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. I’m Paula Martin – and let’s just say I’m a Senior Citizen!
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’ve lived near Manchester for most of my life, but was born and brought up in Preston in Lancashire.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Studied history at university, taught at various high schools for over 25 years until I took early retirement. Married then divorced, brought up two daughters, and have two grandsons (who are both in their 20s now)
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
In April I was devastated to learn that my publisher was closing due to ill-health, and spent a couple of months wondering what to do! Happily I have now found another publisher who will re-publish all my 9 novels. The first two books of my Irish series are already available for pre-order, and will be released on August 1st, with stunning new covers.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve written stories since I was about 8 or 9. It’s just something I’ve always done, originally just for myself and later, in my teens, for my friends to read.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always been a writer, it’s as much a part of me as breathing, but it was when my first book was published that I finally considered myself an author.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wrote my first book in my 20s. It was an amalgam and development of several stories I’d written in my teens, and was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to (Mills and Boon). After having three more books published, I then had a long break from writing novels but wrote a lot of short stories and articles for magazines. I came back to novel writing about 8 years ago, and have had 9 books published since 2011.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My style is specific to me.It is simply the way I write, but it has also evolved over the years, and I think (hope!) it improves with every book I write.
Writing the first draft is definitely the most challenging. Once I’ve done that, I can then see what needs changing, adding, deleting etc.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think we all bring our own experiences to our writing in some way, especially when we’re dealing with emotions, but I don’t consciously base my writing on any event in my life or anyone I know.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I usually set my books in places I know – London, Paris, England’s Lake District. I set one book in Egypt after a visit there (and wished I could go back to check out more details!). With my books set in Ireland, I draw on memories, and also research specifically when I am there. One time I took a friend on a ‘special outing’ to a retail park in Galway – in order to find out whether the hero could see someone leaving the cinema while he was watching from his car!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publisher’s cover artists.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really. I simply want people to enjoy my stories.
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 read and enjoy a lot of novels, but I don’t really have a favourite writer.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I have a friend (a reader not a writer) who is great at bouncing ideas around with me (usually while we’re having a pub lunch!). She enjoys discussing the plot and characters of the story I’m working on, and on several occasions says something or asks a question that triggers a new idea or the solution to a plot problem.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
At my age, I’m not looking for a career, but I do consider writing to be more than a hobby. Writing is an integral part of my life, and the fact that people enjoy my novels is more important to me than any financial rewards.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I do sometimes want to change things in my books – and because they are now being re-published, I’ve been able to do that in some of them.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I always learn something new, and often it’s the words I overuse which seem to change with every book. As soon as I manage to train myself to avoid certain overused words, others seem to take their place! I also learn a lot from the research I do, which has ranged from volcanoes to Irish baby adoptions.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
In my latest book, Irish Deceptions, the hero (who is an actor) would be Colin Firth (when he was in his thirties) but I’ve no idea about the heroine. I can picture her in my mind, but haven’t found an actress to play her yet.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Never think you’ve ‘finished’ when you’ve written your first draft. That’s when the hard work really starts, with editing, tweaking, tightening, .And never, ever say ‘That’ll do.’Never be satisfied with less than your absolute best.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Please be patient! All my books will be back online very soon – and I’m now part way through my next book, the 5th in my ‘Mist Na Mara’ Irish series, which I know my readers are waiting for!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ve just finished reading ‘The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society’ which was very different from the contemporary romance novels I usually read, as it is written in a series of letters from and to the different characters. Although I found this somewhat disjointed, I enjoyed it.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Milly Molly Mandy! I loved those books when I was about 6 or 7.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh – witty comments (I love Oscar Wilde), silly anecdotes – and getting 5 star reviews, of course!
Cry – happy endings.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
After having read a lot of Irish history, I’d love to meet Michael Collins, one of the leading figures in the struggle for Irish independence. From all accounts, he had a charismatic personality, passionately believed in the cause for which he was fighting, and had the ability to inspire the love and loyalty of others.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I run an over-50s group, and organise different events for them, one each week – visits to places of interest, pub lunches, cinema visits, and social evenings.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch much TV but occasionally a drama series will hook me (like Downton Abbey). I also enjoy quiz programmes and historical documentaries.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I like traditional British food – roast dinner, fish and chips,
Favourite colour has always been blue.
Very eclectic tastes in music but I’ve always loved musicals (Rodgers and Hammerstein, Les Miserablesetc)
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Difficult to imagine, but I’d probably help and advise other writers and/or edit their work.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She did her best
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Website: firstname.lastname@example.org (which will be updated as soon as all my books go online again)
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Paula-Martin/e/B005BRF9AI/