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 World! My Name is Roy Mauritsen and I am a level forty-seven human. I am the author of Shards of the Glass Slipper, a 2 book epic fantasy fairy tale!
Fiona: Where are you from?
I hail from Long Island, New York. I am an hour by train to world famous New York City- but I never go. I am an hour from the famous Hamptons. Never go. I live about 15 minutes from the ocean… and I only go there to play volleyball!
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
I studied fine art, writing and natural sciences in high school and college. I’ve been married for 14 years, no kids but we have a big, fluffy, black Newfoundland mix-breed dog named Coda. I have worked as a professional photographer,and also filming and creating television commercials. Currently, I am an Art Director for Perseid Press with Janet Morris, and Art Director for Padwolf Publishing with Patrick Thomas. I’ve designed many, many book covers and my day job is a graphic designer for a large Publishing company in New York.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Audiobooks! After the 2 book epic fantasy was written and published, there was an opportunity to have both books professionally narrated and recorded. One of the things I wanted to do however was add in a thematic underscore of cinematic music and coordinated sound effects. Rather than listen to someone droning on as they read a book, which I feel most audiobooks are like that. I wanted the listener to be immersed, to feel as if they were right there experiencing the story. Arrows will whiz past your ears. Birds and insects chirp and hum as leaves rustle and wind blows through trees as you walk along a forest trail along with the characters. Some of it is subtle, the shuffling of papers or the creaking of saddle leather as a rider dismounts a horse. You’ll hear the clash of swords or growls of dangerous creatures breathing right next you. And the music elevates the listener experience on an emotional level as well. The climatic battles, the quiet, tender moments, dark dramatic themes, all enhance the excellent narration by Christopher Crosby Morris.
Christopher Crosby Morris is a professional musician with a home studio, familiar with vocal recording, and audiobook narration. We collaborated using Adobe’s Audition to edit and master the files. In addition to my work as an author and artist, I’ve also worked in mixing and mastering for radio and television. So I was very comfortable working on this audiobook. The process of mixing was very involved. Once the narration track was clean and finalized, sound effects and ambient background had to be selected from hundreds of different sources, to find a proper sound is like finding a needle in a sound effect haystackof thousands of files from several sound libraries; and in some cases I still had to record the sound effects on my own using a Tascam portable recorder. Once the sound tracks were mixed, the most challenging part was adding professional quality cinematic scores to nearly 30 hours of recorded narration between the two audiobooks. It was a labor of love that would take almost a year to complete! But I am so proud of the finished product. Here’s a sample:
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I say I’m a “creative” person. I never really defined myself as a “writer.” I am much more professionally and personally molded as an artist. But in a way every artist is storyteller. I’ve loved creative writing and certain creative outlets like the Role-playing games I grew up on, were just other ways of telling stories and often sparked both art and writing. And in 2007 I started writing my first 2 novels.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I have always loved fairy tales and Alice in Wonderland. I kinda had this idea bouncing around about fairy tale characters and How does Cinderella become an evil queen, etc. and how to weave all of these different characters into a 2 book story. It was quite challenging. So that was part of the inspiration. The other part was simply I wanted to inspire the people around me to rise up and do the thing they would always say they wanted to do. But never do it. So I said, if I can write AND finish a story..so can my friends! It didn’t really work out though. But I ended up with a story I had wanted to tell and finished novel or two that I was lucky enough to get published by a small press. As an artist I was able to explore my characters, story and concept through art. “concept art” if you will. This helped to visualize and inspire ahead of actually writing the novel. And even at times during the process. I would shift gears if I hit a rough part in the story. Or to help get my head around a character I was focusing on.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Shards of the Glass Slipper is told across 2 books (maybe 3) the title itself invokes an instant correlation to fairy tales, and the shattered Shards invoke a feeling of a broken happily ever after in many pieces. Which is very apt considering there are nearly two dozen fairly tale type characters it is a very striking title. Additionally, I wanted to give resonance of an epic fantasy feel similar to “Lord of the Rings.”
