Interview with M. C. Arvanitis

What genre do you write?
Anything to do with children; picture books, early reader chapter books, mid-grade fables. My first two books are about mythical characters such as elves, mermaids, fairies, and other made-up characters. I also write mid-grade/teen historical novels.
What is your writing process?
I work every day -- first I outline my book, then start writing -- I try to have at least 20 chapters of 1000-2000 words for my mid-grade books. Each chapter is read to my critique group. When I have finished the first draft I send it to my beta readers, who catch any obvious errors in the story line. I rewrite it for corrections, and self edit it several times. When I am happy with the manuscript I have it professionally line edited. -- I once more give it another edit. When I am sure it is readable I e-publish it. My last task is to put it into a print book -- than comes the hard work. Promoting.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is third in the mid-grade fable series, PIXIES OF THE FERNS, Fernella's Magic. Fernella must find her magic before her father will give his blessings to her marriage with Freddie. When humans threaten the Fern Pixies’ home, Fernella and Freddie take off in Freddie’s flyer to find a new place where the Pixies can live in safety. A crash leaves Freddie badly hurt. Fernella braves the wilds of the Mt. Hood foothills infested with the evil Imps to find help. She faces moles, blizzards, and floods, and she connects with an ancient forest creature who, may or may not, help her find her magic.
This story came to me when I spend a summer cooking in a camp for girls by the Sandy River in Oregon, where ferns grow plentiful and the trees grow tall.
What are you working on next?
I have started a new project. For many years I taught in my own preschool where I wrote stories, songs, class activities, puppet dialogues, and poems. I have opened my cyber preschool, sharing these activities freely on line with teachers, parents, grandparents, and care givers. The website is www.ms-marge.com
How do you approach cover design?
I think that covers should give the reader an idea of who the book is about. I have two artist that does the covers. One does my mid grade Fables, and one does the historical series. Both bring out the main character in my story with their cover paintings.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
There are several way I find to market my books; On my Blog, and Face Book writers pages. I also sign up for interviews at various book readers/writers pages. I sell them at local book fairs and book signings, and outdoor markets. Several specialty stores have them for sale at their shops.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on a farm in Nebraska, and raised my family near the Platte River, which is featured in my latest series, Hank of Twin Rivers.
When did you first start writing?
I became serious about writing stories when I opened my pre-kindergarten school as a young mother myself. Whenever I needed to teach a new concept I would create a story character and write a story related to that concept. Most of my characters were squirrels, bumble bees, rabbits, birds, raccoons. These become my "Back Yard" Friends.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
My books have all been published with Smashwords. When I see my book out there, I am encouraged to keep on writing and publishing new books.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Bringing a character to life, and leading him/her through heart rending conflicts, until at the end he/she finds the solution to the problems. Of course, like all authors, the joy of reading a good review adds to the joy of writing.
What do your fans mean to you?
Without readers (fans) a book is just a bunch of words and comes to nothing. Readers brings a book alive.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have an e-reader. Since I move around from place to place I find it is easier to take my books with me in that device rather then pack boxes of books around.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Usually I read what my fellow authors write or recommend. I like to get into a series and follow the series through its ending.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read adult fantasy, mostly, about mythical beings, such as dragons, elves, etc. Also historical romances. .
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember a picture book of Pixies, that my grandparents gave to me when I was about five. I think that started my interest of reading fairy tales. When I was a girl, around eight, the magazine, Saturday Evening Post, printed serials -- printing one chapter each month. I've forgotten the names of these stories, but I remember the excitement of getting the magazine from the mail box and running to my house to find a quiet place where I could read the next installment. From then on I read anything I could get my hands on, even my father's books of the month selections.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, visiting with friends, walking, and watching the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, when I was teaching preschool children I wrote a series of "Back Yard Characters" stories, with a squirrel, a bumble bee, a cranky jay bird, robin, and rabbit. The series began with "TipTop, the last leaf" who was afraid to fall from the top of his tree in the fall. The other characters and their stories were built around the tree and the back yard.
Published 2014-12-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Hank of Twin Rivers, Book Three: Riding with the Wranglers
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 39,870. Language: English. Published: May 12, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
Seventeen -year-old Hank Heaton joins up with horse wranglers on their way to western Nebraska in search of wild mustangs. Hank claims and breaks his horse, Lady. He returns to Twin Rivers but finds Becca, his sweetheart, has been taken to Missouri by her father. Hank hires on with the wranglers to drive the horses to Texas. After the trail drive, Hank plans to head for Missouri to find Becca.
Hank of Twin Rivers, Book Two: The Eagle's Nest
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 33,720. Language: English. Published: April 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
Hank, sixteen, has settled with his Pa and Uncle Mac where the North and South Platte Rivers merge. Pa and Major Beams set up a trading post between the Mormon and Oregon Trails. Conflict arises between Pa and Hank when Pa remarries. Hank makes friends with a preacher’s daughter which does not set well with her father or Hank's stepmother. Hank runs away rather than go to an Eastern school.
Pixies of the Ferns: Fernella's Magic
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 19,650. Language: English. Published: January 3, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Social Issues / Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Fernella must find her magic before her father will give his blessings to her marriage. When humans threaten the Fernpixies’ village, she and Freddie take off in his flyer to find a safe place to live. A crash leaves Freddie badly hurt. Fernella braves the dangerous Imp infected forest to find help. The shape-changer, Puk-Wud-Jie, comes to her aid but can he help her find her magic?
Hank of Twin Rivers, Book One: Journey of Change
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 33,700. Language: English. Published: July 15, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
Twelve-year-old Hank loses his mother to cholera in 1855. When Hank’s pa leaves their Iowa homestead to find free land in Nebraska, Hank is forced to go with him. Uncle Mac brings Irish humor into Hank's life and serves as a cushion between Hank and his father. Hank tangles with thieves, meets a black trapper along the Platte, and discovers the preacher's daughter, a tomboy who doesn't like boys.
Forbidden Wings, A Mermaid's Story
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 12,350. Language: English. Published: October 21, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Adventure » Sea adventures
(4.00)
Nadeea is shorter than other Mermaids. Tormented by them, she wishes she could fly away with her fairy friends. Sir Cecil and Sadie Squarette take her to the home of the Damselflies who may have wings for her. Gwitihn, the Goat Witch, threatens her when Nadeea tries to save the Queen. When the Mers are captured by evil Sea Lions, she must decide: Will she wait for her wings or rescue the Mers?
The Legend of ELPanda Paws
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 15,130. Language: English. Published: January 8, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(4.00)
The Claus Corporation contracted with the ELVanites to make Love Bears which are delivered to seriously ill children around the world. Only Elves with love and happiness in their hearts can make the bears properly. When the elf workers become afflicted with the Negative Disease, the Love Bears may not be made in time. Something is wrong in ELVanland. Something is terribly wrong!