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?
Christy: Christy Jackson Nicholas, and I’m 48 so far.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Christy: That’s not an easy question! I was conceived in England, gestated in Scotland, born in Denmark, raised in Detroit and Miami, and lived in Florida, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and now New York state. I’m a gypsy!
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Christy: I’m a CPA and work as an accountant for a large corporation, which I love. I live with my husband and two cats, Mallory and Lana, and two sugar gliders, Arya and Sansa. I also write, take photographs, and make beadwoven jewelry.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Christy: My newest book is coming out July 19th – Call of the Morrigú! It’s paranormal historical fantasy, set in 1798 Ireland. This is my 6th published novel and my 8th published book.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Christy: I had always written trip reports when I traveled, but then my friend (who happened to own a small press publishing house) convinced me to compile them with some travel advice into a guide for planning your own trip to Ireland. I did that, and it worked, so I did one for Scotland. That first book was just in 2012.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Christy: When I finished the first draft of my novel. The travel guides didn’t really give me that feeling for some reason.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Christy:When I decided it was time to tackle the elephant in the room. I had to write the story of my parents’ 30-year search for love. I did, and caught the bug. I am now thoroughly addicted.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Christy:For my newest book, Call of the Morrigú, it was pretty much a no-brainer. It’s about the Celtic goddess of war and revenge, the Morrigan, being wakened from ensorcelled slumber after 1500 years, and boy is she pissed! I wanted something a bit exotic about her name, so I used an old variant. I’m sort of regretting it, as the special ú character is a pain in my promotions, but that’s the price to pay for exotic, I suppose.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Christy: I love scene descriptions. I find it difficult to not bombard the reader with all the senses and impressions, just sprinkling in pieces here and there. My instinct is to immerse the reader, but best not to drown them, eh? I find writing believable humor is difficult for me in historical fiction. So much of humor is based on current pop culture, references, puns, etc., that it’s challenging to come up with equivalent effects from 300 or even 1000 years ago.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Christy:I do try to add a bit of personal experience in everything. My first three novels in Ireland I set in places I’d actually been, at least once if not several times. Of course I did research as to what they might have been like in the past. As for people, I do draw on personalities I know for characteristics, but I mix and match them so much, there isn’t really one I can point to and say ‘You! You’re in my book!’ At least, not yet!
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Christy:I suppose I don’t HAVE to, but I certainly WANT to. I’ve traveled several times to Ireland and Scotland, and always ache to go back. Definitely before! Ireland will always hold a piece of my soul, and that piece gets larger each time I go. Perhaps that’s why I write about it – to get a small bit back.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Christy:Cora Bignardi of Cora Graphics in Italy does most of my covers. She’s fantastic!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Christy:In Call of the Morrigú, I emphasize the dichotomy between what is expected of females in society and what they are capable of. Especially in Anglo-Irish society of the late 18th century. Women were ornaments, considered to be little more than pets, in polite society. That was beginning to change, but not nearly enough. Even today, it’s not changed enough. I am glad that a movie such as Wonder Woman was released so close to my release date. It holds a similar message.
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?
Christy:There are several in my author’s group that are fantastic, but they aren’t published yet. Jerry who is writing action-packed time travel; Michelle is working on several scifi epics. As for published authors, Richard C White has a great high fantasy book in For a Few Gold Pieces More, while Pamela Towns writes some intense slice-of-life contemporary fiction. I’m also enamored of Gem Stone and Sanna Hines.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Christy:My publisher, Kemberlee at Tirgearr Publishing. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. She held my hand and walked me through the process, teaching as she went. She’s a marvel.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Christy:Some day, if I make it big, sure. For now, it barely pays the electric bill each month! But I admire a woman (LaureenDiephof) who has made it her career. She’s over 70, lives off her royalties, and travels the world couch-surfing, blogging as she goes. She’s what I want to be when I grow up!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Christy:That I’d written this one before first, and then the rest would be even better? Seriously, I hope I’m improving my craft with each book I write. My critique buddies and author group says I am, but I can’t tell myself. I know I do look back at my first novels and cringe.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Christy:I learned a lot about the Morrigan herself, the mythologies surrounding her, the special place she holds in the heart of many pagans. I’ve learned a great deal of the rebellion of 1798, and I’m certain there’s much more to learn. I finally learned that Wolfe Tone was not just an Irish band! (I’m kidding there – I knew they took the name from a revolution leader).
