Tuesday, November 19

#AuthorInterview with Margie Senechal!

Hey, WordWrangler readers! We're in the midst of interviewing one another, talking about writing and life and other things. This all started when Nan spontaneously interviewed Liz, and we all decided to keep it going. This week, I'm interviewing Margie Senechal about her new book and how she knows when a baby-book-idea has legs. Read on!

Kristina: What first drew you to writing?

Margie: In fifth grade, Mr. Irons wrote three paragraphs on the blackboard and we got to choose which one to continue. I chose, "Let me tell you about the time my family and I crossed the country in a covered wagon." And everyone raved about it, except my grandmother because I'd used her name, "Dottie", for the main character. LOL  But, that's when I realized the power of "What if?" (Interviewer note: I LOVE the 'what if' questions. All my books start that way!)

Kristina: What has changed over the course of your writing career?

Margie: Just about everything. The tech revolution really helped writers, I think. I remember plucking my first manuscripts out on my old manual, then cheapest ever electric typewriter. And the frustration when I hit a wrong key and had to scrap it all. I remember waiting over six months to hear from one agent through the mail.

The other thing that has changed is the opportunity. When I first started subbing, there weren't a lot of choices. In fact, for children's and YA writers, there was only one agency that handled them and if you couldn't get in there, you were pretty much hoping for a miracle pull from the slush pile.

Kristina: Are you a better writer now?

Margie: I think it swings both ways. Overall, I am a better writer. Or at least I hope so, otherwise I'm going the wrong way. The more you write, the more you read and study, the more you know.
But--I think when you're writing towards publication, you don't veer from the comfortable paths as often. I was in an on-line crit group years and years ago, where we had a weekly challenges. I wrote sci-fi, fantasy, and poetry in that group. I guess I played more with different styles than I do know.

Kristina: What's next?

Margie: Well, as soon as I get a submittable manuscript out of Suitcases--which I'm thinking of changing the title to Unpacking--then I'll be querying agents. I have a few who loved Bix and offered to read anything new I wanted to submit, so I'll start with them.

Kristina: Knowing what you do now, what advice do you have for Baby Writer Margie? 

Margie: Keep believing and take chances. Be brave.

The other day two young men came into my store to get some posters made of their artwork. The artwork was okay, not exactly my cup of tea--mostly Pot art, SpongeBob toking a joint.  They'd come up from Dallas, TX to Portland for a Hemp Festival and were looking to sell their art there. Their utter belief in themselves and their excitement was inspiring.

I wish I'd had that about my writing when I was their age. LOL (Interviewer note: Me, too! I know when a paragraph or a chapter is good, but I always have questions about the next chapter or the overall book or...or...or...I need to channel some of that faith!)

Kristina: At what point do you know a story idea has legs?

Margie: Probably when I can't stop thinking about the characters or the situation. I have probably five or six stories in different stages that I go back to now and again. I think they all have possibilities, it's just I don't have the time and energy to devote to them. 

One of them, Carny Girl, is being recycled into Suitcases as the book that Ana is writing when Mother is sleeping. I never could come up with a definitive plot except for when I incorporated her into Ana's story. Weird.

I have a fantasy caper I'm thinking of doing in short story form, maybe just for fun. The first sentence is: I never believed in faeries until I found the dead one.

Thanks for hanging out and chatting with me Margie! And, readers, feel free to ask a question or two in the comments - or just wish Margie luck on her submission journey!


  1. Thanks, Kristi. This was so fun!

  2. That's a killer opening line, Margie. I hope you run with it! Thanks for this lovely interview ladies.

  3. Okay, so now you'd best get busy on the fairy story because I'm hooked with that first line! Great interview and I enjoyed getting to know you better, Margie! Hugs, baby!

  4. that is an awesome opening line - definitely has HOOK! :)

  5. Well, somewhere out there is a comment I made. Since it never showed up, I will say it was a wonderful comment. However... Anyway, that opening line is great and I love your advice to be brave. Hugs.