Margaret Dilloway became one of my favorite authors last year after I read “How to Be an American Housewife.” When I finished the book I checked out her blog and found out she is a former Army spouse who spent some time at Fort Lewis. I wrote a story for the NWG about her time here.
Her second novel, “The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns,” was released this summer and is another great read by Margaret, who draws on personal experiences for inspiration.
Here is my Q and A with Margaret:
Q: For “The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns” how much time was spent studying roses and rose breeding? What is your favorite rose?
A: About three months, all told. I corresponded with a rose breeder named Jim Sproul, who was the first to get the Hulthemia into the consumer market this year, called the Eyeconic Pink or Yellow Lemonade. It’s the type of rose Gal grows in the book. I also went to a local rose society meeting.
I happen to love the David Austin Old English roses, which combine the big fluffy heads and scent of Old Roses with some of the sturdier qualities of hybrids.
Q: You have spoken at numerous events, what are some of the most memorable ones for you and why?
A: I attended an event outside of Sacramento for Omega Nu in September, which raised scholarship money for worthy teens. It was my largest event (130 people) and I also had the chance to meet a very special woman there. She is a Japanese woman who was born in the same town and year as my mother, and who married an American and had children. She had had many of the same experiences my mother had, particularly during the war. Her daughter said my novel, How to Be an American Housewife, let her reconnect and get to know her mother’s life.
Q: What tricks do you use to conquer writer’s block?
A: I have a few different strategies. Powering through generally works — even if it feels painful, like I’m doing taxes. Or, I take a break and go out for a walk to get the blood flowing to my brain again. Or I bounce ideas off of someone.
Q: Are you working on your next novel? What’s next for you?
A: I’m working on a novel about a samurai woman in the 12th century named Tomoe Gozen. There’s also a contemporary thread.
Q: Do you cook Japanese food? What is your favorite Japanese dish?
A: I don’t really cook Japanese food, except for simple dishes. My mom never really showed me how to make her food. The only thing she let me help her with was yaki-gyoza (fried meat dumplings), so I can make those. I love to eat high-quality sushi.
Q: What are you reading right now?
A: I’m reading “The Giver,” by Lois Lowry, which I found on my library’s Banned Books display this month. I can’t quite figure out why it’s banned.
Read more about Margaret and follow her blog on her website.
Thank you, Margaret!