Clarbojahn presents…Author Margot Finke

Hi Readers!

Today I have a quest visiting whom I met on Linked In and asked it she would like to appear here and share her story. I am indebted to her for the following article.

Margot Finke holding up book Taconi and ClaudeMargot Finke is an Aussie transplant who writes midgrade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years she has lived in Oregon with her husband, children, and grandchildren.  Gardening, travel, and reading fill in the cracks between her writing. Her husband is retired, and very supportive.  He gives her lots of time to write and promote her books

Margot didn’t begin serious writing until the day their youngest left for college. This late start drives her writing, and pushes her to work at it every day. Margot said, “I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs. You are my heroes! “

She has 11 published books + the follow-up for Taconi and Claude is due out soon.  All her books, and Video readings, trailers, reviews and sample pages can be seen on her website: http://www.margotfinke.com

Her Manuscript Critique Service attracts clients from all over the globe, and her website offers a great deal of help for new writers. Nothing gives Margot a bigger thrill than to hear that a book she helped polish has been published.  “This is always a huge YAY moment,” Margot says.

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My First Book Illustration and What Came After. . .

When my husband and I first came to the US, I wanted our 3 children to remember their homeland Down Under. So I hung up a map of Australia, one that also showed their critters, and every night I would tell them a story about one of the animals – right off the top of my head. After I became a teacher’s aide, I also began telling classes about Australia and their weird and wonderful collection of animals.  Sometimes, I would forget how I ended one of my stories the last time I told it. The kids were real sharp, and would call me on it.  A teacher friend said, “For goodness sake write them all down – that way you’ll remember the endings.” So I did, and the rest, as they say, is history. My little stories became a series of 7 rhyming e-books that told fun facts about US and Aussie critters. Educational too, with each one delightfully illustrated by a different and talented artist. 

The first in my Wild and Wonderful series was titled Kangaroo Clues.  This rhyming story is particularly memorable, because of how I found the illustrator. Imagine this: the illustrator was from Turkey, he spoke no English, and did not own a computer.  How was this possible you ask?     

An online friend, also Turkish, and famous for her own children’s books, suggested I use her illustrator, Mustafa Delioglu.  NOTE: this story pays homage to the value of networking – both locally and worldwide.  My friend sent me some of the books Mustafa had illustrated for her, and his work was awesome.  Much of Mustafa’s other art hung in galleries over Europe.  I shouted, “YES!” 

This friend acted as translator for both of us.  Talk about a marathon effort.  I will always be grateful to her.  Fortunately, Mustafa lived near her, so she went back-and-forth for months with my e-mails, and his replies to them.  How do you argue with someone in another land, when you can’t see, hear, or speak his language?  Oh boy, trust me, we found ways to argue.   Almost a year went past before the illustrations were completed, and the book was finally published.  I was thrilled with the results – worth every hair tearing moment.  His magical illustrations came Book Cover for Kangaroo Cluestogether with my rhymes in a delightful marriage of fun reading. Kangaroo Clues offers information kids will think fun, while learning about Aussie animals.

These six complete my Wild and Wonderful series.

(The starred titles contain 3 separate stories about 3 different animals)

* Don’t Eat Platypus Stew – *Never say BOO to a Frilly – Mama Grizzly Bear – Humdinger Hummers – *Prairie Dog’s Play Day – *Squirrels Can’t Help Being Nuts. 

Of course Wild and Wonderful was just the beginning.  Our son was a reluctant reader, and one of our daughters had mild dyslexia.  So I started to write stories with a WOW factor that would HOOK kids on reading – especially boys. 

The books that followed are in soft cover, e-book, Kindle or Nook readers:

**Horatio Humble Beats the Big D (dyslexia – rhyming PB that encourages early help )

**Ruthie and the Hippo’s Fat Behind  ( how sudden change can affect kids – rhyming PB)

   Both these include helpful parent/teacher guides.

**Rattlesnake Jam  ( fun rhyming PB – especially for boys )

**Taconi and Claude – Double Trouble ( Set in the Aussie outback of 1950)  This historical young teen adventure offers a coming of age story, aboriginal lore, Dreamtime Spirits, and big decisions for young Taconi to make. Helped by Claude, his chatty cockatoo: spouter of wise and funny oneliners at just the right moment.

IF you want to write for children the following are the most common problems I find when I critique a manuscript:

#1 – Waffling on too long.  Waffles should stay in the kitchen with the maple syrup.
#2 – Limp and over used words.  Powerful and active words make a powerful and active story.

