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?
I’m Sonia Kilvington and I’m 53.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Hartlepool in the North East of England. My family on my dad’s side came from the Headland. My mum and her family lived in the museum, where my granddad was curator. I havelived in various locations around that area for most of my life, before moving to Cyprus 11 years ago.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Icurrently live in a lovely Cypriot village called Oroklini with my husband Derek. I have been working as a journalist and freelance feature writer/editor on local and glossy magazines for the last 9 years; but writing fiction has always been my passion!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Nothing too earth shattering to report – I am currently trying to get back into writing after taking a break due to having surgery on my foot. It was a big op with a six month recovery time. I found that the longer I went without writing, the more nervous I got about doing it.I wasn’t feeling very confident about sending my work out -so I was delighted to have my new flash fiction,Jake, published at Out of the Gutter Online.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have always written poetry and began writing short stories while I was studying other subjects at university. I’m not sure why. The feature writing began after I had a short story and a poem published in two different magazines in the same week, and the editors of both asked me if I would be interested in writing for them.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always felt like a writer in that I needed to write, but it wasn’t until I started getting paid for my work, that I had the confidence to say it out loud.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was doing one of my creative writing classes at Leeds University, when I began to connect the ideas together, which eventually turned into The Main Line Murders. I wanted to write a murder mystery because I loved reading crime novels.The writing is a little experimentaland the reviews were very mixed, although some readers really enjoyed it.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I have always been fascinated by railways and the plot was connected to a mainline railway station…maybe I shouldbe wearing an anorak and carrying a thermos flask to go with that image…
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I think I do have a specific style, but I’m not sure how to describe it. I write poetry, some of which has been translated into Romanian, and I think it creeps in at times.I keep switching genre in my short stories between crime, noir, sci-fi, ghost, and psychologicalhorror. Each one has its own challenges.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
It’s a mixture in all of my writing; I like to include elements which are influenced my ownpersonal experience, but I do make most of it up.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I don’t have to, but I do love travelling and I find that it does help with locations and creating a sense of place in my stories. I set my second novel, Buried in The Hills in my own village of Oroklini in Cyprus.It’s lovely when people contact me to tell me that theyrecognise locations in the story, which they have visited on their holidays.
I am alsowriting a collectionof interconnected noir stories set in Ennis in theRepublic of Ireland. I have travelled there several times while writing them and I found it very helpful for creating the atmosphere and backdrop to my tales.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Both of my covers were designed by Jenine Armand. She is a very creative person, who wasworking inCyprus at the time.I loved the atmospheric cover of the Main Line Murders as soon as she sent it to me.
The Buried in the Hills photograph was taken in my own Cypriot village, where the second DI Flynn mystery is set. I have since becomefriends with the lady who owns the house on the cover. It felt really weird and disorientating, being inside her home, and finding that it was actually very different from the interior I had described in the novel. I think in some ways the imaginary interior felt more real to me.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I am not really interested in moral messages or trying to direct readers thinking. That wouldbe a little naïve, I think,as we all interpret things in our own differentways.
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 don’t have a favourite writer as such. I tend to read one or two books and then move on. Authorswhom I have loved and left include, Charles Dickens, Helen Dunmore and Chuck Palahniuk.As for new books, I read quite a lot of flash fiction, most recently,You’re Not Supposed to Cry by Gary Duncan; the writing was very subtle and poignant.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Most of my short storieshave been published online. My favouritesare at Pulp Metal Magazine, where I have received a lot of support for my writing from the sites self-styled dictator, Jason Michael, who writes beautiful dark prose, and has given me some very helpful writing advice.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I don’t see myself as a career sort of person. I enjoy being a writer, and I have loved working on glossy magazines, doing interviews and features and writing fiction.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I think that if you go looking for something that’s wrong, you’re guaranteed to find it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I often have several projects on the go, and I’m currently working on a Sci-fi novella.At the moment I am learning howto balance different time lines in the future/present and future/past; hopefully I will get the hang of it.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
The only story that I could imagine being made into a film is my Sci-fi short story, Perfect Love which is about a ‘love android’ with a perfect face that goes on the rampage after being given human emotions. I think Tom Hiddleston would be perfect casting!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
It’s usually me that’s looking for advice…
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thanks for reading my stories – I appreciate it.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am addicted to audiobooks and I have a whole stack of psychological thrillerslinedup,waiting for my summerholiday. I am currently listening to The Lost Children, which was written by Helen Pfeifer andis narrated by Alison Campbell;it’s a verydark thriller, the perfect scary bedtime story!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I think it was The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, that’s the book I remember reading the most from my childhood. It wasactuallyquite a dark fantasy story for a children’s book. I remember there was a lot of suspense, a shape shifting sorceress anda strongsense of paranoia,all of which I adored at the time.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I love spending time with mychildren, who are both very creative, and live over in the UK. I also really enjoy spending time with my husband and friends out here in Cyprus: we have a lot of fun in our gossipy little village.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I have always had a huge writing crush on Samuel Beckett. I think his writing is amazing! I would love to meet up with him for a coffee in one of those cool Parisian Cafés he used to frequent.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I like to swim in the sea. My husband enjoys diving and goes searching for sharks, but I am less adventurous and snorkelling is my limit. He can keep the sharks.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love the new adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale! I read the book by Margaret Atwood many years ago and normally novels don’t translate so wellonto TV, but I think the writers have done a fabulous job on this series. I’m totally fascinated by anything cult related, so The Path is right up my street (sorry for the pun). I am also enjoying Genius about the life of Albert Einstein on National Geographic.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
It got to be Greek food: octopus and village salad with tzatzikiand tahini –you can throw in some calamari and handmade chips, just to make it perfect.
Favourite Colours: sea blues and greens. My musical tastes are all over the place,everything from punk to Jazz, but I consistently loveMiles Davis. Other favourites include Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, David Gray and James Arthur.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I don’t know Fiona; I find that idea too scary to think about…
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Writer would be nice, but fancy headstones aren’t that popular in ournearest cemeteryinPyla. I wouldn’t mind a serene angel statue, but definitely not one of those creepy looking creatures that you find in abandoned graveyards.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers
https://soniakilvingtonwriter.com – website
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00C25MNTW – Buried in the Hills