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 Fiona. My name is Linda Bradley. 29. (Snicker.)
(Is it okay that I don’t air my age?)
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m fromLansing, Michigan, but currently reside in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m a Second Grade Teacher by day and Women’s Fiction Author by night. I have a degree in Interior Design, Elementary Education, as well as a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts. I’ve been writing since my youth. I wrote and illustrated a children’s book titled, The Hunter for her Master’s Degree. I am a member of RWA, as well as the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA and the Capital City Writers Association in Lansing, Michigan. When I’m not writing, I enjoy art, baking, walking my rescue dog, Maisey and reading.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
This season I’ve ventured into the world of self-publishing. I’ve written a Christmas Novella for my Montana Bound Series. It’s been quite the learning process, andI’ve enjoyed it thoroughly.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing since I was in grade school. Imagining and making pictures in my mind and on paper is part of being for me. When I was younger, writing was a place I went, got lost in. Writing was a source of adventure for me. Still is.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In Elementary School we had a contest every year. It was called the Calbury. The word Calbury is derived from the words Caldecott and Newbery. I’d write a story each year and illustrate it, then I’d submit it with all the other aspiring writers. I won my share of ribbons, but whether I won or lost, I was always preparing for the following year.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’d been writing for some time. My goal was completing and publishing a Women’s Fiction Novel. In the Spring of 2013, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. That diagnosis drove me to accomplish my dream. That year, I wrote three first drafts for my first three Montana Bound Series books. Since then, I’ve been Cancer free and still writing.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My newest book title is A Montana Bound Christmas, ho, ho, home for the holidays! I knew I wanted to reference Santa Claus. With this in mind, I named one of my characters, Mr. Kringle and his business motto for his moving company promises that you’ll be ho, ho, home for the holidays.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I prefer writing in first person. Challenging aspects of my process pop-up when my mind veers from the plan. I don’t make concrete outlines per se, but by the time I begin writing the story, I pretty much have the arc of the story developed in my mind.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In my debut novel, Maggie’s Way, Maggie Abernathy is faced with a diagnosis of Breast Cancer. Her experiences are very similar to mine in a medical aspect as writing was my way of dealing with my own diagnosis. Other than that, my characters, and the people in the Montana Bound world are fictional.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
When I was writing my Montana Bound Series, I knew there was going to be a ranch involved at some point. When I decided that the location would be Montana, I did travel there. I did research, but mostly experienced the country on horseback and spoke to wranglers who work with cattle and horses.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Syneca Featherstone designed the covers for Maggie’s Way, Maggie’s Fork in the Road, and Maggie’s Montana. These three books were published by Soul Mate. I designed the cover for A Montana Bound Christmas, ho, ho, home for the holidays!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
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?
Recently, I discovered Kathleen Long. Some of my favorite writers are Jane Porter, Claire Cook, Luanne Rice, Tracy Chevalier, Lori Nelson Spielman, Sarah Addison Allison. The list could go on and on.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My girlfriend, Pam. She’s always asking what’s next and she reads everything I write before I put it out there.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Right now it’s difficult to manage my time between my day job and writing, but when I retire, writing will be my focus. My career. My goal.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned two things. One, I could write a novella. Two, I could write a satisfying Christmas story.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Julianne Moore. I can also tell you that Sam Elliott would make a fantastic Winston. Winston is eight-year-old, Chloe’s Montana grandfather.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. Don’t give up.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Most importantly, THANK YOU! I can’t do what I do without you.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Kathleen Long’s, Broken Pieces
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I remember reading Dick and Jane books. In fact, I could read before I went to Kindergarten and taught my best friend how to read.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Ernest Hemingway. He roomed across the street from my grandparents in Petoskey, Michigan. That has always fascinated me.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Drawing, painting, travel, baking to name a few.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
To be honest, I don’t watch a lot of television. My husband and I like to watch vintage reruns sometimes. Right now, we have a line-up of 77 Sunset Strips in the queue.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I’m not much of a foodie. I like your basic plain food unless we’re talking baked goods. I love Prosecco. I don’t have a favorite color and I enjoy the seventies when it comes to music.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Dreamer. Doer. Believer.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
“DAD, WHEN’S MAGGIE going to get here?” Chloe’s breath fogged up the picture window. Her gaze scanned the snowy Montana mountains. “I hope she makes it in time for Christmas.” Ruffling Chloe’s dishwater-blond mane, I prayed like hell Maggie and her mother, Glad, would get here soon. Traveling had come to a halt across the country thanks to the winter storm, but at least Maggie and Glad were safe at home and not sleeping on some airport floor like the many interviewed on the news.
