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 and thank you for the interview, Fiona. My name is Kelly Lee Casey.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born and raised on Long Island, New York. I still live here with my family.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I have three beautiful children, and hold a Master’s Degree in Art.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I recently broke my wrist and needed surgery. I was devastated at first, but now that it’s healing, it has afforded me extra time to work on my third book, which I will now probably be able to finish much earlier than anticipated.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have always written as well as drawn and painted–since I was a child (I seem to be good at things that typically don’t pay well), but when I made the choice to go to college, I went into the visual arts and writing went on the backburner.
Now it’s time to get a little personal, I suppose. A few years ago, my marriage of nearly twenty years was beginning to unravel. I think as a psychological outlet, I started reading romance novels—this was right around the time the 50 Shades of Grey series became very popular. I had read romance novels years ago, but hadn’t in a very, very, long time until I picked up E.L. James’ books. I was hooked on the genre after that, losing myself in the fantasy of what could be. I started reading more novels and authors. Then I came across a book that I was very excited to get into, and it left me flat. I would never say which one. I have never, nor would I bash another writer, the connection to a book/story/characters being so subjective and personal. But I was disappointed enough that I said to myself, “I think I could write one myself.” I took up my own challenge and wrote Lost My Way Found. I have no way of knowing if it’s any better than the other book that inspired me to get back into writing after a two-decade hiatus, but I am grateful for having stumbled on it, nonetheless. It lit a fire under me. I wrote my first book in a month.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I didn’t consider myself a writer until I finished the last page of that first book.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I jumped the gun and answered this in the above question, but I will elaborate on it.
It was my now ex-husband and our crumbling marriage that inspired me, along with the book that had left me feeling that perhaps I could write my own.
After I had completed my first few chapters, I had told him what I was doing. He was completely supportive and excited for me. We obviously hadn’t been getting along, so I was surprised by his response. I read it to him. He loved it. And I took that as a great compliment since he is not a reader, (unless it is Stephen King).
At the end of each day, for the next few weeks, I read what I had written to him, until the book was finished.
It didn’t save our relationship, but in a weird way it allowed us to re-connect on a level we had lost. For me, the writing was therapeutic; helping me to let go of something that was no longer working for either one of us. In the end, my husband and I parted as friends. We are still very close to this day, and he is still one of my biggest cheerleaders.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I pull the titles of my books from the storyline. Both had working titles that were changed when I finished, after I had time to reflect on the story.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I work in structured chaos. I am not a well-organized person by nature, but there is a method to my madness. I usually have written outlined notes of the major points in the storyline that I use as a guide. I often scribble down anything I think is good and then I’m left to decipher my atrocious handwriting as I’m typing everything out. I never work out dialogue ahead of time. I find it flows better for the characters if it is a stream of consciousness event, and I will then go back and touch up the wording.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There is a little bit of myself and experiences with others in my life in each character of my books. My stories are imagination with a kernel of truth, whether it be a desire of mine, or something that really happened.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Well, between work, kids, and finances, I haven’t been able to visit the places I really would like to go. I’m a vagabond of the mind. I daydream a lot.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My friend of twenty-five years, Pamela Cunningham. We met in art school and she is a fantastic graphic artist and designer.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That there is always a chance at a new beginning, that you can shift directions of your life and find yourself.
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 grew up with the classics, The Great Gatsby, Brave New World, Jude the Obscure—three of my favorites.
As for more contemporary writers, (in my genre), there are so many talented authors and books that I have connected with over the past few years.
After I had read the Fifty Shades series, I moved on to S.C. Stephens and Thoughtless. That was a great read that led me through a roller coaster of emotions with one helluva book hangover after.
I also enjoy the works of Sylvain Reynard and Samantha Young.
Between my Kindle and iPad, I must have a couple of hundred novels, some I still haven’t gotten to read yet—but very much looking forward to some free time to kick back and unwind with a good story.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
It was only immediate family and a couple of close friends that knew I had written a book.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely; I’m hoping it sees me the same way eventually. I would love to be able to do this full time.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t know if I would change anything significant in Fionn’s Hart, which was my second book, and latest (published)—maybe clean up a little of the dialogue.
It’s my first book, Lost My Way Found, that I would change. I wrote it, and then had no idea what I was doing. No idea at all. I couldn’t afford a professional edit, and I didn’t know when I would. So I just took a leap of faith and published it on Amazon. Despite the comments about the grammatical errors, and there are many, most of the reviews have been extremely positive. It gave me the drive to write Fionn’s Hart (and get a proper editor). But I still may pull Lost My Way Found at some point to have it cleaned up.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I’m in the middle of writing my third book now, and it is always a learning process, with each page I write.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I’m not sure. In my mind, Shane, (the protagonist of Fionn’s Hart), is so ridiculously good-looking and charismatic, no one jumps out at me.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Just jump in-without fear. If you fail, who cares? That’s life. But at least you could say you tried and not wonder, what if. That’s far worse.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my work. It’s such an incredible feeling to know that as an author, you have become part of someone’s life, even for a brief moment.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I take a break from reading fiction when I am writing. I don’t want to subconsciously affect what I write.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Yes; an illustrated book of fairy tales given to me by my grandmother. I don’t know for sure if it was really the first, but it’s what I remember.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
The absolute absurdity of life. I believe it was John Lennon that said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”. He was a very smart man.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I like to meet people, period. I don’t know if there is any one particular person. Everyone has a story to tell and a life rich in detail and experience.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Painting, drawing, photography, (which I am hopefully going to be able to get back to soon); being a general nuisance to my children. The usual.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m a huge fan of the Walking Dead (unless they ever decide to kill off Carol, then I don’t know if I could watch it anymore). I have recently started watching Mad Men on Netflix and love it.
I love going to the movies and will watch just about anything if it’s caught my attention at the time.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Coffee and chocolate; both preferably dark.
Yellow, the color and Yellow, the song by Coldplay are two of my favorites. I also love just about everything from the Black Keys to Alicia Keys. I’m a big fan of music and listen to it to get into certain moods while I am writing.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Honestly? I would adapt. I’ve been through enough in life to know it goes on. But I would be greatly upset. I feel like I just started this path in life and getting better with each story I write. I wouldn’t be able to see how far I could go or achieve and that would bother me the most.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I’m a bit superstitious. I think I’ll skip this one.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I’m an indie writer, so I’m still trying to build an audience. I often run sales on my books for that reason and I always post it to my facebook page:
I’m also on twitter@kellyleecasey