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I don’t thing I’ve developed any sort of signature writing style yet. Maybe the way I structure my stories but developing a writer voice takes time. Writing epic fantasy and fairy tale can be very challenging. First you are making stuff up and you need more world building than say writing a cop drama in New York city. It’s a freedom that you get to make up the details but then you are also responsible for making up all of the details. There’s maybe a little more research to learn about how a trebuchet works. The challenge then becomes presenting fantastical or fictional things in a convincing manner. If you don’t know how a trebuchet works, and you write about it correctly you are not treating your reader with respect. The other challenge is the fairy tales. I spent a lot of time researching various aspects of these characters and making lots of notes and references and constantly flowing that into the character in describing them or how they act and what they say. And these are not your familiar Disney-fied versions. So trying to be true to fairy tales that are well know and beloved was its own challenge.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Well it is epic fantasy fairy tales and Alice in Wonderland. It can only be so realistic! But I tried to be realistic with the characters to make them more relatable. A lot of the characters’ fairy tales have already happened and they are older now so when the story starts these fairy tale characters are shaped by thosepast experiences that we’d know as their familiar fairy tale.
I think it’s a natural part of the creative process that some elements traits and beliefs bleed into your story and I think that different characters can take on certain aspects. Goldenhair is very much in tune with the forest and animals and represents my love of nature and animals. General Snow White represents my more practical side.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Given that it’s epic fantasy in a fictional world not much travel is needed other than a creative imagination and internet. I’d travel though just to travel. I love traveling. I’m sure that exposure from travelling filters down into the kinds of creative inspirations and “call-upons”.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Me! I was an artist and graphic designer for over 20 years so it was very important for me to be able to handle the cover creation process. It’s hard enough to shop a manuscript around as an author, but one that is retaining creative control over the cover- most publishers wouldn’t go for that. It just makes it even more of an uphill climb to get published. The cover was created using 3d software and Photoshop. A major advantage of the 3d model is I can call up that exact same model reposition and re-light and even animate them for my book trailers!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I will leave that up to the readers. What do they connect with, which character they relate to or theme do they take away. Fairy tales are full of messages and themes. I’m sure there are many different messages people can be drawn to. It is always humbling to hear from readers. Sometimes they’ll show me symbolism that didn’t even occur to me. That’s when you know you’ve done something special.
Fiona: Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I’ve always loved Douglas Adams. I find it very difficult write humor well. And he does it in spades. Of course he taps into that British humor which I’ve grown up with (he was also involved with Monty Python so it makes sense). And with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books, he combined that humor with Science-fiction but then he used both of those elements to turn a mirror back on to people and society and theology and philosophy; and he makes it looks so damn easy! There’s a frood who knows where his towel is!
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Before I connected with my publisher, I didn’t really have a support network or a mentor or a writing group when I was writing. It was just me at my computer chipping away at this incredible story that I wanted to tell. When it comes down to it- it really is just you and your story, staring at each other in a dark room, saying to each other “So- are we gonna do this or what?”I felt during the writingprocess that everyone secretly was waiting (hoping?) for me to fail or give up. It ended up being more of a driving force to succeed.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Very few are lucky enough to make writing work as a full time gig. I see it as something I enjoy. I almost don’t want to ruin the fun of it by trying to force it as a career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the process of recording your recent audiobook?