#3 – Lack of focus. Allowing your plot to wander off down side tracks that lead nowhere.

** Any one of these three is sure to earn your MS a rejection. 

You can e-mail me < mfinke@frontier.com  > and can chat about books and writing them. 

Thank you Clarike for hosting me on your blog. It’s been a lot of fun.

It’s been an honor, Margot. So glad you could come visit today and share yourself here with us. If any of you have questions for Margot ask them in the comments and we will do our best to answer them. 

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About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
This entry was posted in Course or Book Review, guest post, social networking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Clarbojahn presents…Author Margot Finke

  1. Joanna says:

    Thank you, I loved reading this interview with Margot, whom I follow on various social media forums. Loved to hear how she started out. I would love to read Horatio Humble beats the big D. One thing I have noticed and love about Margot is her generosity towards other writers.

    Thank you Clar and Margot

    Like

    • clarbojahn says:

      Thank you, Joanna. I *met* Margot on Linked In and we started an email friendship. I hope it has been as meaningful for her as it has for me.

      Yes, I, too stand in amazement at how helpful Margot is toward other writers. I think I first contacted her with a question about her marketing service. I think it’s called “Worlds of Ink” but I’m not sure and will have to go back and check the name. I still may use it.

      Like

      • Margot Finke says:

        Clar, World of Ink is run by VS Grenier. The only thing I run, apart from my writing books for kids, is a manuscript Critique Service, and some helpful writing tips and information on my website. I subscribe to the idea of, “If you help someone they might one day help you.”

        And you had better watch out, ladies: all this praise will make my head swell into a pumpkin!!

        BOOKS for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
        http://www.margotfinke.com

        Like

        • clarbojahn says:

          Yes, I know World of Ink is separate from you and your critique service.

          I agree with paying it forward. That’s a way of kindness that is fundamental with my Christian values separate from what you may get out of it. I believe in “do unto others as you would have others have do unto you.” But all kindness doesn’t have to have a reciprocity for it, right? 🙂

          Like

  2. Clar,
    Margot is such a gem — you were so fotunate to meet her on Linked-In. I really enjoyed the interview. Her titles are engaging and her books sound very interesting, and a lot of fun for kids. It takes a lot of talent to write so many books in rhyme — although I realize she does both. I think Horatio Humble would grab my attention first because of the focus on dyslexia. What a creative way to help her own children read! She sounds so comfortable with herself — even shows in her photo. Enjoyed her advice and glad to know that she’s interested in working with writers. Great interview Clar and Margot.
    Pat

    Like

    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Patricia. So glad you could stop and visit. Enjoyed your comments as well. Her web site is a gem of helpful tidbits for writers and on Linked In she always has helpful things to say. I would so love to review the sequel to Taconi and Claude so I hope she sends it to me when It comes out. You’ll hear about it then, I’m sure.

      Yes, she is prolific in her rhyming stories isn’t she? I agree that Horatio Humble sounds good. And helpful for dyslexic kids. Maybe she can send you a copy to review. 🙂

      Like

  3. Margot Finke says:

    WOW, CLAR, you did me proud, mate. The covers and picture look terrific. Thank you. When I started out, I was lucky enough to receive helpful mentoring from several terrific writers. So it seems only fair to pass along my knowledge when I am able.

    JOANNA:
    Thanks for your kind words. It was really good of you to take the time to comment here.

    PATRICIA:
    Happy that you enjoyed my article. I still marvel at the way my Turkish friend and I managed to get the illustrations for Kangaroo Clues done, with the technology and language barrier so huge. The Internet is an awesome tool.

    Happy Writing Mates!

    Like

    • clarbojahn says:

      Margot, This fell in my approve message file and I didn’t see it till now.
      Thanks for letting me feature you on my blog. I am honored to *know* you 🙂

      Did you know you can reply on each comment by hitting the reply button?
      Thanks for checking this blog and messaging on it. 🙂

      Like

  4. Tip No. 2 is going on my computer screen. Thanks for sharing your experience with an illustrator. Your friend was so great to translate. The Rattlesnack Jam sounds like a fun one for my kiddo. Thanks Clar for sharing Margot with us.

