Home > Writing and Poetry > Wednesday’s Interview with Peg Finley

Wednesday’s Interview with Peg Finley

Good morning, everyone. Today we have with us children’s writer, Peg Finley.
 Claudsy: Thank you for joining us this morning, Peg. Now, tell us, when did you begin your career? And have you achieved your original goal for writing?Peg: I think my career started as a child and I’ve been working at it all my life.

As a child, I told the biggest stories. Like the time, when we first moved to an old farmhouse in WV. During the day my dad warned us about some things that could possibly harm us. At two that morning as we lay sleeping in sleeping bags by the fireplace, I woke all my family up screaming at the top of my lungs that I saw two glowing beady eyes, and a flickering tongue of a copperhead snake.

Only it wasn’t exactly a snake. It was the embers of a fire that was almost out. My imagination worked overtime, what can I say? Unfortunately, that was not the only event like that. lol.

As for my goal, ultimately it is for picture book contracts, plural. I am doing well with articles and short stories for children as I wait for my dream to come true.

Claudsy: How strict a schedule of writing do you maintain and is it necessary for you in order to get the amount and quality of writing done that you wish?

Peg: Unlike some people I write something every day. I’m in three critique groups, two that I started and moderate. The third I’m a just a member in. I’m the kind of person who needs a deadline. It motivates me.

In any given month I could submit four original submissions and two rewrites to the groups as well as nine total critiques for my group members. In two of my groups, we do one story starter a week as an exercise. I also do other critiques on the side for friends. I also blog…

I’m helping to raise two nephews with special needs. Being disciplined enough to find writing time is crucial if I am to be what they need in their lives, while meeting my own needs to be a writer. I don’t have a set time of the day to write. I have to fit it in when I can. I’m a scribbler. I write bits and pieces all day long.

Claudsy: Most of the writers I know do some form of that. What is your current project?

Peg: I’m revising a story I wrote several months ago for an online e’zine. I should be ready to send it in the next few days…

Claudsy: Before you began studying with ICL, did you write; for children, adults?

Peg: I actually did two lessons for ICL in 1979. Then, I got a demanding job and had other commitments and dropped out. I didn’t write anything between those years. In 2004, I re-enrolled and wrote for kids at first.

Then in 2007, I wrote an inspirational piece called The Moonrock Miracle, which lead to one more inspirational article and eight writer’s articles.

Claudsy: What do you think influences your writing more than anything else and why?

Peg: Actually chronic pain. I know that sounds… strange but once I’m in writer mode, I forget about severity of pain. For a while. lol. I’m a little older than some writers and one day realized that if I really wanted this dream, then I had to apply myself seriously to perfecting my craft.

My mom’s death was another motivator. Both my parents died early… around the time I had a silent heart attack. I came away from that time with a greater appreciation of the time I have left on this earth. It caused me to be more hopeful, and I think my writing reflects that.

Claudsy: If you were forced to give up writing, could you? And if so, what would you do instead?

Peg: I truly can’t imagine not writing. It is like breathing. It is such a part of who I am. I’m the kind of person who stops a conversation to write an idea down. It’s kind of a joke with my family and friends.

If (my) not writing absolutely had to be, I’d need some time to get used to the idea. Then, I think I would work on developing my artistic skills.

Claudsy: What’s your favorite memory from childhood and why?

Peg: The time when we lived on a farm in Michigan and had 30 ponies/horses is one of my favorite memories. For me, riding with the wind blowing through my hair gave me a sense of freedom.

It was a way for me to find “alone” time. I come from a large family, 12 brothers and sisters, and “alone” time was rare. It was also why I read anything I could get my hands on. lol.

Claudsy: Which of the five senses is the most important for you when you’re writing for children?

Peg: I don’t think that any one sense is more important than another as a writer. For me, a great book needs all of the senses to captivate and hold my interest. I want to see, taste, feel, hear and smell what the character feels when I read a book. I want to be that character.

Claudsy: It certainly helps. Would you ever consider teaching workshops or seminars? Why?

Peg: Actually, I would consider it and probably will do it down the road. I… was a featured guest speaker at a university with a workshop on using simple materials found in the home setting with developmentally delayed individuals. (Years ago.)

In several employment positions I’ve held, I trained others, which included writing the training manual. So yes, it is something I will probably do down the road.

I worked in a daycare and did a workshop there for fellow teachers. I… am looking forward to doing, let’s say, a SCBWI presentation when my first picture book comes out.

When I started Dreamwriters and Rainbowwriters, my critique groups, I did the guidelines in writing.

Claudsy: What’s the next big project that you intend to tackle in the writing game?

Peg: I’m working on building a platform for myself. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and Jacketflap which is fabulous for me. I’m kind of shy at times, so I made myself commit to speaking in public again.

I just sent out 8 submission packets to publishers, so that is one thing I plan on doing more of.


Claudsy: I want to thank our wonderful guest for taking the time to be with us today. A busy schedule doesn’t always allow for such interruptions in an otherwise hectic day.
Short Personal Biography:Peg’s knowledge and wit can be found in over a dozen writer’s articles and children’s articles and stories in the past few years. Her blog can be found at: http://peg366.wordpress.com/ and she can be followed at: peg366 on twitter.com. This tenacious and prolific writer pauses for little in the way of getting her words down for use by others.

Her latest writer’s articles can be seen at: Wallowing in Writer’s Block/ICL’s Newsletter/ January 2010 with another entitled Exercises to Block The Dreaded Writer’s Block coming out in June.

Tomorrow, as usual, I will take some aspect of this interview for a commentary. I hope all of you will stop by again to read and comment on it. But, if you can’t make it tomorrow, stop by later for a good read.

Keep in mind that on our guest on Friday will be Suzanne Lieurance, writer, teacher and entrepreneur.

Have a productive and creative week everyone and feel free to stop by any time to just say hello, and hopefully, learn something new.

A bientot,


Categories: Writing and Poetry
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