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Friday, 7 March 2008
Getting to Know Margo Finke
Topic: Author Interview
Margo Finke the person:

1.      What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Loving, loyal, and focused

2.      How do you think others would describe you?

Probably as someone who knows what she is doing, and is very confident of herself and her abilities.  If only they KNEW!!!

3.      Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

My personal and intimate relationships with my three children and my husband. My children are all grown, with lives and families of their own, and their choice of partners makes me happy. My husband is the rock I lean against, and the only one who sees the cracks in me, and shores them up as needed.  My kids are now old enough and mature enough for us to be friends.  I can ask their advice, and they can ask mine, without worrying about either parties stepping on tender toes.  Slowly developing peer-like relationships with your adult children is wonderful.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Don't get me started on pets, mate.  At one time we had 3 pygmy goats, 7 cats, 3 dogs, a couple of dozen guinea pigs, a caged bird or two, and a well stocked fish tank.  The fish were because that was my husband's business: likewise the guinea pigs.  Small goats and a lot of guinea pigs are great for keeping the grass mowed.  I would put the g.pigs outside on the grass, inside a large circle of wire mesh, and move them every half hour - great little mowers!!  The goats were staked at various spots, away from all the gardens and shrubs, and they mowed for us too!  The pet parade slowly diminished as the kids left home.  Now there is just the two of us, and one cat.  My husband has to mow the grass himself these days.  Oh, these days we have a family of deer who are partial to my roses and my spring bulbs.  The roses are now dressed in fine black mesh to keep the deer away from them.  We also feed a big variety of wild birds.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

This one is a snap!  When each of my three kids was born, of course.  I always felt wonderful during a pregnancy, and overflowed with love when each of them was born. Just as well, too, because that made up for the teen years, when a couple of them put gray hairs and wrinkles where once all was red (hair) and smooth.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

You have time for this?  I guess this is a "family" interview, so I had better give you my third worst event instead.  This involved sending a very personal post, with anything but flattering things to say about someone, to a large online list I was on.  Of course, I had meant to send the post privately to only one person.  My shame and embarrassment was overwhelming.  This taught me check the address before I clicked SEND.  And my dear mother's advice also comes to mind: "Never say or write anything you wouldn't want everyone to read on the front page of the newspaper."

7.      If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Who knows?  Dying of boredom I suspect.  I love my computer, and if I had been born later, I would probably want to learn everything about how they work their devious magic - as well as their bad spells.  A website designer would work for me.  I love tinkering with my website and my blog.

8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Oh dear, this is a poser, mate!! 

Margot Finke, a writer of children's books, died in her sleep last night of natural causes. She died too young: with many projects planned, and many still to be completed.  Writing was her joy, her woe, and her earthly anchor.  She will be sadly missed by her husband and children, one or two smart publishers, and an agent who was probably more interested in percentages. Children will remember Margot's books for their cool characters and adventure driven plots.

 Margot Finke the Writer

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

Am I a real writer?  I am often unsure.  Rejections make me feel inadequate - as of I missed one of life's major learning classes.  Is a real writer one who writes, one who is published, one who takes lots of classes, reads lots of books on writing, and has a great website?  I am still waiting for someone wise and superior to tell me if I am a real writer.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

At the moment, I am polishing some mid grades I wrote, and researching agents and publishers.  The fun part was the writing. This part is the pits!!

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

To publish every one of the books I have finished, and then spend time riffing on some rhyming pieces I have stored in my head.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I usually have breakfast and do household chores until about 11am.  My husband has taken over our almost acre of gardens, so I am now able to write all afternoon, have dinner, and then write again until 8pm.  The deal is that I finish up at 8pm every night, so we can spend time together. It might not all be writing. First there is usually a raft of e-mails to be attended to, my critique client's manuscripts to be worked on, and don't forget that perfect procrastination tool - blog and website tweaking!!

13.  Why do you write?

Because to not write is absolutely unthinkable.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

I think the author of The Lovely Bones ( Alice Sebold) drew me in more than any writer in a long while.  In my teens and twenties, I devoured all the classics - in fact, I became so absorbed in the fate of those in A Tale of To Cities, that I missed my train station, and had to walk 4 miles home in the boiling Aussie heat, in high heels!

15.  How do you define your writing?

Something that gushes out of me in a torrent -  then, I have to go back and tame it.  I love verbs that paint powerful word pictures in children's minds.  For me, verbs trump adjectives every time.  I like to use words the same way a painter uses colors.

16. In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

Margot Finke's stories were great:  I still remember all her characters.

Margo Finke the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

It's all on my Website: 

and my new Blog:

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

YES. My e-mail addy is

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

On Home Page, you can listen to me read two of my books while watching slides of the illustrations.  NOTE: Anyone buying a CD of my book gets a link to where they can hear me reading the story while watching slides of the illustrations.

MY BOOKS: Available on CD and download from various sources + my website.  - See covers & sample verses!

Below, find my 6 book series of rhyming stories about animals from the US and Australia.  They are fun as well as educational:


DON'T EAT PLATYPUS STEW and 2 other Aussie rhymes

+ Koala Capers & Kooky Kookaburra

NEVER SAY BOO TO A FRILLY + 2 other Aussie bush rhymes

+ Rainbow Birds and Tasmanian Devil Dance

PRAIRIE DOG'S PLAY DAY and 2 more fun rhymes.

 + Bald Eagle Rules & The Stinker (skunk)

EXTRA INFORMATION for teachers kids and parents, is on either :



OUT SOON - available in SOFT COVER and CD

RATTLESNAKE JAM (Guardian Angel Publishers)  Fun rhyming frolic with Gran, Pa, and a pot full of rattlers! 

Go to my OTHER BOOKS page:

To see wild and wacky illustrations by Kevin Scott Collier.  Use any you like.

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

I like to be sneaky, and offer learning snippets with my fun rhymes: the same with my mid-grade novels.  I like to use authentic settings that blend in with the story and the fictional characters.  Several of my books have Australian or Oregon settings.  These are places I know well.  My two adventures for boys are set in the Aussie outback, and although the characters are fictional, the setting and many of the happenings are based on reality and facts.  Kids learn things as they become involved with the plot and the characters.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

Writers who become published are the ones who stick with it and don't let rejections discourage them.  If you want to succeed at writing for children, you have to treat it as a business and not a bobby.  Write, write, write, read lots of books and join a really good critique group.  Rewrite and rework your manuscripts until they are well polished.  Go to writing conferences as often as possible.  This is where you get to network with other writers, and mingle with editors and agents - your chance to send a few chapters to an otherwise closed house. Study writing and publishing trends.  Research publishers, and read their submission guidelines.  Make sure your book is right for their current list.  Join a good online list where other writers are supportive and share their knowledge.  Be a sponge: soak up every drop of writing information that comes your way.

This Musings column tells it like it is:

Enthusiastic Hobbyist or Dedicated Writer:
Which One Are You? 

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008 1:17 AM EST
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