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?
My name is Rana Kelly and I am forty years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in the Deep South, in Alabama. Raised mostly in Florida and Western Europe. My father was in the Air Force, so I was very fortunate and travelled quite a bit.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I didn’t graduate from college. Kind of got lost in that fray. I studied English and Creative Writing. Now I’m studying computer programming. I don’t really talk about my family, but I have two teenage children.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I just released a chapbook of poetry and prose called “Superstition” with a new publisher called Sudden Denouement. It went live last week.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing since childhood. It was always something that I was instinctively good at and got praise for, so I continued.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After I finished my first novel. It took over ten years to see it through and there was plenty of personal strife during those years. When I finished it, I savored the moment and for the first time felt like a genuine author.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was inspired by my love of rock n’ roll and a previous relationship, my first love, as it were.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Good question. I put a lot of thought into it and ironically, no one gets it. “Until Her Darkness Goes” was heavily inspired by Janet Fitch’s “Paint it Black” which is still one of my favorite novels. In my opinion, the song of the same name by The Rolling Stones is one of the best rock n’ roll songs ever written in history. I know a lot of people will disagree with that, but I don’t care. So the title is based on the song. I couldn’t directly quote the lyrics, but I really love the lyric, “I have to turn my head until my darkness goes.” The book is about the darkness of two characters that fall in love, and focuses on the female lead, so I titled it, “Until Her Darkness Goes.”
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I really admire writers that have poetic, beautiful prose and I try to emulate that. Janet Fitch does, Louise Erdrich is one of the finest in the world, and I love “Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn because that book in particular has some beautiful passages with aching prose that I just adore. It is challenging to write poetic prose because there is a line between poetic and purple and I’m always afraid I’m going to cross it. You have to be gentle with the writing and be as subtle as you can.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Ah, you had to ask that, did you? It’s based on some people and places in my past, although it’s quite exaggerated. I have my next three novels sketched out and it seems all of them tell my story symbolically. I feel like I’m going to be writing that story for my entire lifetime at times, and I don’t know if I’m happy about that or not.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Of course travelling is wonderful, but if you don’t have access to travel, you can still pull off great settings. My work in progress now is a Southern Gothic based in New Orleans in the 1800’s and I luckily got to go quite a long time ago and the city left quite a mark on me.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did, with help of photographers. I tend to be a control freak about my books and how I want them represented, so I always take a hands on approach, whether I have a publisher or not.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really. There are lots of messages in the novel to be sure, but I don’t want to throw that all at readers and make them choke on it. I just hope that they take what they want from it and the book sticks with them.
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?
Allison M. Dickson is an up and coming thriller writer and a close friend. She is incredible. I can finish her books in about eight hours because I never want to put them down. My favorite by her so far is “Strings.” She’s working on a title called “Mrs. Miller” right now and I can’t wait to get my hot little hands on it. She’s quite gifted in the sinister department. Nicole Lyons is a poet that writes beautiful bits and pieces that I love. Her book “Hush” is one of my favorite keepsakes.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Suzanne Kingsbury. She wrote “The Gospel According to Gracey” and “The Summer Fletcher Greel Loved Me.” I attended a workshop she lead and that’s where my novel was born. I got this scene inside of a tour bus and she said that I was really onto something and I felt the same. That became “Until Her Darkness Goes” many years later.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’d surely love to. It’s a tough world for writers, though. Financial success is for the few rather than the many. I had to reel in a lot of hopes and dreams when I jumped into publishing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes, but I think every author feels that way in some fashion.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
My most recent book is my chapbook of poetry. It’s collected works over the past few years that I dearly loved and wanted to share. I can’t say that I learned anything from them though. Maybe things that I didn’t know about myself were set on paper, but still, I’d had a lot of the pieces for years.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
For the male lead: Ben Barnes, definitely. For the female lead, Rachael, I don’t really know. I just know she’d have to be a remarkable actress.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Remember your successes and don’t get hung up on your failures. Do everything differently than I do.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Leave reviews for the books you read, whether you liked them or not. Reviews matter a lot.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently rereading “Wuthering Heights.”
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Not the first book I read, but I clearly remember the book that made the biggest impression on me. I was 13 or 14 when I discovered Louise Erdrich’s “Love Medicine” and all of the other books that are in the series. I was overwhelmed by her writing and she immediately became the favorite author of my childhood.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I’m bipolar, so pretty much everything.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
The musician Chris Whitley. He was my favorite since childhood. Reclusive, shy, completely gifted, and undervalued. He is a person I would have loved to get to know. He died in 2005 of lung cancer.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I used to ride horses every day and I miss that terribly. Working with horses is the only thing that gets me out of my own head. I also draw and paint occasionally, although not so much anymore.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m absolutely obsessed with Game of Thrones and Outlander. I like Supernatural as well, but it has been declining slowly for years. Other than that, I don’t really watch TV at all. I don’t even have one.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I’m ashamed to say it, but I love meat. It’s so good but it makes me feel so guilty. Colors, silver, black, green. Music? Passenger is my muse. Tori Amos is too. I listen to bits and bobs from pretty much every genre but country.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I don’t want a headstone. I want to be cremated and have my ashes spread in Scotland.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Facebook.com/bookeofkells is my writing page on facebook. Until Her Darkness Goes Kindle version is currently on sale for .99.
Also, https://ihavetoturnmyhead.wordpress.com/ is my blog.