Monday, October 18, 2010

VBT Author Tour Guest . . . 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,

VS: When did you first become interested in writing, and what was your inspiration?

Margaret: I wrote (mostly bad) poetry as far back as I can remember. When my partner and I started dating, I started writing more, as she liked it. Gradually, I started writing more and more poems for birthdays, holidays, whatever. I generally wrote them in notebooks and forgot about them almost as fast as I wrote them, though I did have a couple, as I recall, published in a newsletter of a group I belonged to at the time.
At one point, however, I wrote a poem I wanted to keep and ended up storing it online.
One thing led to another, and I started submitting poetry for publication. I became hooked on poetry writing. I only started writing after I attended the first Muse Online Writing Conference

And why, you might ask, online? Well, I've had personal experience with too many computer disasters to trust it to any one computer of mine. Also I was, even at the time, involved with multiple computers and I got frustrated by finding the piece I wanted to work on mostly on the “other” computer. 

One of my kids suggested Yahoo Briefcase. Then an editor I was working with got me to switch to Google Documents. I still store the “master” copies of my work in Google Documents. I can get at it from anywhere, they back it up and they keep complete revision history, all of which I find very handy.

VS: Have you had anything published?

Margaret: Quite a lot of poetry – see press kit on my website – a couple of children's stories, one or two stories for adults. My first book, a chapter book, will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2012
VS: From your blog, I have learned that you write poetry as well as fiction. Do you prefer one to the other? Can you elaborate on the process you go through for each?  

Margaret: My first love is poetry, and before I “met” Linda and joined her writing forums, I'd have sworn I'd have never, ever write any fiction {shakes head}. 

My first book, which is about a boy who loses his mother in a fire, grew out of an incident many years ago where an acquaintance lost his wife and four children in a fire. The present book was pretty much because I'm an amateur musician and I wanted to write about that.

I have a file of story ideas I'd like to work on. A lot of them grow out of my reading fiction, where I find myself saying, “But what happens AFTER the end of the book? Just suppose that ...”

My poetry is a lot about my family, my feelings, what's happening or has happened in my life, responses to writing prompts, playing with language – I love rhyme – and the like.

VS: You are a musician, has that influenced your writing and/or writing habits?

Margaret: My ear as a poet has been tremendously influenced by my playing music and my sense of rhythm, meter, and melodic line. I have also written several poems about songs. Two of my music-related poems, “On Being Stopped by a Moose Crossing the Road,” and “Road Work” are in an issue of Cyclamens and Swords. I'm on poetry page 2.

VS: Tell us a bit about your current writing projects.

Margaret: I'm just finishing up the first draft of my second novel, about a girl whose parents are divorcing and who wants to go to music camp. She started out playing the flute, but at the suggestion of a musician friend, she takes up the bassoon. 

My book, “The Angry Little Boy,” will be published by 4RV Publishing, LLC, in early 2012.

VS: Who’s your favorite author and/or book?

Margaret: My all-time favorite book is “Alice in Wonderland”/”Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll. I used to reread it every exam time when I was in college, as I would forgo trips to the library and would begin to suffer from book deprivation.

VS: Do you have any writing related thoughts you would like to share?

Margaret: When I consider my fiction writing, I'm struck by the serendipity that led me to it in the first place. At the time I started writing fiction, I wasn't really “interested” in it, but the opportunity presented itself, so I took the plunge. 

Then, too, getting my writing organized and accessible in the first place was a huge piece of what started me down the road to taking myself seriously as a writer. If I were still scribbling in notebooks I tossed in a corner, I'd have no perspective on my writing and I’d never have taken myself seriously as a writer. Yes, I've worked hard on my craft as a writer, but none of it would have happened if I hadn't started getting organized.

VS: Margaret, thank you so much for stopping by. I really enjoyed getting to know you better. You are a true inspiration to me. Do you have any last words?

Margaret: Keep writing. Keep submitting. Know both your worth and your weaknesses as a writer. Develop a thick skin, but always be open to suggestions, and know which ones to take and which ones to leave.

Make sure to visit Janet Ann Collins blog. She is featuring Dallas Woodburn on October 19th. 


  1. Virginia, thanks so much for hosting me. And if any of you want to know more about Linda Barnett-Johnson, I'll have an interview with her up on my blog tomorrow.

  2. A pleasure to have you today on The Writing Mama Margaret!

  3. Great interview, Virginia and Margaret! Your books sound both fun and educational. I wish you tons of success!

  4. Great interview, Virginia.

    And, Margaret, I've never used Google documents, it sounds very similar to Dropbox which I love.
    You also gave valuable parting words!

  5. Very interesting interview. You and I have a lot in common, Margaret. I am going to check out the poetry on your website.

    Books for Kids - Manuscript Critiques.

  6. I like your idea about organizing your writing. My writing is in several notebooks I always find myself looking through to find something. I'll have to give Google Docs a try. Great advice and interview.