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?
Bill McCormick and I’m an amazing 55 years of age. I say “amazing” since I’m usually surprised to be alive.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m in Chicago.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I was an itinerant baby who ended up in Melrose Park Illinois. After that I was raised by my grandparents until I left home. Something I did on and off through my teens and early twenties until I was gone for good. I left college my sophomore year to do anything but go to school. I worked in radio around the country, played in bands all over the world, and read anything I could get my hands on. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazing talents, such as James Brown, and seeing a lot of the world others haven’t.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I just licensed all my graphic novels, and serialized comic books, to Nerdanatix for development as animated films or series, video games, and anything else they can think of. Also my trilogy, The Brittle Riders, was just released, en toto, by Azoth Khem.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing as a kid. I even wrote a play that got produced at my high school, West Leyden, back in 1976. I started because I found that I would get bored in class and imagine all sorts of things happening to the other students; ray guns, kidnapped by aliens, develop super powers, and so on. It was either write about them or spend my life in therapy.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Back in 1986 when I started selling articles on a regular basis to music magazines.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Drugs and boredom. I would do a lot of drugs and tour with bands . That, while a accurate job description for the time, is nowhere near as exciting as everyone’s granny thinks it is. We would spend hours on buses looking at cows and so on. I started wondering what would happen if those animals became sentient. I first wrote The Brittle Riders in the early 90’s. It was a godawful waste of paper. About 1400 pages of things like the Sword of Truth and … I’d rather not go on.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title is an insult hurled at the characters by a group of, nearly dead, beings who may, or may not, be capable of saving the world. I came up with it when I was about 100 pages in with my first attempt at this. Years later, after I’d had some fiction published, I ran across my notes. I kept the title, the titular characters, and threw everything else in the trash. The literary world can thank me later for that decision.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’ve been called “terse” more than once, so I guess that’s my style. You’ll not find pages of flowery descriptions in my work. I tend to write what I want to say and no more. I just hope readers can fill in the rest. Or, as many an editor has said, “oh, for Christ’s sake, tell us what color this is.” I will do it upon command, so there are some details for the folks at home.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
More than you might imagine. I draw on life experiences and then set them in new universes. For example, there’s a scene early in The Brittle Riders where two female characters wipe the sweat off their nude breasts with the bartender’s rag. I saw that happen at the Limelight here in Chicago. Granted, they were human, and not a succubus and mutant centaur, but that part of the scene is otherwise as depicted.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I don’t have to, I just do. To me a writer without experiences isn’t really a writer. They’re just a hyperactive imagination with little basis in reality.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The first edition of The Brittle Riders was designed by Jiba Molei Anderson. Amazon flagged it as porn, which it wasn’t, and then they moved it to ethnic fiction because the art depicted an African succubus, and then, after much caterwauling, it got moved to sci-fi/fantasy, which is where it resides now.
The second edition, and the rest of the trilogy, were done by Brian “Bigger Lion” Daniels & Brhi Stokes. He did all the character design and she did the dystopian layout. We decided to make the cover sideways to help people understand that the words inside were also a little off.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
While hope may spring eternal there are no guarantees that the same applies to humanity. Humans, who I kill off in the preamble, should really think about how they want to be perceived by the universe.
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 recently discovered Amberlough, by Lara Elena Donnelly and fell in love with it and her writing. I’m constantly awed with how Octavia Butler turned poetry into coherent prose and how David Brin can consistently find optimism amongst the ruins.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Don Webb, the editor for Bewildering Stories, was a big impetus for me. He rejected my first submission due to its flagrant dropping of F-bombs and sexualisation of nuns, but liked enough of what he saw to encourage me to try again. My second story, And the Beat Goes Phut, got accepted, people liked it, and here we are.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
For me it’s what I do more than anything else, so yes. It doesn’t pay 100% of my bills, but it’s close enough now my girlfriend isn’t worried about walking the streets at night to make ends meet.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Just kidding. Maybe a tiny thing here or there but, otherwise, no. I like where it ended up, I like that it’s different than what’s out there, at least a little, and I like that it’s being set up to be a springboard to larger things. All in all I can’t complain.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes, how to blow a hole in a solar system. It seems I made a mistake in my math which was caught by a scientist who proof read an early draft. Instead of powering a ship to the stars, as I described, I would have destroyed all life within half a billion miles of here. That would be bad, just in case you’re curious. I’ve also learned patience. Not everyone has me on their speed dial but they do get back to me eventually.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
The story revolves around five characters, none of whom really take the lead. Some people have suggested Vin Diesal to play R’Yune, a human/wolf hybrid who’s mute. Geldish, being under five feet tall and a skeleton would have to be CGI, I suppose. Sland is powerful and short so I have no clue there. N’leha, the African succubus, could be portrayed by Zoe Saldana, as long as she doesn’t mind being topless a lot. BraarB, the mutant centaur, so someone less dainty, like Ali Larter would work. She, too, would have to be comfortable topless. Although, given some promo pics I’ve seen of both actresses, I don’t see it being a problem.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write everything. Not just your genre. Write outside your comfort zone. Learn to hone your craft. Discover what else you’re good at. Then do that.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I’m potty trained and my girlfriend is teaching me how not to bite people, so feel free to say hi if you see me. If you buy me vodka I’ll even be nice.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished The Spatial Shard by G. Russell Gaynor. YA isn’t really my thing but I liked this one a lot. I’m glad I picked it up.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The Collected Tales of King Arthur. It was one of those knock off books you got when your family bought a set of encyclopedias. I loved every bit if it. It was followed, and I was four so this was all wildly new to me, by the Tales of the Arabian Nights and Little House on the Prairie. An odd combo, but I loved them all.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh at silly things. I tend to have a more British sense of humor than American. So Monty Python yes, Porky’s no. It takes a lot to make me cry, but anything that reminds me of a deeply personal loss will get a tear.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’d love to meet Saul who became Paul in the Bible. I’d really like to pick his brain and figure out why he really did all that he did. He could have easily just talked to Jesus, who only asked him to quit killing Jews, and then wandered off into obscurity. Instead he was the thrust behind modern, western, religion. Kind of a career change for the Centurion who used to make tents.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I play music when I can. I like studying languages. And I love to cook. I have given away a cookbook, on a sports site I write for, every year for five years. I didn’t do it last year for a lot of reasons, but I may resurrect it.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
CSI, Game of Thrones, NCIS (for all the wrong reasons), Jeopardy, Star Trek (any iteration) and not much else. I don’t watch much TV. As to films, I’ll see anything from a documentary about Australian grub eating customs to the latest space opera. I love to sit in a theater and just let the experience wash over me.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Spicy anything, black (that’s my entire wardrobe), and all. I listen to everything from eastern European folk music, to Chinese opera, to Goth, metal, Ska, blues, true jazz, and anything else that catches my fancy.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Be a useful fertilizer.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Well, it’s in my will to take any organs science can use and burn the rest, unless they can use it for mulch, so I won’t have one.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yep, they can head over to http://billmcscifi.com/ and click on links that interest them to see what each has to offer.
The Brittle Riders:
Amazon Author Page