Name Peggy A. Wheeler
Where are you from?
Born in Bishop, California, in the eastern High Sierra mountains of California
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Been married twice, the first time I was seventeen and four months pregnant. The second time, I was 38, and we’re still together and deliriously happy. I’ve one child, Aimee. She’ll be 45 in a few months. She has two beautiful daughters, one is twenty and in college, the other seventeen in her last year of high school.
My husband and I live in the mountains of northern California in a very cool geodesic dome on a few acres of ponderosa pine forest a couple of hundred yards from The Feather River. Tiny town of 2,000 not far from Tahoe.
Here’s my author bio:
My non-fiction, short stories and poetry appear in numerous publications in the U.S., the UK, and Canada. Most recently, I’ve stories inHorror from the Inside Out, Llewellyn’s Magical Almanac, and Women Writing the Weird. Dragon Moon Press in Canada recently published my debut novel, THE RAVEN’S DAUGHTER, short listed for the CCC Great Novel contest.
I have a B.A. in English Literature from UCLA, and an M.A. in Creative Writing from California State University at Northridge. While attending UCLA, I was one of only twelve students — and the only undergraduate — chosen to study with Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the United States. I won first prize awards for two of my poems from an Evergreen Press nationwide poetry contest, and honorable mentions for others from the Los Angeles Poetry Festival and The Academy of American Poets. My poem Du Fu was nominated for a Rhysling award for Best Long Science Fiction Poem. I’ve led adult poetry and novel critique groups in both Colorado and California.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My agent just quit the biz, so I’m looking for representation for my Allegorical Fantasy and my Dystopian Adventure.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote my first poem at around age 10.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t know, really. Been doing it for a long time.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Watching Disney’s Fantasia, and Cameron’s AVATAR
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Not that I can explain.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Of which book? The one published is THE RAVEN’S DAUGHTER. The protagonist shapeshifts into a raven per a Yurok legend of a raven who has a half human daughter.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Important to accept your true nature.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I’ve a few experiences reflected in the book, but it’s fiction. Some of the characters are loosely based on people I’ve known. My grandchildren show up in the book as younger twins. An old lover appears as a university professor. A Modoc medicine man I know in person shows up as the half-Yurok brother of my protagonist. The town I base the story in was a northern CA town I lived in, so some of the setting is recognizable to those who still live there.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
The Little Prince, and One Hundred Years of Solitude, Stranger in a Strange Land – many other books influenced me. No mentor.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I just discovered Neil Gaiman. WOW I love his imagination and his voice.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Not including bio family, my husband. He’s my greatest advocate and believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not really. Perhaps some minor things, but I’m happy with the book.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have been writing since I can recall.
I wrote my first poem at around age 10, and career wise, I was a technical writer for many years and ended up with a masters in Creative Writing.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Oh, gosh. I’m working on four novels simultaneously, but I’m focusing right now on the sequel to THE RAVEN’S DAUGHTER. Hope to have a draft completed by year end. Here’s the link to my debut novel:
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
There’s many things challenging to all writers, but I find spinning a good yarn the most joyful occupation in the world. I only wish I’d started writing novels years ago. I didn’t start work on my first novel until I was 57, and I was 61 when I finally saw my first book in print.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I wish I had the money for that. My publisher is small and doesn’t have marketing budget to send my on a book tour or to cons. It’s on me, and we just don’t have much of a budget. I do the best I can.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publisher designed my book cover. She hires pro artists for her covers, but THE RAVEN’S DAUGHTER she did herself, and she did a spectacular job.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Rewrites. Took me three times as long to rewrite as it did to create the first draft.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I could write another book just on what I learned.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead.
I would like a Native American woman to play the lead for THE RAVEN’S DAUGHTER. I see Mark Ruffalo in the opposing lead character role. He’s about the right age with the right level of cragginess blended with a bit of sex appeal.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
I went to a book fair in Los Angeles a few years back and saw Margaret Atwood. I spread one bit of her advice around: “Don’t write what you know. Write what you’re passionate about.”
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for taking your time to read my book, and if you are so inclined, please take a few minutes to leave an Amazon review. Those reviews mean the world to a writer.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I have several open. I often have as many as five going at a time. Right now, besides friends’ books, I’m reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, The Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins, 11-22-63 by Stephen King, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, and Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Probably “The Saggy Baggy Elephant” – a Golden Book, when I was a small child. It was my favorite.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I cry if I see animals or children abused or abandoned, or old growth trees cut. I laugh at my own foibles.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
One? How about many? Wish I’d met Robin Williams, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Richard Feynman. Huge fans of all three.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“She Did Her Best,” because I do my best.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Gardening (I love puttering around outside), soap making (although I’ve not done that in a long time), Traveling (when we money to do that), cooking (I’m good in the kitchen), Reading (of course!)
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
We haven’t had tv reception since 2001, but we do watch Netflix. Just finished binge watching Longmire
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Oh, gosh. I love almost all food – except whole wheat Fig Newtons, which I think were created by Satan. Colors? All. Among my favs are greens, reds, light blues, oranges. Not partial to pastels, but I do like light yellow. Music? I’ve eclectic tastes, but you can never go wrong with symphonic music, which I listen to when I write.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Probably teach, although I don’t really have patience for that.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yeah..I have a blog, but I hardly ever contribute to it. You can find it on my website, www.peggyawheeler.com. My website is still kind of wonky. It needs completing and updating.