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?
First of all, thank you for having me, Fiona. I’ve seen some impressive interviews on your blog, and I’m flattered and excited to be your guest.
My name is Iris Chacon, and if you’ll forgive me, I’m not going to tell my age. Here’s why.
It’s my belief that whatever number I assign to myself as my “age,” a certain percentage of readers, or potential readers, or publishers, or even other authors will immediately dismiss or disregard me.
It happens without malicious intent. Our minds work in insidious ways, labeling certain age numbers as irrelevant.
Without making a conscious decision, we determine that a person is probably too frivolous, too serious, too flighty, too immature, too old-fashioned. We cannot relate to someone of XX age.
This philosophy is so deeply ingrained in my psyche that I frequently keep silent about the ages of my characters.
So, in answer to your question, I am old enough to know better and still young enough to try anyway.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m a multi-generation Floridian. You’ve heard the old joke that everyone who researches their ancestry finds a horse thief or highwayman in their family’s past? In our case, we have an ancestor who was jailed in St. Augustine when the Spanish governed Florida. You can still visit his cell in the Castillo de San Marcos if you take a tour. They won’t mention my ancestor by name, but he was there, much to our chagrin. As far as I know, we have been behaving ever since.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I have a degree in Mass Communications from Trinity Int’l University, where I’ve also taught as an adjunct professor. I’ve been married for decades to another native Floridian, and my marvelous son and beautiful daughter are both adults. (These are valuable age clues, in case you’re still wondering.)
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My debut novel, Finding Miranda,which has been very popular with my readers, is coming out in audiobook form this fall! I’m so-o-o-o-o excited. Also, I think I have a crush on the narrator. You will, too, when you hear his voice!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote my first screenplay in 1984, but before that I had been writing ever since I won my first contest at age 13. Writing is like preaching: people do it because they simply can’t not do it.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
For a long time I wouldn’t call myself a writer because I still had my day job. Then someone told me they weren’t earning any money by writing, and yet, she said, “I am a writer. Because I write.” I’ve never forgotten that. Anyone who agonizes hour after hour over the words on the page, whether or not they ever sell the finished work, is a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
As I walked past a parked van at a shopping center, a man in the vehicle spoke to me through his open window and asked very charmingly if I could help him for a moment. He handed me some items to hold for him while he used his wheelchair lift to get out of the van.
I had formed an opinion of him before I knew he had a disability, and seeing him in his wheelchair shook me a little. Maybe even a lot.
My first novel was about a man who falls in love with a woman before learning that she is disabled. You can’t read it, though, because I never published it. Let me just assure you: it was terrific. The Great American Novel in every way. Trust me. 🙂
My first published novel, Finding Miranda, is about a blind radio personality, and he was inspired by a marvelous, blind friend and colleague from my radio days.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My titles change many times while I’m writing a book. I want the title to have one meaning to someone who is thinking of reading the book, and at least one other meaning to someone who has finished reading the book. It’s like a little private joke between the reader and me.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Two things dominate my writing style. One is humor. I’ve been called a “Southern humorist,” and making people smile or laugh is my primary motivation in writing.
The second dominant factor in my writing style is straight out of The Elements of Style by Strunk and White: “Omit unnecessary words, omit unnecessary words, omit unnecessary words.” I always wondered why they said it three times! Aren’t two of those phrases unnecessary?
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Finding Miranda is about a fictional town, but it contains elements of real places in Florida. Many readers tell me they were transported back to the Florida of their childhood when they read the book. The characters are fictional as well, but Shep is based partly on my blind radio friend. Miranda is a self-effacing librarian, as I myself was in the years just before I wrote the book.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I do sometimes travel – both before and during the process. My historical novel, Mudsills &Mooncussers, took me three years to research, and required numerous sorties to Key West to visit the actual locations used in the book. Yeah, poor me, forced to hang out in Key West over and over again. All those margaritas. Writing is dirty work, but somebody has to do it.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I have met several very talented artists. Fiona Jayde (Nice name, don’t you think?) of FionaJaydeMedia.com has designed three covers for me, and I learned about her through a list compiled by Mark Coker at Smashwords.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want to transport readers to a world without politics, job stress, family guilt, and all the other details of everyday living that cause us to feel exhausted and depressed. My books are happy worlds in which the reader may live and laugh freely, with no worries.
