Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes author Peggy McAloon whose stories deal with an element of life all of us would like to see vanish: child abuse.
First, a bit about Peggy:
Peggy McAloon was Sales Manager for a Century21 installation in Minnesota until a debilitating car accident forced her to give up the dream of owning the business in 1978. She went into the field of commercial credit and eventually became a recognized trainer, speaker, and author. She is retired, but still works passionately for children’s rights and water conservation and protection.
She published”The Art of Business Credit Investigation” in the ‘80’s and “Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals” in 2014.
Why did you pick to write books for children/MG?
The abuse of my childhood broke my spirit, and yet it inspired me to champion children’s rights. In addition to the abuse, I also became victimized by the bullies at school who saw an easy target in a child already completely victimized. I recognized early in life kids are easily hurt and need someone to convince them to get help when they’re in trouble. I am also painfully aware of the methods used when children are threatened not to seek help or are otherwise too afraid to ask someone to help them.
So, I decided to write a fantasy about a young role model who could inspire and encourage kids to stand up to the social injustices they face daily (abuse, bullying, loss, etc.). To do that successfully, I decided to draw on my love of reading. As a child, I discovered I could escape the pain and suffering of the real world by losing myself in the characters in the books I so dearly loved. The most surprising part of this journey has been the women who have discovered the book and shared their stories of abuse with me after reading it.
What types of books do you like to read?
I tend to be an “evolving” reader. When I was young, I much preferred fantasy and adventure. As a young mother, I became lost in mystery books. I’ve been branching out into historical, self-help, and I tend to pick up and reread the classics I read earlier in life. I still lean heavily toward a good mystery or action story and tend to weave that in my writing.
My biggest regret today is that I never knew how important reviews were for authors. I’ve kept a list of the hundreds of books I’ve read over the past 15 years, and I plan to try to make sure I eventually write a review for each and every one.
When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
I love traveling with my husband and spending special time with the kids and grandkids. You will frequently find me dabbling in photography and pursuing my interest in art. I love to play with the two little rescue dogs who hang out beside me as I write. I’ve won several awards for my watercolors, and I currently belong to three art groups (two in Wisconsin and one in Mississippi). I received the National Conservation Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution a little over a year ago. I earned the award for my efforts in protecting our ground and surface waters for not only our safe use, but for future generations.
Tell us about Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals and how the story came to be.
Elle Burton is an ordinary kid. Very much like you and I were when we were small. I needed her to be smart, but still have the flaws other children have. I decided to include an element of magic and fantasy to keep kids engaged in the story.
Elle journeys from this world into another dimension through reflective portals where creatures called Fiorins have a special link to all human life. She learns the remarkable creatures chose her as a guide to help them, and it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Elle has always loved helping others, and now she’ll have magical assistance. There are evil forces in the book too, just like there are in real life that do everything in their power to keep the guides from offering support to those in need.
The book will keep young minds engaged as they travel with Elle to Fiori to discover magical foot lockers, spider elevators, and the beloved Pegasus. Her journey on the crusade to protect the world’s children will help inspire kids to help peers who are being bullied or abused or seek help themselves. Elle’s a modern-day role model who embodies everything that is good in this world.
Here's a peek at 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. 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. Traveling to Fiori, she discovers magical foot lockers, spider elevators, and the beloved Pegasus. She is a modern-day role model who embodies everything that is good in this world, but will she be strong enough to combat the problems children face in the 21st Century?
Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.
I have written for newspapers and magazines for years. I have also been the editor of several newsletters for organizations throughout the years. The first book I published was a resource guide for commercial credit managers called The Art of Business Credit Investigation back in the 80’s. Between family, civic, and business responsibilities I couldn’t find the time to write a complete novel until after retirement. I have two more full-length novels in various stages of editing, and a third is in the early stages of writing. My short stories appear in two anthologies: An Anthology of Modern Fairy Tales #1: 10 Original Tales About Wishful Happy Endings to Real Life Experiences and So What Do You Do: Discovering the Genius Next Door with One Simple Question, Volume 2.
I am currently working on the final edit of Missing, the second book in the Lessons from Fiori series. This book continues Elle Burton’s story in this ‘Coming of Age’ adventure. I've also completed the first draft of Secrets of the Lake, a murder mystery.
What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
Elle’s journey will continue as she grows into an adult. The first two books in the series have set the foundation, but human guides continue to help the winged creatures through adulthood. I know exactly how the series will end, but I continue to discover things about Elle as the books proceed. She currently appeals to kids 8+, but I’ve already discovered she also appeals to Mom’s and Grandmothers. I expect as she continues to mature, she will begin to appeal to teens as well.
What advice do you have for other authors?
Make certain you begin marketing long before the book is ready for publication. Ask for references for anyone you choose to help you on the journey. I self-published the book in the 80’s and had no problems. That book was highly successful in its niche, and I considered it a great success – I knew the industry!
A novel was something quite different. I hired people to help me bring it to print and market it. Some have disappointed, and some have conned me. I now understand this is a business like any business. Don’t sign a check or send a payment without a signed contract to protect you. Don’t send anyone money without references. Make sure some of those references don’t come directly from the vendor you are checking out. Just remember, every con artist has at least three references who will give them a glowing report, so ask for more than three!
I’ve read some incredibly good books and some which are not as great. Editing is not an option. It is an integral part of any successful book. Seek out recommendations and make certain you are working with professionals.
Anything else you want readers to know?
I have written this fantasy series to encourage kids to find someone to talk to if they are being hurt in any way. Elle Burton is far from perfect, but she can teach your child how to remain calm and have the courage to find help when necessary. Unfortunately, the majority of child victims know the person who mistreats them. Ask your children frequently if anyone has made them uncomfortable or has hurt them. Let them know that no one has a right to make them feel bad and believe them even if the answer rocks your world.
My desire to create a role model strong enough to combat the problems children face in the 21st Century was a direct result of the terror I experienced as a child. Before the book was released, I worked with Catherine Gruener, a child counselor to prepare a discussion sheet for parents to help them discuss some of the issues kids in the book face. It is always easier to talk about problems and solutions using fictional characters. Catherine AZ Gruener is the founder and owner of Gruener Consulting, LLC, a premier education program provider offering solutions to both parents and educators. Through its unique workshops and services for gifted children, and positive discipline parent classes and seminars. The discussion sheet is at http://peggymcaloon.com under the Books, Reviews, and Publicity Tab. (Here is a direct link to it: http://peggymcaloon.com/wp-content/uploads/C.Gruener.2014.Elle-Burton-and-the-Reflective-Portals-Discussion-Sheet.pdf).
Where can readers find you and your books?
Website - There are additional interview links under the “Books” tab
Facebook Author Page
Amazon (Paperback, Kindle, & Audible editions)
Click here to listen to an excerpt
Barnes & Noble (Paperback & ebook)