Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Thanks for inviting me, Fiona! I appreciate it.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Patricia Gilliam, and I’m 34 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
My husband and I have lived in Knoxville, TN for the past twelve years. I grew up a couple of hours east of here in the Tri-Cities area.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
My husband Cory and I have been married since 2005. We don’t have children but have an awesome cat named Butterscotch. I have a bachelor’s degree with majors in Mass Communications and Psychology.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m currently working on three novels in my sci-fi series at the same time. Due to the fact I want better control over the ending of the story, I thought it was better to plot and write them as a group.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote for fun when I was a kid but didn’t see it as a possible career until my mid-twenties. I started off by writing short stories and then began to branch into novels around 2009. I enjoy the process of writing and like learning new things. The early support by family and online friends encouraged me to continue, too.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I can’t pinpoint it to a particular moment, but I started focusing on developing a habit of writing in my early twenties.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I loved sci-fi television growing up, and I thought the overall concept of The Hannaria Series would make a fun show. I spent a lot of time on character and setting development before I started on the first chapter.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I think the title for Out of the Gray came from the idea of the two main characters being placed in circumstances beyond their control but still having to make decisions that would impact their futures.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I like planning as much as possible on character and setting prior to writing a story. To keep myself on track, I also try to at least plot out the ending and key scenes that lead to it.
Writing sci-fi is a fun challenge in that you can take current technology and events and play with the direction they may take. In doing research, sometimes reality can be even more unbelievable than fiction.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Because I have alien characters and civilizations in my fictional universe, I try to keep everything else as grounded and accurate as possible. While there’s nothing in particular based on real events, I try to keep the relationships between characters as believable as possible.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
We don’t have to travel for me to write fiction, but I believe the experiences help.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My husband Cory designed the current covers for The Hannaria Series. With the anthologies, Adam Hall designed the cover for The Immortality Chronicles. Steve Beaulieu designed the covers for It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! and my Kindle Worlds novella, Thaw.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Even in difficult circumstances, there’s hope.
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 books by fellow sci-fi authors for fun (the full list would take up half the interview), and I’ve been diving into books that help with writing productivity by Chris Fox.
The pattern I’ve noticed in my favorite books is that they have great characters.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
The website Writing.com helped me develop the habit of writing almost every day, and the online friendships I made gave me encouragement. (It was a similar situation with a site called Gather.com, but it is no longer around.)
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do, and having that mindset has made me put in the effort to learn and improve.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Without spoilers, there are a couple of plot points I might have changed that I think would have made the book better.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
How to continue writing during a difficult time in life—my younger brother was diagnosed with cancer and was going through chemo at the time. He’s now in remission.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I like how the casting was done for Harry Potter and would like it to be similar. As long as the actors fit the spirit of the characters, I’d be happy.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Always be willing to learn and grow. Seek out mentors both inside and outside your genre. When something helps you, try to help other writers on the journey with you.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I’m very grateful for the support and friendship. Thank you!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Peter Cawdron’s Retrograde
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was a Little Golden Book about a clown…pretty sure Stephen King didn’t write it. 😀
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I try to watch or read something that makes me laugh on a regular basis, and I try to share positive things on social media.
With sad and tragic events, I try to look for any way I can help.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I think Mark Twain would be interesting—just to get his prospective/humor on current events.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I like photography…used to play keyboard and paint, but those have been put on the backburner for time reasons.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
My husband and I tend to catch most of the Marvel and sci-fi movies at the theater. My favorites are the Guardians of the Galaxy. We’re currently caught up on Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
My favorite foods are pizza and sushi (just not in the same meal). I like cooler colors—blues, greens, and purples. My music tastes are pretty eclectic, but I like listening to movie soundtracks when I write.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would probably be doing something else related to storytelling but in a different medium. I liked television production in college, so maybe something involving that.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Time is short. Dream big.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website is www.patriciagilliam.com. I have a newsletter and plan to send out information once my current books are completed.
Amazon author pages is https://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Gilliam/e/B00358K3WO