Welcome to my Blog Margot! I am SO glad to have you here. My readers will be so glad to find out more about you and your writing!
1. Tell us a few things about yourself.
I am an Aussie who married a Yank and ended up in Oregon with three kids. I grew up in the humid tropics of Queensland, so the cool and rainy Oregon climate was a big change. The plants that grew were different, too. I volunteered as a teacher’s aide at our local grade school, and I soon learned that reluctant readers needed fast action and some
WOW factors in a book, or they quit reading it. I decided to write books with wow factors that would HOOK kids on reading. Kangaroos fascinated the kids I worked with, so Kangaroo Clues became the first of my 14 books – and counting! Then our daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia, and that led to me to write Horatio Humble Beats the Big D, a rhyming picture book that encourages and helps both child and parent. The battle against dyslexia CAN be won! Oprah, Daniel Radcliffe, Tom Cruise, Einstein, Orlando Bloom and many others are proof of this.
I am also eager to convince teachers and school librarians to take advantage of Author visits via SKYPE. This is a terrific way to get kids interested in reading, plus how to write their own cool and fun stories. I chat about how “SKYPE Makes it Happen” here: http://youtu.be/G0V79sMJiMM
2. Who is your favorite author?
Definitely Khaled Hosseini. I can’t wait to read his latest epic. The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns were the two best books I have read in years. His command of language, and his ability to thread the right words together and create a constant flow of vivid mental pictures, is marvelous. His plots and characters reek of authenticity, human frailty, and great courage.
For children, Roald Dahl comes to mind. I remember reading two chapters of his James and the Giant Peach to second grade kids. When I came home I had to read the rest, just to see what happened. His writing fires the imagination, introduces quirky fun characters and a fast pace. Every child in that class was HOOKED. There are many other amazing children’s authors whose books grab kid readers until THE END – too many to mention.
3. What are your hobbies?
Writing of course – not writing is like not breathing – I would die! I love to read, travel, and spend time working in our garden. And at times our 4 wonderful grandchildren carve a huge slice from my days. What time is left I spend smelling the flowers, eyes closed, and listening to bird songs from within the trees.
4. What inspired you to want to write Kangaroo Clues?
I was newly transported from Australia, and I wanted our kids to remember the weird and wonderful critters from the land Down Under, where they were born. And the classes I worked with loved kangaroos. Kangaroos are synonymous with being Aussie, so Kangaroo Clues was dreamt up over several sleepless nights and days. It is one of several rhyming picture books I wrote for a series called Wild and Wonderful. They were ebooks originally, but thanks to Guardian Angel Publishing, they are now being republished as soft cover books. The other half of this series is about critters from the USA. Kangaroo Clues and Mama Grizzly Bear are the first two in the series to make it into soft cover.
5. What inspired you to want to write Mama Grizzly Bears?
I’ve always been fascinated by grizzly bears. They are so solitary and awesome in nature. Grizzlies were my first choice for the US section of Wild and Wonderful. Grizzlies are to America what lions are to Africa – they are headline animals.
6.What inspired you to want to write your other books? Please describe each book a bit and your inspiration for each.
The rest of Wild and Wonderful are as follows –
(All in rhyme – fun facts about different animals)
*Don’t Eat Platypus Stew – 3 separate stories : Platypus, Kookaburra and Koala.
*Never Say BOO to a Frilly – 3 stories: Frill-neck Lizard, Rainbow Birds, Tasmanian Devil
*Prairie Dog’s Play Day – 3 stories: Prairie Dogs, Bald Eagle and The Stinker (skunk)
*Humdinger Hummers – one story about hummingbirds in our gardens.
*Squirrels Can’t Help Being Nuts – 3 stories: Squirrels, Kitty Kats, Bumblebees.
Readers can find more fun facts about all these fabulous critters on either my
Down UnderFun or Wild US Critters.
Hold onto your boomerang mates, there’s MORE!
Other Rhyming soft Cover Picture Books:
(On Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/bg9dtxt)
*Rattlesnake Jam – pure boy fun. No one has a Gran and Pa like these!
*Ruthie and the Hippo’s Fat Behind: how sudden changes can turn your kid into a brat.
*Horatio Humble Beats the Big D: help and encouragement for kids with dyslexia and their parents. PLUS the above mentioned Mama Grizzly and Kangaroo Clues
Young Teen Adventures: (On Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/bg9dtxt)
*Taconi and Claude – Double Trouble: Aussie, outback coming of age adventure –
NOTE: Survival by Walkabout is the follow up book – coming soon.
*The Revenge of Thelma Hill – Ghost mystery set in Oregon.
