Margaret is the author of 10 books for kids and adults. She may not particularly look it, but she is half Japanese. (You can see it now, can’t you?). She lives in the southern California area with her family. In February 2020, she was Zion National Park’s Artist-in-Residence, hanging out in Zion for a whole month without Internet. That coupled with the fact she used to teach middle school makes her one of the toughest people alive (this is where a laugh-cry emoji would be inserted).
When she’s not writing fiction, she’s probably on stage at an improv show, writing/filming sketch comedy, or thinking about doing one of the three. Evidence:
She may also be found hiking with her fluffy Goldendoodle, Gatsby, or wrangling her evil cat, Elektra, who is probably sabotaging this very wiohtaio348y pwotjpajwtpaj STOP IT ELEKTRA sheesh
(BTW Elektra is not named after the comic book character but Elektra in the Greek play by Sophocles, because Margaret’s children are just that kind of nerdy)
There is another cat, Daisy, who is basically like a marshmallow with legs. Daisy hates everyone except Margaret’s oldest daughter.
A Longer Bio
Margaret started writing stories back in kindergarten and won all sorts of writing honors, including the National Teachers of English Writing Award, and was a California State Summer School for the Arts scholar.
She majored in Studio Art at Scripps College in Claremont, CA, getting a well-rounded humanities education. Why isn’t Margaret a visual artist?
One of her professors told her she was a TERRIBLE writer, thereby making Margaret vow TO SHOW HIM….she abandoned art and proceeded to get many paid jobs as a writer (journalist/contributing editor for a newspaper, technical writer, marketing writer) AND sell the aforementioned books. Final Score: Margaret: 10. Professor, 0.
(She didn’t really abandon art, she just stopped making it after college)
Margaret writes frequently about the intersections of race, class, and invisible disabilities, working sensitive and weighty topics in with her signature humorous style.
37 thoughts on “About the Author”
Hello miss! Thank you for your lovely note and congratulations on your book and your signing with Ms Markson — how fabulosa!!!! It is hard enough to write with no kids and no job, ha, I’m gonna watch to see how you do it with three of them moppets!! Love, Carolyn
First time I visit someone personal blog, really I like It!!!!
I really appreciate the inspiration behind this story. I like the humor and the connection with your mom. I adore fiction and getting lost between the pages…. I can not wait to read your novel=)
this summer, my grandma buried her 50 year old autistic daughter, who died tragically of choking on a marshmallow. i flew to wisconsin to be with my grandma as heidi was taken off life support.
at that point, my grandma became a human being and not just “my grandma.” i imagined what it must have been like for her to be 25 with three kids, one of whom autistic. a husband who worked all the time. and absolutely no clue how to handle it.
i imagine it must have been similar for you when you found that book and thought about how your mom must have felt, marrying and moving to america.
congratulations on taking a risk and writing a novel. best of luck to you.
Thanks for sharing your story, Sarah.
I am so glad I dropped by your website and read your “about me” page. I appreciate your transparency and the journey you took to fulfill your dream of writing. I am inspired to read your book now! Your words resonate with me, especially in recalling the time in my life when I evolved to experience my mom as a woman, not just my mom. Congratulations to you for writing and publishing your work. What a significant accomplishment!
I just finished reading your book and just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it!! It was wonderful! I did not want it to end! I look forward to more books from you in the future! 🙂
From a fan in Oklahoma!
I am enjoying your book on audible now and relate so much to you. My mother was Japanese, married to an American soldier and so much of what you’ve written is familiar. I always wanted to write her life story but never sat down and got all the little details. She died in 2006 at the age of 81 and after her death I found a file folder in her things with documents in which she and my father applied for marriage and had to show that her family was OK–not spies, not prostitutes, etc.
Funny thing is my mother came from a family of famous musicians in the Kabuki theater and her sister was a doctor whereas my father was from a rather poor family in North Carolina with very little education. I am inspired by your book and I probably have plenty I could write about.
I have honored the memory of my mother by dedicating my culinary endeavors to her. chefjulia.blogspot.com
In the meantime, please keep writing. I love your book.
hi really enjoyed your book it was interesting to hear all about Japan and the families really good book!!
Hello Ms. Dilloway,
I came across your book at B&N recently, read the endpages, and just had to buy it. I am Sansei and grew up in a small Japanese American community in the midwest where most of the families are military. Many of my childhood friends and immediate relatives are Hapa with fathers who served in WWII and mothers who were war brides. My parents were in Japan during that war. Their personal experiences as civilians in a war zone were similar to those in your novel. My aunt and uncle could totally relate to the Morgans. Like Suiko, I grew between cultures, not really fully belonging to either. In short, you nailed the inherent duality and contradictions of our lives and cultural upbringing perfectly. Thank you for writing this novel so that others may also understand.
