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?
Christopher Artinian and 46
Fiona: Where are you from?
Leeds, West Yorkshire
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I did A’ levels then went to work in music retail. I met my wife 24 years ago and we moved to the Isle of Lewis in 2004 where we live with our two dogs.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Book two of the Safe Haven trilogy – Realm of the Raiders, has just been released.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing at school. Back then it was music reviews, interviews with musicians etc. I started a fanzine and wrote for a handful of other magazines. I came back to writing a few years back, but this time it was fiction.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably a couple of months after Safe Haven – Rise of the RAMs came out, and I started to get really good reviews and a lot of support from readers.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Good question. These characters were originally going to be characters in a play I wanted to write over twenty years ago. It was going to be about two parents dying and the older siblings refusing to let the family be split apart. The characters stayed with me, despite the play never being written. I started tinkering around with some post-apocalyptic stories, but nothing ever bore fruit. Then one day, I decided to bring these characters into the mix, and the rest is history.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Safe Haven was actually mentioned in the book, and I thought it was the ideal title for the series.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write through the eyes of the characters. I get into their minds and act as them, so things are very organic. I can often sit down without having a clue how a scene is going to pan out. It’s quite exciting, but it can be emotionally draining too. There are scenes in book one and book two where things happened that I wouldn’t have foreseen or hoped. Obviously as a writer, I have the opportunity to change whatever I want, but I do like the immediacy of working this way.
I enjoy the genre, but I don’t think it adds any challenge above that of telling a good story.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Working the way I do, hopefully makes the characters more three dimensional. There are aspects of me and other people in lots of the characters. You write what you know and I hope that getting inside of these people’s heads makes the reader feel like they are reading about someone they could meet in the street rather than a creation of pure fantasy.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I travel into the minds of the characters. It’s like being on stage. When I am writing Mike, I play Mike for the audience. I see things unfold as he sees them. I act as he would act. It’s like method acting. Same goes for Lucy, Emma and the rest.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
A chap called Christian Bentulan. I work closely with him and he creates some truly magical stuff.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are a few. The most important one is “Never, never, never give up”, to quote Churchill. You give up and the bad guys win. You carry on and always do the right thing, it doesn’t matter what happens; you can never lose.
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’m pretty new to the zombie scene myself, so I’m hardly an expert, and there is a lot of stuff I still need to read, but there are a few people out there who tell a good tale. I love David Simpson’s Zombie Road series. He is a real talent and a lovely guy to boot. I’m also impressed with Sylvester Barzey and Planet Dead. I find his style fresh and exciting.
My favourite writer is Robert McCammon. The guy is a genius. He is able to do things with the language that leave me spellbound. He can craft an entire landscape in a sentence. Like I said, a genius.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I have some really amazing friends who believed in me more than I believed in myself.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I see it as something I would love to do full time.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I’m really proud of both my books. They are the way I hoped they would be.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
It’s really painful to say goodbye to one of your main characters.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
It would have to be an unknown. The lead character is 21, I don’t know many 21 year old actors.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Find your own path. Write what feels right. Don’t give up.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Nothing specific. I have nothing but immense gratitude for my readers. There are so many books out there and time is finite. It means a huge amount to me that they would pick up one of my books and read it. It is a very special connection and I am always left in awe when someone leaves a review or drops me a line to say how much they enjoyed my book.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Richard Restucci – Chaos Theory
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Biggles Sees Too Much by W E Johns
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
There’s the odd person who can make me laugh out loud. As far as TV goes, Frasier, The Simpsons etc. Crying… I like to immerse myself in films. If I am watching a really powerful and emotive film, I will get caught up in it and I can end up blubbering. I watched “Collateral Beauty”, with Will Smith, Edward Norton and Kate Winslett at the weekend. It was truly wonderful and that made me cry. There are pieces of music that have the same effect; Octavarium by Dream Theater, Beethoven’s Choral Symphony… quite a few actually. There is no shame in giving yourself over to an artist; allowing someone to take you on an emotional journey. That is how you get the most out of life.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I would actually love to meet Robert McCammon. I would love to talk to him for a while and try and figure out how his mind does what it does.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Other than writing, I love music, movies, reading and am a big Yorkshire cricket fan.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
TV – The Walking Dead, Longmire, Suits, Gotham, The Last Ship, Frasier (repeats), The Simpsons. Lots more older stuff like The Sopranos, West Wing, X-files, Millennium, Jericho…
Movies – far too many to name, but I love everything from Zach Snyder blockbusters to Akira Kurosawa epics.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I’m vegan and despite a lot of people asking the question; what on earth do you eat? I don’t really have a problem finding inspiration. I love food, especially Italian. I am a big fan of lasagne, baked spaghetti bolognaise etc, all washed down with a nice Pinot Grigio or Malbec depending on my mood. There are thousands of dishes and snacks and I have the same ability to pile weight on as everyone else, so I’ve got to be careful.
Colour – Black
Music – How long have you got? I have very eclectic taste. I’m a big fan of bands like Dream Theater, King Crimson, Marillion, Yes, ELP, Queen. I also love Classical and Jazz. I adore Portishead, Tom Waits, Peter Gabriel… the list goes on and on. If it is good, I will listen to it.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I told you I was ill.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes. They can join the fan club on Facebook, or visit www.christopherartinian.com