Do poets ever become authors? Yes, they do, and when they do, you get someone like Margaret Fieland. A poet for many years, she took a chance on writing a novel. The result was the release of her first middle grade novel, Relocated, last year. And now, she has two new novels coming out. Readers leave a comment for a chance to win one of her novels.
Margaret, tell us about your past as a poet.
Suzanne, I started writing poetry in high school and went on to write rhymes for holidays, family birthdays, and the like. I kept the poems I wrote in notebooks -- and I'd lose track of them. Then I wrote a poem I really liked and wanted to keep. I found a way to store it online. One December -- 2005, I believe -- I came across a poetry contest for which I had a poem. I submitted it and was a finalist. Thus encouraged, I started to write more poetry and began taking classes, finding critique groups and submitting for publication.
Margaret, please tell us about your first novel released from Muse It Up Publishing last year. I hear it’s a great boy book and I’m always on the lookout for boy books since I have two boys.
It’s science fiction. The main character is a fourteen-year-old boy whose father is in the military. The father is reassigned to the Terran Federation base on Aleyne, a planet inhabited by tall, dark-skinned humanoid aliens. Keth, my main character, speaks the language, as his father has insisted he learn. Terrorists have been infiltrated the computer network at the base, and the network of the aliens as well. Keth's father is an expert in computer espionage and is also fluent in Aleyni.
A lot of my own experiences went into it. My son is a captain in Army intelligence, and was stationed in Afghanistan at the time. Aleyne has a lot of desert, and I picture the base as somewhat like the military installations my son has been stationed at over there.
As to the foreign language thing, I speak fluent French, spent several summers in Europe and worked for a summer during college co-oping in the Netherlands. Some of the difficulties Keth experiences when he becomes immersed in the Aleyni culture are based on what happened to me.
As to the computer thing, I earn my living as a computer software engineer. I work on the back end of a database security product.
Margaret, please tell us about your new novel coming out in July. Is it a boy book too?
Not this one. It's an adult science fiction romance, but it does feature one of the characters from Relocated, Major Brad Reynolds. Here's the blurb:
When Major Brad Reynolds is assigned to head the Terran Federation base on planet Aleyne, the last thing he expects to find is love, and certainly not with one of the alien Aleyni. How can he keep his lover, in the face of political maneuvering and of Ardaval's feelings for his former partners -- and theirs for him?
One of the characters in the novel, Nidrani, is a musician, and I've written the words to several ballads she "sings" in the book. I'd love to have music for them as well, but I play the flute and the piccolo, and Nidrani, my character, plays a stringed instrument called a ‘rill’, which I imagine is something like an auto harp.
This sounds wonderful. Especially since I’m a musician and a composer too. There’s nothing that interests me more than a book with music in it.
Of course, you have another novel coming out in November. Can I hope this be a boy book?
It is. My second middle-grade science fiction novel is due out in November. The main character is Martin Samuels, one of the characters from Relocated. Here's the blurb:
When fourteen-year-old Martin lets Tom, a charismatic bully, persuade him to bring down the spaceport computer network, he never considers someone will place a bomb resulting in the death of his friend's father. Nothing will bring Captain Frey back, but if Martin can help locate the terrorists' drug lab, perhaps he'll be able to forgive himself.
The novel includes plenty of action and a bit of romance as well, but (spoiler alert) Martin is attracted to guys, not girls.
I raised three sons and a stepson, and I read plenty of boy books as a kid. I enjoy writing about boys.
Sounds really exciting! Tell us what you do in your spare time when you’re not writing.
Spare time? What's that?
Seriously, I have a spouse, we own two houses, have seven dogs, I work full time, write poetry, write fiction. Spare time is precious.
I love to read, and yes, I spend a lot of my spare time reading and writing. I also love music, and recently completed an online song-writing course through Coursera. I enjoy yoga, walking, and pulling weeds out of our garden. My spouse is in charge of the flowers.
And I enjoy playing with digital art. My mother was an artist who specialized in portraits in oils. I never got into art that much while she was alive, but it did leave me with an abiding love of art supplies.
A year ago I attended the Mass Poetry Festival and wandered into a room where they had a bunch of art stuff to play with. I was working on a cover for Sand in the Desert, the book of poems that I wrote to go with Relocated, and I started playing around. When I got home, I continued, but discovered it was more fun to draw online than on paper. A friend pointed me to Gimp, a freeware photo-manipulation program that be used to manipulate photographs or create images from scratch.
I got hooked on it, and play around with it a lot. I'm attaching some of my attempts to create images of the Aleyne landscape. One is pure digital painting, and the other is one of my photographs that I played around with. You can find lots more images on my Pinterest boards. pinterest
Now where can we buy these books, or pre-order them?
Thanks for a wonderful interview, Margaret. I have Relocated in my collection. I can’t wait to read it and I'll be watching for your new novels. Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment to win a copy of one of Margaret Fieland’s fine novels.