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?
I have discovered so many new favorite authors over the past year because I’ve been reading and reviewing a great number of novels. Recently I’ve become a fan of Amy M. Reade and of Phyllis Entis, both mystery writers. Also Nicole Fitton and Chris Longmuir. I was fascinated by the depth of detail, the amount of research, and the complexity of plots they put into their novels. These are very talented ladies.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I was working for a law firm when I wrote three one-act plays, some years ago. My attorney-boss, who was a Yale grad and a great writer, read many of my screenplays and gave me tremendous encouragement. He arranged for my short stage plays to be produced and performed, which was probably the greatest form of ratification and validation a writer could experience.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Writing is a lifestyle. A writer is writing inside his/her head all the time, crafting succinct or entertaining ways to describe something they’ve seen, heard, experienced, or imagined. Sometimes the writer actually puts the words down on paper or on an electronic device, but the writing happens whether or not the words ever become visible in any form. Writers who are very blessed get to make a career out of their lifestyle.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My latest book is called Lou’s Tattoos. If I could change anything about that book it would be to change it from unfinished to finished! I’ve missed my self-imposed deadline about three times now and it’s still not finished.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I’ve learned that I’m a shameless, cowardly procrastinator.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Oh, I’ve had several readers tell me that if a movie is made of Finding Miranda, they think the blind deejay should be played by Chris Hemsworth, who played Thor in the Marvel Comics movies.I have to say, I wouldn’t disagree. Although, maybe I should interview him privately for a week or two, just to be sure he’s right for the part. 🙂
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Yes. Draft it. Let it sit until it’s cold. Read it aloud. Draft it again. Repeat until long after you think you’ve memorized the whole novel. Then go over it one more time. By the time you publish it, you should have no reason to apologize for anything. If you find yourself making apologies or excuses, don’t publish, because you’re not finished.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you, thank you, thank you, dear readers, for reading and laughing and crying and letting me know how much you loved the books and the characters in them. Your messages have kept me going in discouraging times.
Also, I have been paying attention to you, readers. The sequels to Finding Miranda and Duby’s Doctor are on the drawing board. If I ever finish Lou’s Tattoos, I promise to get to work on those. If you have a title in mind for the sequels, let me know. Contact me at any of these places:
Author blog/webpage: https://www.authoririschacon.com
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/112871366306174137721
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8551298.Iris_Chacon
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ve just finished Any Dream Will Do, by Debbie Macomber. I’m about to write a review for NetGalley, and it’s definitely getting five out of five stars. Next I’ll be reading and reviewing Golden Age and Other Stories, by Naomi Novik. I loved her Temeraire dragon novels, so I’m eager to read this collection of her shorter works.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Heavens, no, but it probably had horses in it. I read every book in my elementary school library even remotely related to horses. I was probably the only third grader ever to read Homer’s Iliad, because it had the Trojan Horse in it. 🙂
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
By all means! Please follow my blog at: https://www.AuthorIrisChacon.com , or sign up for the Iris Chacon In-Crowd Newsletter at: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/zFcM1 (You’ll even get a free download of my funny, family-friendly novel, Schifflebein’s Folly, for signing up.)
All Iris Chacon novels are available as ebook or paperback on the Iris Chacon Author Page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Iris-Chacon/e/B00U4AYUZ2
Finding Mirandaebook is FREE on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Miranda-Iris-Chacon-ebook
Schifflebein’s Follyebook is FREE when you join the Iris Chacon In-Crowd Newsletter at https://www.instafreebie.com/free/zFcM1
Mudsills &Mooncussers, A Novel of Civil War Key West, ebook is discounted 50% during July at the Smashwords Summer-Winter Sale, https://www.smashwords.com .
Both Sylvie’s Cowboy and Duby’s Doctorebooks are discounted 50% during July at https://www.smashwords.com .
Both short works, Welcome to St. FEEPS, A Parochial School Comic Monologue, and Snow, White & The Seven Daves, A Comedy for Lawyers in One Act, are available FREE during July 2017 from https://www.smashwords.com .
Coming in 2017 to Amazon.com from Iris Chacon:
Lou’s Tattoos, A Comedy of Errors,ebook and paperback,