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! Thank you so much for the interview, Fiona! I’m K. L. Cottrell and I’m twenty-eight.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Texas, where the weather sucks but the BBQ is awesome!
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
First and foremost, I’m happily married to the guy who stole my heart at seventeen! He is the reason why I can write romance stories. I’m also a dance teacher. As for education, I went to college for a while, but I never found a degree I wholeheartedly wanted to work toward.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My latest news is that I’m about a chapter away from finishing a new adult romance story! I’m also about halfway done with a suspenseful paranormal romance.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing when I was eleven or so, because my imagination would never shut off!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I guess it was in 2012 when I came up with an actual solid idea for a story. That was the first time I didn’t just have bits and pieces – I had a plot, I had details, I had an ending. So even though it took me a couple years to publish the book, I knew from the start that it’d be something I’d see through to the end.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Well, like I said, my imagination never shuts off, so I always had bits and pieces in my head and nowhere to really put them. Then one day in dance class, I was trying to demonstrate something for my girls, one of whom was getting over the very recent death of a loved one, and I fell out of the move I was trying to show and I said, “Oh my God! I almost died just now!” And then I realized what I’d said and I was mortified, certain that the one girl was bitching me out in her head over how thoughtless my words were. I was stunned by how easy it was to make such a hurtful joke without thinking. So later, I had this mental flash of a female character slumped in a chair somewhere, overhearing someone joking about dying, and she’s annoyed because she’s dealing with death and it’s not funny to her at all. It turned out to be one of the first scenes in What Hides in the Darkness, and I started building the story around that girl and what her encounter with death was – and, weirdly, the bits and pieces I already had in mind ended up coming together in some really surprising and perfect ways.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
What Hides in the Darkness just sort of fell on me, really. I understood right away that that book was going to kick off a big good-versus-evil story, but neither of my main characters would be telling the story if it weren’t for the bad guys; the Hellionsare utterly evil beings disguised as humans and only certain people can see (and fight) them, so they are what hides just out of sight, in the darkness that lives in the hearts of the worst kinds of people. I felt like the book had to be named after what brought Marienne and Gabe to us in the first place.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My narration is always first-person because that’s how we live life. The challenging part of it is also the fun and interesting part: I am always directly in the heads of my characters. It was awesome for the Light Trilogy because I’ll never get to be a badass killer of evil monsters myself, but it was stressful in Sunlight Girl because my main character was very angry and hurt and I had to be those things, too, to write him. I also always write romance (different subgenres) because I believe love is the most important thing in our lives and I’m fascinated by all the different ways it can touch people. It can be challenging to talk about those different ways because I can’t only draw from my own experiences. Gotta look at other people, maybe even some that I’ve never met.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Mmm, it depends on the book. For all of them, I definitely draw on what I know of love, but the other themes come from different places. What Hides in the Darkness was sparked off by my one dancer, like I mentioned. Sunlight Girl is heavily based on someone else I know and love, with bits of other loved ones’ struggles in there. My husband recently made a joke (a funny one, not one that was in poor taste) that gave me an idea for the paranormal story I’m currently working on, and the new adult oneI’m finishing up deals with some more things either I or my loved ones have experienced. Of course, a lot of what’s in the books is just plain made-up!
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
It would be fun to travel for research purposes, but I don’t get to. We do occasionally take trips to see family and whatnot, so I get a little inspiration from those, usually. Names I see, landscapes, things like that.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I’ve used different designers for my projects. Pretty Guilty and my two WIPs were from Q Design, and the cover for the anthology Pretty Guilty was in was the work of us three authors. The Light Trilogy covers were a combination of my own design and Creative Digital Studios. The sweet author April Wilson did the Sunlight Girl cover for me.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yeah, there is. I guess the final message varies a little between books, but because I’m such an optimistic person, my stories are about people overcoming whatever it is that has been dropped into their laps. No matter what they’ve been through, no matter who they are when they meet each other, and no matter how dark and difficult things get, there is a way out of the ugliness and there is a purpose to be served and there is happiness to be found. And, of course, they always end up together because I believe love changes lives for the better.