Feeling anxious, I massaged my temples. Wrapping my arms around Maggie and kissing her lips were the only Christmas presents I needed.
“Not sure, Pumpkin. Depends on the flights.”
Crossing paths with Maggie the summer before last was like finding a rose bush on top of a mountain while searching for gold. As much as she resisted, her heart finally won. We all won. Acquiring Glad in the deal was a bonus. Without hesitation, she’d taken a special liking to Chloe. They’d bonded instantly through their love of mischief. Glad was like the grandmother Chloe never had, and her sense of humor cut to the quick. Glad wore her heart on her sleeve and was the only one capable of giving Maggie a run for her money when Maggie needed a challenge. Glad was Maggie’s mother first and foremost, but their relationship—built on sarcastic wit, middle-naming, and genuine love—was most unique.
“Maggie has to get here.” Chloe drew a heart in the moisture on the frosty glass pane. She wrote her initials above Maggie’s, then she added a plus sign. “The snow is so thick you can barely see through it.” Chloe hummed a holiday tune between thoughts. “Just think, Dad, next year at this time, I’ll be nine and Maggie will have been here a whole year.”
Nudging the hat back from my brow, I thought about the woman who’d stolen my heart. I never dreamed in a million years I’d fall head over heels for my Michigan neighbor lady, Maggie Abernathy. Living in Grosse Pointe hadn’t been on my agenda originally, but the picture was crystal clear why I’d established residency in the Great Lake State before coming back to Montana. If I didn’t believe in fate before, I did now, and I wanted Maggie to get here as much as Chloe. We had big plans of starting a life together and this was only the beginning.
“Why couldn’t Maggie and Glad come earlier?” When Chloe spoke, deep lines appeared along the bridge of her nose.
“I told you, Chloe, Maggie’s settling things with her house. Remember when we sold our house in Grosse Pointe? It takes time. Papers have to be signed, things need to be packed, and besides Maggie wanted to spend some extra time with her momma. You can understand that, right? When Christmas is over, Glad’ll fly home. I don’t think Maggie has ever really been apart from her momma.”
I lifted Chloe’s chin with my index finger. My daughter’s soul shimmered behind her green stare. Hope should’ve been Chloe’s middle name because my girl never gave up when the chips were down.
“Glad’s house is where Maggie grew up. Maggie’s saying her last goodbye.”
Chloe’s expression tugged at my heart like the snap of a lasso when wrangling a wild pony.
“I know what you mean. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten used to being apart from my momma, but maybe that’ll change someday. Hollywood sure is a far way away.”
Chloe’s momma was nothing like Maggie, and I wondered if I’d ever shed the guilt from our failed marriage that had left my daughter living with her old man. Chloe longed for a normal household, whatever that was in this day and age. Smiling at Chloe, I wished she’d see the well of hope I carried myself.
“I guess so, but I want Maggie to be here. It’s almost Christmas. We have so much to do.”
“I want Maggie here, too, Peanut, but it is what it is.” Resting my hands on Chloe’s thin shoulders, I prayed for the skies to clear so our Maggie’s arrival was sooner than later.
“Maggie promised she’d make cookies with me. Christmas will be here before you know it. This is our first Montana Christmas, and I want it to be perfect.” Chloe leaned her forehead against the window, closed her eyes then whispered in the sweetest of voices, “Please Lord, it’s me, Chloe. I know I can be kind of a pain, but can you please help Maggie and Glad get here, and fast?”
“Come here, Peanut.” Opening my arms, I scooped my little girl up. My cheek grazed hers. Nothing compared to her soft touch when pangs of disappointment bristled.
On the outside, my daughter was as tough as they come, but on the inside, she was soft and cuddly. Chloe rested her head against my shoulder, her warm breath like butterfly kisses upon my neck.
“Are you going to marry Maggie?”
“Without a doubt.” My heart pounded as I imagined sharing life with the woman I loved. “Don’t you worry.”
“Good,” Chloe whispered. “I can feel your heartbeat against mine. I think we both love her.”
“This is where Maggie needs to be, Peanut.” Holding my daughter tight, I breathed her in. She was a wee one, but something told me the years would pass in a blink of an eye if I wasn’t careful.
“I love you, Daddy.” “I love you, too, Munchkin.” Outside, heaping mounds of snow grew deeper
with each passing hour. If Maggie and Glad couldn’t get to the 617 Ranch before Christmas morning this was going to be some Montana-bound holiday.