Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Hi, Fiona. Good to meet you.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hello, Fiona. I’m Debbie Bennett and I’m over 21 – OK, quite a bit over 21 … and we’ll leave it there, shall we? J
Fiona: Where are you from?
Essex girl by birth (so I’m allowed to make the jokes), ¼ Chinese by ancestry. Lived on the Wirral, in London and Surrey and currently Cheshire where we’ve been living in a lovely Victorian cottage with fabulous views for the past 22 years.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Hmm. What can I tell you that is interesting here? I’m married with a daughter who is studying media and performing arts. She’s been on the stage all her life, done some tv extra work and I fully expect her to be able to keep me in a style to which I could easily become accustomed …
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
News? Lots of it right now. I’m about to be involved in the biggest launch of my career as a writer when I head off to Forbidden Planet in London in November to launch an anthology and DVD in which I wrote a short story and a script, the latter of which hasearned me my first professional entry on IMDb as a scripwriter! It has links to Dr Who, so the genre media have picked it up and we have a five-page spread in the latest Dr Who Magazine! After London, its Sheffield and Manchester and maybe more stops over the coming months. You can get more detailshere.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve written all my life. But I probably first started to take it seriously when I was about 15 and having problems at school. There weren’t many Young Adult books around back in the late 1970s and I was bored and lonely so I wrote my own. I still have it somewhere – lovingly hand-written on lined paper in a fancy binder.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably several years down the line when it occurred to me that it might be more than a hobby.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book came from a dream. A Young Adult fantasy. Utter rubbish when I read it back now, but hey – I finished it which is an achievement in itself! My first published book came from many years working in law enforcement, when I wanted to take some of those stories and mix them up a bit in crime fiction. I now write mostly dark and gritty crime.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Hamelin’s Child. It’s essentially about what may happen to those missing kids, so it seemed appropriate somehow. The rest of the series titles all follow the Pied Piper theme and they all just kind of fell into place as I started writing.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’m very up-close and personal. I like to get right inside my characters’ heads and explore what makes them tick, what motivates them and scares them. I have a lot of interior monologue and I love writing dialogue. The most challenging thing I did was write from the point of view of a villain – my bad-boy freely admits to a lot of not-very-nice things – but I wanted to make the reader empathise with him. When a reader told me she’d fallen just a little bit in love with him I knew I’d succeeded.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
To an extent, some of it is based on reality. I’ve worked as an investigator and I know police procedures. I know drugs – I’ve been elbow-deep in heroin and I know what it tastes and smells like. For obvious reasons I can’t write about real events, but things blend and you can wrap fiction around facts without divulging anything you shouldn’t. I’ve done a lot of that. And I’ve also made a lot of stuff up. But I’m not telling which is which!
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No. Google is my friend! Google Earth is excellent for the detail of a journey.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My awesomely-talented designer is JT Lindrooswho has done all my covers.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes and no. I don’t write to convey a message – I write to tell a story. If readers get more from it than that, then that’s great, but it’s not my aim.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
New authors? Too many to mention and to be honest, I don’t check their backlist to determine how ‘new’ they are. I just enjoy a good story. One of my favourite writers is Matthew Reilly. He breaks every rule in the writing book, with impossible chase scenes and implausible plots, but that man can write! He can hook you in a few sentences. I swear I’d read his shopping lists …
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Authonomy. HarperCollins first foray into the electronic slush pile, thinly disguised as an author feedback forum. There were 100 of us way back in the when, who signed up in beta and had a year or so in a closed group supporting each other with feedback and critiques. I’m still friends with the people I met there. Unfortunately, Authonomy outgrew itself and the site shut down a year or so back.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. But not one that is ever likely to make me enough money to give up the day job. Not unless Hollywood comes calling!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
God, no. I’d never go back and change anything – except maybe typos! I move forwards, not backwards.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Do I even have a recent book?
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Not a clue. I’m not up-to-date on who’s who in the film industry. I’d love to be involved in the casting though.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
There is no substitute for actual bum-on-seat writing. You can do all the courses you like, read the manuals, attend the writing groups. But in order t be a writer, you do have to actually write.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Please, pretty please, leave reviews? For me and for all writers. And then share them on social media. Us indies don’t have the luxury of shop shelves and reviews are the only way we can get the word out.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Um – Dan Brown’s latest? OK, I’ll shut up now.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No. But I do recall being aged six when my dad would bring me a Famous Five book home from work every Friday. I know I was six because the youngest character in the early books is seven and I was cross because I wasn’t old enough to join them!
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’m lucky enough to have met many of my favourite writers. The two writers who both influenced me hugely are Louise Cooper and Storm Constantine – both talented fantasy authors who I’ve met on many occasions. And I once had dinner at the same table as Neil Gaiman at a convention and I’ve seen Stephen King play in his rock band. I even asked him to dance!
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Er – writing? I’m also involved in scriptwriting and production for a local community radio play project, so I’m learning how to edit media files too.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love a good crime or thriller drama. The best I’ve seen recently was the Jimmy McGovern drama Broken. We have friends in common, so I was lucky enough to be able to see the preview privately and meet the man in person.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I’m an aging rock-chick. Give me some Jim Steinman! Or better still the Bat out of Hell musical tour that I saw on its opening night in Manchester in February 2017. Awesome stuff! And an Indian takeaway – although they are thin on the ground right now as they don’t fit the diet plan.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
It’s all at www.debbiebennett.co.uk
other book links: http://debbie-bennett.blogspot.co.uk/p/buy-links.html