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?
Hi, Fiona, hi everybody. Thanks for having me. My name is Martha J Allard, and my age is…. Frankly it’s too old. I’m 53. I have no idea how that happened.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from Flint, Michigan, where, yes, the water is still poison. I grew up in this area and have lived other places, but I haven’t found anywhere that I love more.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I work at the local big box bookstore, and have for nearly thirty years. I live in a big old house with 2 roommates, and my nephew, plus three cats and an enormous goldfish.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Well, it’s been a year since my first book, Black Light came out. It’s the story of a rock band in 1983 and a psychic vampire. I am in the home stretch of my next book, called “The Night Was Not.” It’s a neo-Victorian story about an airship captain who ends up grounded in his home town. I expect to see that finished by the end of this year.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing at the age of thirteen. I started to write after I saw Star Wars. Like, right after. I literally walked out of the theater and crossed the hallway in the mall to the drugstore and bought my first notebook.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s a really hard question, I suppose. I’ve always considered myself a writer (at least that’s how I feel today). Now, a published writer? That takes some getting used to.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The short answer is David Bowie. His music put the characters in my brain. The long answer is…. David Bowie and the first time I ever got my heart broken.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Well…. Not David Bowie. Weird, right? The title, “Black Light,” comes from another song I love from the ‘80’s. The King Of Pain, by the Police, the line, “There’s a little black spot on the sun today. That’s my soul up there.” Has stayed with me, well, since the ‘80’s. I always thought it was something Trace(Lead singer of the band in the novel) would have written if Sting hadn’t.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Hum. That’s a hard question. I feel like my writing style is fluid. I carry a notebook all the time, and I usually start there, with paper and pen. It makes me slower than the kids today, but I love the feel of words coming out of my pen. The keyboard is really for editing for me.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Well…. All of it, and yes. But also none of it and no. There’s a bit of me in everything I write. I don’t believe you can tell a story without telling some of your story. That’s what makes fiction work.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No. I am the world’s worst traveler. I can’t even imagine what it would take to get me on a plane, but I’m guessing it would come in a bottle…..
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I’ve only had the one done, and the front was Bioblossom Creative, and the back was done by my publisher, Mason Jones at Automatism Press.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Don’t wait to become who you are.
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’s a relativelynew indi writer named Valerie Kinney. I’m reading her novel “In the Presence of Knowing,” right now. It’s fun and breezy. I think the voice is full of optimism and humor.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author. An entity?
That would have to be my writer’s group, Flint Area Writers. We are a hardcore, old school critique group and I’ve been a member since I was 16. If anyone taught me to write, it was them. But people? I depend on Melodie Bolt and Loren Rhoads the most for encouragement.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I see it as more of a calling.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. Well. Maybe. No. Black Light is exactly what I meant to write. I am still don’t know if “The Night Was Not,” will have as much clarity. I can only hope.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I am learning, as I finish The Night Was Not, how to world build. Black Light was built of my memories of the ‘80’s. The world of The Night Was Not is being made from scratch. It uses different brain muscles.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Oh, dear. I think you asked me this before, and it was the hardest question ever. I am old, and I don’t know many of the current film stars, so I had to ask my younger friends. If I had to cast the lead in The Night Was Not, Captain Kerry Hazard, I’d need someone in their mid-twenties, a ginger with eyes the color of summer sky, so, I’m open to suggestions.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t ever stop. As many people have said before me, the most recent being Loren Rhoads, only you can tell your story. Don’t watch how long it takes for others to write, or how much more or less they sell. Write the story.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Game of Ghosts, by John Connelly. Also In the Presence of Knowing, by Valarie Kinney. Also I’m re reading Charles Delint’s short fiction.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
In fact, it was Go Dog Go, by PD Eastman. And yes, it was terribly sexist, but I laughed for some reason every time the girl dog said, “Do you like my hat?” and the boy dog answered, “No, I do not like your hat.” Maybe it was because I realized I would grow up to not care at all if boy dogs like my hat.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Everything makes me cry. But many things make me laugh too. I have a couple of friends that can do it no matter what is happening. But a couple of specifics? Okay. Supernatural makes me both laugh and cry. Family makes me cry. A really beautiful piece of writing makes me cry. My cat makes me laugh. Cooking shows make me laugh…. Okay, that’s enough.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Did I say David Bowie last time? I still would. Because I’m fascinated with the life he must have led. And Harper Lee. For so many reasons.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I crochet, which is really more of an obsession/second job.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Supernatural, which I think I’ve mentioned, and also cooking shows. I’m a part-time anime fan as well.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Um. Food changes. Cauliflower. Color? Pink and black. Music…. Well…. Mostly classic rock and soundtracks.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Uh… What? I’m pretty sure I’d just be bitter professionally.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“She has done all she can.” And make damn sure it is true.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?