She writes historical fiction, holds a master’s degree in history—and rides a motorcycle. Stephanie Grace Whitson has made a career out of playing with imaginary friends, and it all began in an abandoned pioneer cemetery on a tiny corner of land near where the Whitson family lived in the 1990s (mostly providing comic relief for the neighbors who had spent generations farming). That cemetery provided both a hands-on history lesson for Stephanie’s home schooled children and a topic of personal study. Since writing had always been a favorite hobby, it was only natural for Stephanie to begin jotting down scenes in the life of an imaginary woman crossing Nebraska on the Oregon Trail. Eventually, that story took on a life of its own, and Stephanie sent off a query letter—expecting instant rejection.
God had a different plan. Thomas Nelson Publishers offered a three-book contract. Two of Whitson’s first three books landed on the ECPA best-seller list, and two of her first nine books were finalists for the Christy Award. In 2012, The Shadow on the Quilt, book 2 in the Quilt Chronicles series, was awarded Romantic Times Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Inspirational Romance.
Whitson’s writing life has expanded to include frequent opportunities to speak to a variety of civic and church groups, and she now offers a menu of programs on writing, women’s history, and the Christian faith.
Asked about Kitty, the Honda Magna motorcycle, Whitson says, “In some ways I’m a sixty-something grandmother of seven, and in other ways I’m probably about twenty-six. It all depends on the day.” On days when her virtual age leans toward the younger side of that equation, she’s been known to wake up in the morning and decide to ride Kitty to Canada or Colorado.
And then she comes home and descends to “the catacombs” (the basement office in her Victorian-era home) and heads back into the past to play with more imaginary friends.