I think I’m a little bit ahead of the curve for this type of listening experience. For most authors, traditional audiobooks are pretty cost prohibitive to do it properly. If I didn’t have the skills and resources in place to be able to put something like this together and do so, professionally. I can’t imagine what the production cost of what I was able to accomplish at minimalexpensewould be; thousands of dollars to be sure.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
It would starLucy LawlessasGeneral Snow White, with Christopher Eccelston (circa 2009), as Hamelin Piper, MillaJovovich as Goldenhair, Natalie Dormer as Alice, David Tenant as the voice the White Rabbit, Maisie Williams as Patience Muffet. Dave Bautista as General Dendroba, Tilda Swinton as Fae Gaia and Nicole Kidman as Queen Cinder.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t just talk about doing it. Do it. You have to sit down and write your story. No one else will do it. And you are going to be the one that cares about your story the most. So sit down shut up and write your story. And just as important… Finish it. There’s nothing worse than all the work and effort to go into a half finished manuscript that never get completed. Once you have it complete you can go back and edit and revise etc. But if you start writing a story- complete it. If nothing else- you and your story both deserve to know how it ends.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ll be honest…you caught me in a phase of non fiction reference material reading. I just got a book- A tracker guide manual for identifying animal tracks in South Africa. I’m hoping to spend some time in Southern Africa in the future and I would like to know what is walking around the camps at night. I’m more likely to read non fiction stuff while I write the fictional stuff. It is sort of weird. I suppose.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I lived in Texas until about the 3rd grade and the books I remember reading at that time were mostly dinosaur books Along with Pokey Little Puppy and probably Dr. Suess. I was also reading books like The Fox and the Hound, and even Jawsat that time and of course Alice in Wonderland.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I’ll cry at movies. I have this “wonderful” ability to emotionally invest myself into a movie; even one I’ve seen a hundred times and just caught the last 5 minutes of, and I am instantly hooked as if I had been watching the whole thing from the start for the very first time. My humor tends toward Monty Python-esque. Parody I guess- like Weird Al? Subtle, dry and smart. I prefer The Addams Family to The Munsters. I grew up on classic Saturday morning cartoons, stuff that might not be considered as PC these days. Jim Henson had a great sense of innocent humor that never spoke down to children. I liked Carol Burnet and Laugh-In. I went through a “phase” of listening to the old-time radio comedies. So Bob hope and Bing Crosby road movies; Abbott and Costello. Family Guy actually draws a lot from that. And these days I’ll watch Bob’s Burgers (more animated stuff). Most other stuff that passes for comedy these days, I find isn’t that funny. I can’t stand sitcoms with laugh tracks.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet?
Presently I’d like to meet anyone that is willing to give me my next big job.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I have many hobbies. When I’m not working the day job or other freelance creative projects, I play league-level Volleyball. I do a lot of photography. I find time-lapse photography to be quite interesting, but also a lot of the emerging tech as well. Drones, 360 video, computational photography (that’s when an image is capturedby combining several different camera settings and lenses at the same time and all that photographic info can be compiled and manipulated to create images after the fact). I really would like to get back to traveling more. I’ve ridden horseback across the Scottish highlands and I love to SCUBA dive. I have swam with Whale Sharks in South Africa, dove with reef sharks in the Bahamas and have been cage diving with great whites at Isla Guadalupe’ in Mexico. I hope to dive with Tiger sharks and Hammerheads someday. Anything kind of adventurous like that I’m game for.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Recently I’ve greatly enjoyed The Expanse, also Game of Thronesand Dr. Who. I also watch on a regular basis live streaming African Safaris on the NatGeo.tv website. #SafariLive.
Well my favorite movie without a doubtis Jaws. But I grew up in the ‘80’s so there’s lots of great movies that influenced me; those are a given. But another recent favorite is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Wreck-it-Ralph. And I love the Kung Fu Panda series. Gee, animated movies …what a surprise. Haha! I studied computer animation a bit and I still do a lot of digital art. There is a lot of work and skill that goes into animating (CGI or traditional) “cartoons” moreso I think than any live action movie. Anyone can act; sort of. But not everyone can draw or draw well enough to have that drawn character “come alive and act” in a scene. It’s a coordination of directors and teams of animators and the voice actorthat bringthe character to life to the point that you are emotionally invested. There’s a lot of good animated films that are my favorites for that reason alone.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I enjoy a good barbeque and a cold beer. Or ice cream. That doesn’t really read as very healthy..but I assure you, it is all in moderation. Favorite colors- I’m pretty much an earthtoneskinda guy.
As for music- I listen to a lot of different stuff. My go to’s are YES, Jonsi&SigurRos, Pink Floyd, Afro Celt Sound System and Colin Hay (of Men at Work). But I could go on and on. Another example-a friend in Johannesburg turned me onto a band from Mozambique called Samito, So I’ve been listening to that a lot; oh and KishiBashi too.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do? Are we talking a future where we are all driving scary-looking cars across a post-apocalyptic desert kinda future? Or a futuristic Orwellian society where free thought is controlled and writing stories is outlawed? Either case I’d probably be dead.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“Nothing is written in stone”.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Here’s the link to my audiobooks on Audible.com:
And my amazon author page and books:
Here’s my website (which is not updated very often):