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 honestly haven’t had a lot of time to read lately, so I don’t know what to say about new authors! But I so love Brittainy Cherry’s books, and Colleen Hoover’s, too. Those ladies develop such great characters and fill them with emotion that I believe, which is incredibly important to me.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My dancers, definitely. They’re busy girls of varying ages and interests, so not all of them have read my books and most who have haven’t read them all, but from the very start, any time I wantedopinions or had questions or needed news shared, they’ve had my back.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I guess so. I don’t make much money doing it, but I’m committed to it, I spend a ton of time on it, and I take it seriously.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Regarding my latest published book, since the ones I’m working on can still be changed…if I had to do it all over again, no, I don’t think I’d change anything in Pretty Guilty. I’ve had a couple readers say they think it was too short, but it was my contribution to a novella anthology, so it could only be a certain length – plus, it was a challenge! I’m usually incredibly wordy and prone to developing the crap out of crap, so dealing with a word count limit was a learning experience. I’m proud of how I handled that story and I wouldn’t want to change it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes, I did, in both of the books I’m working on. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say the things my characters go through are things I had to do some research on.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Of all my books, I definitely think What Hides in the Darkness should be made into a film or TV show! Man, it would be awesome to see that story brought to life. I haven’t thought much about actors, though. I could waste a lot of time trying to find people who look like my characters! But what if they couldn’t portray my people right? Blah! I do actually think Sebastian Stan would be a cool Gabe.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Oh, yeah! First of all, be patient with yourself! Writing can get really hard, really stressful, and really embarrassing, but if creating stories makes you happy, don’t give up onit. Don’t consider yourself a failure if you have to rewrite a bunch of times (I have six different documents for Sunlight Girl!) or if you’re struggling with certain things. And don’t rush! Writing is a process, so take the time to figure out who your characters are and what their lives are like, and bring them to life like you mean it! Woo!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Besides thatI would love more reviews of my books, I’d like to say I’m sorry for how quiet I can get. I appreciate you all and I’m beyond complimented that you care to read what I write, but I’m not good at marketing myself because I have a horrible fear of overloading people and being annoying. I promise I’m not quiet because I don’t think you deserve to be talked to! I’m just writing away and procrastinating promoting my work.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Nothing currently, but there are some things I need to get to! And get back to….
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I feel like it was Suppertime for Frieda Fuzzypaws.I remember being very little and loving that book a lot.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
An insane number of things. My husband is definitely the funniest part of my life, and my nephew is hilarious, and Ilove The Office and New Girl and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,and my husband and I laugh a lot about little things like birds in parking lots. And I cry about things just as often as I laugh – songs, real life moments, things I see online, movies and TV shows….
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Colleen Hoover or Brittainy Cherry. Assuming I wouldn’t be a nervous, useless mess, I’d love so much to ask them about their writing processes.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
My life is writing, dancing, and hanging out with my loved ones!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The Office and New Girl are my personal favorite shows. They never, ever get old. And I enjoy all kinds of movies, so I really don’t know what my favorites are! I love comedies, movies about magic, movies like The Fundamentals of Caring and Crazy, Stupid, Love that are funny and sad and dramatic with twists in perfect places.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Favorite foods are a tie between pizza and these spicy chicken tacos I make. I like dark colors, usually, but I’m a sucker for almost anything sparkly. And my favorite band is Hands Like Houses, but I love a lot of different kinds of music. I have a serious appreciation for meaningful lyrics and awesome guitar and drums, butthe dancer in me can’t ignore a catchy beat, regardless of what the song is.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would still do something creative. Continue to teach dance, make jewelry, see about graphic design or making greeting cards.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Wow, I have no idea. Absolutely no idea! Likely something short and sweet.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Well, like I said, I’m not real talkative on Facebook, but I do speak up sometimes for giveaways and stuff on my author page and book page! I’ll also link my Amazon author page, where all my works can be found.
My books are linked individually below!
The Light Trilogy: