MARGOT SUZANNE WEYANDT holds a bachelor’s degree in education and language arts from SWMN State University. She taught elementary students who had special learning and behavior problems on Leech Lake Indian Reservation, MN. Margot received an MSSW degree from the U of TX, Arlington, and became a LMSW, specializing in biofeedback, marriage and family counseling, and counseling abused women and children. As a health psychology therapist for Harris Ft. Worth Methodist Hospital, Margot created an addiction education program and designed pre-surgery relaxation patient protocol. Using biofeedback and classic therapy, she treated chronic pain patients.
Playing guitar and singing at Spooner area open mic, fishing, boating, water coloring, rock collecting, hiking in the woods, baking, writing poetry, and watching nature perform on the Namekagon River are favorite pastimes. Margot has three younger brothers. If counting her husband of 45 years, she has three sons.
Biggest literary influencers:
When I was in grade school, Harper Lee gave me a love for humor in books. Carolyn Keene satisfied my excitement at being safely scared while her heroine’s super brain-power and courage solved mysteries. Ernest Hemingway was a favorite read in high school. Stephen Dunn, my first writing prof and later winner of a Pulitzer for American Poetry, was a huge influence. I’ve continued to write and publish poetry. Favorite poems are Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy,” for the cadence; Charles Bukowski’s “no help for that,” for his honest bleak look at the depth of emotions; Dylan Thomas’ “And Death Shall Have No Dominion,” for his mastery of language in sound, power, and timing; and E.E. Cummings’ “i carry your heart with me,” for discussing eloquently the simple consuming beauty of love. Charles Dickens, Margaret Mitchell, Louisa May Alcott, Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving, John Updike, Philip Roth, Frederick Manfred, Jean M. Auel, Barbara Kingsolver, Pat Conroy, T.R. Pearson, Christopher Moore, and Carlos Ruiz Zafon are influences.
Last book read:
Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate, is a novel based on real-life history of the evil director of a TN adoption organization that kidnapped children from poor families and sold them to the wealthy. Children locked into Georgia Tann’s facilities were abused, molested, neglected, and killed while she banked what would today be $10 million from her crimes.
The book that changed your life:
The Holy Bible was the first Christmas gift I remember asking from my parents. I read the Bible daily. It gives life focus, helps me stymie the desire to control, brings a sense of peace in turning life over to God, and reminds me love is the answer. On the other end of the spectrum: Diana Gabaldon’s book, Outlander, allowed me permission to write funny, juicy details about sex. I had written humorous erotic scenes in unpublished books but didn’t have courage to follow through. Sometimes, I loftily pictured myself as Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
Your favorite literary character:
Although, I was disappointed with the catastrophic ending of David Wroblewski’s, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Edgar’s my favorite character. Born mute, he learned to communicate with people and dogs. Resolute, he became a skilled trainer to litters his parents bred for business. Edgar solved the mystery of his father’s death. Bravely fleeing with 3 special dogs, Edgar worked on plans to save his mother and their farm from his murdering uncle. Edgar never gave up; resourceful, he used brain, brawn, and love to keep the dogs alive and change the situation threatening destruction of his home and relationship with his mother. Tied with Edgar as my favorite character is Edgar’s aged care-taking canine companion—loyal Almondine, that Edgar left behind. I physically ached reading the loss Almondine suffered when Edgar took flight without her. Without speaking dialogue, the character development of Edgar and Almondine was charming and complete.
Currently working on: I’m currently working on the third book of the Gour Ghost Passage series, And Grace Will Lead me Home.
Words to live by:
Be grateful all your days. Give thanks. People are fallible and full of their own neuroses; don’t expect others to fulfill your needs and desires. Continue learning. Explore nature with eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, and feet as though ready for magic. Connect continually with your creator—The One who is greater than you. Forgive yourself and others so you can love yourself and others. Laugh at yourself. Be a straight shooter. Hold someone who is in pain. Teach children how to work by assigning them chores to do for free at home, volunteering for a neighbor in need, and working at an outside job so they learn how to save and manage money. Don’t give children everything; allow them to develop pride in working and saving to buy items and education. Teach and use the words please, thank you, may I help you, and I’m sorry. Smiles are contagious; spread smiles to all. Don’t compare thy body, thy house, thy children, thy spouse, thy car, thy income, thy rank…
Advice to new and aspiring authors:
Don’t give up when you’re telling a story you think is different and full of wonder. Listen to your characters for direction. Pray. Search your dreams for clues. Write down ideas. Keep pen and paper on the nightstand. Be willing to give up all entertainment in order to write. Research. Edit. Pare. Edit. Buy a 10-pound dictionary: use it. Don’t use pretentious words: you’ll piss readers off your book. It’s generous and respectful to introduce facts and teach from your life experiences, but readers know when you are just showing off.
“Outstanding debut book for this author.”
– Rick S.
“I enjoyed this book tremendously.”
– Julie Walker
“A MUST READ! What a thrilling book!”
– Millie Bjorn