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Monday, June 6, 2011

Margot Finke on Writing for Children

It all began years ago, when teachers, family and friends praised the little stories I wrote. So I kept writing until I was eventually published. In between times, I married, divorced, remarried, had three children (two girls and a boy---now grown), and moved from my homeland Down-under (Australia) to Oregon. In Oregon I got serious about writing for children. I had kids of my own and worked as a teachers' aide. I noticed how hard it was to get kids to read. Oh, they loved me or the teacher reading to them, but pick up a book on their own and read for the sheer fun of it---NO WAY! Then and there, I became determined to write books with a WOW factor---books that would HOOK these reluctant readers on reading. 

Our son was a reluctant reader, one of our daughters had mild dyslexia, and my oldest girl still suffered from residual effects from my divorce. So this gave me three topics to write about: dyslexia, reluctant readers, and how big changes can affect your kids. And each topic had to be wrapped up in a fun story that wasn't preachy and HOOKED picky readers. Oh, and don't forget that all important WOW factor I had promised to included. Yeah right. A real snap!! One thing I knew---young readers, even reluctant ones, liked books that rhymed and I was lucky enough to have the rhyme gene embedded in my bones. Kids also loved animals. It seemed logical to combine the two. After a long and involved labor (lots of pain and writing contractions) I gave birth to my Wild and Wonderful Series, seven rhyming picture books about animals from the United States and Australia. They were fun as well as educational, and the illustrations were awesome. These eBooks worked well for home schooling parents as well as teacher/classroom projects.

For my next books, I had to think about boys and what would HOOK them on reading. And then there were the topics like "change" that are gender neutral. For boys, I threw out all the girly stuff that make them barf. I started with gross, and worked my way through action, cool dialogue, underarm humor, (hear those boys guffaw), fast action scenes, and rad POV characters. I threw in some feral food, foreign locals, exotic bad guys, and one or two close calls with the grim reaper. Don't panic---these things aren't all in the one book! Give me some credit, mate.   So what eventually came out of my fevered and imaginative brain are the following four books:

Rattlesnake Jam, a fun all BOY picture book 
Ruthie and the Hippo's Fat Behind, verse that help kids deal with BIG change
Horatio Humble Beats the Big D (dyslexia), fun rhymes that get Horatio help with reading
Taconi and Claude—Double Trouble, a mid-grade adventure set in the Aussie outback

A follow-up to Taconi and Claude is now having its WOW factor buffed and polished. I have other mid-grades written and I'm waiting to burst out and claim unwary reluctant readers. One is a ghost story set in Oregon. The ghost is named after my Mum, and based on her wonderful and wise character. If she knew, Mum would be tickled at starring in this story. Some parts are chilling, yet this is a mid-grade book for any kid who enjoys a little creepy + a lot of detecting fun.  The other mid-grade has an international flavor. Set in Australia and Oregon, a snotty grandson is forced to write to his grandmother in Australia. While letters fly back and forth between the two of them, their daily doings play a big role in bringing them together. Both grandmother and grandson come to understand that a loving family is what matters most.

So there you have, as promised, the back story regarding my writing career.

Taconi and Claude is now available on Kindle.  This is the link:

                                                  STOP PRESS! 
Write a comment on any participating blog during Margot's June Book Tour and win a FREE COPY of this fun-time travel story which she wrote especially for kids. NOTE: one copy per person. Please leave your email (Safe sample: mfinke<@> 

*Margot Finke will give 3 extra books as freebies people can win (one of each book) These winners will be picked at random by SFC during the tour from comments left by followers of each hosts blog.  

 ~World of Ink Schedule for Margot Finke Next Week~
June 6th
The Maggie Project – Guest Post: The back story of Taconi and Claude

Roth’s Inspiring Books & Products - Interview

June 7th
One Zillion Books – Book Review of Ruthie and the Hippo

June 8th
Stories for Children Magazine FG Interview

June 9th
Home School Blogger-Book Review of Taconi and Claude

June 10th
Families Matter Blog - Book Spotlight


  1. I want to thank the Maggie Project for hosting me on my World of Ink tour. I like the site so well I am now a follower. YEA!!

    I am also looking forward to sending those who comment and leave an e-mail their copy of my fun Time-travel adventure. Written especially for kids.

    Margot’s Magic Carpet
    Kids Books With a WOW Factor!

  2. Thanks for writing books like those, Margot. There's certainly a need for them and they may make a huge difference in the lives of some young readers who get hooked on books because of reading yours.

  3. Well Janet, I can only hope. and there are other writers dreaming up wonderful tales that will HOOK kids on reading.

    What we need are parents and teachers on board with us. If children are read to when they are young, and then later offered books that are exciting, fun and worthwhile, they are more likely to read for pleasure. Thank you so much for your comment.

    Margot’s Magic Carpet
    Kids Books With a WOW Factor!

  4. It's really great to learn more about you Margot and the back story to your writing.

  5. Thanks so much Virginia. I guess back story is as important in life as it is in writing.

    Margot’s Magic Carpet
    Kids Books With a WOW Factor!

  6. Randi,

    Wanted to let you know that I have awarded you the Stylish Blogger Award. Stop by my blog to pick up your banner.

  7. Margot,

    Thank you for sharing those little details from your life and the ways in which they've influenced your writing.

    I love how your books present important children's issues such that they easily reach both adults and children.

    You are an inspiration for young writers like me. There's so much to learn from you.

    I'm in awe of your enthusiasm, energy, patience and dedication to your craft.

    I wish you good health and look forward to reading many more of your books.

    Thank you for doing this lovely interview, Randi.

  8. Kavitha, please, spare my blushes. Many helped me when I first began serious writing, and I feel it is only fair to repay their kindness by doing the same for other new writers who are on their way to success.

    And you are right. Randi asked me all those interesting questions - half the credit is hers, mate. Thanks Randi!!

    e-Mail me if you would like my FREE time-travel Bonus book for kids.

    Margot’s Magic Carpet
    Kids Books With a WOW Factor!


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