Sunday, September 1, 2013

This week, from Sept.1- Sept. 8, I am showcasing author Margot Finke as a part of my new venture of hosting authors.  This was something I decided to do, because as an author we tend to talk a lot about ourselves, which is something I really don't like to do.  This is a way to bring some light to other authors and I am so excited about it.  Margot has 13 books published as of right now, yes 13.  She mostly writes children's books and preteen books.  I had the pleasure of reading through a couple and I have to say, they are beautifully done.
I asked her which of her books she would highlight and even though she has so many(I would have a hard time choosing) she said: My ghost mystery I think, "The Revenge of Thelma Hill." While writing it I found the ghost becoming increasingly familiar. Turns out I was channeling my dear mum. So I thought, what the hec! Mum would be tickled pink to feature in a book of mine. I went whole hog. Even used her name in the title -

When Frannie’s dad transfers to Oregon, she worried about going to a new school, and why she and her twin, Jeff, weren’t really close. Frannie also dreams about her missing Mom, and wonders why she never returned to them. Ghosts, a long ago murder, and helping to trap a killer was never on her private “worry” list. Yet a late night visit from a scary apparition, trailing long gray veils, and begging for Frannie’s help, changes everything. Twin Jeff was not a believer, and her dad thought ghosts were rubbish. So Frannie and the ghost, who was amazingly kind and friendly, put their heads together and planned revenge. 

A chilling encounter in the basement, and the appearance of the ghost’s familiar, an arachnid of gargantuan size, persuades Jeff to help them trap Thelma Hill’s killer. Keeping Dad out of the ghostly loop is tricky, and using the internet to trap the killer is dangerous. When the panicked and treacherous killer pays a midnight visit to their basement, the trap is sprung. Later, Thelma Hill gets her wish to be buried in a consecrated church cemetery. And when the hoo-hah of the capture dies down, Dad meets a reporter he can’t say no too, and Thelma Hill finally brings news about Frannie’s mom.

(I will be purchasing this story for my daughter.)  I thought that was amazing.  Being a writer myself I know how life and personal experience tend to influence stories so I’m always curious as to what an author’s story is.

While talking to Margot I got up close and personal and asked her a few questions.
The big question everyone asks, how did you get into writing?

I was top of my class in writing, and I always wrote “stuff.”  But what really gave me a big nudge were the kids in the Oregon school where I was a Teacher’s Aide. They asked why I spoke funny. I told them I was an Aussie from Down Under, and that we had a language all our own. I brought in a National Geographic map that showed the Aussie animals, and I began telling the classes about the wonderfully unique critters in Australia. I even made up stories about them off the top of my head. I did the same thing at bedtime for my three kids, because I didn’t want them to forget where they came from. My teacher friend said, “You have to write those stories down before you forget them.” I did, and the rest is history!

What genre do you write?
I began with “Wild and Wonderful,” a series of 7 rhyming picture books about animals from the US and Australia.  Unfortunately they were eBooks, long before anyone was buying them. But now they are with a different publisher, and will soon be available in soft cover as well as eBook. 

Of course I didn’t stay with picture books.  I have 2 young teen adventures published, and another two will soon hit the shelves, plus the third picture book from my original series. 
That makes 10 picture books in all + 4 young teen adventures – and more to come.

What genre do you like to read?
My favorite author, for both lyrical language, and the ability to paint marvelous word pictures, while delivering a fascinating plot and characters, is Khaled Hosseini. The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns are awesome reads – the best I have read in years. I am eager to read his latest, And the Mountains Echoed.  I also enjoy a really good mystery – ones that are well crafted and capture my interest.

Tell me about your book/s
These 5 are the original “Wild and Wonderful” series of ebooks –
(soon available in soft cover)

*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.

Hold onto your boomerang mates, there’s MORE!
The following are PBs already published as soft cover books.

*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: these two from the original e-series:
*Mama Grizzly Bear:  a year in the life of Mama and her cubs.
*Kangaroo Clues: how Old Man Roo tricked the wild dingoes that were chasing him.
Young Teen Adventures:  (Amazon:
*Taconi and Claude – Double Trouble:  This coming of age adventure is set on a cattle station in the Australian outback, circa 1950. Taconi, a young aboriginal boy, is fearful of his upcoming man ceremony, worried about his dad’s crazy plans, and torn between two worlds.
And the Dreamtime spirits have plans of their own for him. His only mate is a fast talking, Sulfur Crested cockatoo named Claude – always happy to toss out a helpful one liner.
NOTE:  ***Survival by Walkabout is the follow up book - coming soon.
*The Revenge of Thelma Hill – Ghost mystery set in Oregon.  Frannie and her twin brother move to Oregon. At first her thoughts are of old friends, making new friends, and the sibling rivalry between her and her twin.  There’s also the nagging worry about her mom. Where is she?  Everything changes when the ghost comes to her and begs for help. Frannie and her reluctant twin join forces to help the ghost trap her killer. Yet will they ever discover what happened to their mother? Their dad certainly isn’t talking.

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 a main character in a book of mine.  I even used her real name for the title - love you Mom!
*COMING SOON:  Down Under CallingWhen a reluctant grandson in Oregon is pressured to write to his grandma in Australia, wonderful things happen. Both have a need for love and reassurance. Back and forth the letters go. The reader gets to share Andy’s and Grandma Rose’s daily problems, and his grandma also writes about her childhood memories. They astonish Andy and his friend Kelly. Together they shrink the Pacific Ocean into a puddle they can easily ford.
Who or what is your biggest influence?
My mom. She always encouraged me to read. Mom read to me, and made up stories of her own to tell me at bedtime. Later, when I was a teen, she read books at night to both Dad and myself. Funny ones mostly, like “The Egg and I.” She had a way of reading stories, or telling them, that could make you laugh or cry. I loved to hear her tell stories of when she was young, or how Dad and her met. I have included some of her true stories in my upcoming book, Down-Under Calling. A lot of what Grandma Rose tells her grandson, Andy, comes from what my mom told me. It is a tribute to her and a kind of virtual hug.

