We support all writers participating in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2016.
As part of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative, today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we have Margaret Welwood (MW) a writer of picture books for children, and editor of *squeaky clean* family-friendly fiction and non-fiction for all ages. Margaret taught English as a Second Language (with stories as a teaching tool) for years, and now writes and edits from the acreage she shares with her husband in Northern Alberta, Canada.
Margaret has edited a business magazine, a Writer’s Digest award winning non-fiction book, and five-star children’s books and adult Bible study materials.
(IMFP) Welcome Margaret, and thank you for spending time with us at It’s My Footprint.
(MW) Thank you for the invitation, Taka. It’s a pleasure to connect with you and your readers.
(IMFP) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?
(MW) My mother taught me to love stories and the language used to tell them, and I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing. When I was laid off from my ESL position at our local college, a friend said, “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” That window opened into Storyland, in both its fiction and non-fiction forms. I enjoy working with people, words and ideas, and appreciate the rich variety this work provides. Right now I edit short pieces (blog posts, articles, devotionals, and stories) for children and adults.
(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?
(MW) My grandchildren inspire me, both by asking for stories and by serving as story generators themselves. I wrote Scissortown after asking myself what Tommy and Tina would do if there were no cutting tools to be found. My granddaughter’s sweet disposition inspired Marie’s choice to show compassion in Marie and Mr. Bee. Little Bunny’s Own Storybook (to be released) tells the tale of a little rabbit, who, like my granddaughter, shows ingenuity and initiative when faced with a problem. In Dustin, Natalie and the Man-eating Snake, I honor my grandson’s curiosity and sense of humor. Your readers might enjoy true stories about my grandchildren at my grandma blog, and they can read about my author journey on my writing blog. A visit to my Amazon Author Page will reveal something different about my books: the two on Amazon not only offer customers a choice of e-book or paperback, they also offer a choice of endings. Both books encourage children to do the right thing, but either the last page (Marie and Mr. Bee) or the inside back cover (Scissortown) have slightly different wording that reflect either a faith-based or a secular perspective.
(IMFP) Why do you write?
(MW) Four reasons:
- I believe that this is some of the work that God has called me to do.
- I believe there is a place in children’s literature for clean, wholesome stories featuring characters who, possibly after a struggle, make good choices and reap the rewards.
- I write because I have something to say. Perhaps the best example of this is Advance Directive Warning, which I wrote under a pen name to warn others of how an Advance Directive can be (willingly?) misinterpreted.
- The stories are in my head and they want out!
(MW) Before I had young grandchildren close by, most of my dealings were with adults, and most of my writing was for them. Now that there are young grandchildren close by to inspire me, children’s picture books are my genre of choice.
(IMFP) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?
(MW) Learn what I can from it (I’ve had some extremely helpful constructive criticism), remember that not everyone likes the same thing, and try to obey I Thessalonians 5:18—“In everything give thanks.”
(IMFP) Margaret, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?
(IMFP) What do you find difficult about book writing?
(MW) I need time for the ideas and language to incubate. After I write something, I need to leave it for a while and come back to it. I also depend on feedback from others.
(IMFP) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?
(MW) I think self-publishing opens many doors to new writers, but I also think that traditional publishing still has more prestige in many people’s eyes. I’m glad we have both.
(MW) Spend time with your target audience. Read in your genre. Be open to feedback from readers and other writers.
(IMFP) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?
(MW) Keep plugging. The future is bright with promise!
(IMFP) Who is your favorite author and why?
(MW) Francine Rivers. Her stories are utterly absorbing, and her characters are realistic and memorable.
(IMFP) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?
(MW) I review picture books for children, and the occasional fiction or non-fiction book for adults.
(IMFP) Which email lists are you subscribed to?
(MW) Many, mostly Christian devotionals, and blogs about writing and marketing books.
(IMFP) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?
(IMFP) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?
(MW) Children’s picture books.
(IMFP) What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
(MW) I like to help my husband on our acreage, and spend time with my children and grandchildren.
(IMFP) Let’s talk about Margaret the lady! Give us a bit of your social and family life.
(MW) Some of my favorite times are family get-togethers, where the little ones play and the big ones talk. I also enjoy quiet evenings with my husband, and visits with my church family.
(IMFP) Any final word of wisdom for our followers?
(IMFP) Many thanks for this interview, Margaret. Good luck with your writing.
(MW) Thank you, Taka.
Margaret Welwood Links and Contacts