As I wrote this, the ghost began to feel very familiar to me. Then it hit me – I was channeling my dear mother! But what the heck. . . Mom fitted the bones of my ghost to perfection. And I knew she would be SO tickled to be one of the main characters in a book of mine. I even used her real name for the title – love you Mum!
*COMING SOON: Down Under Calling – separated by an ocean, yet nothing can stop a reluctant grandson and an eager grandmother from paddling across it.
7. Which book was the most difficult book to write?
None of them. Story ideas simply arrive inside my head without rhyme or reason – or at least SOME of them are without rhyme..!! They all flow pretty well from my head and into my computer files. However, I do get my best ideas late at night – mostly as soon as my head hits the pillow. My eyes fly open, and my brain begins to spit out all sorts of plot and character ideas. I tiptoe into our bathroom where I keep a pad and pencil, and jot them all down. If I don’t do this ASAP, by morning all those brilliant and insightful plots, and terrific rhyming stories, have gone P-O-O-F!
8. Can you summarize each of your books for us?
Please. . . only the three books for young teens. We don’t want reader’s eyes glazing over, mate.
Taconi and Claude Double Trouble – On Coorparoo Cattle Station, in the Queensland outback, young aboriginal boy Taconi has nightmare about his upcoming man ceremony, and he is sure his dad is crazy. And that’s not all. He must decide whether to follow the white man or go with his tribe. Will he find the blue feather that helps solve all problems, or will it remain stubbornly attached to the tail of the Kingfisher. While Dreamtime spirits linger near, with plans of their own for him, Taconi goes walkabout for bush meat, and listens to the funny one liners of his only mate, a sulfur crested Cockatoo named Claude. A mad emu, and biting green ants, only serve to make his problems trickier. A coming of age adventure that culminates in a tribal gathering, story dancing, and the awesome power of Dreamtime .
The Revenge of Thelma Hill –
When Frannie and her twin brother moved to Oregon, ghosts, hunting a killer, plus a basement that is home to a giant arachnid named Adolpha, never entered her thoughts. Frannie worried about making new friends, her missing mom, and the sibling rivalry between her and her twin. Yet the resident ghost persuaded Frannie to help find her killer. With reluctant help from her twin, and keeping all from their busy Dad, she devised an email trap. But lives were up for grabs when the killer came a-calling. Courage, smarts, and a handy frying pan saved the day. The ghost had promised to help Frannie find her mom – but would she live up to her part of the bargain?
Down-Under Calling – Coming soon
When a reluctant grandson in Oregon is pressured into writing to his grandma in Australia, wonderful things happen. Both have a need for love and reassurance. Back and forth the letters go: Josh shares his daily problems, and Grandma Rose shares past memories that astonish her grandson and his friend Kelly. Together they shrink the Pacific Ocean into a puddle they can easily ford.
9. What are your future writing projects?
At the moment I am doing a final edit of Down-Under Calling, and looking to have two new picture books find a good publishing home.
10. How do you divide your writing day? Are you a full time writer?
Mornings, during the glorious days of Oregon’s summer, I water, weed, and admire our ¾ acre of gardens. Now retired, my husband looks after them for me. Then, I recharge my writing batteries by sitting in the shade, listening to the birds, and watching them bathe and drink from two fountains, + two huge barrier reef clam shells set under trees. The hummingbirds love our fuchsia bushes, and are fun to watch. They love flying through the sprinkler or bathing in the smaller fountain. I write, promote online, or do Manuscript Critiques all afternoon, until 8pm each night. My husband and I have a deal. I quit at 8pm and we spend the evening together. We have been happily married for 41 years, so I guess the plan is working.
In winter, when the Oregon rain and chill claim our gardens, I spend a lot more time in my cozy writing room. A fire, a couch, lots of plants overwintering under lights, + my large work area and desk, make it the best pace to survive the winter.
11. Any tips for aspiring writers?
Learn the basics, read lots of books in the genre you plan to write, and join a really good critique group that has one or two published or advanced writers. Network among other writers and pick their brains. Join some good online writing lists. Facebook, Linkedin and Yahoo have many to choose from. Make notes of the wisdom you read in their posts. It will come in handy when you least expect it. And remember, never give up – keep looking for just the right publisher. Rejections are simply part of the writing dues you pay. And please note – publishers do NOT make house calls!
12. Could you share your website with our readers?
My Books – Manuscript Critique Service – Writing Help – FREE Skype Author Visits
Books on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/bg9dtxt
Facebook Timeline: https://www.facebook.com/margot.finke
Facebook “like” : https://www.facebook.com/MargotsBooks
Hook Kids on Reading: http://hookkidsonreading.blogspot.com/
Thank you for being here on my blog today Margot! I will connect with you soon again to see how you are doing and what you are up to in your writing career!