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?
Jonathan Herbert – 40
Fiona: Where are you from?
Born in Cincinnati, OH
Raised in Englewood, FL
Currently living in Cincinnati, OH
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m a novelist and freelance writer with threepublished novels to date,
Chasing Palms (2016), Silver King (2013), and Banyan Street (2010). Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in Englewood, Florida. My fiction has won awards in the William Faulkner Literary Competition, Paris Book Festival and Great Midwest Book Festival. I received a B.A. from the University of Cincinnati in 2000 and currently live in Cincinnati with my wife, Angela and our two children.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Moonshine Cove Publishing recently released my third novel, Chasing Palms.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
My first attempt at writing a novel came shortly after graduating college. I found a short story assignment completed in a college English class about a childhood experience with Hurricane Hugo. After months of writing the start of an expanded version of this “hurricane story,” I finally accepted it as the outline for a full length novel.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The moment I completed the first draft of Banyan Street. I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since. It’s hard to explain but impossible to ignore. The completion of the second and third novels created a similar moment. In my experience, the two most difficult words to write are The End. I never truly know when to end a novel. After that many words, along with the emotional investment in characters, and the impossible task of editing your own writing, I let the stories end in their own time.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was inspired to write Banyan Streetafter readingThe Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway for the first time. His prose created something surreal and emotionally engaging inside me. Santiago’s struggle with the marlin encapsulated my struggle with life decisions in my early twenties. I read this book multiple times in the early 2000’s. This story made me want to write fiction in search of the human condition. The hurricane story provided the perfect ingredients for my first novel andplatform to introduce Butch Sands, a twenty something protagonist and island journalist.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Boca Grande, Florida is an island along the southwest coast of Florida. There is an actual street on this island named, Banyan Street. As a child, I remember walking down it below the overhead tangle of banyan tree limbs. There is something magical about the street and the island became a backdrop of childhood memories that shape the person I am today. The local people are truly authentic and the tarpon fishery is world class. We still visit every year.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My writing style has been described as up-tempo withvivid imagery of theFlorida landscape. Butch Sands is the main protagonist and most relatable character in a Florida based suspense series. He isoften surrounded by an overbearing editor along with acast of shady and outlandish characters.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The series and plot lines are focused around journalist, Butch Sands, a sort of alter ego. He works for an island newspaper on Pedro Island, modeled after Boca Grande, Florida.The cast of fictitiouscharacters throughout the series were partially created from a multitude of friends, family, and acquaintances. However, only one character in Banyan Street is actually based on someone real.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I pull from real life experiences and actual places I’ve lived or visited. There is no need to travel before or during the process. However, every new place visited has the potential to make an appearance in a future novel.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The Banyan Street cover was picked from a professional stock photo by the publisher.
Both the Silver Kingand Chasing Palms covers were designed by Michael Kinney.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The underlining message in Chasing Palms is that nothing is impossible and family means everything in the end.
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?
Don DeLillo has emerged as my favorite from a long list of incredible writers. His fiction is sometimes truer than real life and his characters are unforgettable. Underworld is his greatest novel, in my opinion.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My wife, Angela has always been my greatest supporter. My parents and brothers have also supported me throughout the years. Early on, my uncle and published author, Roy King, helped to shape my writing style and find my writing voice.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. I plan on writing the rest of my life.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I am truly satisfied with Chasing Palms. Every novel has imperfections or room for improvement. However, those are the things that make it unique for the reader. This storyline and cast of characters took me on a wildly emotional ride. I never wanted this novel to end. I miss writing it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Every novel teaches me something new. This one taught me to let go more often. It proved that raw emotion will always provide the best prose.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Either Jake Gyllenhaal or Leonardo Dicaprio would make a great Butch Sands. Brad Pitt would be perfect for Chase Anderson.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Two things that have worked for me. First, always stop writing when you know what happens next. This will allow your subconscious to work in your favor. Second, get to the end of your first draft. Do not over edit.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for supporting all writers.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It has an amazing storyline and the characters are very well developed. Deserving of the Pulitzer Prize. A true accomplishment.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It still reminds me of what’s truly important in life. My kids love it too.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Great films and novels of course. Family pulls at my emotions too. I’ve been married fifteen years and we have a 6 and 9 year old. Lots of laughter and tears. I’m truly blessed.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Ernest Hemingway. I’d just want to spend time with him fishing, drinking, discussing literature, listening to his war experiences. Maybe ask him what truly inspired his literary passion.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Avid Cincinnati Reds fan. Runner. Basketball.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Two films that stick out are Casablanca and Braveheart. Cheers and Seinfeld make me laugh every time. The Big Lebowski and Rushmore are also classic comedies.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love fresh snapper, grouper, snook, oysters, etc. Anything from the Gulf coast of Florida really. Blue is my favorite color. I’ve been listening to a lot of Band of Horses and Pearl Jam lately.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Impossible to image but I’d probably be an architect.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Great Father, Husband, Son and Brother…
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?