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?
My name is Judith Sessler and I am 68 years young.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Originally, I’m from New York, then lived 5 years in Denver, Colo. For the past 30 years I have been living in Massachusetts.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Since I’m 68, the ‘a little about myself’ might be rather lengthy. I have been married for 48 years, been blessed with 3 children, 14 grandchildren and 4 great- grandchildren. I was a neonatal intensive care nurse for 30 years before I retired 9 years ago. My family keeps me busy, but I write every day starting at 5:30am at my local Starbucks. All of my books have been written there (8 books to date). I live alone with my husband and dog, Princess, but I still have to go elsewhere to write. For some reason, I can tune out the music and talking at Starbucks, but can’t write in the quiet environment at home.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
This past month, my latest book, THE LEGACY OF AIDAN MCMANUS was
released. It is an historical, Irish-Italian romance novel that spans a century.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I was making up stories at the ripe old age go 5 and never stopped. My mother was always chastising me for scribbling in my school notebooks. There were always stories floating around in my head. I spent a great deal of time daydreaming, but I was, actually, living in a world of my own creation. That sounds far more pathological than it was, lol
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was in my early 20s, I took an English course at a community college at night and after reading my first essay, the professor told me I needed to pursue a career in writing. My first three essays were published as magazine articles and when I received my first check ( a very small one), the back was stamped with the words that they were purchasing the rights to my stories, At that point I considered myself a writer — and I had the proof of it in the form of a $25 check, lol.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The title that came out of nowhere.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
All of my books begin with a title and not a plot. And it always comes to me the same way — in my sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night with a title in my head. Then when I get up in the morning, I sit down and start writing. I have no idea what I’m going to write until I start.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My fiction travels down many different paths. I write a juvenile time travel series called The Travel Kids; I write short story collections that run the gamut from bizarre to sublime; I write slice of life novels that weave interpersonal relationships together, and historical romance fiction. Many of my books have components of historical events, particularly WW1 and WW2. Since I am not particularly well versed in history, I tap my best resource for accurate information – my husband, who is a history addict.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There is always some element of my personal experiences in my stories. I tap into the many the situations I’ve encountered over 68 years (so there are many of them) as background for storylines and characters. My latest book is based on family relationships and situations of love and tragedy, woven over a century, some of which parallel my own life.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
The only traveling I do is in my complicated, sometimes twisted imagination.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Most of my books have an ultimate theme of forgiveness.
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?
There is a local young writer, just beginning to pursue a career in writing, whose name is Lindsay Stenico. She has a true passion and gift for writing. My favorite writer is Maeve Binchy, an Irish author (unfortunately deceased) whose beautifully written characters and stories draw the reader in, wanting more.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I can still hear the words of my professor, so long ago, encouraging me to write and not give up.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I have been retired for 9 years, but it is only this past year I have begun writing again. I tend to be rather prolific and have written books 1, 2 and 3 of the TRAVEL KIDS series: a short story collection called SAINTS AND SINNERS – Short Stories from the Bizarre to the Sublime: 50 SHADES OF GREEN OR COFFEEHOUSE CONFESSIONS OF THE UNCOMMON JOE and the sequel FIFTY-ONE SHADES OF GREEN – THE EMERALD INN – behind closed doors: my latest THE LEGACY OF AIDAN MCMANUS, and due out next month is a short story collection 3 SISTERS, TABLE FOR FOUR.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
When I write, there is no pre-planning or outlining. I just sit down and write until I’m done. I don’t know what the story will be before I write it and most often, I don’t know how it is going to end until I’m finished. It is during the editing process that I see things all put together for the first time and revise and change it then.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learn something every time I write. And it’s usually the same thing. People are unique, and every situation and circumstance affects them differently. Human nature is unpredictable and often surprises me, even in the characters I create.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Never give up. Don’t write for anyone but yourself. Writing is a blessing and a curse- a blessing because of what is created from your inner soul, and a curse because you can’t turn off the muse – ever.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I’m not a literary genius. I just love to tell stories and hope, someone (or many someones) enjoy them.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Black King Takes White Queen by Susan Buffum. She is even more prolific that I am and I love her style of writing.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Anne of Green Gables
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
The antics of my grandchildren/ anyone in pain or suffering.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Greer Garson. I think she is the most talented actress I’ve ever seen and I’m addicted to her movies. I have watched Random Harvest dozens of times, perhaps, even more.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I only watch British tv shows and movies. I am drawn to the high quality of classical-trained British actors and the lack of unnecessary violence and bloodshed.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Artichokes and chocolate; purple and blue; classical and blues.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I can’t imagine a future without writing. Even at times in my life when I wasn’t physically writing, there were still stories floating around in my head.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
How about “She lived, she loved, she wrote” lol.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I have a Facebook authors page. You can visit me at fb https://www.facebook.com/authorjudithsessler/