Loved your book. Hope you have another in the works. How about posting pictures of your mother onyour website so we can see who Shoko is based on? Keep up the great work.
I just finished your book and it was like reading my own life story. I am the daughter of a Japanese woman from a fishing village who was just outside of Nagasaki when the atomic bomb was dropped. She was a bit older than Shoko was in your book. My father met her right after the war ended when he was in the Navy. Only in recent years has my mother begun to share the stories of her childhood and adult years in Japan and how things were for her when she first came to the US. I believe it is a part of the normal aging process as she approaches 85 years old. Your description of Shoko is so similar to my mother that it is uncanny — and I found myself relating, in many ways to Suiko. It is a book I will share with my brother and his daughter so perhaps they will better understand my mother. Even your description of her trip to Japan was much like my experience going to Japan and meeting my Japanese cousin for the first time and my mother’s sister. I felt connected to them in a way I had never felt close to American cousins.
Thank you for writing such an amazing book. I wish I had your talent. I’ve often thought that the stories I’ve heard from my mother would make an incredible novel. To this day she refuses to eat tacos because she felt she was fooled at her first american meal when the navy housewife said they were having “taco” for dinner. My mother thought it was “tako” which, of course, is octopus. So many stories — so much strength. You captured the essence of what it takes for someone to leave their homeland after a war and come to a country where they are not welcomed. And the sequelae felt by their offspring. Again, I can’t thank you enough.
Wow. That is amazing. I am honored, Betty! Thank you so much for writing and sharing your experience, and thank you for reading!
I JUST finished reading your book 5 minutes ago, (I couldn’t put it down) and then read about your blog in the “about author” area on the inside cover. How often does a reader get to say “thank YOU” and actually know the author will read it?! So, thank you…your book touched me so profoundly. I am a military spouse, about to relocate to S. Korea for three years. We are excited about the move, but also tenative. Culturally, I am the all-American girl, and am excited/nervous about the new cultural challenges. Reading your book enlightened me, and gave me peace of mind. So many women before me have made huge changes for their families, and have approached challenges far greater than mine…and have come out better for it. It helped read about Shoko’s strength, for after tonight I have tapped into a reserve of my own strength. Thank you…you have made an impact.
Thanks so much for sharing, Lindsay! Best of luck on your move. It will be an adventure, I’m sure!
Love love love the book. Oh, and love the photos.
Just like many people who left comments here, I just fininshed reading your book today. Thank you so much for such an amazing book!
I was born and raised in Japan and married an American and moved to the US 16 years ago. In my case so many decades have passed after the war, my experiences are not exactly the same as your mother’s. Although, there are so many things that I can relate to, it also made me wonder how my children feel having a mother who doesn’t speak perfect English or came from a totally different culture. Like you mentioned in the book about Shoko, I think I am doing my best to raise my children the way I know how. My hope is that my children will understand that someday.
When we got married, one of my concerns was about our cultural differeces (my mother told me at the time, the 75% of interacial marriages don’t survive). My husband is very optimistic and he told me that we will make our own culture by taking and mixing the good things from both cultures and make it our own. So far it is working. 🙂
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book, it was thought provoking and well written; that it is hard to come by these days.
Thanks so much for your comment and for reading! And I love your blog, too.
I picked up your book at Los Angeles International Airport on a whim before a flight. I am so glad I did! You are an amazing author and I cannot wait for your next book to come out! By far the best book I have read in a very, very long time. Definetly in my top 3!! Thank you!
Thanks so much, Lacey!
i too like many have just finished reading your book what an inspiration how brave your mother was to embrace another culture i may never get to japan but i have enjoyed through your book been able to learn more about the two different cultures i am from NEW ZEALAND my daughter is taking japanese at high school next year i look forward to learning more keep writing you have an amazing talent share it with others may you have a wonderful future i will wait patiently for your next book shara
Thank you so much, Shara! Good to know it’s made its way to New Zealand, too.
I just read your book in a day. I am an American who was raised in a Navy family moving around and as an adult taught English in Japan in Nagasaki-ken. I found much to relate to in your story and enjoyed the many memories it brought back to me today, from relating to Mike’s moving traumas (I used to hide in my closet) to visiting Kumamoto-jo and the Peace Park in Nagasaki to being a single mom myself. Thank you for for your story. I really enjoyed it.
