About Stephanie


I love reading and writing kidlit, travel writing, and small-town romances. Also, I'm an actor/dancer/voice-over artist/choreographer who teaches Pilates. 

Waxing Eloquent About Myself

Hi! If you're here, you must love to read. Me too. I was always the kid who got in trouble for reading too much. I'd sneak books into the bathroom, into bed, into the classroom--but I'd get so involved in whatever I was reading that I wouldn't notice when my mom or my teacher was coming up behind me. I always got caught red-handed. Or should I say, read-handed???

I'll never outgrow children's literature. Picture books are one-act plays; they can make you laugh, cry, and dream in under 32 pages. Middle-grade books offer stories that delve deeply into the big questions of life, family, and friendships. Young adult books grapple with independence, identity, and power dynamics. So many of the challenges the young characters face are ones that we deal with our entire lives. Whether it's balancing friendships or taking care of our siblings or working on a better relationship with our parents, those issues don't go away with time.   But children's books usually come from a place of hope, even as they wrestle with dark and twisty issues, that give us models for healing and change. 

When I read, I like compelling characters and intriguing settings. In real life, that means TRAVEL. For me, going to a new place is the greatest adventure. Travel writing is the newest passion in my writerly life, and I get a shot of adrenaline every time I pick a new-to-me destination, whether it's a jaunt, a day trip, or a full-fledged vacation. The stories that await are the buried treasure, and curiosity is my map. 

Right now I'm working on West of the Sea, a middle-grade rural fantasy set in the drought-starved wheat fields of Texas. Haven's mom had been acting strange for months, but the night of the lightning storm she looked different. Like, monstrously different. The next morning, Maureen West is gone--and only Haven believes she needs helps. She enlists Hunter Ruiz, the new kid in town, to help her search, but a stumble into the Brazos River triggers a physical transformation that makes Haven wonder if she takes after her mother in more ways than one.

In July 2017 I'll graduate from Lesley University with my MFA in Creative Writing. I've benefited from everyone who teaches there, but especially from my mentors David Elliott, Michelle Knudsen, and Susan Goodman. They've guided me towards a deeper understanding of craft, especially narrative structure, thematic support, and charting the dynamic emotional arcs of each character. Also, actively choosing punctuation is part of storytelling too! 

I've worked as an actor, dancer, choreographer, stage combatant, and assistant director for indie theater in Brooklyn and New York City since 2008. I also teach Pilates, so if you came here looking for Stephanie Willing, the pilates teacher, that's me too. Send me an email, and I'll fill you in on my group classes, studio sessions, in-home training options, and workshops.