I recently had the opportunity to read and review two of Margot Finke’s children’s books; she is a very talented writer. Today I warmly introduce her. Thank you Margot for allowing me to interview you.
I have read Taconi & Claude-Double Trouble and could not put it down until the last page, how did you develop your skills as a writer?
Over many years of sitting at the feet of those willing to mentor me. I also did scads of rewrites, and received enough rejections to paper a small room. If you feel deep inside you that you have the “right writerly stuff,” never give up.
I discovered a love of words early on. I go over what I have written with care. I am always looking for verbs that are more active and more powerful. I love unique adjectives. I look for words that paint a vivid mental picture of a scene or a character. I think powerful and active words are a writer’s best friend. And, if you want to build tension, scatter a few short, punchy sentences within a paragraph. It WORKS!
I do believe that practice makes perfect.
Can you explain what inspired you to write such a riveting book?
The Australian outback and the aboriginal culture always fascinated me. I grew up hearing and reading about it, and living not too far from where it all happened. When kids at school, where I was a teacher’s aide, asked about my accent, I told them about the land Down-under, and their amazing and distinctive animals. I made up stories about some of the Aussie critters, as I had for my kids when they were young, and the kids were rapt. I wrote some of them down, and they ended up titled, “Wild and Wonderful,” my seven book rhyming series of eBooks. Then the idea of writing a book about the aboriginals in the outback grew within me. It didn’t happen overnight. There were rewrites galore,
and many rejections, plus second and third trips through my critique group: what would I have done without those long-suffering and talented writers?
Then it all came together in my head and gelled. I KNEW I had it absolutely the right way around. Begin with a bang, and then lure the reader on with great hooks at the end of each chapter. Paint word pictures of the glowing outback heat and the wildlife. An appealing and emotionally torn Taconi, plus Claude the cockatoo. The Dreamtime spirits added the perfect finale.
Claude was the icing on my Aussie cake. I remembered my mum telling me about such a cockatoo: one that could mimic anything, and almost hold a good conversation with you. I knew kids would love him. I guess the book became a labor of love. You can take the Aussie away from Down-under, but you can’t take the love of all things Aussie from her.
As writers we all have goals that we want to accomplish, please explain your desire to write books that will hook boys and other reluctant readers? How many books have you written so far?
I have written eleven books so far. All the picture books are in rhyme.
The “Wild and Wonderful” series is seven books that tell about animals from the US and Australia – fun as well s educational. The illustrations are awesome.
Our daughter had mild dyslexia, and our son was a reluctant reader. That combination, along with what I saw and learned as a teacher’s aide, made me determined to write books that kids would WANT to read. Horatio Humble Beats the Big D is a rhyming story that encourages both the child with dyslexia and their parents. Diagnose early and kids WILL read. A helpful parent teacher guide is included.
I wrote Ruthie and the Hippo’s Fat Behind with the huge changes children today are forced to deal with – divorce, the death of a loved one, or simply moving far from friends and relatives. I included a parent/teacher guide with a helpful Q and A.
As for reluctant readers, most WILL read if they find stories with plots that interest them. Boys don’t want the gossipy, giggly and emotional tales girls love. Stories that feed their interest in computers, sports or hobbies are more to their liking. They want fast fun, adventure, and grotty humor. If it doesn’t HOOK them early, with some sort of WOW factor, they lose interest. I think Taconi and Claude covers all that – and then some!!
I have also read and reviewed Horatio Humble Beats the Big D and was highly impressed with your unique ability to write in rhymes, how did you become so very prolific in that style of writing?
I really can’t take credit for my rhyming ability. I was born with a double dose of the rhyme and meter gene. It comes easily to me. And I think facts stick in your head when they come in rhyme. Kids love rhyming stories – even older kids. I help a lot of writers with rhyme and meter through my Manuscript Critique Service. Writers always want to have a go at writing in rhyme. If it doesn’t come naturally, mastering the correct flow and musical feel of rhyme and meter is tricky to accomplish. It’s rather like singing in key. It is far easier to join a choir if you sing in key, than if you have a kinda hit-or-miss feel for a tune.
Where can one find more information about you and your books?
* My WEBSITE: http://www.margotfinke.com lists my books, illustrations, book trailers and reviews, as well as my Manuscript Critique Service, plus lots of help for writers.
* Margot’s Magic Carpet: http://perfectmagiccarpet.blogspot.com/: all my books on the one page, plus links to my website, read sample chapters and sample verses of all my books.
* HOOK KIDS on READING: http://hookkidsonreading.blogspot.com/ .
* Margot’s Books for Kids + Writing News: http://margotfinke.blogspot.com/ .
Thank you so much Nicole for interviewing me.