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?
Hello Fiona, and thank you so much for suggesting this interview. I’m Sahara Kelly, I’m a writer, and I’m a bitolder than Harry Styles, but younger than dirt. 😀
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m proud to say I was born in Cardiff, then moved to London for a few years. After that it was off to Hampshire, a little town just outside Southampton, and I spent a dozen or so happy years there before emigrating to the US.
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
Since arriving in the USA, I’ve managed to find a husband, keep him for over thirty years, (he’s still around, LOL) and we have a son who has achieved adulthood in spite of us. I have family in Florida, and after 25 years in Massachusetts I now find myself in Northern Virginia, within hailing distance of the Pentagon and Washington DC. (Please note: The current political situation is not my fault.)
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Well I have an upcoming Regency novel releasing at the end of this month (August 2017), and in September I’ll be heading west to Spokane, Washington state, for a marvelous chance to be a Regency Lady for a week at the Historical Romance Retreat. All costumes, all the time. Pure heaven. J
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
That started here, in America, although Barbara Cartland planted the seeds long before. After I finished my 124th novel of hers (yes, seriously, I counted ‘em), I wondered if I could do one myself. One where the heroine had a bit of backbone to her. (No disrespect intended.) So I did, and after a series of lucky coincidences it was accepted and published two months before my son was born.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m not quite sure. Holding my first book (only paperback in those days) was almost as good as holding my son. LOL But motherhood took over for quite a few years. It wasn’t until the offspring was relatively self-sufficient that I got back to writing. And earned some money. That helps make it more real.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
See the Barbara Cartland comment above. I was exhausted with heroines who possessed “delicate heart shaped faces and eyes of liquid beauty”, and who relied on the hero for most of her stuff. I also felt that melting from the one perfect kiss…well, it was a nice ending, but it left me underwhelmed. Thus I embarked on my own version.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My first book? The publisher gave it a new title. My first experience with what it would be like writing for a publishing company. (I am now self-published and loving it, btw.)
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’ve been told that I have a strong voice, and that readers can hear my characters talking. I love that notion, because I hear them as well. That may mean I need psychiatric counseling, of course. LOL But since I write in more than a few genres, each one comes with its own set of challenges. Right now, I’m all about the Regency, so it’s research, research, research.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Well, my historicals? Very little to none. I would have loved to have lived during the Regency, but since I haven’t…I must rely on records for information. Now and again something I recognize will creep into one of my contemporaries, but I love inventing things…so again, real life mostly stops outside my door when I’m writing.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Nope. Travel as a writer is so that I can meet readers face-to-face. Writing is a solitary experience, so a chance to hug readers in person is priceless. Although I hope to go home to England at some point and drop by all the exciting places I never went to while I was living there. Sigh.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I do all my own cover art, and have been involved in that side of digital publishing for some years. Going on six years ago, a friend and I began a small art business, specializing in art for authors. We’re still going strong, I’m proud to say. (There are some links below if anyone cares to take a peek.)
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Interesting question. I don’t consciously intend for my work to be anything other than entertaining; a chance to escape into a romance/adventure/otherworld/past age, and leave everyday stress behind for a bit. If readers DO find a message there…well,good for 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?
I wish I had more time to read new authors. Sad to say, I don’t. But I will try and squeeze in time for the latest Nora Roberts because her characters are so well crafted. I’m also a big fan of Susan Elizabeth Phillips who ALWAYS makes me laugh.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
That’s difficult to answer, since my development as an author was prolonged, taking place over quite a bit of time. So many friends were part of that period, and I’m not sure if there was one in particular who was any more supportive than anyone else.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. It’s my full time job and has been for nearly fifteen years now. I wear two hats; one as the writer, and the other as a publisher of my own work. I have control over release schedules, promotions, print distribution…all the business end stuff. It can be daunting, but it is worthwhile.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so. All the parts came together pretty much the way I wanted.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I always learn something new from each book, especially my Regencies. This latest book features a Vicar as the hero, so I dove into learning about the Church of England in the early 1800’s. Also bit of Church architecture, because I like to have an image of the setting in my mind. The next in the series will require some research into Regency-period erotica. What kinds of erotic literature would one find on the shelves of a country home, for example. (Or behind locked doors in said home.)
