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 Fiona! Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog. My name is Virginia Gray. My age?I would like to think of myself as thirty, plus or minus ten years.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m originally from North Carolina, but now live in the Midwestern US
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
My undergraduate degree is from Wake Forest University.I went on to earn a doctoratewhich has nothing to do with women’s fiction, though my professional life taught me much about business and how the world works. I have a wonderful husband, who puts up with the insanity that is me, and two precious children, who make me laugh. Also, I live in a zoo—cats, dogs, fish, frogs…you name it. I said no to the Llama, and my youngest has yet to forgive me for it.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m thrilled to announce that the third book in the Susan Wade Saga has just been released and has already become an Amazon #1 Bestseller. I am so very grateful to my supportive fans for making that happen.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
In my professional life, I wrote technically—predominately journal publications. Eventually fiction called to me, and I began writing The Carrot
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I saw my first novellisted on major bookstore websites. I was a writer long before then, of course, but the ability for people to click “buy” took me out of the fairy tale stage.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I don’t want to sound as though possessed, but honestly, the story demanded to be written. I don’t feel like I had much of a say in the matter.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I kicked around several during the writing process. Because my protagonist, Susan Wade, is a businesswoman trying to hack her way through the corporate jungle, I decided to go with a business term. I’ve followed that model for the rest of the books in the series: The Interview and The Golden Handcuffs.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write in first person. It’s the only way I can fully develop my heroines. Moreover, I want readers to know all the charactersand care deeply for and about them, to know them. The challenge in using this style is that I must do all this through the eyes and thoughts of only one person. To overcome it, my books are dialogue-driven.
As far as genre, I’m a bit of a hybrid: part women’s fiction, part romance. I land somewhere between Sophie Kinsella and Emily Giffen. When you read my novels, prepare to both laugh and cry.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
People who really know me say they can hear my voicein Susan’s dialogue, so I suppose there is quite a bit of me in some of my characters. The character Anita in The Susan Wade Sagais my actual cousin, though I’ve taken a great deal of artistic liberty with her fictional image. In The Golden Handcuffs, Pete and Susan’s honeymoon is a compilation of my own honeymoon and several events that occurred during various vacations with my husband. I had great fun writing this section. The “black tongue” incident really did happen to me.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I love to travel, and the places I’ve visited affect my storylines. Google is quite helpful for theplaces I haven’t had a chance to visit. Having grown up in North Carolina, the primary setting for The Golden Handcuffs, I was already intimately familiar with the people and landscape.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Ashley Fontainne of One of a Kind Coverswas mastermind for the entire series. They’re wonderful to work with.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Work to live, not the opposite.
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?
Though I write women’s fiction, I read many genres. I’ve discovered the absolutely hysterical YA murder mystery series entitled The Darcy Walker Series. I’vefallen in love with the wacky protagonist and the wonderfully creative mind of author AJ Lape. In Fantasy, I love CL Schneider’sCrown of Stones series. The story is epic, the fight scenes brilliantly choreographed.
My all-time favorite writer is Anne Rice. She writes entire environments. I love vampires, and I initially read her work solely for that reason, but there I found a tremendously gifted writer who’scapable of dropping me into a garden where I can smell the perfume and feel the very air. I think she’s a genius. I usually read one of her books before beginning my next work, just to remind myself that I have permission to write flagrantly.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
What a great question, Fiona. No one has ever asked me that before. God, actually. At the time I began writing, I wasn’t in a particularly good place. The story of The Carrotshouldered its way to the surface and seemed for a time as if it were being spoon-fed to me. I often wonder if it was His way of dropping a rope into my pit and helping me climb out.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I absolutely do. It’s a wonderful thing to find a job that fills your stomach, your mind,and your soul.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I can’t imagine any author saying no to that question. I’m a perfectionist, but I have to remind myself that there is no perfection in a story. There isn’t just one perfect standardized score in which all stories are judged. It’s all subjective. I have to walk away when I’ve typed The Endand tell myself I’ve given the story everything I can.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I do research before writing on topics of which I know little, even if it’s simply Minnesota’saverage summer temperature. In The Golden Handcuffs I sought the assistance of a noted physician to help me understand the processes and procedures followed in dealing with a condition I gave one of my characters.I learned a boatload!
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
For Susan, a young Sandra Bullock, perhaps—someone withgreat comedic timing who is also able to pull offhighly emotional scenes.
For Pete, I’d take a young Matthew Mcconaughey or someonewho could whip out a sexy Southern accent that could make your panties melt while also acting a little bit scoundrel and a lot hero.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
If you have a story that’s burning inside of you…write it. Give yourself over to it.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I’d like to thank those of you who have been ardent and supportive fans. You can’t know how much you mean to me.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
EM Kaplan’s Full Slab Dead. It’s part of the Josie Tucker series. An “un-culinary” cozy mystery. Her books are about a food blogger who falls into one case after the next. Kaplan is a great humorist.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Right after Dick and Jane, I discovered A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’enlge. I’ve recently had the immense pleasure of introducing it to my own daughter.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Without becoming political?My children.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
This may sound odd, but I would like to have JRRTolkien alive for one day, and I would like to sit with him through the entireLord of the Rings trilogy in an Omnimax movie theater. And I would like toshow him his phenomenal work the way we see it. I imagine he would weep openly.Of course, he could just as easily turn to me and say, “You’ve got it all wrong!”
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Nature photography, traveling, and playing the drums.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m an action girl at heart and love watching movies on the big screen. Give me a good superhero movieor something with Benedict Cumberbatch or Chris Pine in it, and I’m in heaven. For TV, I loved, and let me repeat LOVEDBuffy the Vampire Slayer. Other favorites include The Colbert Reportand The Daily Showwith Jon Stewart. The West Wing was also a brilliant series.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I’m a foodie, so surprise me. Color: probably orange. Music: Classic rock, punk, or anything played with passion.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Go on tour with some burned out band.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Well, since I’m planning on having my ashes spread along the shore of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, probably: Caution! Biohazard.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website is virginiagraynovels.com I share news, special offers, and run contests and giveaways for my newsletter subscribers, so sign up. For links to my books, click here.
Thanks again for allowing me to visit with you. It’s been a blast!
Love the covers!
Virginia Gray said:
Thanks so much. My designer did I great job!