Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Thank you so much for having me!
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Sophie Barnes. I’m 40 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from Copenhagen, Denmark.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
After completing the International Baccalaureate in Copenhagen, I studied fashion design in Paris and New York. I’ve been married to my husband for almost eighteen years. Together we have two wonderful boys.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
The third (and final) book in my Crawfords series now has a cover and a release date: April 28th, 2020
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing while I was living in Ghana, Africa. My husband was there for work and I’d put my fashion career on hold to take care of our kids. But eventually I felt like I needed something to do while my kids were napping and later while they were in day care. My initial plan was to write a historical fiction novel, similar in style to the books written by Margaret George. I still plan on getting back to that project one day, but the research involved turned out to be too overwhelming at the time. So I put it on hold and tried to think up a story relying solely on my own imagination instead. Writing a novel has always been a bucket list item for me – just something I planned on doing one day for fun, mostly to prove to myself I could. I never dreamed I’d one day make a career out of it.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I sold my first novel to Avon Impulse. That made it real. Before that it felt like more of a hobby.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
One day, roughly ten years ago, I walked into a bookstore in Accra and discovered Julia Quinn’s novel, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. I fell in love with that book and immediately decided to try writing a historical romance of my own.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My publisher did and I really wasn’t crazy for it, but it seems like it did pretty well from a marketing standpoint.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Because I write romance, there’s always two protagonists. I like alternating their POV’s from one scene or chapter to the next in order to offer the reader an insight to both of their thoughts and feelings. My books are written in the third person and always involve characters who try to do the right thing, no matter how difficult this might be for them, so I don’t have heroes and heroines who deliberately keep secrets from each other, unless they are unaware of it. For the most part, I think my writing style is light and fluid with a touch of humour. The hardest part about writing in my genre is of course the research. Like most writers, I’m always challenged to find the right expressions (to create a more visceral experience), especially for deep emotions which play such a large role in romance novels.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think most of my books are realistic in the sense that the events taking place are possible. The only unrealistic one is a novella I’m currently working on which is going to be a Gothic inspired Regency romance where one of the secondary characters is a ghost. I don’t usually incorporate experiences I or other people I know have had, but many of the locations and buildings I describe are based on places I have visited.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No. Never. That is to say, I have travelled extensively during my life. I’ve visited countless castles, mansions, cathedrals and museums, so I usually draw inspiration for this and either google the rest or turn to one of my research books.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Several artists have done so. While I was still at Avon, they had their art team put everything together. Some of my covers were designed by John Paul, some by James Griffin and most recently by Chris Cocozza. Chris has also created the covers for my indie published Crawfords series and when Avon dropped my Diamonds In The Rough series before I was ready, I commissioned him to create the cover for The Forgotten Duke so it would match the prequels. The rest of my indie covers are created by The Killion Group.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I suppose the importance of honesty and respect in a relationship prevail, along with standing up for what you believe in, having the courage to go against the grain, and to be yourself no matter what anyone else thinks.
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?
I haven’t really noticed any new authors. I think the romance industry is pretty tough these days. Publishers are taking fewer risks and orphaning a lot of the writers who don’t have high enough returns on investment. Mind you, I’ve also been so focussed on my own career this past year it would have taken a serious advertising campaign for me to pay attention to any new writers in any genre.
It’s impossible for me to pick a favourite writer. In romance, it has to be Julia Quinn. Her wit and style are unparalleled. But I also love Ken Follet. His Pillars of the Earth series was phenomenal. And Wilbur Smith is another favourite of mine. I especially loved The Courtneys and River God. Oh, and then of course there’ Stig Larsen. What a pity he only managed to write that one trilogy.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Other published authors. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. I do it full time.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would probably have plotted it slightly differently for improved scene structure, but I’m still very happy with how it turned out and will take what I learned about scenes and sequels with me to the next books.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes. Since part of the plot hinges on the heroine’s parents forcing her to marry a fourteen year old boy, I had to look into the English marriage law in use during 1820. The age of consent to marry was fourteen for boys and twelve for girls. See, Lord Hardwick’s Act.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Matt Lanter would be cast as Carlton Guthrie, Scoundrel of St. Giles and Gabriella Wilde would play Lady Regina.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Designate a writing time to yourself and a daily word count. Before you know it, you’ll have written a book.
It helps to end your writing for the day at a point where you can easily pick up the next day, instead of at a spot where you feel like you’re banging your head against the wall.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
You’re amazing and I love you. Thank you so much for your constant support. It means the world and allows me to keep on crafting my stories.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Once Upon a Christmas Rogue. It’s an anthology I’ve put together with seven other writers so now I’m reading the novellas they’ve included.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Picture books aside, because the only one that comes to mind is Curious George, and I know there were others, but as a chapter book, I think it was The Twitts by Roald Dahl.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My husband has the best sense of humour. He always makes me laugh. Adaptations of a Nicholas Sparks novels, or something similar, will generally get me to reach for the tissues.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love to bake, even though I don’t do it often enough. And I draw as well.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The Blacklist is one of my favourite shows. I also enjoy Dr. Who, The Resident, Superstore, Supernatural and Elementary, to name a few.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Thai and traditional Danish Christmas food, red and blue, and such a wide variety I don’t know where to begin. I like Pink, James Arthur, Zac Brown Band, The Chainsmokers, One Republic, Alan Walker, most things 80’s and so much more.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would probably become a publicist. One of the things I’ve learned a lot about during my writing career is marketing, and I actually quite enjoy it.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my family, going for a walk in the woods, eating out at my favourite restaurant, dancing, joking and listening to music.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
No clue, but I do know I’ve always wanted a white stone angel watching over my grave. Simple words would suit me best, like:
Forever in our thoughts
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes, its www.sophiebarnes.com
Amazon Authors page USA https://www.amazon.com/Sophie-Barnes/e/B0079A1N8W/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_2