Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Hi Fiona, thank you for having me.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Y.T. Cheng. It’s my pseudonym for Yee-Ron Ted Cheng. I am 21 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in Portland, Oregon but I was born in California. My family is from Taiwan.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and also working to provide for myself, my family and my book series. Life at home is relatively simple actually. All I do is work, study, write and sleep every day. Not always in that order but that’s how it is.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Right now I’m excited to be working with my publicist Christina and her team who have been so supportive in my book. I thank Bookventure for getting me this far as well as for giving my book in physical form. It’s out there but I want it to fly out further for more readers who don’t know about it. The latest news right now is that I am halfway finished with “The Human Inside’s” sequel. Hopefully I finish it soon.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
It’s hard to remember specifically when I began writing. If we’re talking about essays, that happened in school as early as I can remember. I failed or passed every one of them now and then but I don’t dwell about it too much. If we’re talking about creative writing, then I remember I wrote short stories, drew stick figure comics, and talked about ideas with friends around the sixth grade. Writing papers for school sort of took the fun out of writing but I soon found myself going back into my old ideas. It was fun. That was why I went back into it.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t consider myself a good writer at least. I can’t make people cry with a touching poem. I can’t write haikus or come up with a masterpiece just like that. If I write for homework, it doesn’t count. But every time I create another story or write down another idea in my book series or a different world, that’s when I feel like a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wrote the rough drafts for The Human Inside in Facebook notes if you can believe that. In my first year of college, I had dream about a world in the future and in that dream was a man who would eventually become my main character. It was a cybernetic human who had strength and skills that were advanced and very different from normal humans but his origins were that of Earth. Everyone looked and read my Facebook notes and were blown away with what I read and everyone who stuck with it asked if I was going to write more. Now it’s been a long trial of hard work and now it’s a book.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I wasn’t trying to be philosophical or anything when I came up with the title. My main character and his friends are all cybernetic and powerful but they experience humanity from an entirely different perspective. So quite literally, it was a book about “The Human Inside” all of them so to speak. Now it also sounds mysterious and hopefully alluring to the average reader.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I hope that my writing style is direct and easy to understand. I don’t have a degree for writing or anything. I just wrote it so that it is descriptive but not dull and the story progresses quick to the point. Writing is always a challenge. All of my friends who are writers too, they say the same exact thing. It’s not easy. Maybe it is but there are always challenges one expects and one doesn’t. But I look at my own style and format and it’s become something I’m use to writing now.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Well the unrealistic part of it is that it’s set in the future and that future is definitely far beyond what we expect the world to be at that time. I like to think though that it touches on family a lot. The place where my characters live after they become cybernetic, A.I. Industries, is their home. They grow up there and return there when they’re not out saving people. So they develop friendships with each other, trust among themselves and the employees. It shows a lot of people who want to work together to change the world. That’s something I think a lot of people still believe in real life and they just have moments where they don’t know how to do it. The experiences are definitely based off many people I’ve seen in my life. Many scenes of dialogue are actual things that have been said or moments that I remember that I grew up seeing in pop culture and television or online. Have fun trying to locate the character that is based off of me entirely.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I have no money to travel at all. Ha. So all the locations and inspired places are… from memory, research and a lot more. There’s a sequence in my novel where my characters go to California, Washington, Texas and Pennsylvania. Of these locations, I have only been to three. It’s Pennsylvania that I really want to go to by the way. I only go on nature hikes in close proximity to my home or when I go shopping or eat out alone, it helps me meet a lot of people. Traveling has no real influence in the crafting process except when I sit at the computer and write. All I do is remember where I’ve gone and what I’ve seen.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I designed a really bad abstract sketch of the cover that is shown right now. I sent it to the designers at Bookventure and they made it better. The neuron connecting to a computer like structure was just eye-catching. Then the red “A” that was added above in the corner is the main character’s number. I hope to use that again in future books too.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’m not sure if I originally had a message that I wanted to convey. I just wanted to entertain people but… since we’re talking about a message. The more I look back and read it again, I think I just wanted to tell people not to give up. My characters come about because their creator Dr. Kendrick believed in them and saved them. My point about that is, sometimes when you do things alone, it’s a great choice. It all works out at some point but only if one decides to take their chances and just do it. P.T. Barnum said that no one ever did anything great by being like everyone else. So that’s what I did. I wrote and published a book. I never thought I would but… this was the chance I wanted to have. To reach out and speak to many people.
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?
