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?
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Having just finished my Masters thesis, titled ‘Literary Serial Killer Fiction: The Evolution of a Genre,’ I am glad to be writing fiction again after a one-year hiatus. I have a very generous wife who allows me to write and work from home and look after our two children when they are not at school. Without her support I am afraid that my writing would only ever be a hobby at best.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Latest news? Nothing of note – as mentioned above, I’ve just finished my academic studies so am looking forward to completing my next novel.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have been writing macabre stories ever since I was a kid. My first published works were poems in various literary journals in NZ and a few in the States. Back in 1996 I published a collection of verse titled ‘Journey: The Search for Something’ and had the occasional piece published online, but nothing really of note in the horror field until my short story, ‘The Devil Inside,’ was accepted for the 2010 Masters of Horror Anthology. I have always loved the Horror genre and dark literature, so this really inspired me to focus my writing on what I loved rather than what I thought other people wanted to read and it finally started to pay off. Blood Related, my first novel was a labor of love and took me roughly six years to write and it wasn’t until I changed day-jobs that I had the time to bring it all together as my debut novel. I guess I write because the form allows me the best means to express the thoughts and imaginative stories, which play out constantly in my head.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my novel Blood Related was published by a traditional (albeit, indie) publisher.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The initial period of creating the ‘world’ and the characters of Blood Related, were inspired by all the other books (both fiction and non-fiction) I had read over the years that dealt with psychological terror. Movies have had a big influence on the way I ‘see’ a story develop in my mind’s eye before I put it on paper. So, I would say that I was inspired to write Blood Related by what I have seen and read in a similar vein over the last twenty years. The fact that there are hundreds of works of serial killer fiction out there motivated me to write my own version, essentially a variation on a theme, but I have tried to make it a variation terrifying enough to scare whoever reads it! There was a lot of research involved with this book and astute readers should be able to identify various nods to the horror genre and the macabre world of serial killer culture. That is to say, where my ‘inspiration’ comes from, in regards to Blood Related.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It just gelled as a suitor for the content really. The fact that not many other books at that time shared the same title, ultimately sealed the deal.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I try and write in an economical prose style that is easy for the majority of people to read. Hopefully, because my prose is pared down and usually sparse it makes the reading experience more accessible for readers. I wouldn’t say I have a specific style as I write (usually) within genre conventions, depending on what I am writing at the time. Even my excursions into the bizarre genre are relatively simplified as I have endeavored to say what I want with the least amount of words possible. In this respect, I guess my prose style might be considered minimalist, although at times I am sure that some of my stories border on the verbose.I am currently working on a novel that possibly falls under the auspices of ‘literary fiction’ – this genre is proving a challenge and is definitely one in which I would like to continue writing.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There are plenty of non-fiction and fictional books that deal with the subject of serial murder and during the research I conducted for the book, a perceptible ‘canon’ of such literature dating all the way back to Gutenberg and beyond (The Bible/Quran etc.) became apparent to me. There are a few instances and plenty of true-crime books that piqued my interest in what drives these murderers to commit multiple homicide. Serial killer fiction has also intrigued me as a reader and some of the first ‘adult’ books I ever read as a teenager dealt with the subject. Probably the two biggest influences on my writing of Blood Relatedwere Colin Wilson’s The Killer and James Ellroy’s brutal Killer on the Road. I guess Caleb Cunningham is an amalgam of the cases I have researched and characters I have read about over the years. For a complete list of all the non-fiction books and case-studies that I read and that influenced the writing of Blood Related, see this link: https://bloodrelated.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/non-fiction-books-about-serial-killers/
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Nope – only to the library or my imagination.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I used to design most of my covers and quite a few for other people but now I try and source good quality art from other indie artists. Jeffrey Kosh has done a few for me as has Steve Upham.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My stories are essentially moral plays on what happens when bad people do bad things to good people. Usually (but not all the time), the bad things come back to bite the bad people on the ass. So I guess the underlying message in most of my work is that if you screw with someone, be prepared for a massive dose of karma as a result.
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 are so many good writers coming through. Some notable examples include the likes of Vincenzo Bilof, Benjamin Blake, Lee Murray, Anna Taborska, William Todd Rose, Adam Millard and Carole Gill to name a few. My favorite author (predictably, perhaps) is Stephen King– I just love the way the guy writes and can transform the mundane into the incredible. If I can one day write half as well as King does, I will die a happy man.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I see it as a potential career but I am a realist and there are only a few authors who can sustain a profitable career for a long period of time. I have a ten-year plan and am well on my way to achieving an income that can warrant a full-time living as a writer. So, yes, I view my writing as having the potential to pay the bills.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I never stop learning. In my opinion, you would have to be a robot not to learn anything during the writing of a book.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Perhaps Nicholas Hoult or Joseph Levitt.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Not really – just don’t give up. Without persistence and tenacity, talent is wasted.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you to those of you who have read my work and for those who haven’t, why not give it a try. Take a risk on indie authors, there really are some good story-tellers out there just waiting to be discovered.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Peter Straub’s Houses Without Doors.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Robert L Stevenson’s Treasure Island.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I think I would most like to meet Stephen King if I could. I really enjoy his books and think he oozes experience and valuable advice.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Lifting weights, creating art digitally and on paper, reading and writing of course.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Bates Motel, UFC, and Twin Peaks amongst others.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Life is strange and never-ending.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Sure – come and subscribe to my website and grab a free digital copy of my collection, Dreams of Thanatos: Collected Macabre Tales: http://www.williamcookwriter.com/p/subscribe-now.html