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 Penny Blush and I’m a lot closer to 40 than I’d like to be.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Manly Australia – It’s a suburb of Sydney.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m from a massive family, I have 8 Nieces and Nephews. We’re all really close. I’m a hair dresser by trade but I work for the government two totally different jobs but I love them both. I have always been a story teller. Ask anyone I can’t just tell you that I went to the shops, I have to tell you about the journey and the cute guy I made eye contact with while buying a coffee.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My debut novel Barber Shop Ink – Always Blue in Memphis came out 8th September. I took me over a year to write because I wanted it to be perfect.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing it in June 2016. I had been talking to one of my best friends for a while about writing and she told me to put up or shut up. She gave me a deadline of being published before I turned 40, so I started typing.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t think I ever did. I still don’t consider myself a writer, I’m more of a story teller mainly because: A – It still doesn’t feel real that I have a book published and out in the world and B – It doesn’t feel right to class myself as a writer and put myself in the same league as the authors that I admire, like Gena Showalter, Sherrilyn Kenyon, T.M Fraizer and Kerri Arthur who is an amazing Australian writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It was after birthday drinks with my friend we had been talking about what we would do if we could do anything we wanted to. After a few to many Chock-Mint Martinis I confessed that I always wanted to write a book and that I had half a story rattling around in my head for a while but I had been ignoring it because I didn’t think that I would be good enough and that people would want to read it. It still boggles my mind that people all across the world have read and loved my book.
My friend encouraged me to write the first few chapters and offered to read it and give me feedback. She loved it and told me to keep writing. She is now my Alpha reader – everything goes through her first.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
When I first started writing I had a totally different concept and what I thought the story was going to be and decided that I would wait and the title would come to me.
I had started calling it Barber Shop Ink as the story is set in a tattoo shop that was I decided that the story would be across 3 books I decided to call book 1 Barber Shop Ink – Always blue in Memphis as the male lead is named Memphis Blue.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I don’t have a specific writing style and I don’t really plan I just write. With book 2 I got stuck on a chapter and couldn’t get past it so I decided to write the last chapter and then I worked back from there to my ‘stuck chapter’ and then worked back to the end to make sure it all worked.
I guess I find the spicy scenes difficult because I want them to be the right mix of passion, sex, intensity and humour without it coming across as cheesy or like bad porn.
I’m a perfectionist at heart and want everything to be perfect so I guess the challenging part of writing is being done when I’m done and not second guessing myself or completely rewriting the story – which I did twice.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There’s a little bit of me in all the characters, there’s a bit of my brother in the supporting male characters. I always say be careful what you say to me it may end up in a book. There’s a little bit of ‘this is what I wished would have happened’.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Sometimes I just people watch or watch movies. I listen to music a lot while I work or if I’m really stuck I go to the gym to get out of my own head. In between book 1 & 2 I went to Europe which was a great way to decompress and reset.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Megan Keith from Designed with Grace she is amazing and helped to keep my nervous control freak nature under control.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I guess it would be that everything happens for a reason no matter what it is there is a reason for it and good will come from it. Don’t get bogged down in what was, you are not your past, you can’t change it so, learn from it and move on.
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 have too many to name but I am obsessed with Gena Showalter, Sherrilyn Kenyon, T.M Fraizer and Kerri Arthur. I love their work. Their all unique have different writing styles but write stories that just suck you in.
New authors that I’m in love with are Kay Maree – Aussie Author and awesome lady her books Angle Mine, Kitten Mine, Shaddow Game and Majestic are amazing and I can’t wait for Sugar Mine. She writes Insta-love stories that suck you in from the beginning and leave you wanting more.
He’s been around for a year now so not really new but Mickey Miller is amazing, I’m one of the original Misfits (one of the first 100 followers but who’s counting). I am so glad that I gave him a go, I have read everything that Mickey has released and he just keeps getting better and better. I’ve heard people say that Men can’t write from a females POV but Mickey has it down.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Author Chance Carter helped me to put my name out there to gain a small following and beta readers by letting me post on his Facebook group.
