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, I’m Rain Trueax and just turned 74.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Portland, Oregon, spent most of my growing up years living in the Columbia River Gorge on the Washington side of the river. I’ve lived in Portland, moved down the state to the farm where we currently raise cattle and sheep. I’ve also lived in Tucson, Arizona, where we still have a second home in the desert.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Growing up on the edge of wilderness, living in the country has been what I know best. My parents sold the farm right before I started college, which meant some years of city living but always wanting to get back to a farm. When I define myself today, it’s as a country woman who writes romances. I live on a cattle and sheep operation in the Oregon Coast Range with my husband of 53 years. We raised two kids here and enjoy the times our four grandchildren come out for a visit. Other than that, it’s sheep, cattle, us, and our fur kids—four cats.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Writing most recently has been a series of paranormals where the heroines are physically human but born also with the powers of natural born witches. I’m on the fourth and these books take more from me than I had expected as I decide what fits the stories with four sisters and the fifth will be their widowed mother. I like writing about strong matriarchal families and the circle of the Hemstreets has given me that opportunity with challenging heroes to bring challenges into the lives of the heroines—love tends to impact their powers. These books stand-alone but are connected by the family and its need to protect humans from those who misuse power to harm others.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Writing has been part of my life all of my life beginning with short stories. The first full-length novel I finished was in my early 20s. Round the Bend, a story of the Oregon Trail, began from walks with my younger cousin and telling the story as we’d take turns with the characters. Eventually she wanted me to tell it all. It took me until 2015 to make up my mind to bring the book out as an indie author. Because it had been my baby, much rewritten over many years, I literally hated seeing it maybe reviled by others. On the contrary, it became one of my most popular books. As an author, you love them all or you’d not bring them out. As for how others will see them, you never know.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always been a writer in my own mind. I am still not an author who can make a living at it. I think what makes someone a writer is that they write—blogs, articles, books, whatever it is, being a writer means you write.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Round the Bend had a different title when I first wrote it—TaopiTawote. I didn’t end up using it out of fear that the book would not be seen as what it is—a story of healing through love. TaopiTawote means wound medicine and it’s the herb yarrow that inspired it. The idea of a young couple, who had always been friends, then one wanted more, seemed like the kind of book I’d like to read. I think a lot of writers write the books they wish someone else wrote. For all my books, that’s my inspiration—to find that plot and set of characters that excites me and makes me also wonder, as I write, what will they go through? With my writing a mix of pantsing and plotting, the surprise in writing is what excites me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Well, I told you about its first title. The title it ended up with, came out of the Oregon Trail, of course, but also how in life, you never know what will be round the bend. For my hero, he particularly had a lot of surprises ahead that went beyond the trail to the threats from the ones he should have been able to trust. The heroine had growing up to do, and recognizing what she thought she wanted wasn’t at her heart’s core. Life is that way—we just never know what awaits and sometimes, that’s good.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write what I consider to be novels which are romances. The character development and plot are as important to me as the romance although I don’t let it overpower the love story. The current work in progress, tentatively called, Something Waits, has been particularly challenging for the paranormal aspect. I don’t write paranormals full of gore or constant fear but more stories where the supernatural world impacts the so-called real one. It’s challenging for me to get that right and stick to what I’ve read and heard is real to some people while I have these witch heroines who live very ordinary lives—except for one thing.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
By now, I’ve written 28 books. None of them are based on my life exactly but many have pieces of my experiences. I don’t consider myself any of the heroines, never have met the heroes in my real life, but I think most authors do base stories on what they have experienced either vicariously… or maybe in a past life ;).
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Since all of my books are based in the American West, I’ve been everywhere a story took place with one exception—and that one I’ve been through it just never spent time. We have a small travel trailer and it is what works best to travel to an area I might want to know more about or get a reminder of what it feels like to be there.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I create all of my covers. It is my hobby and my passion to get the right cover for each book. Because I do them, the covers sometimes change as I get a better idea. It is one of the perks of putting together a mix of images I purchase and my own photographs for background.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Always the point of my stories is that relationships are key to life whether that’s the falling in love kind, friendships, or family. I believe in the power of hard work, dedication, paying a price for what is important. I try to keep all of that in the essence of what the characters do, how they are rewarded or the price they pay rather than preaching to a reader who came for an enjoyable read—not a lecture. If though, the inner theme is one that improves life, how can that be anything but a win/win!
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?
