Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Lovely to meet you Fiona and thank you for having me on here.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we?
My name is Lindsay Jane Sedgwick. I live in Dublin, Ireland with my husband, Leo and my dog, Roxy. My daughter, Libby has just gone to Cork University and I have two step-children in the UK, Darragh and Eleanor and a grand-daughter, Ivy Rose, who’s one year-old.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’ve just finished proof-reading my new novel, The Angelica Touch. I’ll have proof copies before December so I’m hoping to get some early reviews and then the book will be on sale from January 2018.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. As a young child, I wrote books of poems for my mother, I wrote my first novel when I was nine, my first play at 16, my first article a year later. I think it was my way of interpreting the world and entertaining myself.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was 18, I won a place on the first Arlen House Women’s Writing Workshop back in the mid-80s. It was run by Eavan Boland, who was quite intimidating! One of the lessons I learnt was that there was the huge difference between saying you write and saying you’re a writer. All the other writers were in their 30s and for some of them the issue was almost political. I tried to call myself a writer after that but really, it probably took another ten years or so. In my head it was all I ever was though, or ever wanted to be.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Dad’s Red Dress was inspired by someone I never met but who lived locally. This person was transitioning but also remaining with her family and kids. Being a child myself, I wondered how her kids coped when they went into school etc. That germ became a feature script in 2002 that was nearly made as a German-Irish co-production in 2005. I still loved the story and hated that it might never be told so I wrote it as a novel and it was published in March this year.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
As a screenplay, it was originally called Jessie Jones is Nearly Ten. For the book, I changed her age to 13 and it became The Red Dress. Fortunately, I googled this title and there were other books with this title. Dad’s Red Dress popped in and it felt right.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I think I write in an informal tone, very much within the age of my central characters and how they see the world. I don’t think in terms of genre, just in terms of story and character. If the characters are real, you have to tell their story.
For me, the challenge is when it comes to editing and knowing when to let go.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think I absorb everything, including other people’s experiences and emotional responses, in day to day life. For characters to feel real, you need to do this but I couldn’t tell you what bits come from who or where. My daughter probably could though – she did say the new book draws on conversations we had!
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Not really or not yet! Mostly, the farthest I go is a local coffee shop to hammer out some scene that isn’t quite working or brainstorm a section of the story or tidy up a chapter. I will always take my work with me everywhere though, on holidays, to business meetings, to galleries, just in case there is a slot of time I can work a little more on it.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Aoife Henkes, a fantastic new designer. Her work is so creative and with both of my novels, she just ‘got’ what they were about.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’m not sure that’s something you should want with a novel. I do have underlying themes but they only work if the story is gripping and entertaining and if the characters feel real and empathic. As such, I guess Dad’s Red Dress is ultimately about celebrating difference, that ‘normal’ is overrated and that we need to talk honestly about how we feel with the people we love most..
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 everything. I adored Gabriel Garcia Marquez when I discovered him but I will read almost any book that I come across so I don’t really have a favourite writer.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I was Screenwriter in Residence at Maynooth University & Kildare County Council Arts & Library Services for 2016-7. This allowed me to take a step back from other projects to focus on my books and get Dad’s Red Dress out.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’ve found typos that should not be there; the use of the word ‘here’ twice in a long sentence.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That I will always need to edit one more time!
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Millie Bobbie Brown, ‘Eleven’ from Stranger Things.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t stop. Be prepared to write really poor or disappointing pages and still write the next day.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Please read my book! If you like it, please tell other people to read it! If you’d to review it or my new book, The Angelica Touch, (which is about a 14 year old who sets up a dating website to matchmake her mum), let me know and I’ll get a copy to you. As an Indie Writer, we don’t have the promotional push that traditionally published writers have and marketing is hard work!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Eleanor Oliphant is Fine by Gail Honeyman. It’s excellent.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
There were always books but I do remember my mother reading Pilgrim’s Progress to me as I sat on a stool beside her.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Cry: Waste, inhumanity, other people’s sorrows…
Laugh: wonderfully ridiculous or unexpected moments…
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’d love to meet my mum again and ask her so many questions and to give her my book! She inspired me to write and gave me my love of words.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Drawing, reading, walking the dog, going to plays. I don’t do enough of any of them.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The Handmaid’s Tale. Howard’s End. Brooklyn 99. Modern Family.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Cheese. Garlic. Crisps. Apples. Potatoes. Chocolate.
Pretty eclectic. From Prokopiev’s Romeo & Juliet to Talking Heads and beyond. Reggae (Barrington Levy, Tippa Irie n co). Blues.Tom Lehrer. They Might be Giants. Chicago. Anything with a good rhythm and a story in its lyrics.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I can’t imagine not writing. I feel odd if I don’t write for a day. I suspect, I would read all day long and eat too much chocolate!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Oops. Or, Carpe Diem (Seize the day!)
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website – and it’s only new – is : www.lindsayjsedgwick.com
My Amazon author’s page is: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01N4VBA79
My blog: thiswriter’scrazylife.blogspot.com