An interview with Margaret Fieland

Robs Rebellion 200x300How did you get started writing?

For years I wrote poetry which I scribbled in notebooks and stashed in the attic. Then one day I wrote a poem I wanted to keep. I earn my living as a computer software engineer, so what with work and home, the poem was always on the computer I wasn’t on. I found an online website and storered some poems there, then found another and another. Eventually I found a better spot for my poems, but by then I was hooked. I started taking myself seriously as a poet when I was runner up in a poetry contest.

I started writing fiction when I wrote a chapter book that was sparked by a friend who lost his wife and children in a  fire. Then I spent the  next year and a half learning how to write fiction.

What genre(s) do you write in and why?

Right now I’m writing poetry, science fiction, and fantasy. I’ve been a sci fi fan since I was a kid (I picked Robert A. Heinlein’s Farmer in Sky for my tenth birthday) but up until 2010, I’d never written any, mostly because of a phobia about world-building. Then in September of 2010 I decided to use NaNo (National Novel Writing Month, which happens in November) to write a sci fi novel, figuring I could afford the month’s time. I spent most of the intervening six weeks in world-building: creatintg my aliens, the Terran Federation, its and politics, the alien’s history, society, mores, art and literature, etc. I  ended up with about a page of plot notes as well.

Then from January through about June or July I edited. It was accepted for publication and became Relocated, the first in the Novels of Aleyne series.

What inspired your latest book?

Part of the impetus behind the series, most of which takes place on Aleyne, an alien planet with a desert environment and a Terran Federation Guard base  on it, was because at the time my middle son was in the army serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Of course, in the series, the aliens are the good guys.

I never planned to write a series, but my characters refused to leave me alone. After I finished the first novel and was editing it, I aserked myself why one of the characters,  Ardaval, was living alone in a large house. I ended up with a one-liner about his former partners and what became Broken Bonds, the second novel in the series.  Rob’s Rebellioin, the latest novel, follows Colonel Robert Walker, the officer who (spoiler alert) arrests Major Brad Reynolds, the main character in Broken Bonds, for treason.

What is your favorite part of writing?

When I finish the first draft and I know what the novel is about.

What is your least favorite part of writing?

Figuring out the initial plot arc and what the novel is really about.

How has your experience with self-publishing been?

When I wrote Relocated, I also wrote thirty poems by a poet who exists in the universe of the novel. Eight of the poems appear in the text of the novel, but I self-published the whole collection for several reasons:

My publisher doesn’t publish poetry

I wanted the whole collection available as a companion to the book

I waffled about submitting the poetry collection somewhere.

A friend, Michele Graf, edited the collection for me, and I ended up publishing it through CreateSpace. It was a very positive experience.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

My characters wake me in the middle of the night whispering until I give in, take notes, and promise to write the book.

What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?

Get an editor. You need another pair of eyes to look over your manuscript

How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?

Pretty  unlikely. I admit I’ve shamelessly stolen names I like for my characters, but mostly the people themselves are safe. I did put my kids’ grandmother into my chapter book, but she’s the only one I recall off the top of my head. Now interesting incidents  or stories are another matter. Several of the stories my dad told  about his experiences during World War II have ended up in my books.

When did you start writing toward publication? 

For the poetry, when I realized my poetry could be publication-worthy, and for the fiction, when I wrote the chapter book and realized it was a hot mess and I needed help.

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?

Don’t let your imagination limit you. I never imagined myself becoming a writer, and especially not a writer of fiction. That  was a failure of imagination more than anything else. And don’t be afraid to admit your weaknesses as a writer and to work on improving them.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on another sci fi novel. I’ve finished the first draft, but it needs a major overhaul. I also have a  fantasy novel I need to get back to at some point.


Colonel Rob Walker always does his duty, even when it means risking  shaky relationship with his family. When he’s ordered to bring the treaty negotiations between the Terran Federation and the Aleyni to a successful conclusion, he’s determined to do just that, even when both sides would rather he fail. How can Rob pull off a miracle and avoid a war, one where both sides could be destroyed?



“Laura? Carol? Where is everybody?” Rob drew in a deep breath.

Footsteps clattered on the fake wood floors. “Carol took the children to Fellowship. I didn’t want to go.” Tear streaks marked the dust accumulated on Laura’s face. “I want to go home. I don’t want to live in this dump.”

“This is home,” Rob grumbled. “I’m commander of this base. This is my posting. Why would you expect me to take us back to New Oregon?”

“You might have refused the posting.” Laura’s mouth formed a straight line in her oval face. “You can resign from the Federation Guard.”

“Resign? What would I do then? Come on, Laura, be realistic. I’ve got two wives and four children to support. We wouldn’t even have the price of tickets home for us on a commercial star ship” What the blazes would become of his career if he quit? His father’s sneering face rose in his mind. His father continued to predict Rob’s career would crash and burn. He clenched his fist. He’d do anything to prove his father wrong.

“Surely you can find other work.” Laura swiped a hand across her eyes. “Everyone here hates us.”

“For God’s sake, Laurie, I’m a fifty year old career colonel. The Guard is my life. My career. What else would I do?” Rob stomped into the living area and over to a small section devoted to cooking. “What the hell is there to eat around here?”

Laura shrugged and dropped into a chair at a small table. “Check for yourself.” She glared at Rob, her arms crossed over her chest. “You can starve for all I care.”

Rob pulled out another chair and sat opposite her. “We’re not going home, er, back to New Oregon, and that’s final. Relations between the base and the Aleyni are touchy enough. They liked Reynolds, and I arrested him for treason. The treaty with the Federation is up for renegotiation. If the Guard sent the wrong officer, the Aleyni could refuse negotiation altogether. I’m not going to be the one who is responsible for starting a war.” He was sick of defending himself for doing his duty. He was a soldier, blast it. He might not be much of a commander, but no one was going to fault him for shirking his duty.

“You’re being melodramatic,” Laura protested.

“Maybe, but we’re staying here.” Rob stood and jerked open the cold store, which held nothing but some juice. “Come on, we’re going to the market. We’ll find someplace to eat.” He extended a hand to Laura and pulled her to her feet.

“There’s nothing here and nowhere to go.”

“Not on the base, but in Aleyne City.” Rob pulled out his pocket comp and began searching for Restaurants, Aleyne City.

“Not until I wash up.” Laura glared at him and stumped off down the hall.

Rob sighed and lowered himself into a chair to wait


Born and raised in New York City, Margaret Fieland has been around art and music all her life.  Her poems and stories have appeared in journals such as  Turbulence Magazine, Front Range Review, and All Rights Reserved. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines, was published by Inkspotter Publishing in November, 2011.  She is the author of  Relocated, Geek Games,  Broken Bonds, and Rob’s Rebellion published by MuseItUp Publishing , and of Sand in the Desert, a collection of science fiction persona poems. A chapter book is due out later this year.


Rob’s Rebellion on Amazon:

Rob’s Rebellion on publisher’s website:

My Website:



Buy Links:


One thought on “An interview with Margaret Fieland

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *