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 thank you for inviting me! My name is Caroline Walken; I am a woman with well over 50 years of experience and hijinks!
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in Ohio in a small town an hour east of Cincinnati. It is a farming communityso it is normal to share the morning commute with a large tractor.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
As I stated, I live on a small farm in Ohio with my husband, horses and dogs. I do work a full time job as an Unemployment Hearing Coordinator. Writing began as a hobby however; it quickly developed into a full-fledged passion. Like many of you, I balance writing with working and other responsibilities and from time to time, the spinning plates fly! Nevertheless, storytelling is its own reward and I plan to continue this for as long as I can. I write primarily romance but it is not the common boy meets girl happily ever after story. With an addiction to action movies, I cannot help but follow that track. My female characters possess strong hearts, iron wills and a talent for getting into trouble.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
In my latest novel, NOWHERE ON THE MAP the story explores the impact of childhoodupsets. The characters each have faced life-altering events as children. Each had different reaction making them either victimized or victorious over their circumstances. Jon Banks lost his parents at a young age but his Aunt Fern stepped in and raised him to adulthood. In the same token, Maggie Lewis also experienced with growing up without a parent however; her mother chose to walk out of her life without notice. They are not the only ones that struggle with their past, another member of the town was raised in a violent household. He became the head of the household when he murdered his father; or rather when his alter ego arrived to do the deed.
While Jon has remained the ultimate man-child without committing to a relationship, this changes when he meets Maggie. He is a beat cop transplanted from the large city of Cincinnati to the small town of Hawks Ridgewhen he accepts overseeing the care of his Aunt Fern. He is lured by the comforts of small town living and his constant curiosity over the town’s sweetheart, Maggie Lewis. Maggie has lived beyond the day her mother packed her bags and walked away from motherhood and the marriage to her stepfather. The deep-seated fear of rejection however has kept Maggie from growing emotionally and the tactics she uses to protect her heart in the end imprison her.
Maggie has one area where she allows her heart to be open and that is with the small police force. She willingly volunteers to assist in any way she can and helps them secure funds for equipment and technical upgrades to their small force. When Cincinnati agrees to loan Jon to the small police unit, this frees up Bobby Collins to work on cold cases. The one both he and Maggie would love to close is the senseless murder of a young boy: Josh Taylor. Maggie can identify with the slain youth as he too had come from a less than ideal home life. Meanwhile another member of the small community struggles as his demon demands justice. Pieces of the unsolved murder come together out of nowhere. The vortex from the war within the man grows in intensity drawing the others in.
This past August, I wrote a short story titled “IN HIDING”. It was the winning entry in a Summer Series Competition on the Facebook Site,Writers Assembled. It is a story about a girl running for her life as she attempts to escape capture from a bounty hunter. This will be a future project for a fiction novel; the work has opened a path of interest in me, allowing more work in the crime a suspense genre
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have to say it was the encouragement of my husband, he believed I had a knack for storytelling. We both thought it was just a fluke, I teased my husband it would likely take me the rest of my life to put out one small book. In just days, I had filled a notebook and I just could not stop! I loved stepping into the world that I created. The characters represented people I admired and loved in my life.
I wrote for entire days and fell in love with the creative process. Don’t make any mistake my first draft was horrid! The second draft…was just as bad, however it was now a labor of love and I had to see this though.After a ton of revisions, rewording and hair pulling the story was finally together enough for editing.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It was after I had received the feedback from a beta reader. It was with Ell’s Double Down, after the final editing I allowed a friend to read it and asked for feedback from them. In the story, the main setting is the resort Ell’s family ran. I spent time walking the empty rooms with Ell. I cried when she knew she had lost the chance to salvage what she could of her home.I wanted to convey that emotion as strongly as possible.
My reader told me that she could see the dust in the sunrays streaming in the windows. She too cried when Ell walked through her childhood home the last time after they placed the auction sign on the property. You know you are a writer, when someone else can see the world that you have created.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The first book, Ell’s Double Down was born from a dream. I had a vague idea about a story but nothing more. I was lost for a setting, the characters or structure! I sat with a blank page taunting me and I cursed it back.
That night I had a dream and the seed of inspiration sprouted. In the dream, I stood in an elevator. The interior was adorn with those sleek art deco lines I love. Burled mahogany panels framed by lavish ornamental and geometric details surrounded me in this place. The whirl of the motor stopped and the doors parted inviting someone to enter.
There he stood, my husband suited up in a double-breasted pinstripe, looking handsomely dangerous in his fedora. I clenched my gloved hands now aware I too was dressed in the era of the roaring twenties. I glanced at him from beneath my cloche hat, and a smile touched his lips.The doors close as he takes his place with me on the wall as the car returns to its programmed path. I feel him nudge me and I look up in time for him to lower his face for a kiss! My mind reels from the sensation; it is scandalous what if the doors open?