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Oh boy. Um…That is very hard. LOL For the character of Simon Ridlington? I would cast…possibly Jude Law? He has the right look and my Vicar is a deliciously available and attractive lad…
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Only one. Finish the damn book. Don’t talk about it, whine about it, complain or stress or agonize about it. Just FINISH it. Then you will know what, if anything, needs to be done to it.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
It is hard to find the right words to tell readers how much they mean to us writers. The fact that someone will buy a book I wrote, and read it…that is a priceless gift I treasure each time it happens. I’m honored by their interest, their encouragement and their opinions, both good and bad. I learn from them, I value them and I wish I could give each and every one a big hug. But since I can’t I’m limited to two very simple words…THANK YOU.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Don’t laugh…I’ve just started Excel VBA Programming for Dummies. That’s for the business side of writing. LOL We self-published authors HAVE to keep track of every detail and spreadsheets become our colleagues. It’s work, but it’s worth it.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Oh gosh…I think it was The Water Babies, by Charles Kingsley. I certainly remember the pictures…
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
For laughter? Monty Python, of course. Robin Williams. Miss him. Stephen Fry – we adore QI in this house!
What makes me cry? These days, it’s politics.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
So many names fly into my mind! Shakespeare…Churchill…Thomas Jefferson and of course Stephen Fry, just to name a few. All men who used/uselanguage as I feel it should be used. With joy, reverence and appreciation. Sheer linguistic beauty is a big attraction for me.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love sewing. The upcoming Historical Romance Retreat requires costumes, so I pulled out my sewing machine, indulged in yards of fabric and have been happily creating my day dresses and ball gowns ever since. LOL
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I am a science fiction fan; can’t wait for the new BLADE RUNNER movie in October. For television, don’t talk to me while Game of Thrones is on, and Westworld is a close second. My favorite mind-candy? Midsomer Murders and the Miss Fisher Mysteries. Although I may add Hamish MacBeth to that list because I do enjoy whimsy. Such an awesome series. So my viewing preferenes are a bit eclectic I’m afraid.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Um…chocolate, probably blue this week, and songs I know the words to. Which rather limits my music preferences. LOL
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Ugh. <shudder> Probably design clothes?I’m not sure, to be honest.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I may be gone, but all my books are still available at Amazon. J
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I do…thanks for asking. Here’s the list of useful links:
My website (about to be re-done this autumn), http://www.saharakelly.com
My blog (I don’t blog very often unfortunately. No time…) https://writersaharakelly.blogspot.com
My newsletter (best way to keep in touch with what’s happening) http://eepurl.com/bxPvP
Follow me on Amazon here:http://amzn.to/2iftQmv
(I’m on Facebook – search for Sahara Kelly to find my personal page and my fan page; and also Twitter @writersaharak. But tweeting isn’t my thing…I’m too wordy. LOL)
Oh, if anyone is curious about the Historical Romance Retreat, here’s their website. It’s a fun browse if you’re a Historical novel fan: https://www.historicalromanceretreat.com
Here’s a link to the company I co-own with artist and author Scott Carpenter, which focuses on art for authors; we’re also happy to do promotional graphics, book plates, social media stuff…doesn’t just have to be for authors!
Last, but not least, here’s the link to the first book in my latest Risqué Regency series TheSix Pearls of Baron Ridlington.This book, the story of The Landlocked Baron, kicks off a six-book series and the second book, St. Simon’s Sin, is ready for release at the end of this month.
I hope you’ll have chance to stop by and visit some of these links – and if you do please remember how much I appreciate you all.
Fiona, my thanks for a fabulous interview. These questions have been a delight to answer, and I trust your readers won’t fall asleep in the middle of ‘em. LOL