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?
Hello everyone. I’m P.J. Greystoke and I’m 42.
Fiona: Where are you from?
South Shields, in the North East of England.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Yep, I have four sisters (all younger) and two kids of my own. I’m about to start a Masters course at Uni in September – should be fun. I also have a wee little pooch called Alfie who is as cute as a button.
My Dad was a singer when I was a kid. I couldn’t sing at the time so thought I’d be a guitarist instead, which I did for a while and still do sometimes in between writing chapters.
My mum was a drama facilitator, so I also spent a lot of my childhood wanting to be an actor, which I did too and set my designs on becoming the next Dr. Who after Peter Davison. They’re looking for a new one now aren’t they?
I do have a lovely thought that one day I’ll write a Dr. Who origin movie. I’ve had the story arc floating about in my head for a while.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Well, I’m writing my second novel: Coffee Shop Girl, which should be done within a couple of weeks and have just finished the audio version of SleepTalker, my own anthology of short stories, poetry and thoughts on the craft.
It is available on my site and will be available on Audible very soon.
SleepTalker paperback and kindle are on Amazon and receiving some lovely reviews – always a relief, can be a bit tense when you push your work out there.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I remember sitting at school in English class. Up to that date school had been little more than a reason to hang out with friends and make a complete fool of myself in the classroom. My teacher Mrs Henderson gave us a creative writing assignment. Using evidence and a title we had to write our imagined feelings of being an evacuee during the war. Everyone else in the class probably did half a side of A4. Thirty minutes into the lesson I had completed 13 pages. A very confused Mrs Henderson inched her way over, probably to check I had not been possessed and asked to read my work.
I was in mid-sentence so did not welcome the interruption but handed my book over anyway which she read with great delight and I have to say, shock.
I don’t know what happened to me that day, but it’s the day I fell in love with the power of the written word.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always hung around the fringes, choosing professions that have a strong creative element. I’ve written radio commercials, TV commercials, audio comedy shows for clients to help push their products and written content for blogs and websites. It was only 5 years ago that I decided to become a fiction writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I used to read to my kids every night before they went to sleep. Sometimes we would play a game where the story was imagined and I’d just improvise something, they would often join in too. It was because of that I wrote Professor Fidget and The Trouble with Time Travel, which was my first YA novel and starred my children as two of the three principle characters.
I would then read then chapters of the novel as it was being written.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I used to help run a kids drama group called Sit ‘n’ Fidget and it was based on a terrible play that I wrote for them which had the same name. Actually, the title is the only element which has remained.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I love first person narratives but that’s maybe because I’m reading Paula Hawkins at the moment.
My writing tends to be very character driven and I enjoy setting myself literary challenges. SleepTalker is full of them.
I’m always looking for the most direct way to communicate with my readers so they can fully experience the range of emotions within the story – as Stephen King says ‘It’s almost like Telepathy.’
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
It depends on what level. Some of the stories directly relate to aspects of my own life and others are more based on my feelings, hopes, loves and fears.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No, when I write I and up in a world of my own anyway haha. Having said that I do like to do much of my writing in a coffee shop – it’s like company and atmosphere without feeling the need to talk or entertain, unless you want to of course.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
That would be me, with some very helpful programs available on the internet. Canva.com is awesome for that sort of thing.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In SleepTalker? It’s mainly a look at life and the value we place upon it. It’s also a little insight on the craft of writing as I see it.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favourite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
So many. Stephen King is probably my favourite author and his book ‘On Writing’ has been invaluable in helping to organise my own writing and reading practices.
In general, I like work that is character driven and when you scratch the surface there is so much more there to capture your attention. Mr King does this very well. I’m also a fan of Nicci French, Charles Dickens, J.K. Rowling and morerecently Paula Hawkins.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I like looking at the lives of accomplished authors and tracking their path to success, There is one common thread – the passion and commitment to succeed needs to come from the author themselves. I have a lot of self-belief, and a dogged determination, this alone has been my main supporting factor.
I have to say too that I know many aspiring and successful writers and they help me whenever they can which I greatly appreciate.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not a thing. You can stay on one book forever, always changing the odd word or phrase here and there but there needs to be a point that you say ‘Okay, I’m happy with that’ then move onto something new.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned a lot about myself. My brother in law, who helped tremendously during the editing phase commented that this could almost act as a psychological analysis of my own character.
All of my work is subliminally personal and tends to hit the very core of my own feelings at the time of writing.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
It’s a collection of stories so that would be difficult, but for the novel Professor Fidget, would need to be a strong and independent female. I can’t think of a specific actress that would fit the role but there is a fictional character “Frieda Klein” From the recent series of Nicci French novels that would do quite nicely.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Read a lot and write a lot. Write from the heart.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Love you all. Thank you for joining me on this incredible journey so far.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Into the water by Paula Hawkins.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Ha ha, yes, it was ‘The Little Vampire on The Farm.’ I read it in one night and my parents were delighted that I’d moved onto a book that didn’t have illustrations,
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I’m a romantic at heart so when the end scene of Ghost comes up and he says ‘Ditto’ instead of I love you – gets me every time.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
William Shakespeare. It is said that a picture paints a thousand words but he turned that on its head. The right words can paint a thousand pictures and invoke a variety of emotions.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Well… Quite a few beyond the obvious. I like to keep fit, play guitar, sing (because I can now), do stand-up comedy and occasionally jump on a Playstation (not literally, would be rather expensive).
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Anything with engaging characters and is new and inventive. Recently finished the Fringe box set which was awesome.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Food – anything edible (and healthy). My kids and I went through a stage of purchasing the Jamie Oliver magazine and trying to make food from round the world which was fun. May do that again actually.
Colours – all of them in different degrees depending upon my mood.
Music – All sorts, but I’m a bit of a Beatle nut, so they are my favourite band.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Something creative, though I’ve no idea what.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
What are you looking at? haha
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Amazon Authors page https://www.amazon.co.uk/P.J.-Greystoke/e/B07238L4LN/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
The link for SleepTalker Paperback on Amazon is : https://www.amazon.co.uk/SleepTalker-P-J-Greystoke/dp/1521233853/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1499881796&sr=1-1
The link for the audio version till it goes live on Audible is on my own site and is: http://www.pjgreystoke.com/bookshop/