Behind the scenes of Stacy Burch's "A Way with Words"
We're not going to lie, "A Way with Words" is so good, it literally takes our breath away every time we read it. The combination of Stacy Burch's beautiful words and Lucy McLoughlin's stunning illustrations really make this book one of a kind. The creative concept behind it is TRULY incredible, and the message is even more special.
In order to understand how Stacy created SUCH an incredible book (and it's her first one ever, can you believe it?!?), we sat down with her to learn more about her background, her life, and what "A Way with Words" truly means to her.
So Stacy, you’re now a published children’s book author! Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
Sure! I’m also a wife, mother of three, freelance editor, and mindfulness coach for kids. I grew up in a small Pennsylvania town in the USA and attended university to earn a BA in English, BS in Education, and M.Ed in Curriculum Design and Instruction.
I taught secondary school English in the USA for 10+ years before my husband and I moved to Brussels, Belgium for 5+ years. While there, I taught English at an art college and was incredibly fortunate to travel the world. Nowadays, my little family is back in the USA and on the move to start a mini regenerative farmette!
Word on the street is that your day job is related to writing! Can you tell us a bit more about that?
My biggest job is being a mom to my three young children, but this is also my greatest joy!
During the pandemic, I made the switch to homeschooling our children, which has presented both immense blessings and intense struggles.
Professionally, I am a freelance editor for businesses, universities, publications, and fellow authors, and I present virtually on mindfulness, meditation, and visualization to children and their parents.
I squeeze in my own passion (writing!) as a part of the 5am Writers Club and when my children are (finally) asleep at night.
Stacy finds time for her own way with words when her little ones are in bed at night.Many authors say their inspiration to write started when they were quite young. Is there anything from your childhood that comes to mind here?
Ha - yes! I’ve always been extremely imaginative.
As a child, I wrote ridiculously fantastical stories in my diary when most kids wrote about real events from their own lives.
I loved my English classes best of all and would enter stories, essays, and poems in contests (some of which I won!). Then, in university, I chose English as my major, only adding Education later when I realized I wanted to share my love of literature with others. I never stopped writing in my free time, but it wasn’t until a few years ago I mustered up the courage to submit my picture books for publication…and here we are!
It takes courage to submit your work to a publisher. But it does pay off.
Getting published is so hard! Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors on how to get published?
Never give up! I know that’s cliché, but it’s so true.
When I first started out, I signed with an agent (yay!), but then my agent left the business. I was a finalist in Ethicool’s author competition (yay!), but then I didn’t win.
The path to publication is filled with ups and downs, so find a wonderful critique group and don’t let imposter syndrome hold you back! Write what you love and take a chance on submissions (contests, agents, editors, etc.); your stories will eventually find their way into the hands of those who love them, too.
We know that many hands, eyes and hearts will love Stacy's "A Way with Words".
Your debut title, A Way With Words, is about to be released. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
A Way With Words is a lyrical story of a young girl who chooses to communicate in nonverbal ways.
Sam collects her thoughts, saving them for later to turn into dance, art, and music, but people don’t listen to what she has to say.
Sam's words certainly find their way to some beautiful places.
When Sam eventually decides to make her actions louder than their words, she shows how every person deserves to be heard.
Ethicool Books is a special publisher that promotes understanding of the issues that matter. What is the issue you hoped to highlight with A Way With Words? Why is that particular issue important to you?
I LOVE that about Ethicool! I hope A Way With Words highlights two issues: the importance of deep listening and open communication.
There are many different ways people communicate, and they are all valid even if they might be different; open communication is crucial to solving problems, making progress, and finding peace.
If children take the time to listen to each other, really listen, they can show and receive kindness when it is most needed.
The writing in your story is BEAUTIFUL. Can you tell us a bit more about your creative process?
I write from the heart about topics that inspire me.
Most of my stories start out as poetry, very lyrical with more of a focus on beautiful language and emotion rather than character arc.
Once I have this down, I revise by adding character details, story structure, etc. For me, the message is super important, but I don’t want this to be didactic or overshadowed; it’s a balance that really comes to light during revisions and peer critiques.
Stacy's approach to writing has resulted in her publishing not one, but TWO books with Ethicool!
And finally, if you could inspire the next generation of kids to do just one thing, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to speak up whether with your voice, writing, or actions! If you see something or someone (including yourself) in need, find courage to help.
Want to heal the environment? Resolve social injustice? Educate or inspire others to do what’s right? Be a leader! This is the only way our world will become a better place.
Stacy's absolutely breathtaking book will be available to pre-order soon!