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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Day 113: In the Spotlight: Margot Finke

My Project: 365 Creative Writing Prompt

Day 113: In the Spotlight: Margot Finke

How did your journey as a writer begin?
In middle school, when a teacher praised my writing style. Later, life got in the way of serious writing—husbands and kids can do that. Yet I always fed my imagination with the plays and stories I wrote in my spare time.

What is your favorite and least favorite aspect of writing?

I love all aspects of writing, especially when the ideas come thick and fast.  Book promotion however can be a real drag — it takes time from writing, dammit!
Do you recall the book that made you aspire to become a writer?

Alice in Wonderland. I devoured that book.

What authors do you admire and why?

The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
A Thousand Splendid Suns    “
The Sword of Demelza - Jeanne E. Rogers

Where is your favorite place to write?

When the kids went off to college, and I finally had the peace and time to write, we converted the family room into my writing den—a cosy space with sofa, chairs, a fireplace, windows onto the back gardens, and a humongous L shaped desk my husband set up for me. In winter, my tender outdoor plants luxuriate there under gro-luxe lighting. Mmmmm. . . indeed, a writing den where my inspiration can run riot!

Are you a pen and paper writer or a straight to the keyboard writer?

Keyboard all the way. Even I cannot read my own handwriting. I LOVE my computer!

As a reader, what catches your attention?

First it’s the voice of the writer—a first page that hooks my interest. Then the plot and the characters creep up on me, and I dive into the tale—an eager observer right in the middle of the angst and the action.

I also like to help others write tight and terrific MS.  Clients send me their MS so I can guide them into writing books their readers will love.  Very satisfying!!

When you write, what comes first, the plot or the characters?

This depends.  Sometimes one and sometimes the other. Ideally, both the plot and the main character are equally important.

What is your main goal when creating a story?

For me, books have always been a Magic Carpet Ride to fun, adventure, and a lifetime of learning. When an idea begs to be developed and written, I want it to take kids who read it on that same Magic Carpet Ride. My goal is to Hook Kids on Reading.

Does life ever imitate art or vice versa?

My “Down Under Calling,” the saga of a modern family divided by an ocean, features Grandma Rose, a feisty lady who is loveable as well as sneaky. The family stories she writes to her grandson in Oregon (that amaze him), come straight from the mouth of my dear departed Mom.  She was a wonderful storyteller, and every one of them is true. Mom would be so tickled to have them featured in a book of mine. Does this count?

The same happened with The Revenge of Thelma Hill--a ghost mystery set in Oregon.  As I wrote, the ghost’s character simply wrote itself. I wondered what was happening. Then I GOT IT!  I was channeling my mom again. And she was perfect for the scary, yet eventually friendly ghost who needed Frannie’s help to make her killer pay. So I thought, “I’ll go whole hog, and use Mom’s real name for the title. Thelma Hill was her maiden name. I also knew Mom would be thrilled to be a major character in a book I wrote –an ideal ghost.”

What inspired you to write Dreamtime Man? 

I grew up Down Under, and Dreamtime Man is a  rhyming picture book, inspired by the horrible things that happened to the Australian aboriginals after the white man colonized the country. Even though I have lived in the US for many years, my Aussie roots are deep. I was brought up to judge people by how they treated you, and not by the color of their skin, their religion, or their politics.

How do characters take shape and evolve in your mind?

Dreamtime Man is told in rhyme for older children and adults. It is based on history. I guess you could say that the main characters are the Spirits of Dreamtime and the Aboriginal Tribesmen. Both are inexplicably linked.  Both were battered and almost demolished by the invading hordes of white settlers, and later by terrible Government policies. Each side feared the other, and when fear rules violence reigns.

Is there an underlying message in your stories?

Absolutely. The  message is universal, yet today it is sadly not often realized:
*Earth is small, and we all need to get along together.
*Empathy and compassion are underused these days.
*Create tolerance and understanding instead of violence.
*Do not fear what is different. Different is often good.
*Let people prove their worth before you attack them.
*Use only what you need, and help your neighbors when they need it
*Don’t allow fear to create violence.

What pulled you to write your particular genre of writing?

It wasn’t a conscious choice.  I was a teacher’s aide, and I often told tales about Aussie animals to classes. It just happened, and I loved writing for children. Many of my books have Aussie Themes or about animals. They range from grade school picture books and stories, to mid-grade reading.

My latest books are:

**Daisy and Bartholomew Q   a MG – a fun fantasy adventure that promotes the use of powerful words and the Thesaurus.

** Oscar is Different a PB – looking or feeling different is not always a bad thing.

**Kobi Borrows a Pouch PB – a small koala discovers the Aussie bush can be a dangerous place.

Aside from writing, what are you passionate about?

My family—3 great grown kids, 4 wonderful grandkids and a husband who is a real treasure. Plus, the state of the US today, and how we should vote to fix it.

How has your background shaped you?

Growing up in Queensland, Australia, has imbued me with much of the Aussie independent spirit. I also love writing about its unique animals and way of life.

What is the one thing you would like to be remembered for?

“Here lies Margot Finke, off on her last Magic Carpet Ride to an uncharted land. Her wish is to hook kids on reading and have children of all ages read and reread all of her books.

If it were possible, what 3 things, other then your loved ones, would you take with you into the next life?

My computer, my thesaurus, and a copy of Alice in Wonderland

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Determined.  Organized. Imaginative.

What would your general day to day routine be?

Promote my books, write a little more, and work on critique client manuscripts. Read in my spare moments. Some garden time!  A possible Skype Classroom Visit.

Thank you so much Conny, for this opportunity to strut my stuff.

** BOOK CATALOGUE:  Email for your copy:
For Discounts--Autographs + Cheaper Postage.
* ORDER DIRECT from Catalogue.

* Skype Classroom Visit Details:

* Amazon  +  Kindle :

My Pinterest Boards:  Help and Guidance Boards  for Teachers.


  1. Thank you so much for the chance to answer your awesome interview questions. It really made me THINK!! Happy to answer any questions your readers might have.

    Margot Finke-
    Magic Carpet of 16x Books
    Skype Author Visits

  2. You're very welcome Margot. Always happy to put an author in the spotlight.

  3. You could be eligible to receive a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.