Name Morag McKendrick Pippin
Age ‘I have never been more than 29, 30 at the very most. Twenty-nine when the shades are pink 30 when they are not.’
Where are you from
I was born in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. My mother was English and my father came from just outside Glasgow. I have dual citizenship and have spent half of my life crossing the Atlantic to visit my family.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
After leaving college with a degree in Journalism and discovering the compensation less than generous I set out to become a ‘Jill of all trades,’ dabbling in various ventures: bartending and bar management, modelling, travel consulting, bookkeeping, retail and commission sales – and moonlighting as an entertainment columnist for a paper in southern California.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I didn’t start out to be a writer. But I have always been a voracious reader. An activity which my father encouraged and my mother discouraged because she knew all too well if left to my own devices I wouldn’t do anything else!
I’ve always written letters. Regarding writing fiction it wasn’t my idea!My husband came up to our bedroom and discovered me one night in bed with his rival – a romance novel. “Unfaithful wench!” he cried. “You read so many books why don’t you write one yourself?”
“Write!” I gasped in horror. “Write? That’s far too hard a job. I don’t want to work that hard! Why, I’d rather dance naked in a strip bar!”
My husband snorted. “‘She doth protest too much methinks.’”
To my consternation, his idea continually crept into my conscious mind. It figures prince charming would turn out to fit Lady Caro Lamb’s description of Lord Byron as ‘mad, bad, and dangerous to know.’
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I never really have considered myself a writer. I am a story teller.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book BLOOD MOON OVER BENGAL was inspired by my dad’s stories of India. After being evacuated off Dunkirk Beach in WWII his battalion was sent to Calcutta. They made regular sorties into Burma. Hand to hand combat. He served in India 1940-1947. One of his stories was heartbreaking: he fell in love with a girl. He was about to propose to her when he found out she was part Indian. In those days that was death to a career. He was already the second youngest Lt. Col. In India. If he married her he would become a pariah and his family would have disowned him. His army career would have ended. He’d have been sent purposefully on suicide missions. I wanted that story to enjoy a happy ending.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
My point of view is British. It just came out that way. Which will prove a challenge in the U.S. set thriller I have planned. But if one doesn’t challenge oneself one doesn’t grow.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
A blood moon is a harbinger of ill tidings. Perfidia is a Glenn Miller song. It went with the content and the time PERFDIA is set in.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
For BLOOD MOON OVER BENGAL and PERFIDIA the theme is tolerance toward our fellow human beings. The theme in BLOOD MOON OVER BRITAIN is that war is hell. Nothing romantic about it. It’s hell for the ‘right’ side, the ‘wrong’ side and everyone else.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
After all the research for every book as realistic as possible!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Always. Every book includes one of my dad’s stories. As for me: I went to tanning just after checking the mail to find I’d placed in an unpublished writing contest. My head was in the clouds! When finished with tanning I opened the door to a chilling draft. I looked down at myself. I was wearing everything but my trousers! All under things, shirt, and jacket were in place on my body. My purse was slung over my shoulder. My shoes were on my feet. Really lucky it was November. If not I’d have walked into the lobby! I put that scene in BLOOD MOON OVER BRITAIN.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Probably Barbara Erskine’s books.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Probably my Uncle Charlie’s letters he wrote home to my grandparents from Singapore post war. I discovered them one sunny, cold winter’s morning when helping my mom clean up her attic. Uncle Charlie was long dead but his letters brought him vividly to life. His letters were full of sharp wit, dry humour, and tongue in cheek observations.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
BELIEVING THE LIE by Elizabeth George
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Fiona: What are your current projects?
A U.S. set thriller and a supernatural thriller set in contemporary Scotland
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Romance Writers of America
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
One of my careers
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My dad could sit down and write a story without any hesitation in a matter of minutes. I wanted to do that. So I majored in journalism – only to discover I hated writing articles!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
A supernatural thriller set in contemporary Scotland. Ghosts, mediums, clairvoyance, suspense, black ops.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes – a blank page!
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Barbara Erskin. I’m there: I don’t read that the rain is falling –I feel it seeping into the collar of my coat.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Sometimes. The last scene in BLOOD MOON OVER BRITAIN took place on a hilly path in St. Just, Cornwall. I knew once I was walking on that hill it had to be written into a book. On the other hand, I’ve never been to 1932, 1939, or 1942, lol!
I consult experts in the fields in which I need first hand knowledge. I interviewed WWII veterans, a retired army colonel who gave me a map of immediate post war Berlin, my youngest uncle was a pathfinder in the RAF, a medical examiner, veterinarian, SAS, police officers, doctors, and military historians.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Artists at Dorchester Publishing.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The love scenes. They must be real but not purple.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes – I’m an idealist. I’d never known that. It took me quite by surprise. As well as historical trivia. For example how the mob killed off its members in the ’20s and ’30s to collect the life insurance they had taken out on them.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Rejections are discouraging but don’t quit. Many people start books but don’t finish. Finish it!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading my books and your kind support!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first adult book I read was DIRTY HARRY when I was 11 or 12.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Reading, traveling, hiking (in non snake territory!), courtyard gardening, ice skating and rollerblading, dancing, and loving my Princelings. They are huge Maine coon cats who act as my muses:-) Fergus and Sinji.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
In the U.K.: Coronation Street, EastEnders, and The Voice. In the U.S.: Paranormal State, Celebrity Ghost Stories, American Horror Story, Sons of Anarchy, Walking Dead, Mad Men, True Blood, NCIS, CSI, Dateline.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: Butter cream frosting, peanut butter parfaits, pizza. In the U.K:. A fish supper.
Colors: French blue, royal blue, dark pink, and lavender.
Music: Reggae, Caribbean beat, rock, blues, rockin’ blues, ’80s, Bluegrass (which has its roots in Scottish folk music).
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
History professor, history researcher, archeologist.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?