Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews.
My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Cate Mckoy. I’m 50.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Newburgh, N.Y. A city about an hour North of Manhattan. From #9 to #4 on the FBI’s Most Dangerous Cities in America. It’s nicknames: Little Harlem, the 6th borough, black hole.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I come from a large family. I am the youngest of 7 siblings. I also have a large family. I have 3 girls and 2 boys. Only 1 is still a minor. I have 2 grandbabies.
I’ve been a Jane of all trades: waitress, secretary, tax preparer, reservations clerk, instructor, AAA operator. I was formally trained as a computer tech and technical analyst and did this for many years.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I just had a new release on Easter. It’s my first book after my trilogy; a spin-off. It’s titled “Mackenzie’s Song: The Dark Series Trilogy Spin-off”.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
In the 4th grade my school subscribed to this little magazine called the “Weekly Reader”. One week there was a story written by a 4th grader. I was fascinated that one of the stories was written by a peer. I’ve been hooked on writing ever since. My love of writing only increased when I became a fan of Lois Lane 🙂
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I won a writing contest in the 6th grade.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had an accident that put me in a wheelchair for 3 months and then I had to have 18 months of PT- rehabilitation which I ditched after only 2 sessions. When I was in the wheelchair, I couldn’t work. I had never been home during the day. I complained about everything from what passed as daytime tv entertainment to not being able to work or go out. My middle daughter got fed up with my whining and told me to shut up and do something about it. “You complain about not finishing your degree, go do that! You said you always wanted to do something with your writing, go do that! But just shut up. So I shut up and enrolled in college classes.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I knew right away that I wanted my trilogy to be named “The Dark Series” but, when I googled the phrase, 2 other authors’ work came up. So I added the word trilogy. Hence, “The Dark Series Trilogy”. The individual titles are double entendre, play on words. Book 1 Guarding Light the main characters last names are Gard and Lyte and the leading male has a protective, positive disposition. Book 2 Strong Reflection the leading male’s last name is Strong and the female lead has a past that needs her to reflect on and come to terms with. Book 3 Double Dark is the ultimate fight between good and evil, dark and light. And the main characters last name is Dark, identical twins; one a cop the other a serial killer/ rapist.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
The challenge for me is keeping it to one genre. I can’t do it. I tend to straddle genres. I like the way a few of my reviewers put it, “…this is the best romance, suspense, thriller…” and “…this book has everything. Romance, sex, action, suspense…” I also have a signature so to speak. All my books have a “wow-moment” a major twist or I love thinking up ideas that will make readers say “wtf” or “omg”. I love it!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Quite a lot actually. I know a couple of ex boyfriends that may be a tad surprised to see some of their conversations they’ve had with me verbatim in my books. Although I’ve never been in the military or deployed overseas, I’ve had a fiance that is a 20+ year veteran who shared some of his experiences with me and suffered from PTSD. And, personally, I’ve had experiences with, pain, miscarriage, surgery, sexual assault, racism, bigotry, discrimination. All these real experiences are woven into my fictional tale.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No. Although I did take liberties with the description of various locations, book 1 and 2 take place in my home town.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Book 1 is under contract with my publisher. They designed and had final say on the cover. Book 2, 3, and Book 1 of the spin-off, I designed myself using an app in Create Space. My eldest is on the cover of the spin-off book. She did some modeling in her teens and early 20s.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. That sexual assault happens more often than one may think. It can be perpetrated by a so called friend. It should be reported even though it’s scary. Racism, bigotry and discrimination is real. We’re all one race; the human race.
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 to me is Hannah Howe and her Sam Smith Mysteries. Love her flair. Long time fan of: Sandra Brown, Lauren Dane, Shonda Rhimes, Stephen King, John Saul, Roberta Leigh, Shannon McKenna. What all these writers have in common is their books can fall into more than 1 genre and their style has a way of gripping the reader from the beginning.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Childhood friend. Teachers that encourage me. Police and social workers I’ve encountered when I was in the foster care system.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes I believe it is a wonderful career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wouldn’t change the outcome but like with all things, hindsight is 20/20 and I would alter a conversation here or there just a teeny bit. But, definitely no changing of the outcome or the big scenes.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes. I have a persuasive ability. I was waffling between 3 different endings. Basically, it was the female lead, Ashley who would end up with Kyle, Bret or alone. I created an interactive reading group on facebook and invited known fans of the trilogy and asked them to vote on the ending. No one, wanted her alone. And, at first, everyone voted Team Kyle, who was the male lead in the previous book, Ashley’s love interest. So I let the interactive group read the 1st 9 chapters, some of them changed their votes to team Bret. Very cool.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
No. I am too old for the lead. The characters are FBI agents, very athletic. I have been athletic since my cheerleader days 🙂
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Definitely do it! Write something every day no matter how little. I saw this meme thatrings so true: 1 lousy written book is still better than 10 unwritten great ideas.Also, don’t let anyone influence your decision to write in a negative manner. I really wanted to major in journalism when I first went to college. But, my mother told me, “no one is going to pay a black girl to write”. I let her negativity influence my choice of major. So my very first major was nursing even though my heart was in writing. And, listen to constructive criticism. Don’t be offended. Finally, even though you may not be able to afford it, get a literary lawyer or representation to go over any and all contracts you sign. It will be worth it in the end. Don’t get stuck in a deal you’ll regret.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Yes, check out the Dark Series Trilogy by Cate Mckoy. Lol 🙂 happy reading.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am a screenwriter too. I’ve written 3 feature screenplays and a spec script for TV; a Horror, which made the finals in a writing competition with Cherub Films, a Sci-fi, an Action-Thriller and a Criminal Minds episode for the Stage 32 TV writing contest. It was a quarter-finalist.
One genre I don’t do is non-fiction. But, I was approached by a friend who asked me to help him write a screenplay for his non-fiction book, “The Last Stage Manager Standing”. I’m reading it now. It’s funny and quirky and another lesson in writing.Writers never stop learning.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I think it was “Romana The Pest” in elementary.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I have 5 kids but my youngest just turned 10. His laugh makes me laugh and his cries make me cry. Same goes for my grandbabies.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Shonda Rhimes. She appeals to me on both a personal and professional level.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I’m a bit of a card shark. I don’t know why, but I have a way with card games. Doesn’t matter what the game, I usually win. I am a huge horror movie buff. And of course, reading and writing.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Love horror, action, karate flicks, criminal/crime. I love the ID channel with all the real crime shows.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Love all kinds of music; pop, rock, rap, country, classical, choir, heavy metal, R&B, jazz, opera.
Foods: Italian, Chinese, good old American hot dog and hamburger, love cookout foods.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Besides a writer, I wanted to be a lawyer. But my original major in college was nursing.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Cate Mckoy, she made a difference, loved and was loved.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Cate-Mckoy/e/B00JCOJVNC