If you ask Stephanie McCall, 2004 recipient of a Connestee Falls scholarship, who she is, she would be most likely to answer first, that she is a writer, and second, that she is a person with cerebral palsy. Or she might respond the other way around. Or she might say that she is a person with three published books or a person with two advanced degrees.
No matter what, McCall practices using person first language and encourages others to do so. Person first language identifies someone as a person and then adds additional identifiers. That’s important in a world in which people are often identified by their skin color or their religion or their disability.
McCall said that receiving the Connestee Falls scholarship was a godsend because all she had to do was write an essay to qualify. Some students are unable to do the community service portion of some scholarship requirements because they have limited mobility, sight or hearing. She has always been a reader and a writer.
McCall was born and raised in Brevard. Currently, and she lives with her parents, Scott and Teresa McCall. Her father is a real estate broker with Lake Toxaway Company and her mother recently retired as chief of administration for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Her brother Casey and his family live in Henderson County.
McCall graduated from Brevard High School in 2004. After graduation, she attended Brevard College and double-majored in English and religious studies, which includes philosophy. Following graduation from Brevard College, she attended Western Carolina University and earned a master’s degree in professional writing. In 2013, she also completed a master’s degree in teaching.
That year, McCall saw the publication of her first novel, “Fiery Secrets.” Since then, she has completed and published a young adult novel, “Promise of a Future,” and a devotional, “Sufficient Grace.” She explained that, for her, a novel typically takes about nine to 12 months to write. This time includes revisions.
Her novels were published by a hybrid publisher, which is a cross between a traditional publisher and self-publishing. Hybrid publishers typically provide editing services to writers but not marketing services. Currently, McCall describes herself as being in a start-over phase like a new writer because her publisher has gone out of business. She’s looking for a publisher who can provide her books with a “home.”
At the moment, in addition to looking for a new publisher, McCall also works as a freelance writer for several companies. She writes press releases, blog posts and social media content for a variety of clients. This allows her to work from home and gives her more freedom to set her own schedule. Writing between 10,000 and 20,000 words a week is the equivalent, for her, of writing half a novel. According to Stephanie, her novel chapters typically have 2,500 words.
Veterinarians and pediatricians are her favorite clients because, as she explains, “I enjoy writing things that allow me to help people and pets rather than focusing on objects or products.”
The clients vary, so one week McCall might be writing about animals or how to help a colicky baby, and the next week, she might be writing about what to know if you are traveling to certain destinations in Australia, or about cars. The last is particularly ironic since Stephanie has never driven. However, she thrives on challenges.
As she said, “A valuable thing about working for content companies is that it stretches you. Quick turnaround is part of the job. I have to learn about a variety of topics rapidly.”
McCall also writes her own blog at http://www.independencechickwordpress.com.
McCall was inspired by Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronté, Charles Dickens, Frances Hodgson Burnett and J.K. Rowling. She has many other favorite authors too, such as Beth Moore, who writes Bible studies.
McCall identifies herself as an evangelical Christian. She says she is drawn to Christian women whose faith has seen them through really tough times. Weathering adversity is a characteristic of all the authors who have inspired her.
McCall had some words of advice for future recipients of scholarships.
“Just because you’ve gotten a scholarship doesn’t mean that you are going to get your dream job. You may end up doing things that you don’t like and that you don’t enjoy doing, but that’s life. Everything is a stepping-stone to that dream job, but you have to have a level of practicality about yourself,” she said.
Based on her interview, Stephanie seems to be a very practical person with a dream of being a writer who is talked about long after she is gone. The Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program is pleased to have given Stephanie a hand in realizing that dream.