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?
Hi, Fiona! Thanks for having me. My name is Amie Irene Winters. I’m 34. I love to kickbox and bake desserts. I love pugs. I’m the author of the bestselling Strange Luck Series.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, California. I currently live in a small town in western Pennsylvania. Before that I lived in Florida and Colorado.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m the only woman in my family to go to college. I decided to major in anthropology and religious studies with the intent of becoming a teacher. But after graduating I still felt like something was lacking. So, I decided to pursue an MA in environmental leadership. While completing my degree, I briefly taught anthropology and archaeology courses at a junior college, but it just wasn’t for me. I
After that, I tried a bunch of different careers, but never felt my calling. It wasn’t until I read my first fantasy book that I decided to become an author. Writing is the only thing I’ve ever done that doesn’t feel like work. It’s he only thing that makes me truly happy. Since then I’ve published two bestselling books (Strange Luck and The Nightmare Birds).
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I just finished writing the third, and last, book in the Strange Luck Series—A Darling Secret. It will be released this fall. I can’t wait!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Writing was always my favorite subject in school. I wrote about ice cream, my pets, my messy room. I actually still have all of my old writing journals. They are hilarious! Sometimes I do Throwback Thursday posts on my blog and share my old stories and awkward pics (www.golden-cricket.blogspot.com).
In college, I was big into poetry and had some of my poems published. Then I tried writing my very first book. It was about a young mortician. That’s all I really remember about it. I’m bummed because I have since lost the story. ☹
While completing my MA I really got serious about writing. I was regularly publishing articles and I thought why don’t I try to publish a book too?
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I held my book in my hands for the first time.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
One day I drove by a cemetery. It got me thinking about memories, regrets, life, and experiences. My mind wandered to the idea of collecting the most cherished memories possible and that’s when I got the idea for a story about just that—a world built using stolen memories.
Strange Luck was a lot of fun to write because it allowed me the unique opportunity to explore how I feel about the mind, memories, and what it means to be a good human. Having discourse with my husband, who is a philosophy teacher, also helped me to think through a lot of these concepts. And, because I’m a huge fantasy fiction and magical realism fan, I decided to weave in lots of magical and supernatural elements, too.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title Strange Luck seemed so fitting because the main character has a lot of “lucky” moments, but they are never quite “good”. The name of the oddities shop that she works at is also called Strange Luck. I took the title ‘The Nightmare Birds’ from a poem I had written 10 years ago. It was about nightingales in my neighborhood that were chirping all night and driving me crazy.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’m definitely a pantser. While I do plot out loose ideas about the story and characters, I also allow plenty of room for the story to write itself and for discovery and surprise. A lot of the time I don’t even know what’s going to happen. I think writing this way is challenging in itself, but I can’t imagine writing any other way.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
A good amount is based on real experiences. For example, although Sea Salt, CA is a fictitious town, it is based on a combination of my favorite ‘real’ towns in California – Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Pescadero, and La Honda. Another example is the character Christine (the German aerial acrobat) from The Nightmare Birds. In real-life Christine was a German foreign exchange who stayed with me and my family in high school for a semester. She was obsessed with the color orange. Everything she owned was orange and she only ate orange food. She also had really long brown hair, which she always chewed on like a beaver. You’d be standing there talking to her and she would start chewing on her hair like it was a meal. I always thought both of those quirks about her were funny, so I used them in the story.
You can learn more about the real-life secrets behind my books here:
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Yes. I take a few big trips every year. Part of Strange Luck was written in France and England. I think traveling allows you to break away from your comfort zone, while flooding you with lots of new perspectives and scenarios.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Hubert Glaffo. He’s an extremely talented graphic designer that has captured the essence of each story. I hope that my readers agree 😊
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?
H.P. Lovecraft is my favorite author. Right now, I’m reading various authors who influenced H.P. Lovecraft, or who were heavily influenced by him. I just finished reading Arthur Machen, M.R. James, and Thomas Ligotti. I really enjoy scary literature. It’s a personal test of mine to see if the author can manage to scare me. Bonus points if it’s done in the first page.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Other authors have been a tremendous support. In the beginning, I thought everyone was going to be very competitive, but it’s not that way at all. Authors understand what’s involved in writing a book and will pretty much do anything to help you out. It’s a wonderful community. I have to give a special shout out to Christie Stratos and J.D. Estrada. They’ve been incredible champions for my books.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes and no. I take it just as seriously as I would a career. I make time and space for it and it’s extremely important to me. At the same time, writing started as a hobby and I want to keep it that way. In my experience, things turn sour when you lose sight of your passion. I never want that passion to die.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. If I changed everything I did after I did it, I would never be happy and find closure.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I used the word “gulped” A LOT. As in, ‘I gulped’, ‘she gulped’, etc. My editor told me I used it like 100 times. After she pointed that out, I’m very conscientious of using the word.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Probably Bella Thorne because she looks similar to what I imagine Daisy Darling would look like.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t ever give up writing! It’s okay to take breaks from your book. It’s normal to feel burned out. It’s normal to be upset if you get a rejection or bad review. The good news is that it does get easier with time and experience. At the end of the day the most important thing is focusing on your craft.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Every author and book is unique, so one type of marketing technique might work for one author, but not another. It’s all trial and error. Just don’t get too caught up in the marketing and repeatedly changing things. Writing a stellar book should be your number one priority.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
If you’ve read my book(s), I’d love to hear from you! Send me a note and let me know what you thought. Better yet, leave a review. 😊 A great review seriously makes my day.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just got Carmella. It’s the story that influenced Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I’m also reading a collection of H.P. Lovecraft stories.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No. I had a huge collection of Little Golden Books, so probably one of those.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Funny animals make me laugh every time. Sad movies usually make me cry, or when I finish a book I really liked.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
H.P. Lovecraft. He’s my favorite author! He was never recognized in his time (*sniff *sniff), so I would love to thank him for writing such incredible, dark, and timeless stories.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Painting/drawing, cooking, reading. I’m also a bit of a fitness nut, so anything outdoorsy like kayaking, hiking, etc.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Right now I’m really big into fantastical dramas like Vikings, Spartacus, Game of Thrones, and Black Sails. I also love quirky French comedies. Francis Veber is one of my favorite directors.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Chocolate. Purple. Black metal.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Play music. I’ve played the piano since I was five and used to give lessons. It was fun and really rewarding, so I’d probably do that again. Maybe make an album.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
This is really good question. I honestly have no idea.
I’ve always really liked this old Victorian epitaph though:
Remember me as you pass by,
As you are, so once was I,
As I am now, so you must be,
Prepare for death and follow me.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Follow me below! I regularly post special offers and important updates on my blog.
Goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13851542.Amie_Irene_Winters
Amazon Page — https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00XZ88V5A
Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/aiwinters
Twitter — https://twitter.com/AmieIWinters
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Amie%20Irene%20Winters%22;jsessionid=FE9ED90A74A8869DF6ECFAE44FC2C02D.prodny_store02-atgap01?Ntk=P_key_Contributor_List&Ns=P_Sales_Rank&Ntx=mode+matchall