Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Author To Author: Peggy M. McAloon

If you've kept up on the blog, you'll know that I'm going though a transition. One that, when I emerge, I hope to have come to a "Right Livelihood." A term coined by the Buddhists as one of the ultimate goals of the Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path. 

Hold on, don't jump to the conclusion I'm converting to Buddhism. What I am doing during this transitional phase is striving once again to find the path that is best for me, the one that makes the most sense according to who I am, my true self. 

As I was reading through Peggy's answers I remember that my life isn't all that unique, in that we all go through transitions, changes in our lives that have a beginning, middle and end. Just like the stories we tell, our lives are stories that repeat that pattern over and over again. 

I want to thank Peggy for sharing her story with us today. This will be my last Author to Author post for awhile. Hope you're all having a great and wonderful summer. 

Peggy and Anneka 

Can you tell us three interesting things about you that people usually wouldn’t guess about you?

1. I am terrified of heights. When I was a child, we took wonderful vacations. I was probably five or six when we went to the Grand Canyon. Mother insisted we take a cable car across the canyon. It was a terribly windy day and the cable car broke in the middle of the river; dangling high above the water for nearly an hour before they got it fixed. I remember the cable car swinging back and forth and making creaking noises as it swung in the high winds. I was convinced we were going to die. On another vacation we went to Niagara Falls. We stood on a rock outcrop between two areas of the falls. The next morning on television they showed that same spot where we had been standing. It had fallen off into the raging waters below over night. I’m guessing those two experiences are why my stomach drops every time I’m up somewhere high.

2. My grandmother was a Kennedy. Two cousins came to the U.S. One stayed in the New England area and became quite wealthy … the other moved to Virginia and became a farmer. My grandmother received a personal note with a picture of JFK from Rose Kennedy after the assassination. She slept with it under her pillow every night for the rest of her life.

3. I was a contestant in the Miss Iowa Pageant in the 60’s.

How did you get into writing?

The last 25 years of my working career, I was the national sales manager for the Minneapolis division of the National Association of Credit Management. I did a tremendous amount of training, prepared and delivered seminars, and wrote articles for the newsletter. During that time I wrote my first published book, “The Art of Business Credit Investigation” which was featured in Inc. Magazine. I have loved writing and fabricating stories since I was a child. I used to make up complete movies in my head, but I didn’t write them down. After retirement I started writing guest posts for the local newspaper and was editor of “Lake Talk” the newsletter for the Tainter/Menomin Lake Improvement Association where I spent ten years working for the conservation of our water resources. That involved communication with other groups and politicians. I was awarded the National DAR Conservation Award in 2013.

What are some of your favorite MG/YA books?

Books were my method of mental escape during the abuse of my childhood so I do have to say that the ones nearest my heart are those that gave me hours of blissful entertainment: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – The Chronicles of Narnia set by C.S. Lewis – To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee Harper – Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - and of course the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and 007 series of books. I’m also a pushover for Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and the Prince of Malorn (Annals of Alasia Books) by Annie Douglass Lima.

Who are your role models?

First and foremost is my grandfather. He had the kindest and most compassionate heart of any human being I have ever met.  I love Maya Angelo for her courage and inspiration. Dr. Eichler, my humanities instructor in college for teaching me that dates mean little in history, it is only through learning how one event leads to the next that we will be able to improve our lives and avoid making the same mistakes. I also adored Mother Teresa, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” And, “I alone cannot change the world. But I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

What are you working on right now?

I am working on the 2nd book in the Elle Burton Series. This book will further explore the other dimension of Fiori and the Sacred Scrolls to determine if Elle is the one who it has been predicted will change the direction of the world.  One of the projects associated with the first book in the series is to find funding to provide the book free of charge for women’s shelters for the high-risk children there.

Tell us a bit about how the character of Elle Burton evolved?

Year after year we hear the stories about kids who have been abused and the numbers continue to astound me. The most recent figures indicate there are three million cases of child abuse reported each year in the U.S., involving nearly six million children. This is one of the worst records in all industrialized nations. I was one of those abused children and I have struggled with how we could possibly convince kids like me to share the secret of their abuse. My abuser made threats against my mother if I told anyone. I was terrified for her. Threats are the weapons most readily used by the abusers and I wanted to create a character who could empower kids in trouble to seek help and inspire the rest to recognize and offer help to the kids in trouble.
To be perfectly honest, Elle is the kid I wish I had been courageous enough to be. She’s flawed like me, she makes some bad decision, but she is still willing to stand up against some extraordinary threats to her well-being and the safety of others. I knew she would have to have my grandfather’s heart. I never heard him say an unkind word. I gave her his last name as a constant reminder of her gift of compassion as I wrote the story. She is only ten when the first book begins, but I expect to follow her to adulthood.

Reflective portals are pretty original. Where did the inspiration for those come from?
Everything I have written in this book has been done to inspire kids. What better way to entice them into the story than to allow them to be part of the magic? Elle and the other Earth Guides have two ways to move from Earth to Fiori. One is through a wish and the other is through the reflection of a child. Conversely, the Fiorins can only travel into Earth’s dimension through the reflection of a child. This creates some conflict in the book because it appears the devilish Zorins have found a way to interfere with the reflections in the ponds of Fiori. (Fiorins can travel through a wish with a Guide, but they do not have the gift of wish travel themselves.) Perhaps it is because I love to sit by the water and imagine myself in other places that I chose reflections as the inspiration.

Currently giving away pendants and books! Go to Peggy's website.

