1. How did you come up with the title?
I knew Katrina and Winter had to be included. I then brainstormed words that described both of them. It didn’t take long to come up with partners and courage. It just seemed a natural fit.
2. Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
It is my great hope that when people pick up this book and read it, they will relate to everyone who has a special need, whether it is physical or emotional. I also hope that we all realize how much courage these fine people show the world "every minute, every hour, every day." Heros like Katrina and Winter.
3. How much of the book is realistic?
I tried very hard to make it as real to Katrina’s and Winter’s lives as possible. It is, after all, a biography and the authorized one at that. The only license I took at all was in the area of a time line. For expediency’s sake, I collapsed a few events into one, as in the gala for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s video launch. Other than that, I am happy to say, everything was researched thoroughly from the literature and many interviews. But that is a great question and one that should be addressed more often!
4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
That’s a difficult question, as one always wants to make the book better and better. In truly thinking about this question, though, there is not much I would change. I had a long time to think about it, research it and write it. I feel good about the book and hope others will feel positive about it as well.
5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part was trying to get it perfect for Katrina. After meeting her and spending time with the family, I was committed to doing it well. I needed to get inside her head, feel like she felt, try to experience what she experienced. Of course, that was impossible, but I wanted to get as close as I could. It was a mission for me. Katrina is so brave and so worthy that it had to be a special book, indeed. I hope I succeeded.
6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Oh, yes. I learned down to my DNA how difficult, heart wrenching and soul tiring it is to be different. Because, of course, you’re not different at all. Not really. Not where it matters. Deep inside where all the courage and hurt and hope resides. I learned that. Katrina taught me.
7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I taught Children’s and Young Adult Literature at the university level for a number of years. During that time, I watched what books were good and timeless and asked myself why? The more analytical I became, the more interested in the process I became as well. When my husband and I bought a condo on Clearwater Beach, Florida, and I began taking morning walks and picking up trash along the way, the Bella and Britt Series popped into my head. The rest is history.
8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite children’s author is Jane Yolen. She is a master at her craft, and her talent runs deeply across different genres of books for children. By far, the most memorable book of hers for me is Owl Moon. Why? The prose is so beautiful, it is really poetry. The spell Ms. Yolen casts in the book is haunting, filled with lonely and spare countryside, a night so cold that one feel it to the very marrow. The yearning of a child to fulfill her much longed for expectations is palpable. It is glorious.
9. Tell us your latest news.
The book launch for Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage is occurring within the next two weeks with events in honor of it. Katrina and her family will be joining me in the Tampa Bay area for a TV feature on Channel 10’s Ginger Gadsden’s Morning Show (CBS). We will be at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and signing books several places, including the Book Nook at The Pier Aquarium in St. Petersburg on June 9. In mid-June, I will team teach a workshop on non-fiction at the Yacht Club at Disney World, Orlando. It is the Florida Mid-Year SCBWI Conference. I am very much honored to have been asked to participate.
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Two things: For those of you who follow me on my blog, Twitter, etc., I want to say a very heartfelt thank you. Our readers make us who we are, and I value every one of them! Also, for those of you who want to get published, don’t give up! Keep working, honing your craft, joining a critique group, attend conferences and write and edit some more! Those who persevere are the ones who join the body of published writers!
About the Book
All Katrina Simpkins longs to be is a normal girl. Because she must wear prosthesis as a leg, she feels anything but. When she meets and befriends Winter, the tailless dolphin, at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, everything changes, including Katrina's whole life.
Suggested age range for readers: 8-12.
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Release date: April 25, 2012
Buy Links: Guardian Angel Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound
About the Author
Nancy Stewart is the bestselling and award winning author of the four Bella and Britt Series books for children: One Pelican at a Time (eighteen weeks on Amazon Bestselling List), Sea Turtle Summer, Bella Saves the Beach and Mystery at Manatee Key. All are published by Guardian Angel Publishing.
One Pelican at a Time and Nancy were featured in the PBS Tampa special, GulfWatch. Pelican has won the Literary Classics Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite Five Star Award and was nominated for a Global eBook Award.
Her travels take her extensively throughout the world, most particularly Africa. She is US chair of a charity in Lamu, Kenya, that places girls in intermediate schools to allow them to further their education. Nancy is a frequent speaker at conferences, including the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
She and her husband live in Tampa and St. Louis.
Links to connect with Nancy: