How long have you been writing essays?
Like many of my coauthors I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember—non-fiction, fiction and essays—and mining my family, friends and life for inspiration along the way. In fact, my first “book” was the life story of my cat Midnight and his brush with death after being run over by a car.
When and where was your first essay published?
I've written for various commercial magazines and websites but this is my first published essay.
How did it feel when you discovered your essay had been chosen for inclusion in this book?
I was thrilled because it would be my first published essay and honored by the company it would be keeping. I think many writers doubt themselves and their abilities from time to time—I know I do—and to have my essay be accepted to appear alongside work from such a talented group of writers gave me a great thrill of validation.
Tell us a bit about the essay published Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart. What is it about and why did you write it?
My essay is called "Butterfly, Butterfly Fly Away Home" and is about my son and our experience with a one-winged butterfly. He received a Butterfly Garden for a gift and we couldn't wait to watch the caterpillars turn into butterflies and fly away—until one of the cocoons was misshapen and resulted in a one-winged flying-impaired butterfly. The essay celebrates my son's innocence both in his reaction to the butterfly itself and to its ultimate disappearance in the backyard.
What does it mean to you to be published in this anthology?
Being published in this anthology feels not only like a great accomplishment writing-wise but a affirmation that others saw the "magic" in the story itself like I did. It's also been a fascinating—and educational--experience to be on the inside of a self-publishing endeavor.
Do you have any words of wisdom to share with someone who says "I don't have anything to write about."?
Everyone has something to write about—the trick is finding it and then determining the right approach. For my non-fiction writing I gravitate toward ideas that I feel are applicable to a large group of people but when it comes to essays I try to examine unusual events that happen in my life—and then figure out how to apply this unique experience to a universal theme.
Kristen Stewart lives in New Jersey. Learn more about her and her writing at www.kristenestewart.com.