Tell us a little bit about Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals.
Elle Burton is an ordinary kid…or so she thinks. On her tenth birthday she encounters Eunie Mae, a tiny, fairylike being who comes from a world called Fiori. She begins a journey that leads her from this world into another dimension through reflective portals where creatures called Fiorins are linked to all human life.  Other than some children under the age of eight, the only human beings who can see Fiorins are guides—people who have been chosen to help protect the children of Earth.
Being a guide seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Elle has always loved helping others, and now she’ll have magical assistance. But not everybody wants her to succeed. There are evil forces that do everything in their power to keep the guides from offering support to those in need.

Join her as she enlists the Fiorin warrior Amadeus and others to help her protect the human children against bullying and physical abuse. The children at risk Elle encounters are dependent on her decisions and quick responses.  Travel with her to Fiori and discover magical foot lockers, spider elevators, and the beloved Pegasus. Join her journey on the crusade to protect the world’s children.  Her journey to adulthood begins as she completes the three challenges, predicted centuries ago.  She is a modern-day role model who embodies everything that is good in this world. Will she be strong enough to combat the problems children face in the 21st Century?

Can you tell us about your publishing journey, any surprises along the way?

I was extremely lucky to meet Mayo Clinic’s Dick Edwards (Mom, Dad ... Can We Talk?: Insight and Perspectives to Help Us Do What's Best for Our Aging Parents) who was gracious enough to help me on more than one occasion in my quest for a publisher. Anyone who believes they have a book that needs to be written should seek out and find other authors who can help them along the way. Some of the people who have been the most supportive are other authors who are committed to the industry and in helping new authors. Those who have been truly inspiring are Elmarie Porthouse, Connie Dunn, Annie Douglass Lima, D’vorah Lansky, Sandra Beckwith, Jenny Orelle, Jeannie Frazier, PeggyLee Hanson, Moreen Tropy, and Vickie Newman. Without them, I would never have come as far as I have.

I had no idea that my blog would be transferred to LinkedIn. This was done by the publisher. All of my old customers are on that platform and I was both surprised and terrified to learn that my posts on the tougher elements of parenting were showing up on LinkedIn.

I fought Twitter. I didn’t want to do it, although at one point I thought it might be fun to do as Elle. I’m glad I forced myself to get involved because I have met some wonderful and inspiring people through that platform. I have now done roughly 3,000 tweets…pretty amazing for a Grandma. 

The hours: This is the killer. I had no concept how many hours it would take to build and maintain a platform on all the various social media sites. As a manager in the business world I had one golden rule. If I couldn’t learn to do it, and do it well, I would not ask an employee to do it for me. This has been a difficult learning curve because we did not grow up with the technology folks a few decades younger find so easy. Hopefully I will be able to outsource some of this in the future.

Do you listen to songs while you write? If so, what are they? Do certain songs get you into a certain character’s head?

I love to listen to music. I started playing the organ for church services when I was only nine. I have used music my entire life to maintain my mood. If I’m sad or tired, I play soft and soothing music until my mood begins to lift. At that point I switch to a livelier tune. After a trip to BarHarbor, and the Bluenose Inn, I frequently have one of pianist Bill Trowell’s CD’s playing in the background.

What character is most like you?

That one’s simple: Ginny Burton, Elle’s mom.

If you had a power, what would it be?

Again, that is also simple: I would love to be able to enjoy ‘wish travel’ like the Earth Guides.

What is your favorite quote or saying?


I truly believe if we all did one additional thing each day to improve the life of another that everyone’s life would improve.

What would you tell people who want to become authors?

I would ask them why they haven’t started the journey. I wrote two other books before the Elle book. They are still sitting in a file but I do intend to get back to them one day. They are the works that helped me find my true self and my voice. Elle is the story that I pray will change lives. We all have stories inside us that will inspire others. I have been so blessed by the women who have contacted me after reading the book and who shared they were also abused as children. I wrote the book to empower and inspire children; I had no idea it would provide healing to other adults.

Any last thing you want to tell us?

The statistics tell me that one in three women reading this suffered abuse by their 18th birthday. When I was little I constantly tried to be perfect in everything. I always thought if I could be just a little bit better the abuse would stop.

It took decades for me to realize that a child is incapable of doing anything to warrant abuse by an adult. I watched my own children grow, unable to fathom how anyone could ever hurt a child. If you were the victim of abuse as a child and still have unresolved issues, please find someone you can confide in. The healing begins when you stop being afraid. The power of the abuser ends when you reject the fear they instilled in you.

Thanks for joining us, Peggy and sharing such wonderful words of support and wisdom.

On her website Peggy offers a free drawing each month. Currently, there is also a drawing for the pendants and books. Check it out here!


  1. Awesome, Peggy, and thank you for sharing on FB Build Book Buzz. Yes, may all the stones we cast be ones to create ripples that positively influence others. Bless you, and happy writing!
    Kerry Alan Denney, multiple award-winning author of SOULSNATCHER

  2. What an informative and interesting interview! I like that the questions are different and bring out a side of Peggy the reader never would have known. And Thank you, Peggy, for listing me as one of your fellow travelers. I'm honored.

    1. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and support Moreen! I believe people enter our lives for a reason and I cherish those who have rather pushed me along in the journey of authoring.

  3. Wonderful interview. Thanks for posting it. Very inspiring.

  4. An interesting review of an interesting person and author. My life changed dramatically a year ago and things are starting to settle down so I'm glad I stopped by.

  5. Wow, what an amazing post! So much to absorb - thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Super interview. Her answers made me pause and think about my own journey. Thanks for taking the time to put this post together. Sorry it took me a few weeks to find it.

  7. Wow, great post - this is the kind of thing I love to find when I first visit a blog. I'm always disappointed if I have to search for information about who is the blog writer.

    You're a flipster, dear. Join the club.


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