Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Hi, Fiona. It’s nice to meet you!
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Donna McNicol but I write as D.B. McNicol. I will turn 70 this year (how did that happen?).
Fiona: Where are you from?
I grew up in small town New England but my parents moved to Florida in April of my senior year. I stayed with my best friend and her parents until graduation and then took a commercial bus to Florida. Imagine that – seventeen years old, fairly sheltered life, spending days on a bus in 1965, the height of the integration issues.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
For whatever mislead reason, I married the day after I turned eighteen. I had two children by twenty-one and was divorced by twenty-five. Phew! A second marriage brought one more child and also ended in divorce. But I found a career working with computers and between taking various college courses and a lot of on the job training, I advanced quickly.
Over the years, I moved a lot. His job, my job, rentals, and more. What states you ask? MA, NH, FL, GA, DE, IA, VA, NY, CO, GA, PA, FL and TN.
I was widowed from my third husband after almost twenty years. In 2005, I saddled up my Harley-Davidson motorcycle and toured the country by myself (several trips). I managed to ride through 42 states and cover 27k miles at age 58. Oh, when did I learn to ride? When I was 55 and my husband was diagnosed with cancer. He convinced me to learn to ride my own, and I did!
Then in 2007, I sold everything, bought a used Class C motorhome and traveled the country. It was in July 2008 that I met my now husband in Gillette, WY. We were at an RV rally, both widowed, both full-time RVers and both motorcyclists. Fate!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I am currently working on two projects. The first is the third novel in my Klondike, PA mystery series. Book one was Not a Whisper, book two was Barely a Spark and book three is Almost a Touch. The first draft is done and I hope to move into edits soon.
I am in the final stages of completely my second Kindle World novella, Paradise Dead, part of the Lei Crime Kindle World Series. The first books was Paradise Down and the third will be Paradise Drift (hopefully out before the end of the year). It will hopefully make the next Kindle World launch on August 17th.
And I just published a middle grade childrens book of seven fantasy stories, 7 Days of Seven: Tales of Fantasy and Adventure for Middle Grade Readers. As per the book description, these seven short stories were written with the idea of creating worlds where imagination runs free. Fanciful characters, amazing lands, and creatures unheard of in our world. I hope these stories will fuel a thirst for reading and encourage young folks to be more creative.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
It’s hard to remember when I wasn’t writing. When I was in fourth grade, I had a toy typewriter and I’d type of copies of a little neighborhood newspaper and sell it for ten cents.
Throughout my career in IT, I was participating in non-fiction writing. Then in 1996, I was invited to become a web content writer for one of the early portal compilation sites. For the next several years I wrote content for them and several other sites as well as some print articles.
In 2003, before my late husband’s cancer diagnosis, I was semi-retired and decided to dabble in some short stories for womans magazines. I never got any submitted due to his illness. Everything went on the back burner.
In 2012, I started to participate in writing flash fiction online. My attempts were met well and I even one a second place prize. I participated in the 2012 April A to Z Blog Challenge, writing a flash fiction story for each letter. I eventually compiled them all into a book and self-published it on Amazon.
That encouraged me to dig out a short story I had written in 2003 and publish it as well, Lost and Found.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I seriously considered myself a writer when I successfully completed both a Camp NaNoWriMo and a NaNoWriMo in 2012. They resulted in my first two books, Home Again (a follow-up to the short story Lost and Found) and Not a Whisper, my first Klondike PA mystery book.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I actually wrote Not a Whisper first, but published Home Again first. Home Again was inspired by my readers of Lost and Found. They insisted they needed to know what happened to the characters.
Not a Whisper came from a dream I had written down a couple years before. I had a dead body, a setting and some characters. I had no idea who the killer was and that changed several times during the writing.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Believe it or not, I actually came up with the titles for the first eight books. I think the first title came from the dream which became the book prologue.
Will I get them all written? Not sure, but here they are.
Not a Whisper
Barely a Spark
Almost a Touch
Clearly a Miss
Just a Glimpse
Simply a Smile
Hardly a Sound
Finally a Choice
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write very conversationally and I love writing dialogue. Characters are at the top of my stories, whether mystery or romance. I have found I love writing “whodunit” style mysteries rather than romances. I have a trilogy of romance stories sitting and collecting dust.
My mysteries aren’t graphic, tend to be on the police procedural side and any romance stops at the bedroom door.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I draw heavily on my experiences and people I’ve met. In fact, one character in my Klondike series was a driving force in my writing the first book. She never lived to read it, sadly.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Fortunately, or unfortunately, travel isn’t required. My Klondike mysteries are set in an area where I have lived and while the third is set in Montana most of the time, I’ve also visited that area.
My Lei Crime “Paradise” novellas are different. They require a lot of online research. I had never been before writing the first one. My husband and I did take a cruise to Hawaii last November but I ended up sick and missed most of the ports. So…still doing online research for the second and third novellas.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did the covers for 7 Days of Seven, Lost and Found, Home Again (my daughter took the photo), and all the Lei Crime “Paradise” books. Elizabeth Mackey, http://www.elizabethmackeygraphics.com/, has done all my Klondike mystery books. She is a gem!
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
One very good friend and fellow RVer and author, Nick Russell. He read my first Klondike book and I knew he’d be honest with me. If he hated it, I would have stopped right then. You can see his books here, https://www.amazon.com/Nick-Russell/e/B00520F10M.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Just get it on paper, stop reading about HOW to write and do it. Don’t worry if your first draft stinks, that’s what editing is for!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Keep reading and please, leave reviews for your favorite authors!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Ahhh, I’m one of those folks who loves to read and will devour a book in a couple of hours, but when I’m writing, I don’t read. I’m currently looking forward to December when I am, hopefully, done with all my WIP and can read!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, but I do remember several favorites. Wind in the Willows, Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, the Bobbsey Twins and the Trixie Beldon series.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Emotion…tug at my heartstrings and I will cry. But I love to laugh, and human nature is funny. But I do admit to not being a fan of slapstick humore.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Until last year, my favorite hobby, besides reading, was riding my motorcycle. I’ve always loved travel and spent two year living in Ecuador. Now I’m ready to nest in our new home in rural middle Tennessee.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love SciFi and am currently watching way too many series. I also enjoy some crime drama and a couple of favorite sitcoms. At the movies it’s fantasy and action/adventure and a couple of comedies.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
My comfort foods are lasagna and meatloaf. But I love most vegetables. Desserts? We love to ride our motorcycle to get apple pie and ice cream, that failing, just ice cream will do!
My current color favorites are the warm colors – orange, yellow, rust and a warm red.
My favorite music is Classic Rock, after all, I am a child of the 60’s. But I do like most country music as well and then toss in some good blues and I’m happy.
I have a writing playlist that is pretty eclectic: soundtracks from two now cancelled TV series, Defiance and Copper, plus albums by Lindsey Sterling and Geoffrey Castle.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Donna-B.-McNicol/e/B0081QGNVA