Then Authors Mickey Miller, Anne Buff and Karen Raines became my sounding boards and gave me plenty of advice and encouragement.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love to be able to write fulltime and I am hoping that one day that will be the case. I think I’ve got a little ways to go yet though!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t know if I would change anything about the story itselfbut I think I would change the process. I would try not to over think things and trust that it is all going to work out without second guessing everything.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I’ve learnt that you can’t please everyone and if you try you’ll just drive yourself insane. I’ve learnt that some people really really hate cliff-hangers. That I have todevelop a thicker skin, not everyone is going to like what you write and that’s ok. I’ve learnt that wording of a review is important and that people can be mean but not to take the bad reviews to heart – read them if there’s a lesson to be learned, take it on board but then move on.
I’ve learnt that in general people are so encouraging and supportive and that books bring people together no matter where there from.
I’ve learnt that I love writing and developing characters and creating worlds and stories even if it’s only for me or one reader or a million readers.
And I am super proud of myself for seeing a dream of mine come true.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Oh my gosh I think about this all the time! I have always said that I would love to see Jai Courtney as Memphis. I don’t know who would play Hedge because she is quite tall – I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write just write! Listen to the characters they will tell you where the story needs to go even if it isn’t to your plan.
If you need to take a break then do it.
Set yourself a deadline but don’t make it so rigid that it can’t be moved if you need it too.
Take constructive criticism as it is intended to make your work better and not as a personal attack. It will be hard trust me I know!
You’re going to get negative reviews it is what it is.
Enjoy what you do, don’t question your process.
Don’t let anyone hijack your vision – Trust yourself and keep your circle of trust small.
Don’t get discouraged and get your work out into the universe.
There will be frustration, pain, tears, laughter, success and pride. It’s all worth it – enjoy the ride.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I never thought that anyone would be interested in anything that I wrote let alone want to read it and I have been humbled and overwhelmed by the response that I have gotten from readers. I truly love and appreciate you more that you can ever know. I am a work in progress and I am working on getting better with every book.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Secret Life of Cooper Bennett by Golden Czermak.
Goldens Journeyman series is AMAZING and I can’t wait to see where The Secret Life of Cooper Bennett goes.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I can’t remember the first book that I read but the first book that I remember reading that started my love of the romance genre was Bubbles Unbound by Sarah Strohmeyer.
It’s about Bubbles Yablonsky, a single mother/hairdresser/reporter/amateur detective. It is hilarious and suspenseful and drama packed and filled with beauty tips. There’s 5 books in the series.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Life. My family makes me laugh all the time. I make me laugh all pretty regularly, I’m a giant clutz and a massive dork and my brain and mouth aren’t always on speaking terms. I love to laugh but I also love a good cry. The last time I had a good cry was watching Me Before You, cried for days!
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Either Steven Spielberg or James Cameron to pick their brains about the amazing worlds they create.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I know it’s nerdy but I love to crotchet and knit. I’ve made clothes and toys for me friends and sisters kids. My Granny taught me how to knit and my Aunty taught me to crotchet.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m a SyFy nerd love it! X-Files – Still madly in love with David Duchovny *swoon*, Killjoys, 12 Monkeys, Game of thrones.
I think I have seen 5th Element, Pacific Rim, All the Terminator’s/Die Hard’s a million times and I could probably recite The Labyrinth, Willow and The Princes Bride word for word.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Nachos, Purple, The Foo Fighters and everything from Opera to rap
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
If I could be anything I would be either a Makeup Artist/Hairdresser for big budget movies preferably SyFy or a reconstructive plastic surgeon taking on cases that on one else wants to touch or a forensic pathologist solving gold cases.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She was silly, funny, awkward has hell but we loved her anyway.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1068654519902946
Amazon US: http://a.co/9cR0Jvo
Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/eLN8HHF
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B075C4ZX2N/