Guest post from Becky Flansburg
Several years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful children\’s book author (and fellow Minnesotan) Margi Preus. During that visit , was gifted not only a snapshot as to how much hard work it is to be a published author, but also a lesson in perseverance.
It was great to meet Margi in person while she was on a book tour promoting her newest book Shadow on the Mountain and she was sweet, wonderful and full of great advice for beginning authors.
Shadow on the Mountain is a novel inspired by the true adventures of a wartime spy who also happened to be a teenager.
Fourteen-year-old Espen and his friends are swept up in the resistance movement in Nazi-occupied Norway. He gets his start delivering illegal newspapers, then graduates to the role of courier, and finally becomes a spy, dodging the Gestapo along the way. During five years of the Nazi regime, he gains–and loses–friends, falls in love, and makes one small mistake that threatens to catch up with him as he sets out to escape over the mountains to Sweden.
The story is based on real events and the experiences of real people. The book contains photos, maps, and archival material. I remember Margi talking about the day she visited the real-life \”Espen\” in Norway. Fascinating story from a fascinating man.
After the book discussion, I had a chance to briefly chat with Margi and ask her which part of writing to she liked BEST, and what part she liked the LEAST. Here\’s her answer;
Margi: I guess I would say I love revision the most–and it\’s a good thing, isn\’t it, given how much of it I do? I feel that I find the best stuff when I\’m revising. I also discover or uncover what my story is really about in revision. It is a lot of work. And sometimes it\’s painful. At those times, I suppose I\’d have to say I also hate revision the most. I work hard at it, but mostly I enjoy the hard work. Writing a novel is kind of like, say, running a marathon (I would imagine; I\’ve never done it though) It\’s not easy, but there is pleasure in it, and I think you have to actually enjoy the running, even though it\’s painful at times, and not just the crossing of the finish line.
I am attaching one of the photos of my notes and drafts–yes, drafts–of Shadow. And this is BEFORE the copy editor, managing editor and proofreader got to it.
Margi also went on to add these words of wisdom for all writers.
\”Writing is a lot like the Woody Allen quote \’80% of success is showing up.\’ You need to persevere and be patient. Life has a way of coming full circle. Part of the journey is watching how one thing leads to another.\”
Margi Preus writes children’s books, plays, comic operas and a variety of nonsense in Duluth, Minnesota. Her short fiction for adults and children has appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies. She teaches children’s literature at The College of St. Scholastica and an occasional course at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. When not doing any of those things, she hikes, skis and paddles her way around the north country and anywhere else she might find herself in the world. Connect with Margi on her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
Becky is the Chief of Creative Operations and Head Elf at AudreyPress.com and JumpIntoaBook.com. She is a veteran blogger, freelance writer, virtual assistant and project manager for the non-profit children’s literacy event, Multicultural Children’s Book Day. She is also a proud mom to her amazing 12-year-old daughter Sara and 15-year-old son Jake. Parenting a tween and a teen is a challenge, but she truly believes that being a mom is the Best.Thing.Ever. When she is not hiking (#plussizehiker), reading, selling on eBay, playing with her pets or working on a story for the various magazines she writes for, you can find her on her main blog, Franticmommy. Connect with Becky on social media: Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook!