 in Bandera, Texas. I worked at one of the two local newspapers. I had just crossed the Medina River Bridge on the way to work when I saw the river was on a rampage. I wheeled into a parking lot, jumped out of my truck, and ran to take pictures of people frantically rescuing recreational vehicles from the RV Park.

 

Thrilled to have beat the other newspaper to such great flood pictures, I started back to my truck and realized with horror that the river had risen and was flooding the parking lot. I sprinted to the truck, started it and plowed through water. Just as I reached the main road, they put up closed signs in front of me. By this time, water was creeping into the truck from the bottom of the doors and the wheels were barely making contact with the pavement because the truck was starting to float. Ignoring the road closure signs and the startled highway department workers, I floored the engine and shot through the closed intersection to dry ground and safety on the other side.

 

I never figured out why the highway department workers were putting up “Road Closed Signs” when I was on the wrong side of the barricade! That was only the start of an eventful day. I was stuck at the office for two days until the water went down enough the roads could reopen. My son, meanwhile, left for military duty in Iraq. I couldn’t even tell him goodbye because we were on opposite sides of the river and flooding had knocked out both electrical power and telephone service.

 Oh my, that was a story! Such a terrible shame about your son leaving, and you both apart. It must have been heartbreaking.

Thanks for sharing.

 

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About Glynis Smy

I live in the UK, in the seaside town of, Dovercourt~Harwich, where I enjoy writing novels. I've written historical romance/suspense, Medical romance and my latest WIP is in the crime genre. The Victorian era fascinates me and the best part of writing a novel is often the research. Proud writing moments in my life: Shortlisted for Festival of Romance Fiction 2014 New Talent Award Reaching second round of Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2014 Maggie's Child: reached #1 Amazon best-seller: Historical Romance Victorian /February 2014/ebook & book paid list. May 2014 #3 Historical Romance Victorian, and #25 in Historical Romance paid top 100 best-seller list. Top 100 in three categories on Amazon UK best-seller listings in 2015. Seeing my books in a Suffolk (UK), library. Over the years I've written short stories in a variety of genres. I've also won a few poetry contests, my first was at the age of twelve, (a poem about the Bangladeshi war). I also won a children's short story competition where the prize was a first-aid box, I was so proud but my husband found it amusing because we owned two pharmacies. My articles have been published in magazines both in the UK and Cyprus. I am also featured in various places on-line. When I am not writing, I enjoy making greetings cards, Cross Stitch, fishing and the company of my little granddaughters.
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4 Responses to Getting to Know the Author: Stephanie Parker McKean

  1. Glynis – Thanks for hosting Stephanie.

    Stephanie – Thanks for sharing your background. I am so sorry you didn’t get to say ‘goodbye’ to your son before he left for duty. How sad! Still, I’m glad you were safe after that brush with real disaster. Funny you’d mention Whitney’s work. I used to read it too and your post reminded me of that. I wish you success.

  2. Nice to meet you, Stephanie!

    That’s quite a near brush with disaster, too!

  3. Val Poore says:

    Lovely interview, Stephanie and Glyniss. I love Stephanie’s sense of humour and it shines through in Bridge to Nowhere. A great read! Good to know you have bombsite desk days too, Stephanie 🙂 I like these interviews as I always learn something new about my Cyber author friends!

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