    Like

  5. Margot Finke says:

    Stacy, so glad you enjoyed my ramblings. Little boys, say up to grade 2, like the YUCK factor. You know, a frog down sister’s back, or a few slugs in her bed!!! Girly stuff is not for them. My son was a reluctant reader, so I soon learned to choose books that had action, giggles, and a fast pace if I wanted to keep his interest past the first page. Kevin Collier’s illustrations for Rattlesnake Jam fit the theme perfectly. Hilarious fun – boy style. He got so carried away with his job as illustrator that he did too man illos!! The publisher had to leave some out. Kevin has also won several awards for his book illustrations. A really cool guy.

    BOOKS for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
    http://www.margotfinke.com

    Like

  6. Loved the interview with Margot. She’s such an inspiration. She’s everywhere dispensing brilliant and free advice to old and new writers. What a treasure she is and what a great post!

    Like

    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks Pamela, I agree, she did a marvelous job writing about herself. I am honored that she agreed to let me feature her. Thanks for visiting. I tried to comment on your blog post but it wouldn’t *take*. I tried everything and couldn’t get my comment to publish. I’ve had this happen before on blogspot so it isn’t you or anything you’re doing. Just didn’t want you to feel left out. Congrats on the Leibster award and you deserve many many followers. 🙂

      Like

    • Margot Finke says:

      Pamela, I am sure you can see my blushes lighting the horizon near you. thank you so much for your kind words.

      BOOKS for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
      http://www.margotfinke.com

      Like

  7. Widdershins says:

    Transplanted Aussie here too, Margot. I can relate to not wanting to forget about the critters. When I first arrived here (Canada) catching site of a raccoon, or a skunk, or my first bald eagle was like watching mythical creatures come to life in front of me.

    Thanks for bringing Margot to us Clar.

    Like

    • Margot Finke says:

      Widdershins, loved your comment about the Canadian critters. How long have you been a transplant? I have been here over 3o years, with some visits back Down Under to keep in touch. I married a New Yorker, so that set my fate.

      BOOKS for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
      http://www.margotfinke.com

      Like

    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Widder. Probably made you a little homesick seeing the ole kangaroo. 😉

      I’m envious you see bald eagles, we have hawks flying in our yard and deer grazing in our ole orchard but nothing else. Oh yeah! we have to take in the bird feeders at night so the raccoons don’t eat the feed and break the feeders. 🙂

      Like

  8. Darlene says:

    This was a wonderful interview Clarike. Margot sounds like a fabulous writer and person, with a great sense of humour. Isn’t social media wonderful to connect all of us like this!

    Like

  9. Margot Finke says:

    Thank you Darlene. All the kind words here have absolutely made my day.

    However, many of the messages I received notice about have not shown up here, and nor have my replies.
    Maybe they have to wait for Clar to approve them?

    BOOKS for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
    http://www.margotfinke.com

    Like

    • clarbojahn says:

      Yes, Margot. All your comments went into my spam folder where I found them right now. I think it’s because of your signature with your web site attached. My spam folder catches stuff like that because usually it is just that, spam. 🙂

      Like

  10. pattyabr says:

    Margot is inspirational. Lovely

    Like

  11. Margot Finke says:

    Thank you so much Patty.

    BOOKS for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
    http://www.margotfinke.com

    Like

  12. I love Margot Finke and her books and I never realized she was originally an Aussie. Thanks for another great interview!

    Like

  13. thedarkphantom says:

    Thanks for sharing the great post, Margot!

    Like

  14. Margot Finke says:

    Great to see my replies and thanks magically appear once more. What a terrifically active blog you have Clar.

    SANDRA:
    Thank you for your moral boosting words. After reading all these wonderful comments I will go out and slay dragons!!

    PHANTOM:
    My pleasure, mate. I love telling that story, because it is such a tribute to the internet and friendships you can make there.

    CLAR:
    I will not leave my usual signature this time and see what happens. I am a firm believer in a short and pithy signature that promotes your name and what you do. If used on EVERYTHING you write, it will make those in contact with you aware of your talents – and even take a trip to your blog or website. Not only do writers have to HOOK editors, they need to HOOK potential readers. A specific signature is a sort of subliminal message. One that eventually does get through to those exposed to it on a regular basis.

    Like

    • clarbojahn says:

      Yes, I agree and am working on my email address line.

      Yes, 🙂 it worked. You did not fall into my spam folder like before. Thanks for checking the blog post again today. We appreciate you. 🙂

      Like

  15. Thanks for a great interview, Clar and Margot! I really enjoyed it. I loved the whole story of working with the Turkish illustrator 🙂 Judging by the cover, though, the language quagmire was worth it! All your books sound like fun. I especially like the title of Rattlesnake Jam – really makes you want to pick it right up and read it! And I love that you tackled dyslexia by writing fun stories that would make your kids want to read.

