Coffee and Conversation with Nanci Turner Steveson


It’s another Tuesday and another snowstorm…Phil, you’re fired.

While I bemoan the white stuff, I have a friend who LOVES it. If you want to ask her why or celebrate winter with her – you’re in luck. Nanci Turner Steveson is on the faculty of our Spring Conference Team SCBWI!


Nanci grew up with a book in one hand, the reins of a pony in the other. She is on the Board of Directors for the Jackson Hole Writers Conference; a professional theatre Stage Manager; and founder of The Literacy for Hope Project, dedicated to getting books to the homeless. She writes realistic fiction for middle grade readers in her historic meadow-cabin at the foot of the Grand Tetons. Visit her website at

Along with her editor, Andrew Harwell,  Nanci will present “Revising a Novel from the Author’s and Editor’s Perspectives” as one of our Saturday sessions.  They will discuss the revision process for her debut middle-grade novel, Swing Sideways. Those attending will be walked through everything that happened from the moment the novel was acquired to when it was sent to the printer.

I have been so excited to say this: Welcome, Nanci, to the Cyber Café! We’re so glad you’re here. First off, what’s your favorite coffeehouse beverage?

I recently had a yummy drink called The Cormac McCarthy at BookPeople in Austin, a toffee and chocolate concoction  that was about as luscious a drink as I’ve ever had. Other than that, I’m a hot chocolate girl.

Perfect for a day like today. And your favorite snack?

I feel like I should say carrot sticks and hummus, or fresh strawberries eaten from a gathering basket beside my computer, but the truth is, it’s chocolate. Any kind of chocolate. No basket needed.


I concur! What was your favorite book as a child?

Singular? Hmmmmm. If I had to pUnknownick only one, because it was a top favorite and the book that made me know I would be a writer someday, it would have to be Black Beauty.

And now, what’s your favorite book as an adult?

Les Miserables.

You magically find a $100.00 bill in your box of cereal. In what frivolous way would you spend it? (Key word: Frivolous!)

I’d go straight to my closest independent bookstore. Or have a pedicure because I’ve never had one and rumor has it they’re fabulous.

You’ve been locked in a bank vault Twilight Zone style, so you finally have time to read!  Your glasses are fine (whew!) so what’s the first book you crack open?

I have an impressive stack of middle grade books on my bedside table I’m working my way through, and I’m eager to get to them. However, if there are any biographies on Jefferson I haven’t read, or John Adams, or one of the better books on the abolition movement, or any biographies that really delve into a fascinating moment in history, I would love, love, love a few days to lose myself in something like that. With chocolate, of course.

Of, course! If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?

Training horses and teaching kids on horses, or writing books for kids, which is pretty much what I’m doing (except I am also a professional theatre stage manager which never, ever crossed my mind as a kid). I took the long road to get to do what I always wanted to do, but I’m living the dream now.  🙂

Another horse lover. Yep, that makes me happy! For one day, time travel is a reality and you can visit any famous deceased author you want.  Who do you pick?

Hafiz, Harriet Beecher Stowe, or Shakespeare.

That’s an impressively eclectic group! What’s your favorite motivational quotjohn-lennon-1091161__180e?

“When I was five years old, my mother told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” ~John Lennon

If you could sum up your best marketing advice for new writers or illustrators in only four words, what would it be?

Never, ever, ever quit.

You’re living proof of that. Thanks for stopping by, Nanci. We’re looking forward to seeing you at the conference!

If you need to catch up on our other faculty interviews, visit the links below. It’s a great group and there are more to come!

  • Ava Jae, writer and Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing
  • Stephen Barbara, agent with InkWell Management Literary Agency
  • Laura Shovan, author of The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary
  • Vicki Selvaggio, associate agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

REMINDER:  The deadline for critique submissions is this Friday, February 12th. You have to register first, so get on it!

Happy writing and illustrating!

About Susan Mannix

Susan worked as a biomedical research editor for the Department of the Navy for fourteen years and has been a member of SCBWI since 2007. She writes young adult and middle grade novels. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time doing all things horses, including attending her teenaged daughters’ many competitions. Susan lives in Maryland on a small farm with her husband, two children, an adorable black lab, two cats, and three horses.
This entry was posted in Conference Information, Interviews: Authors. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Coffee and Conversation with Nanci Turner Steveson

  1. tcrumpton7 says:

    Wonderful interview. Wonderful author.

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