The dream broke leaving me wonder…what is the story of these two people?
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The premise of ELL’S DOUBLE DOWN was that she was attempting to salvage what she could from her childhood home by buying her grandfather’s cabin. This is no small feat for anyone in the mid 1920’s but for a woman it was nearly impossible. She did it by gambling, and she was successful due to the fact she had nothing to lose, having lost everything already.
For REGGIE’S NO LIMIT, we follow the same couple that now are the host to large Mob parties and run a gaming hall. Reggie Martin knows he will do anything for his fiancé Ell however when she is threatened he goes all in making every effort to protect her. She however has the same passion when it comes to saving her home and safeguarding her women friends. She risks everything to protect them both.
In NOWHERE ON THE MAP, the characters traverse unknown territory as they each deal with childhood issues. Jon Banks leaves his home to care for the Aunt that raised him repaying his debt to her. Maggie Lewis meanwhile is a tidy package of control all while battling severe abandonment fears after her mother walked out of her life. However, everyone in the small townis swept into the vortex of anger when a loved member of their community suffers a severe mental break.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I mainly write drama/romance stories but the romance portion is sprinkled in as necessary. I am old school and will always be true to myself, my women likely won’t like handcuffs unless they are a cop. If a man were to push them up against a wall in force, they may fight back like a wild cat.
I would, so they do.
I know, erotica is selling big and I am happy for those that are successful. It is just not in my wheelhouse and I cannot do this convincingly. I applaud other writers that can, but it is similar to writing fantasy, I also am unable to imagine a dragon although I appreciate those that can.I focus more on the story around the romance, taking the reader with me to a speakeasy or small town.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The women in my stories are feisty; they will get themselves into a mess and work a way out of it. I like people that own their moment, embrace their mistakes or stand tall against the odds. I have had great relationships and one very bad one, but I still believe in love. I simply dissected my bad relationship and earmarked the things to be wary of in the future.
My mother was a strong woman and a feminist before there was a term for it! I think they used to call it being a pain in the ass back then! However, she taught me my life, my body and my decisions are my own. They are like a gift and I should treat them as such. That lesson has served me well and I try to instill this in all my storytelling.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My last cover design was by Talia’s Book Covers, she is an excellent graphic artist with and very reasonable. I highly recommend her!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
As I stated I like to lift up women and encourage them to be strong. It is not easy even in this day but if you stand up for your values at the end of the day, you will rest easy.
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 read Lora Leigh, Patricia Cromwell and others. I will also read indie authors such as AJ Harmon. I like supporting the indie group of writers since many are extremely good!
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My dear friend Angie, she also is a great resource for editing my work. Angie is honest and forthright with me and that is what I need. I am growing in this craft, Angie helps me progress and improve.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do see this as a long-term career; I may need to eat more Mac & Cheese verses steak however, I don’t see myself stopping. I have enjoyed this more than anything I have done so far in my life.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Invest you time to writing. I try to be self-sufficient but honestly; I recommend that you pay to have the cover designed by a professional and have a knowledgeable person build the website. I would have been wiser to not struggle with these things as the result of my stubbornness!
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I honestly have Jason Statham slip into all the male roles, what a sexy Brit!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
I would tell them to hang in there, a story will ramble and some just don’t come together as nicely. Don’t become discouraged over this, just park it and move to something else. I do carve out time every morning to promote one of my books. I try to write at least every day, if only for an hour. If I don’t have time to write, then I edit the last chapter. Treat it like a job, just keep trying; we are waiting to read it!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Writers love hearing from you! If you can’t post a comment on Amazon, post it on your author’s Facebook page or website. We do this for you to enjoy and we love hearing from you.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was not the first book I read but the first book I recall loving is Black Beauty. I read that book repeatedly and own an early copy of the book. I have it proudly displayed with my other antique and vintage books.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I would love to meet Madeline Albright. I watched an interview with her years ago and I was very impressed with her strength and intelligence.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I have horses; I show a quarter horse and have ridden since I was 12 years old. I always loved horses and plan to ride as long as I can sling a leg over the saddle. I will say I used to ride hunters and jump fences, now I am just as happy to remain on the ground riding out a nice slow jog!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Action films are my favorites, The Expendables Series, the 007 Series, and the like. Oddly, I rarely watch romantic movies, unless it is more of a comedy.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love a good glass of Moscato while listening to an old bluesy recording by Bonnie Raite!
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I am also an artist, I have many of my works hanging in my homeand I took work for pet portraits. Very similar to writing, a story told from the arc of a pencil.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?