    Like

    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Susanna.
      I agree with you, Susanna. Margot has really impressed me with her expertise in children’s books and I am honored that she wrote this article for me and was my guest here on Clarbojahn’s blog.

      *Yay* Margot!

      Like

  16. Margot Finke says:

    Susanna, I am thrilled you like the sound of my titles and the illos for them.
    Rattlesnake Jam was written to HOOK small boys. Having a son who was a reluctant reader, made me think hard about books that would grab their interest – hence the rattlers!! I also noticed (when I was a teacher’s aide) that it was mostly boys that dodged reading. Not because they had problems with the mechanics of it, but because the books offered did not resonate with them. The girly stuff held no appeal.

    I found that boys WILL READ if you give them books that deal with what interests them. So if you write for boys, or are the parent of boys, choose plots that feature boy games, boy interests (sports), boy type humor, lots of fast action, and a hero they can root for and identify with. Bottom line – if you write or buy book for boys, KNOW your audience! I learned this the hard way, from my son and his friends. I think it also helped that I was an only child, and I grew up with the three boys next door, playing their games, climbing trees, and generally eager to out-boy all three whenever possible.

    BOOKS for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
    http://www.margotfinke.com

    Like

    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks for all this good info on writing for boys, Margot. It is definitely different than writing for girls I’ll say that.

      You knew your audience didn’t you. 🙂

      Like

  17. Margot Finke says:

    I guess I did know my audience: what with working in the school, and having a son and his friends all over our house, it was easy to see how they acted, and what HOOOKED their interest. Being a tomboy as a kid also helped. In a lot of my blurbs for Taconi and Claude – Double Trouble, my young ten adventure, I say it is a coming of age story for boys and tomboys.

    BOOKS for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
    http://www.margotfinke.com

    Like

  18. Oh Wow!!! This is a great interview of a great lady and writer. What a lovely generous person to give so much of her time especially to new writers. I so want to learn more about you Margot, and I definately will look around for your books. I am sure I will find them here in New Zealand. Loved your tips re knowing your audience (the boy stories). You mentioned Virgina, Margot, I “met” her some years ago when she critiqued my novel (still wip), another lovely person I hold dear and who will be appearing on my blog in a week or two.
    Thankyou so much for introducing Margot to us Clar, great post.

    Like

  19. Margot Finke says:

    Patientdreamer, thank you so much for your very kind words. They made my day!!
    Not sure if my books are available in soft cover there in New Zealand. I do know that they are available on Amazon Australia in both hard copy + eBook. And “Taconi and Claude,” my mid-grade Aussie adventure, is also on Kindle.
    My “Wild and Wonderful” PB e-Book series has an Aussie publisher, so “Kangaroo Clues,” and all 7 others, are available in Australia. WritersExchange-ePublishers, and this is where all 7 books are on the one page:
    http://www.writers-exchange.com/Margot-Finke.html

    Now that NOOK and Kindle Fire color e-readers are taking off, + other e-readers too, eBooks are becoming the HOT thing. As the price of e-readers drops, they become more and more popular – especially those in color.

    BOOKS for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
    http://www.margotfinke.com

    Like

  20. What a lovely interview, and how exciting to learn more about the renowned Margot Finke!

    I’d love to read “Don’t Eat Platypus Stew” due to my inexplicable fondness for the platypus. Was a determined platypus seeker throughout my visit to Austalia in 1999, but no luck. For Christmas this year, my 8 yr old ‘wrote’ and illustrated a tiny book called “A Guide to A Favorite Monotreme: The Platypus.” Of course, that is one of my most treasured volumes!

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful interview Clar!

    Like

    • Margot Finke says:

      Cathy, lovely to hear from you. What a delightful gift from your daughter – lucky you.

      I agree, platypus are fascinating, and unfortunately quite rare these days. Don’t eat Platypus Stew is in rhyme ( like the rest of the series), and also includes two other stories: Kooky Kookaburra and Koala Capers. You can get it as an autographed CD from my website , or as a download from publisher “Writers Exchange,” and many other download sites. I also have a Video where I chat about the whole “Wild and Wonderful” series of US and Aussie critters.

      This series of 7 books were my first published books, and though I have others published now on Kindle and in paper, these picture books are dear to my heart. I love every cover. All the artists did an awesome job.

      BOOKS for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
      http://www.margotfinke.com

      Like

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