June 18, 2010

Virtual Book Tour-Margaret Fieland

This month, our Virtual Book Tour Guest is Margaret Fieland.

Born and raised in New York City, Margaret Fieland has been around art and music all her life. Daughter of a painter, she is the mother of three grown sons and an accomplished flute and piccolo player. She is an avid science fiction fan, and selected Robert A. Heinlein's “Farmer in the Sky” for her tenth birthday, now long past. She lives in the suburbs west of Boston, MA with her partner and seven dogs. Her poems, articles and stories have appeared in journals and anthologies such as Main Channel Voices, Echolocation, and Twisted Tongue. In spite of making her living as a computer software engineer, she turned to one of her sons to format the initial version of her website, a clear illustration of the computer generation gap. You may visit her website at, http://www.margaretfieland.com.

Q: Tell us about what you write:

A: I'm a professional Computer Software engineer – BA in mathematics, MS in computer science, but I've written poetry as far back as I can remember, though not with publication in mind and not with any level of dedication.

Q: What got you writing for publication?

A: What really propelled me into writing for publication was organizing my poetry. I used to keep the poems, when I kept them, in notebooks. They were totally unorganized, and I could never find anything. Then I wrote a poem I wanted to keep, so I got off the stick and put them up, first on my computer, and after that online, originally in Yahoo briefcase, and later in Google Documents.

Q: Why was the organization such a key factor in moving your writing forward?

A: Once I had the poems organized and findable, I could finally submit, and I could look them over and gain perspective on how I was doing. What ended up happening was that I submitted a poem to a contest on a whim and ended up a finalist. This was so encouraging that I started writing more, working more seriously on growing as a writer, joined critique groups, etc.

Q: What are you working on now?
A:Well, there's my chapter book, “The Ugly Little Boy,” that will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2012. I'm working on another novel, a middle grade this time, and of course, poetry.

Q: Almost every writer is inspired by someone else. Does anyone inspire you?
A: Lewis Carroll. My all time favorite book is “Alice in Wonderland,” which I reread every exam time when I was in college, as I made it a habit to avoid the library during exams. I'm also very fond of Carroll's poetry. I've got several stanzas of Jabberwocky and You Are Old, Father William memorized.

Q:How long have you been writing?
A: I've been writing poetry since my teens, but only with publication in mind for the past three or four years. As a story writer I'm pretty much of a novice, as I only started writing stories after I hooked up with Linda Barnett Johnson after the first Muse online writer's conference several years ago and joined her writing forums.

I'm 63 now, so that's a lot of years of writing.

Q: What made you want to start writing?

A: Good question – I started and became addicted. I really love writing -- and I just plain enjoy writing poetry, rhymed and unrhymed. I've developed my own algorithm for generating rhymes, which means that I often don't have to use a rhyming dictionary at all.

Besides, if I don't write it down it stays stuck in my head.

Q: When did you start writing?

A: Like many teens, I started writing (bad) poetry in my teens as an outlet for my teenage angst. Then later on I started writing poetry for the people I was dating, and after that for family birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, -- basically everything.

Q: What's the strangest thing you've ever written? Why?

A: I don't think anything I write is strange {looks innocently up at ceiling}. I have written several surreal poems, and I have one I really like called “Machine A Ecrire” (French for typewriter), unpublished, in the shape of a typewriter. The sentences are “variations” on the stuff they had us all typing when we were in school.

Q: Who proofreads and critiques your work?

I belong to a couple of (online) critique groups and I also exchange manuscripts with other writers. I have a writing buddy with whom I'm exchanging chapters of my current novel-in-progress.

Q: Where do you get your ideas?

A: Darned if I know. Some of the poetry is “inspired,” some is in response to exercises or prompts I dig up, some is from lines that come to me as I'm falling asleep, some from events in my life. Lots of places. One poem I wrote this week was inspired by some words in the comments in the "spam" folder on my website {grin}. I keep paper and pen handy to write down ideas as they strike me.

Q: Where do you write?

A: Wherever I happen to be. I have pads and pens everywhere. I even write in the car. At home, my two favorite spots are the dining room table and my bed.

Thanks for stopping by Margaret and giving us a chance to get to know you.

June 10, 2010

Compared to a Classic

I’ve been very busy the past few weeks. I’ve been working on some bug related poems for a new project and I’ve been working the bugs out of some press kits I’ve been developing. The program I’m using shrinks the font every time I try to convert the file into a pdf, so I’ve been very buggy too (bad pun-insert groan here). But I digress (I’m good at that).

I really wanted to talk about a new review for The Soggy Town of Hilltop. I’m starting to get some reviews on The Soggy Town of Hilltop and there’s one in particular that I find very intriguing. In the review by The Home School Book Review, my book is reminiscent of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. You can read the full review by clicking on the link below.


One thing I love about getting reviews is seeing my work from a fresh point of view. All through the writing and publication phases, I never once thought about either Hans Christian Anderson or The Emperors New Clothes. But I do like the fact that my book can be compared to a classic such as that, and can still stand on it’s own as an original work. Also, I loved Hans Christian Anderson’s books when I was a kid. I never expected my name to be same paragraph as his, so I guess I must be doing something right. Hey, who knows? Maybe one day another author will be told that his/her book is reminiscent of Kevin McNamee’s The Soggy Town of Hilltop … a guy can dream, can’t he?