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Christy:Hmm. As the Morrigan, she’d need to be tall, fit, strong, and not necessarily a young girl. A mature beauty. While I could see Lucy Lawless in the role, I think too many Xena comparisons are already at risk from the cover art. I think Maria Doyle Kennedy would actually be a fantastic match, to be honest. If you’ve seen Orphan Black, she’s Siobhan.She was also been in Downton Abbey, The Tudors, and The Commitments. She’s definitely Irish!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Christy:Write, write, and write some more. Even if it’s crap.Even if you detest it. It’s much easier to edit a crappy first draft than a non-existent one. Set time to write every day. I put a 2,000 word a day minimum for myself, with weekends off, and it works for me.Then, once that horrible first draft is actually done, put it away for a while and do something else. That way, when you look at it with fresh eyes, you have a better chance of seeing the crap and editing it into gold, or at least reasonably shiny brass. Then get beta readers and a real editor (real = paid). Trust me.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Christy:That I hope you enjoy the tales I weave, and that I’m always thinking of new ways to entertain you!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Christy:I’m re-reading American Gods, in preparation for binge-watching the TV show adaptation. I’m a huge Neil Gaiman fan, since the Sandman days. I’m also a huge fan of Ian McShane in whatever role he plays. He was born to play Mr. Wednesday. I can’t wait!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Christy:Absolutely not. I always remember being able to read. I do remember having and re-reading many of the primers – Pokey Little Puppy, Dr. Seuss, etc. I might have taught myself some of it, since I remember reading ‘eight apples up on top’ with all the letters in ‘eight’ pronounced ‘egg-uh-hut’. I know my grandmother kept a full set of Worldcraft and Childcraft encyclopedias and I read those for fun. Yes, I know, I’m strange. Also, mom had several old fairy story books, circa 1900. Water Babies. Flower Fairies. Hans Christian Andersen tales.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Christy:Everything. Seriously, I cry at commercials. And it doesn’t have to be a tear-jerking Sarah McLachlan lost kitten commercial to turn on the waterworks, either. And laughter is exercise for the soul. I love a good laugh, especially if there is a horrible pun involved.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Christy:Eleanor of Aquitaine. While I realize that, unless some translation magic happened, I’d never understand her language nor her mine, I’d love to pick her brain about being a powerful, rich woman in a world where powerful and rich usually went to the men.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Christy:Indeed! I take photos, mostly when I’m on vacation to Ireland or Scotland. I’ve recently added Iceland to that list, and I’m headed to Norway and Denmark in 2018. I also make beadwoven jewelry out of seed beads. I sell both on my website and in art shows.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Christy:Anything historic, most things fantasy or scifi. I also enjoy a few modern things. I wrote a whole blog post about Britcoms I like, and another on historical (or mostly historical) movies and shows.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Christy:While my favorites are pizza and sushi, if I ate those every day, I’d probably explode from carb overload. I try to limit at least the pizza to be kinder to my waistline. My favorite colors are dark purple and forest green, which were my wedding colors. When I write or work, I listen to Celtic music or 80s rock. For Celtic, I like everything from Enya to the Pogues, from Enter the Haggis to The Chieftains or Christy Moore.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Christy:Dictate! 😀 Or draw. Or make more jewelry. I must create. I was raised to make things. My mother is an artist, my grandmother was an artist, my great-grandmother was an artist. I must create.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Christy:Nothing – I hope to live long enough to have at last virtual immortality!
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Christy:I do! I’m at www.greendragonartist.com for my main website, www.greendragonartist.net for my blog, and my publisher site is http://tirpub.com/cnicholas. I’m also on www.facebook.com/greendragonauthor and www.twitter.com/greendragon9.
Thank you so much for hosting me!