Monday, March 17, 2014

Children's author Aileen Stewart

Dear Friends,

Today I am featuring Aileen Stewart, an Ohio children's book writer, as my guest. As Facebook works, Aileen and I have never met in person, but we have interacted in the book world before. She feels like a longtime friend to me.

I truly want you to get to know Aileen too through the following questions and see what remarkable things she is doing in the world of children's literature. So, I want to introduce Aileen Stewart to you today. Please make her feel welcome.

PB: Aileen, it's great to have you as my guest today. I want my readers to get to know you and your work. So, let's get started. What first triggered your interest in writing?

AS: When I was in fourth grade, my teacher entered the students in my class in a poetry contest. I did not win, but I did receive an honorable mention which absolutely thrilled me. Around this time, my father also started freelance writing for hunting and fishing magazines. Because my father was my hero, I wanted to emulate him.

PB: How old were you at the time?

AS: I was nine at the time.

PB: In what genre do you write?

AS: I write in the children’s genre. Currently my published book, Fern Valley – A Collection of Short Stories, is a chapter book. The sequel, Return To Fern Valley, which releases this summer is also a chapter book, but I hope to break into the picture book market. 

PB: What is the first thing that you wrote?

AS: The first item I wrote was the poem in fourth grade. After that, for many years, I wrote poetry and short stories for my own pleasure, often incorporating poetry into the Christmas cards I created for family and friends.

PB: How many hours per week do you devote to your craft?

AS: This is a very good question Miss Pat. I don’t actually have a set schedule or certain number of hours per week that I write. I have read in many articles that one should write every day, but I find that to be a highly unreasonable expectation. To begin with, each writer is different and feels differently about the creative process. I have a nine year old, a husband, and three cats to care for. I volunteer at my daughter’s school and at my local library, In other words, I have a life that sometimes interferes with writing.

I also don’t feel inspired every day. Some people might call that writer’s block, but I call it reality. When I do get inspiration, I tend to write quite a bit. I also need quiet to write, which can typically only be found when my daughter is at school or after she goes to bed. I do, however, post diligently each Monday on my blog
Aileen’s Thoughts.  

PB: What are your greatest aspirations as a writer?

AS: My greatest aspirations as a writer are multiple and complex. I want to reach my readers, be they children or adults, and make them feel something. And hopefully what they feel is some kind of a connection with my characters. I also want to encourage reluctant readers to read. And then there is the money subject, which is probably not politically correct to talk about, but it is part of why I write. I don’t want to be rich or famous, but it would be nice to earn a living, no matter how small, by doing what I love so passionately. 

PB: What person has influenced you the most with your writing?

AS: I would have to say that both my father and my husband have influenced my writing equally. My father influenced me, initially, by encouraging me to read and write well. He continually told me, when I was a child, that kids who could read well could do anything. That is something I never forgot, and it is my motto to this day.

But it was my husband who actually encouraged me to start writing for children. This came about when my daughter was only three and we were watching cartoons together. I noticed that most of the cartoons we were watching were based on books. Casually, I mentioned to my husband that I could write stories with characters good enough to be made into cartoons. Being the serious individual that he is, he looked at me and said, “Then why don’t you.” And he has continued to encourage and support me with my writing dreams no matter how big they might seem.

PB: What one person has been your biggest encouragement as you pursue your goals?

AS: I guess I answered this question above, but I would like to add that I have met a number of fellow authors, such as yourself, who have become part of my tribe. I like to think that we encourage and cheer each other on as we all travel that uncertain path known as being an author. 

PB: What motivates you to keep writing?

AS: It’s not really a motivation as much as it is my talent. I believe that every human being has a God given talent of some kind. For some, their talent is large and obvious like woodcarving, writing music, painting, or sculpting. But sometimes we overlook the quiet and subtle talents some people possess like kindness, patience, or being able to connect with individuals like children or the elderly.

I write because it is what I was meant to write. I write because I am unable not to write. Stories pop into my head at the most unusual times and they are ideas that seem to linger until I put pen to paper.

PB: When you aren’t writing, what do you like to do?

AS: That’s another good question Miss Pat. It would probably be shorter to tell you what I don’t like to do, since I love so many things, but I will give it an effort. I am an amateur photographer. I have taken senior pictures for friends and co-workers who had limited finances. I have taken engagement pictures, wedding pictures, and pictures of my family. The wedding pictures are not something I ever want to do again, since I had a bridezilla client, but that’s a story for another day. I also love to take pictures of my travels and food that I cook. Which brings me to one of my other passions which is cooking and baking. 

During the summer months, I can often be found at my local farmer’s market hawking tarts, homemade granola, and quick breads as well as my book. You might also find Barbie quilts on my table as well, since I also like to sew. This past winter I made American girl doll clothes for my niece and my daughter. From time to time, I am even known to make a baby quilt for an expecting acquaintance.

I love to craft, I love to bird watch, I love to attend auctions, I love to collect antique glassware, I love to pic-nic, I love to read and review children’s books, I love to put puzzles together, I love to travel, I love to flower garden, and I love to geocache with my family. For those who might not be familiar with geocaching, it’s basically a very big outdoor scavenger hunt. Using latitude and longitude coordinates, you find a cache that has been hidden. Sometimes they are even big enough to hold fun swag for trading.

PB:  What is one thing that makes you totally unique?

AS: Wow, now we get to the really tough question. What one thing makes me unique? Well, the only thing I can really think to answer is everything about me makes me unique. No other person looks, acts, or thinks exactly like me. When you think about it, although people might have similar hobbies, interests, likes and dislikes, or even looks, no two people are the same, not even identical twins. 

PB: What can you share about yourself that might surprise my readers?

AS: In my younger years, I visited Hawaii three times, once upon a time I used to re-finish antique furniture, and I like to eat peanut butter on almost everything including cheddar cheese.

Author Bio:
Aileen Stewart is the award winning author of the children’s books Fern Valley- A Collection of Short Stories and the soon to be released Return to Fern Valley, a public speaker, amateur photographer, and a blogger. In addition, she hosts writing workshops for children. She resides in lovely Shelby, Ohio with her beautiful daughter, wonderful husband, and their crazy cats Max, Daisy, and Fluffy. Her motto is “Kids Who Read Can Do Anything” which was inspired by her late father, the man who instilled in her a love for the written word. You can find out more about her at

Aileen, thank you for stopping by today. I know my readers have enjoyed getting to know you and I've enjoyed getting to know you better. 

Keep on keeping on with your writing and the multitude of other things you enjoy doing.

Friends, it's time to wrap this session up. Enjoy your God-given day. Remember that every day is a gift from Him.

 Check out this link for Aileen and the fun things she does:

Until next time,


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