Hi! I am a twenty-something from North Carolina. I enjoyed your book How to be an American Housewife. I love reading and that was something different too! I enjoyed Shoko’s antics. I am Black and have no experience with the military, so this was all new, yet I felt invested and like I had to see what happened. It is an excellent book and I can’t wait to read more from you!
I just read How to Be an American Housewife. Unlike the other people who posted comments, I do not have a personal story that relates to the book. However, I was deeply touched by the characters and their stories. I love a story in which the characters stay alive for me even after the book ends. I will buy The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns today. Looking forward to many more of your novels. Thank you.
Just finished THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS. I was disappointed when I realized the acknowledgement page wasn’t another page of the story and I had finished the book. Needless to say ~ it was excellent. Wonderful character development and excellent plot. You are a very gifted writer!
Thanks so much!
I loved How to Be an American Housewife. I read it in just 3 days and was sad for the story to end. And I am from and live in San Diego, so beyond the wonderful storyline there were all the references to my hometown. I’m going to put your next book on my list. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.
Margaret….better late than never, I just finished reading “Housewife,” and just want you to know how much I enjoyed it. My son, married to a Japanese woman, has lived in Tokyo for over 30 years. He rarely visits here, and I used to visit them in Tokyo when I could. Now I am 80 years old and a trip to Japan is a little more than I can handle, but reading your book was a little like being there. I didn’t realize how much I missed Japan until reading your book. I felt like crying during the latter parts of it, not so much because I missed Japan as because I grew very fond of the characters, especially Shoko. I’m so glad she didn’t die in the book, because I don’t think I could have handled it. She epitomizes a Japanese woman of her era, and is all that’s good about the Japanese. Many thanks for bringing Japan to me.
Hi Mrs. Dilloway: I found you here I after reading a comment of yours over on People I Want to Punch in the Throat, about the D-bag dads…….You wrote: “I think many people forgot how to behave. My friend works with special needs kids on social skills, and they always have better manners than the average adult (and they also demonstrate that the average adult has NO excuse for their lack of manners)”……..
I wanted to add, since you seem (after reading up on you and some of your other things) very kind, intelligent and balanced, that teaching those social skills is a LIFE LONG thing. Kids that need to learn social skills turn into adults that need the same thing……..We never ever “get over” being autistic….Being on the spectrum is a neurological issue, not a mental illness or a on purpose “get over it” thing….at least some of the people guilty of hogging stuff at hands on museums are most definately on the spectrum, and have no idea…a kind and gentle, “excuse me, can we have a turn too?” will be met with a very speedy retreat 99% of the time…I find it rather interesting that many of the posts admitted being very “passive aggressive” and seemed to think that all people should be aware of everyone else 100% of the time, and w/o expressing themselves, others are at fault for not knowing….While at l;east much of the time that may be true, sometimes it’s not a rudeness thing (altho just like anyone else in any other group, there are rude aspies) However, the overwhelming majority of us are very gentle VERY sensitive people, and exceedingly polite…almost universally, encountering rudeness and people being “mean” is what sets most of us off…Many times when others percieve something we do is rude or uncouth, it is an “unspoken rule” and our failing is not understanding what we did or said was rude to neurotypicals….I will work harder to make turn taking and looking at others waiting an automatic thing to be aware of when we all go to museums (we have memberships to many local botanical gardens and nature centers along with many museums) as we go OFTEN and do not want to be “d-bags” !
Sometimes I wonder if neurotypicals know that standing next to somenoe exhaling loudly and getting hostile isn’t something autistics understand…and most would be writing angry rage filled rants if they saw an adult bully or treat an autistic CHILD poorly or without patience….there is NOTHING wrong or rude about making someone aware that you would like a turn…it is O.K. to politely speak your mind. Many of us do not understand non-verbal hints at all….And just because you seem like a gentle poetic person, I’ll share this: It doesn’t get much easier ‘reading people’ no matter HOW much social story/training you do…it will be natural for you and your kids to learn, it will always be work for us, it will never ‘come naturally’. Best we can do is listen to you our neurotypical friends and continue to learn!
Thanks for not being an over angry jerk. Some of really do work hard!
-signed a family of aspies
(are you on Google +? and, with my next amazon gift card I am going to order some of your books.)
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I don’t remember exactly what I said at the other site, but I’ll share with you what happened. My friend brought a group of autistic students to my book talk. They needed only a few reminders to be still. When I started talking about samurai, they really went still. They asked questions and were extremely polite and sweet. Afterward, two boys jumped up and began (without prompting) putting away the chairs for the librarian.
Exactly…That easily could have been my son. And Samurai!? He (and I) would have been held rapt. Knew I liked you for a good reason….