What is something an average person doesn’t know about you?

That I am not the “oh so confident” person I appear on the outside. I hide my fears and uncertainty.  Maybe I should have been an actress instead of a writer?

What is your guilty pleasure?
 I have decided to give guilt the boot. At my age I need to give myself permission to “tell it like it is, mate!”  My pleasure (minus the guilt) is to relax and let the dust bunnies roam.  In the past I felt compelled to do it all perfectly. Now, “perfect” be damned!

 I love to sit and watch the birds in our garden feed on the seeds and nectar we lay out for them. They come, flocks of them, and I am guessing Finke’s Avian Outdoor Restaurant has a 5 star rating. A great book to read completes my pleasure. My husband tends our ¾ acre of trees and gardens these days, and he does a marvelous job.

Who is your book boyfriend/girlfriend?
No one in particular. I have been around a long time, and my website and Manuscript Critique Service offer lots of help for writers. Writers tend to come to me.

Who would your dream cast be?
Hmmm. . . glad you asked.  My dad knew a Frillneck Lizard very well.  It holed up in the brick wall of the home Dad was building for us in his spare time. He could star in the movie of my PB, “Never Say BOO to a Frilly,” quite well.  And there are several kangaroos at the Queensland Lone Pine Sanctuary that would be perfect leads for Kangaroo Clues. There’s also a squirrel and a skunk that frequent our yard.  They could easily become headline film stars if asked nicely.

An average day of writing, what is your ritual?  Set the scene
You know, when you have 14 books published, finding time to write is like looking for gold – scarce!  Promotion looms large. I do try to sneak in an hour or two each day for my own projects, but sometimes my client’s demand for critique services nibble away at the edges of my writing time. Then there’s all the social networking sites to infiltrate, clients to deal with, interviews to fill out, my illustrators to deal with, and two new books to final edit for my publisher.  What mostly throws a spanner in my work-wheel is that unplanned email. Someone, or something, that has to be dealt with immediately - ASAP.

I have set up my writing shop in what was once our family room.  Fireplace, comfy sofa, book shelves, and a large L shaped desk with cupboards and shelves.  PLUS wall shelves with gro-luxe lighting, where we put tender plants to winter-over. Lovely when it is cold, rainy (this is Oregon), and miserable outside. Like working in plant heaven! I can even view a bird feeder from one of my windows.

What was your best and worst review?
Now I feel terrible.  Dare I confess. . .?  Lean closer and I’ll whisper:  All my book reviews are 4 and 5 stars. My husband says, “Don’t tell me about another great review. I only want to know when one of your books is panned!”

My best review began, “Australian author Margot Finke’s new book, Kangaroo Clues, is a masterpiece” -  Nicole Weaver for Blog Critics. It doesn’t get better than that.

How do you shake off those dreadfully painful reviews?
I still get nervous when someone sends me their review link. The knot in my stomach twists and grows. I guess no matter how many terrific reviews I receive, I am always waiting for the inevitable.  It has to come; that one devastating review that will make all the others seem as if they never happened..

Thank you for taking the time to get to know this amazing author a little better.  If you would like to know anything else about her, her links are below.  Don't forget to go on my Author Hosting page and like her introduction that I will be posting today, Sunday Sept. 1, to enter to win one of her books.

My Books – Manuscript Critique Service – Writing Help – FREE Skype Author Visits
Hook Kids on Reading
Books on Amazon:
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FREE “Sneak Peek” inside my Books:
Links to Video Readings from my Books:


  1. Wonderful interview! You are such a lovely lady! Best wishes

  2. Thanks so much Cindy. Tressa is marvelous for designing this wonderful author "get to know you" page. I so appreciate her hard work and talent Hugs mate!!

    Books for Kids - Manuscript Critiques

  3. A very interesting interview! I must confess that in recent years I've found it more difficult to get children's books published than those for adults! I impressed with what you've accomplished, Margot.

  4. Many thanks Jacqueline. You have to know it took me years to get to this stage. And children's books are not selling as well lately. I think there is just so much money families have to spend on books, and these days, with self publishing so prevalent, lots more choice. Less money, spread among far many more published books, means some books fall by the wayside, or don't get published at all. Publishing is in upheaval these days, and not until they sort out their own situations will things began to normalize again for writers.

  5. Hi Tressa, A nice interview of a wonderfully supportive fellow GAP author. Glad to hear Margot is "human" because we mostly know her as "Superwoman!"

  6. This is one of the happiest interviews I've read in ages! And I love that you've given guilt the boot--me, too, Margot. Life simply is too short!

    Thanks to you both for this bit of literary confection. I smiled reading it this morning...

  7. Thank you so much Nancy and Penny. You are both always so supportive - hugs!!

    Don't forget to go to the link provided, and sign up for a chance to WIN a giveaway book @

  8. Margot, I'm surprised to learn that you ever get nervous.

  9. Then I am a better actress than I thought. My husband is the only one who understands my weaknesses. He reads me like a book!!

  10. Margot,
    I would never have known you get nervous. You give me confidence when you are around. You are truly a great example to other authors at all times.
    I have other things in common with you too! I loved “The Egg and I,” and my husband thinks just like yours. :D


  11. We are soul mates, J D. That's a wonderful revelation!! And here I thought my husband was a unique specimen of
    manhood. . . Hooda thunk it!!