It’s been very hard to really read or look into new authors. Not that I don’t want to, I just haven’t had time to do so. I work, study, sleep, read, and write. But I grew up with Jenny Nimmo, Erin Hunter, J.K. Rowling, and Tom Clancy. There are more authors out there that I want to give credit but we’d be stuck here for a while. J.K. Rowling is my favorite because she showed me a world that all the characters were a part of something bigger than themselves. A world of magic. I want to know what that feels like. So I created my world too.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
An entity? Hands down, that would have to be Pixar. They have such inspiring movies. I recently watched Cars 3. It’s not my favorite but I loved it. When I read or watch stories, it keeps me motivated. But if I’m going to be real honest, it would have to be when I was discharged medically from the Air Force Reserves. I was crushed when I was told I couldn’t serve my country and home. Being sent home was something that I couldn’t bear to live with and I almost didn’t want to be seen by my friends and family. But my drill sergeants Thomas and Kadisak told me I had nothing to be ashamed of. All of my friends and family did as well when I came back. My supervisor, Sergeant Erin Bush was also supportive as well when she heard about my discharge. After I came back, I thought long and hard for about a week. Then I saw my unfinished manuscript. I decided then and there that I had to finish what I started. It would not have happened if I had remained in the military.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Now that I haven’t stopped writing, I don’t see why not. But it only will be a career if it actually works out. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed. For now though, as I am studying for my degree, it’s more of a fun hobbyist type of challenge. A challenge that I like though. This is the part where I’m winking right now.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
If I could change anything… edit and make it look better. It’s not an award-winning book but I do think it could look better so people can cringe less. Seriously, I think my sequel is better. Ha ha. I don’t want to do over the entire story… I just want to polish it a little more so it shines brighter.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
It’s very fulfilling. That’s what I’ve learned. These are stories stuck in my mind. But until people develop telepathy, then I have to get these writings and ideas on paper before they’re gone.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
If it was a movie… Another tough question for me but it seems really simple. Maybe Tom Holland for the main character? That’s if he likes the book or screenplay to be honest.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
My advice for writers is never stop. If you have ideas, put them down immediately. Don’t feel bad about it and never let anyone burn your ideas away. There are people that want to listen to fresh original ideas that you were inspired to come up with. Just wait, seek them out, have them listen and then bam! You are a writer that is evolving every time you pick up a pencil/pen, type into the keyboard or record yourself speaking about an idea. I don’t actually record anything but I hope my point gets across.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
For my readers, this is not the best thing you’ll ever read. It is in fact a novel that I want to introduce an iconic cast of characters in a setting that is in my imagination. Think of it as a debut please because this cast of characters won’t be going away anytime soon. Please stay along for more in the series. Just let me know what you think of the first book.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
My textbook for school. Next question please. Haha.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I remember Beverly Cleary and Roald Dahl who put my first books in my hands. My first comic strips were “Peanuts” and “Calvin & Hobbes.”
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh a lot at jokes. There are very rare occasions when something makes me break down and I need at least 10 minutes to catch my breath. I laugh when my friends are all optimistic or they share stories. But I try to make people laugh too because I don’t think people are getting enough smiles. Do not ask me what makes me cry. With respect, I don’t think I have cried in a long time.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Ellen Degeneres. If we’re talking about celebrities than it her. Hands down. If we’re talking normal people. There is a girl. I think about her a lot. I hope to see her someday.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Legos, videogames, cosplay, writing, staying fit, and a lot more.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Marvel movies, Disney/Pixar, Leverage, Star Wars, Star Trek, Steven Spielberg, anything with music by Hans Zimmer in it, True Story inspired films, and more. Am I filling out a dating questionnaire or personality description for online dating? Next question ha ha.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
. Give me lasagna. I’m all set. Come with me to Sweet Tomatoes/Soupplantation, then watch me devour the all-you-can-eat. My favorite color is blue. Music… man, there’s a lot. Anime openings and endings count? I love Linkin Park, orchestral scores, movie/videogame soundtracks, and I occasionally karaoke with Disney songs. You’re welcome. I’m winking again. Someone gets the reference I hope. I think I made all my friends reading this just hate me now. Why can’t they just… Let it go? Ok I’m done. Not really.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Keep studying and working hard to provide for me and my family. Just like everyone I guess. Without writing… I shudder and get chills up my spine if I’m told that writing doesn’t exist. Why would someone even ask that? Phew.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Hey now… that’s a bit personal but I guess it’ll be nice to have it out somewhere. I’m going to live forever! I want it to say on my headstone, “Flying Forever.” I mean… I don’t know how to write a headstone… we’re talking about after I’ve died. This makes me uncomfortable! I’m laughing by the way. You can’t see me but this question is awakening my weirdness.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I do blog in fact. I just started it recently. “The Human Inside Us.” The site is here: http://thehumaninsideus.blogspot.com/
My website thanks to Bookventure is up and running. I encourage Amazon, Google or Barnes & Noble more to be honest. The site link: http://www.thehumaninsideofficial.com/