Sadly, when I am writing myself, I don’t read romances by other authors. I have a new book that I am looking forward to reading when I get this Hemstreet Witches series finished. It’s called Spirit in the Rock, The Fierce Battle for Modoc Homelands by Jim Compton. It’s non-fiction (I read a lot of non-fiction) and well researched for one of Oregon and California’s Indian wars. I have spent time in Lava Beds NM, the energy is unreal and this book seems like it will give me more of the story that I’ve been following through a friend and research. It isn’t a book that I will be writing but the energy that I learn from such work often shows up other places. I have written, in my Oregon historical series about two other Indian wars in the Pacific Northwest. All research is a win for me but this one particularly seems special since it was the author’s work of his life and he died just as he finished it with his wife doing the edits to get it out. My daughter heard of the book, knew of my interest in the story, and gave it to me—another win/win.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I guess that’d be Amazon when they made it possible for writers like me to bring out their stories their way without having to change them to suit the publishing world’s ideas.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Very much it can be, but it does take marketing—one way or another. If your books are not seen, they can’t be bought. The indie author does not have a corporation behind them, but they now have a foot in the door. Can’t ask for more than that.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wouldn’t change anything in any of them—although whenever I look over them to see if they still feel balanced, I’ve done an edit on them to bring my craft more up to date. I always like my characters, the plots, but I also find ways to say something better as my craft has grown with my writing. I think that will always be true.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
The Hemstreet Witches have led to research all along the way. This time my main research was on gnomes. I learned a lot about them—the fun of being a writer.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Wow, I’d have to pick one book… hmmmm Okay, if Arizona Sunset,the first of eight Arizona historicals, was made into a film, I’d love to see Josh Brolin play Sam. Yeah, that’d do it for me 😉
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write and keep writing. Then accept that you have to put time into marketing. Some is fun like your questionnaire as it makes a writer think about what they might not otherwise. A lot of it though is not fun, costs money, and is always questionable how much it helps in the sales. Most of the time, when I see one of my books doing well, or not so much, I have no idea what led to it.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Just how much I appreciate them; and when they do reviews, they give me an energetic lift that sometimes is so important. Writing can be a lonely business. It also is not always rewarded. The book you thought was going to do well dropped like a ton of bricks into Amazon’s black hole. When a reader does a review or sends an email to say they got what you had hoped was in the book,that shines up the whole day.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
No books right now. I am writing. I avoid romances (and I love romances, have in the past read a lot of them) particularly during that time as I don’t want to be influenced by something even subconsciously that someone else wrote. I read newspapers, blogs, Facebook, but only research for the current work—or one that I have in mind next when not yet there.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, but I am sure it was a picture book. From the time I was a little girl, I was in the library for story hour and checking out books. I graduated from the small kid section to the youth section and then into the big people’s shelves. Libraries were a big part of my growing up with thousands of books probably through those years as I was a voracious reader.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh a lot and at anything, cat antics, something funny that my husband says. The last time I cried was yesterday when an Alan Jackson ad came on for a gospel album of his. I cried at the nostalgia I felt for those old songs, for my memories of singing them and the ones now who have gone on.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Georgia O’Keeffe. She’s long gone on but her love of the land, her paintings, what a life she led. I can imagine she’d have been amazing to listen to her talk about all of that.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Photography is probably the main one. Maybe my blog is a hobby 😀
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like documentaries. We just saw a good one: Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry about the land and how we need to, as a culture, care more about small farmers or we’re in big trouble. On cable, I look forward to Hallmark movies. Lately, I’ve had a thing about tiny homes, the people who want them, and what size does it take to be enough. I also like some of the home remodeling shows or people finding a home on an island or in the wilderness. I am not much for regular TV. We watch Netflix a couple of times a week and sometimes it’s a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy. I like movies that make me feel good when the story is over.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Eggs are my total favorite food. I favor neutral colors in clothing although make myself sometimes buy something colorful. I don’t listen to music much except when writing, soundtracks to get scenes right—can’t have lyrics or it distracts.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I will always write—just maybe not the same things.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
No headstone. I want to be cremated and not sure where the ashes put but definitely not in a jar somewhere 😉
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My main blog is Rainy Day Thought and I just took on a coauthor there. Besides being a friend of over 50 years, she’s an exciting painter. I thought the mix would be good for the blog. Go there and you can sign up to alternatively get it in email—also to sign up for my newsletter, which only comes out with a new book or special offer.