Interview Margaret Arvanitis


Ms. Arvanitis was born in western Nebraska, married and raised her family in South East Nebraska. She is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers. Her occupation as a preK and early grades teacher gives her insight into the stories children like to read. She has written many short stories for preschool curriculums. Now retired, she writes full time bringing to the mid grade readers books she calls “fables.” She brings mythical creatures such as fairies, elves, mermaids, pixies, and other strange beings to her stories. Now retired, her life has been filled with younguns .. hundreds of students throught the years and her own five children, grandchildren, and they just keep coming. Keeping track of family is her hobby. Writing is her occupation.

Beverly and Tamara: Welcome to SSLY. Thanks so much for joining us today. So first why don’t you tell us a little about yourself.

I am the grandmother type, adoring my grands. I was born in the Midwest, raised on a farm, married and had five children. I am now living on the Oregon coast. I started reading books early on. My dad had boxes of books lying around, most were unsuitable for an eight year old girl and I read them secretly. I dreamed of being a girl reporter, instead I became a writer. I’m a retired preschool and early grade teacher. I’ve traveled extensively visiting my grown children and going to gatherings in various states with the Online single Senior’s Outreach group I founded.

Tamara: What do you HAVE to have when you are writing?

Quiet .. no conversation. Even the music I play when writing must be without words. And no food. I don’t allow food at my desk. not even coffee!! (So throw me out of the writer’s club! J )

Beverly: When did you start to write?

I became interested in writing when in high school and had to write articles. I’ve diddled around with poetry but only when life was treating me badly. Seriously? When I opened my preschool and needed to add puppet dialogues, songs, and short stories to enrich my curriculum. Later I took characters from some of these stories and brought them into the mid-grade books I call Fables. I Can’t call them fairy tales, but they are fantasy based adventures. I also write history based upperteens/YA books.

Tamara: What do you think are the qualities that make up a “hero”?

Hero’s are just normal people who are shoved into a scenario where they have to act upon when governed by their sense of right and wrong. They don’t quit until the job is finished.

Beverly: Can you describe your favorite character? And which of your books is he/she in? How do you come up with your characters?

I love Sadie Squarette, the magical bug in my “Forbidden Wings, a Mermaid’s Story. She, like me, will break into a rhyme at any time. Sadie is a figment of my imagination, never before seen in children’s books. I like to take characters from myths from other countries. I research these character on Google and use them in my fantasy fables.

Tamara: What are the hardest scenes for you to write? Suspense? Sex? Dialogue? And why?

Well since I write for mid-grade there isn’t much sex going on. J However there is romance. I move my story along with dialogue imagining what the voice and the words the character would use. I have trouble with suspense; setting up the problem without saying too much before it is solved. Ending a story is sometimes a problem.

Beverly: What writer, if any, influenced how you write?

I could say Dr. Suess, because I love the rhythm of his books.…there isn’t a book he wrote that small children don’t love to hear over and over.
Anne McCaffrey’s series, the dragon Riders of Pern influenced me in my writing of both mid grade and adult fiction. I try to bring the excitement of suspense and fantasy into younger versions of fantasy.

Tamara: Who would you choose as your “book boyfriend”? From what book? Author?

IF I were young and reading Hank, of Twin Rivers (my teen history series) I would choose Hank as my boyfriend. But he already has eyes for Becca, the preacher’s daughter, so guess that leaves me out. J

Beverly: What is the kinkiest thing you’ve ever done? Or would like to? What? We are all about the love!

I’ve had a few “Kinky” experiences in my time. at my age. J I’ve had my romances but we’ll leave that story for an adult book I may write someday.

Tamara: What are your favorite types of heroines? Do you like the damsel in distress who needs saving or the kick-ass variety? Why?

My heroines are take-charge girls. They need no man to save them. The fairy tales such as Cinderella, and Snow White, tell our girls that they NEED some male to save them. Sorry I don’t spread that rumor with my writing.

Beverly: What was your worst date ever?

In my mature years I tried cyber dating. They all were disasters. LOL

Tamara: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want to have with you? (you have food, water, shelter, all the necessities, so nothing mundane)

1: Electricity and Wifi so I could keep my Kindle Fire loaded with good books and a hundred of my favorite songs I’ve loved down thru the years.
2: Beautiful scenery around me. Friendly birds and animals, and Flowers to pick.
3: A mattress. I don’t like sleeping on the ground.

Beverly: What is your “guilty pleasure”?

None. Guilt isn’t in my vocabulary. J

Tamara: What dream or goal have you yet to realize?

My dream of seeing my books develop into print books have now happened .. so my next dream is to have one or more of my books turned into a movie directed by Spillberg. If one is going to waste time dreaming they should be BIG. LOL

Beverly: What was you most embarrassing moment? It can’t be worse than mine… getting caught buck naked in the back of an orange Gremlin by the police! (I am such a naughty girl)

During the Midwest summer humidty destroys hairdos, soaking the scalp and hair, so when going dancing with my hubby I would wear a wig. One dance when my husband and I were swinging to a fast jitterbug type dance on a crowded dance floor, a tall guy (I am short) swung his arm against the top of my head and knocked the wig flying across the room. Here I am, my hair plastered to my scalp from the humidity and everyone looking at my wig which lay on the floor like a dead beaver. What did I do? What could I do, as there was no hole to sink into. I calmly walked over, picked it up and placed it on my head .. backwards. Hubby was more embarrassed than I and needless to say we didn’t stay for another dance.

Tamara: If you were a color what would you be and why?

Red of course. Red is exciting, hot, sexy, and most every well-know celebrity wears red when being interviewed.

Beverly: Who has influenced how you perceive love? Why?

Life has taught me that love comes in many forms. In my stories love comes naturally. There is usually a wedding scene at the end either for the protagonist or another character.

Tamara and Beverly: Okay. We are SSLY so I have to ask. Who loves you?

I’ve experienced romantic love a few times. The beginning is always wonderful and exciting. The endings are not. My love was blond and buff and Greek, Some are lucky enough to have a lifetime love. However the love I get from my children is never-ending. And that is the kind of love that makes my world go round.

My latest book launched is Forbidden Wings: A Mermaid’s Story.
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My writer’s Face Book link: (Likes are always welcome) <a href="“>
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