Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Hey Fiona! I’m glad to be here (digitally anyway – haha)
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
I’m Veronica Smith and I’m 51.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Florida on Eglin AFB but my family moved to Houston, TX back in 1974 and I’ve never really left. My husband and I moved to Katy, TX, a suburb west of Houston and we still live there.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’ve been married to my husband, Kelly, for 28 years. We have a 24 year old son, Zachary, who is also an author. My day job is doing 2D and 3D drafting for an engineering company. I learned on the job, I started out as a receptionist way back in 1988, and have been learning new things ever since. I didn’t go to college but I did take a few courses; English and accounting.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
The best news is I just found out (last night Jun 27th) that I won my first award. 2017 Top Female Authors by the Authors show.com. I won the Novella Category for my novella, Chalk Outline!
My other current news is that I am over 30K words in my newest book, Just Get There. It’s a YA zombie novel. I’ve only done a YA story before so this is new for me. In fact it’s an expansion of that story, The Treehouse, which is in Bite Sized Offerings anthology. I usually write for adults so I’m either going to underdo the gore or overdo it. I’m sure I’ll find out when beta readers get their hands on it.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always loved to write. Remember those Nancy Drew books? I was addicted to them. When I was 13 or 14 I tried twice to make my own teenage detective books. I think I actually might have written 10K or 20K words before giving up. I don’t have a clue where those pages are though.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’d been writing flash fiction and stories with others on a forum. Yeah, remember forums? Do they still have those around anymore? Haha Anyway, one day I saw a call for short stories for a Christmas Zombie anthology so I thought I’d give it a shot. I was accepted! I was so happy I was giddy! I was published and told everyone. After that I kept on writing stories. Some rejected (more than once) oh yeah (more than twice – heehee) but then sometimes accepted. There’s a place for all stories. You just have to keep submitting. Rejections are just stepping stones to the story’s real house.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was driving home and heard a song that had the lyrics “Chalk Outline” in them and my mind started to wander. It’s an hour minimum drive for me so I always come up with stories on the drive home. I even keep a USB recorder with me so I can record notes. The idea came to me and for a week, most of the novella had played itself out in my head.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
This time it was from the song. But my novel, Salvation, didn’t have a title until at least halfway through the book. I don’t worry so much about titles. They’ll come to me in their own time.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I don’t always write in order of the book. I was probably halfway through with Chalk Outline when I came up with the ending. I wrote it down and set it aside, finished the book and tweaked the ending.
With Salvation I used One Note for all my notes, timelines, etc. Unfortunately I didn’t do that when I started it. I did it on my first go over and spend several months doing so. But it was a good thing. I found a guy who died in one chapter suddenly alive again three chapters later. And he wasn’t a zombie so he wasn’t supposed to. Haha
With Just Get There, I’m using it from the start and it’s so much easier to keep track of everything.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Just Get There starts out with kids in a neighborhood. I based that neighborhood on the neighborhood where I grew up. The City is Houston, and other locations in the book are also places I’ve been to.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Not really. I tend to write based on places I’ve been or I make something up. Chalk Outline is located in Houston and Salvation takes place in the wasteland of the US so it really could be anywhere.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Chalk Outline was done by the amazing Lisa Vasquez, who is also a good friend and owns Stitched Smile Publications.
Salvation’s cover was done by an artist that my publisher Helheim Games Studio uses, SareneLucyk.
Just Get There is being done by L. Bachman.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want them to realize that just because they are young, they can still survive. Kids are smart and very adaptable and shouldn’t put automatically pushed behind, protected and coddled. Some of them are tough and can offer just as much in a group’s survival.
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?
My friend, Chuck Anderson, writes a couple series. The Black Irish series is my favorite and that’s saying a lot. It’s a vampire book and I’m not huge on vampires. But I do love his.
Kerry Alan Denney writes some unique books. Each of his are a completely different type of theme. I beta read for him a lot.
My favorite writer is Richard Laymon. I didn’t learn of his books until years after he died but I fell for them quick. I think I’ve read all but 2 or 3 of them. He got me hooked into extreme horror.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My friend, Chuck. Besides being a friend and source of encouragement, he’s a mentor to me. Every time I get down in the dumps he cheers me on. I created one of my main characters in Salvation on him.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’d love to write full time but my books haven’t take off near enough for me to quit my day job. If I could I’d write all day. I have so many stories and other book ideas, I could easily do it full time. Hmm. Maybe the Texas Lotto. LOL
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
In Salvation I’d put a little more into my characters. I got reamed on a review for it. Not enough characterization and too many characters. But not too much. When I read a book I love when I don’t have complete information about a character. It lets me create an image in my head as I read.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Definitely. Always keep track as you go, info, timelines, etc. I didn’t with Salvation but I am with my current book and it is so much easier to keep everything flowing.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I hadn’t thought about Salvation into a film but my husband says Chalk Outline would make a great film or TV Series. The main characters are two homicide detectives in Houston. I based Darius after Shemar Moore from Criminal Minds. If Chalk Outline went to film, I’d insist they try to get him first! Haha. Jake’s a different story. There are about 5 or 6 guys that would fit that part so well. Matt Ryan from the TV series Constantine would be great, as long as he can do an American accent.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Never ever give up. If you get rejected, send it out somewhere else. Keep doing it until it gets accepted. I’ve had the same story get rejected at 4 different places only to be accepted on the 5th. Everyone wants something different. You just have to find which one that is.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Buy my books! Haha But seriously, follow my Amazon page. I also have a Facebook author page and a Twitter. I hope anyone reading my books enjoys them and I love feedback.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m beta reading a book for Kerry Alan Denney that is due to come out in the fall.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I was into all the Nancy Drews and of course Dr. Seuss when I was younger but the book sticks the most in my memory is Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’ Dell.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Wow, what doesn’t make me cry anymore.Haha. I cry at every sad scene on TV, movies, and in books. I’ve cried while writing my own books.
I laugh at myself anytime I jump watching a horror movie. Now that I think of it, I have the same reaction in haunted houses at Halloween.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Stephen King. He got me my start into horror with The Stand. I’ve read how many times he had Carrie rejected but he kept at it. I admire that so much.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I used to play paintball but I kind of quit playing. For a while after I was writing storylines and characters for paintball scenarios. I was the game director for a company that put on 12 hour games. But now I guess writing is all I do in my spare time. I still interject my books with a short story when it gets in my head. I have to put it down or it will nag at me.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Criminal Minds, NCIS, Walking Dead, Z Nation. I love all post apoc movies and zombie movies. Train to Busan – best zombie movie ever.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Food: anything dark chocolate and Cheetos. I’m trying to cut back the Cheetos but dark chocolate is supposed to be good for you so I’m running with that one. Do you buy that? Hahaha
Color: Green – but more an emerald green (if we get technical)
Music: Metal, mostly European metal. Sabaton is my favorite band.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
The only way I wouldn’t write is if I lost both my hands and eyesight so I guess I’d have to read. Audio books of course. (No eyes – lol)
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Well, I plan to be cremated but if someone wanted to engrave something on my urn, I’d say:
“She started her dream late in life but never gave up on it.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I have several:
Thanks so much for interviewing me! I had fun with these questions!