Author Spotlight: Stacy Burch
Nov. 18, 2022
We are excited to feature author Stacy Burch and her debut picture book A WAY WITH WORDS, illustrated by Lucy McLaughlin (Ethicool Books 2022) Enter to win a copy!
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.
I’m a writer, wife, and mother who loves reading (of course!), competitive swimming, hiking, cross-country skiing, and meditation! I was a middle and high school English teacher for over ten years in the U.S. before moving to Brussels, Belgium for six years where I was a professor of English 101, English 102, and Creative Writing for the College of Advertising. My husband and I were very fortunate to travel the world before returning to the U.S. and settling down with our young children. While I continued working as a freelance business editor, I finally started writing and submitting the stories I made up for my kids!
Congrats on your debut picture book, A Way with Words! Tell us about the book and what inspired you.
Thank you so much! A Way with Words is about Sam, a child who doesn’t speak but has so much to share. Sam finds various ways to communicate with others, from parents and neighbors to teachers and classmates, but people don’t always listen to each other (or even to themselves) so Sam uses her stored words in a beautiful way to raise her message above the noise. This story celebrates nonverbal communication and is dear to my heart as one of my immediate family members was nonverbal until the age of five. I’m excited to say A Way with Words is under consideration for the 2024 Dolly Gray Award!
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
Definitely somewhere in between. My husband travels a great deal for work, so I usually only find time to write in the mornings before anyone else is up or at night after everyone else is asleep. The process is slow, and, sometimes, imposter syndrome sneaks in to grind it to a halt. But in January of 2020 I finally signed with an agent – yay! – who ended up leaving agenting shortly after the pandemic began. Blah! At the time, I had several outstanding editor submissions in the final rounds of acquisitions – yay! – but those, too, ended in rejection. Blah! When I finally signed my contract for A Way with Words, a small part of me was waiting for the other shoe to drop, but now I have a beautiful book my kids ask me to read at bedtime!
What projects are you working on now?
I actually have a second picture book releasing at the end of this month! Searching for Sleep is a story about a little mouse who ventures into the forest in search of Sleep. Along the way, unlikely friends – such as Awake and Drowsy – join her as she learns mindfulness techniques to calm the body and mind for rest. I teach mindfulness and meditation practices to groups of local children where I live, so this story incorporates several of those messages. I’m also working on numerous other projects from picture books and chapter books to editing my middle grade novel.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Try not to compare yourself or your writing journey to others. All publishing paths are unique, and that’s okay! When writing seems more like a struggle than a joy, I also try to find reasons for gratitude – my love of writing, our kidlit social media community (even when I’m not as active as I’d like to be!), tiny advancements no matter how small. Just like I teach my mindfulness kids, there’s always something to be thankful for – even in the face of rejection.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
My little family has our own sustainable farmette, appropriately named Picture Book Farm – a small farm with a big story! – and we are working locally to share regenerative agriculture’s ability to sequester atmospheric carbon. I’ve also incorporated these ideas into a few of my stories!
Where can people find you online?
I’m trying to carve out more time for social media, so I’d love to connect! On Twitter, I am @SBurch_Author, and on Instagram and Facebook, I am @StacyBurchAuthor. I also have a website at stacyburch.com.
Stacy Burch lives in northwest Pennsylvania with her husband and three, young children. As a freelance business editor, mindfulness coach for kids, and amateur farmer, she wears many hats, but none as well-loved as children’s book author. Stacy writes lyrical stories with humor and heart, and her debut picture book, A Way with Words, and second picture book, Searching for Sleep, both release in 2022.
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