“Do you do public speaking?”
The question—asked not long after my first book came out in 1995—surprised me. After all, a big part of a historical novelist’s life is spent hiding out in the library learning about dead people. Why would folks think I did public speaking?
“Because you’re a ‘word person,’” my husband said when I told him about it. “You teach women’s Bible studies at church,” he added. “Why not give it a try?”
“What would I talk about?”
He had a quick answer. “Your faith journey. Nebraska history. Where you get the ideas for your books. How you got published.” And then he added with a smile, “Why you’re inspired by pioneer women’s stories.” Looking back, I think it was a set-up. He knew I could talk about pioneer women, because I often did—to an “audience of one” named Bob—about the amazing, inspirational women I’d “met.”
The next time I was asked if I did public speaking, I said yes and gave a talk I titled “Calico Trails.” I described it as “show and tell for grown-ups” and took antique quilts with me to illustrate the program about pioneer women and why I admire them.
Audiences were kind and encouraging. Word of mouth carried me to new places where I met wonderful people. And so, I’ve learned to love telling the stories behind the story of my writing life and my faith journey.
Need a reference?
We have been blessed with a lot of good speakers over the years, but Stephanie Grace Whitson is the only person in my memory to receive a standing ovation.”
—Braided River Quilt Guild, Papillion, NE
Stephanie’s presentations are truly inspirational and always receive enthusiastic audience response. Her programs have always been followed by someone in the audience asking, ‘… when will she be back?’”
—Kathy Thomsen, Head Librarian, Lexington, NE
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