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Inspiring Women over 50: An Interview with Children's Author, Margaret Arvanitis

Updated on March 15, 2016

M.C. Arvanitis started a new career after age 50.

Margaret Arvanitis chose writing as her second career. She started writing children's book after she turned 50.
Margaret Arvanitis chose writing as her second career. She started writing children's book after she turned 50. | Source

About Margaret Arvanitis

M. C. Arvanitis resides in a coastal community in the Pacific Northwest. She grew up in Nebraska and spent the first half of her life there where she raised five children who are now grown with their own children. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education and taught preschool and early elementary for over thirty years until her retirement. She now spends her time writing elementary mid- grade fantasies, teenage novels, and picture books.

Did your 50th birthday have an impact on your life?

Yes. I had turned fifty and my children had all left home to make their own lives, and I found myself in the ‘empty nest” situation. I needed to find a different lifestyle for myself. I completed a writer’s course from “The Institute of Children Literature” writing program and started my writing career.

Did your past work/hobbies lead you to where you are now?

My many years of teaching preschool/early elementary instilled in me the love of children and the type of books they like to read, or have read to them.

Did you learn your craft/job/talent through specific classes or by hands-on-experience?

I started by taking a correspondence course of "Writing for Children and Teenagers," from The Institute of Children's Literature.’ And after I read every book or article I could get my hands on to learn tips and suggestions.

Books by M.C. Arvanitis

Margaret's books include picture books, young reader, mid-reader, and chapter books.

The Legend of ElPanda Paws, Forbidden Wings: A Mermaid's Story; and Pixies of the Fern: Fernella's Magic are fables for mid-readers.

Chicken in the Oven is a picture book.

Margaret has two teen/YA historical books out: Hank of Twin Rivers: Journey of Change and Hank of Twin Rivers: The Eagle's Nest. Both are about a boy and his stern father on the Oregon Trail.

All of Margaret's books are available in e-book or paperback on

Please tell me about some of your books.What did you hope to accomplish with your writing?

I noticed that there were many “fairy stories for preschool children, and many fantasy (often violent) for upper grade children, but no fairies’ tales for beginning readers, so I brought my first book to life, The Legend of ELPanda Paws.

Unlike other books for young girls which indicates one must have a romance to be happy, my second book, ‘Forbidden Wings, A Mermaid Story’ offers a young girl a reason to stand on her own to solve her own problem.

In my third Fable, ‘Pixies of the Fern’s Fernella’s Magic” Fernella, my protagonist, in her journey to find a new place for her family and village that would be safe from humans, finds magic she didn’t know she had until she desperately needed to save her friends who had crashed in the upper hills of Mount Hood.

Chicken in the Oven is my latest and first picture book. Actually written with my granddaughter when I was her Nanny Granny. With the help of my talented illustrator, Dori Murnieks, I hope to get more of the preschool picture books published in the years to come.

What is your favorite Book?

I have to admit that my series: ‘Hank of Twin Rivers; Journey of Change’ is my favorite. I took his character from my son, who at Hank’s age in this book, walked along the Platte River in Nebraska with me and we discussed what a journey across the country in a covered wagon would have been like back in the 1800’s. Many of his ideas of evil claim jumpers, raging river crossings, wild horse hunting; buffalo stampedes were incorporated into the manuscript.

Would you share one of your favorite passages from that book?

Paragraph from chapter nineteen, book one ‘Buffalo Stampede

“A low rumbling interrupted Hank’s thoughts. He noticed a dark cloud behind them. He ran toward he wagons. “Dust storm coming,” he hollered. Uncle Mac, shading his eyes looked back. A look of horror came to his face. “Saints preserve us! They be buffalo,” he shouted. “Square up the wagons, JB.” He galloped toward Hank, calling, “Laddie, run!” The ground shook under Hank’s feet. The roar of thousands of buffalo stampeding toward them deafened him. He glanced behind. The huge animals were about to run him down. He stretched his legs as far as they could possibly stretch and ran for the wagon.

What are you working on now?

My Work in Progress, (Emma Rose’s War) is about a teenage Nebraska girl living during the WW2 years. Little is known of the POW camps of German prisoners set up in Nebraska. So this is historical fiction.

Short prologue. Emma's War takes the reader back to the years of WW2 and how it effects the life of a teenage farm girl who's family is of second generation of German decent. When the government opens a German prisoner of war camp near her town, the townspeople resists having the enemy near, but the farmers needs the prisoners to work on the farms since all able bodied young men are at war. Emma Rose is caught in the middle between her farm friends and her high school friends in town. Her fear of growing up to be a farmer's wife creates another war in her mind. She swears to never fall in love with a farmer...But will her heart betray her?

I’m also working on my second picture book, ‘Elephant Answers’, a conversation between a boy and an elephant at the circus, which I plan to publish soon.

Advice for being an inspiring woman after 50

Do you have any advice for others who want to pursue their interests?

Yes, the famous words, JUST DO IT. Don’t wait. Do it now. I suggest every beginning writer continue learning as they write. There’s so much good information on the web. And above all, get into a local critique group. Every one of my books has been read and critiqued by my group before they were published.

What are your future plans?

I plan to keep on writing and work on promoting my books, on line and by going to books fairs, and bringing my books to local schools in my surrounding area.

Have your friends, family, colleagues encouraged you to pursue this?

*Yes, I have the full encouragement of my family, and many friends, including my local critique group of fellow writers.

What is the best project you have done?

Putting my cyber preschool “Four To Get Ready” blog on line. I share free of charge my month-to-month preschool, original stories, poems, songs, activities, puppet dialogues, etc. that I’ve developed in my thirty some years of teaching with teachers all over the world.

I believe that every child is a different kind of flower, and all together make this world a beautiful garden.

What motivates you?

My love for reading. I read books (children or adult fiction.) every night, my way of relaxing. I receive as much joy in reading other’s writers’ books and I believe in promoting the books I’ve enjoyed by giving reviews, and adding them to my FB page, Dew Drop Inn, the author's hangout where we share delicious recipes and books to e-readers. Our special is your Newest Book served on a platter.

What is your philosophy about life in general:

We each have so many years on this earth. All we can do is face it with a positive attitude. I have been so fortunate to have a fairly healthy life keeping busy with my projects and my family (Siblings, and children) that I don’t have time to dwell on it.


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    • Peggy Browning profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Browning 

      3 years ago from Ponca City, Oklahoma

      That's true, C. Lee McKenzie. It seems that once we have our children out of the nest, we look for another way to improve our worlds and the worlds of others. If I could live long enough to finish all my projects, I would be very, very old! Thank you for reading this article about M.C. Arvanitis, a very creative woman!

    • profile image

      C. Lee McKenzie 

      3 years ago

      Nothing more exciting than finding something you love to do no matter your age. Creative people just seem to get busy the older they get.


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