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! Thanks for interviewing me. My name is Erin Saville, but my pen name is Aven Kelly. I’m 33 years old, turning 34 in March.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada but have lived the last six years overseas, mainly in the UK but due to visa restrictions there I’ve been travelling with my British husband for the last year on and off.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Well, I grew up in the big city with a brother and a sister (both younger than me). I graduated high school in 2002 and started travelling shortly thereafter (mainly to Europe in the first few instances). I moved to the UK in 2011 to be with my then-boyfriend-now-husband, Pete. We lived with Pete’s parents for most of the time (real estate in the UK is horrifically expensive, you’d be surprised how many full grown adults still live at home!). Then in 2016 we cast off from England to travel around! We currently call Dahab, Egypt our temporary home. Previous to this we lived in Sarande, Albania for three months.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’ve recently self-published my first novel ‘Formaldehyde’. It’s currently available on Amazon as well as Smashwords. It’s what I call a dramhoredy – a drama, horror, comedy. It has elements of all three genres. It’s a vampire story which examines each character’s individual pasts and struggles with mental health as the vampire crew strive to take over a small Canadian town and find solutions to their food shortage issues. There’s a lot of elements of mental health and wellness as well as other issues such as drug abuse and addiction and sexual abuse explored throughout it as well.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have been writing stories ever since I was a kid. I remember having to write a story for school in grade one or thereabouts and absolutely loving everything – character creation, creating the plot, subtext, storyline and more. Every piece of creating a story I fell in love with.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I definitely first considered myself a professional writer when I began to write for a living. I currently do blog and content writing for others alongside my own writing. The first time I got paid to write, I considered myself a proper writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
‘Formaldehyde’ began as a way for me to cope with an abusive relationship. I was in a horribly dark place between 2007-2009 and that’s when the first initial novel of ‘Formaldehyde’ was conceived and written. Over the next ten years I tweaked it on and off and even adapted it for the stage at one point, where it enjoyed relative success in Salisbury, England. I plan to readapt it for the stage and produce it at one of Edmonton’s upcoming Fringe Festivals (probably not until 2020 or later though!).
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It was actually suggested to me in a playwriting class. The theme of “self-preservation” is rampant throughout the book and so someone in one of my scriptwriting classes pitched the title ‘Formaldehyde’. It fit so much better than my previous title, which I can’t even remember now, so I ran with it.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
The most challenging thing I find is finding the *right* genre for my writing. It’s quite black comedy mixed with drama, so I’m never sure where I should put it.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Probably only 10-15% is based off real life experiences. Most of the characters are actually in some form an aspect of myself, and so they embody particular traits of myself. A few of the events in the book have really happened as well (such as the sexual assault and subsequent gaslighting), just obviously not anything relating to vampirism!
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I can mostly write anywhere, but for ‘Formaldehyde’ much of it was written at night. In fact, much of it was written around the world. It started in Canada, was worked on in England, then highly edited and published in Albania.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
A graphic artist on freelance website Fiverr.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes – it’s kind of a story of mental health awareness. Having been in such a dark place when I initially wrote it, I really could have used more people who cared or were willing to help. This is a story that examines several issues from addiction to sexual abuse and even gaslighting.
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?
Jere Alexander, a fellow Indie has caught my attention! Her debut novel “And The Dogs Were Silent” is actually her research diary which she kept for her dissertation research into the cultural and racial ties of dog fighting. It’s an amazing read from an insider’s perspective, especially considering she hung out with dog fighters to get the inside look so to speak.
My favourite writer is probably Edgar Allen Poe. I just love his poetry and symbolism in his stories. The gothic touch just makes them that much darker and enjoyable to me.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Tons of my friends. I honestly can’t name how many people!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Definitely. I currently write for a living doing blog posts and content creation for clients, so writing for me is definitely a career, even if I don’t work on my own stuff as often as I’d like at the moment!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Probably not – the heavy edits I did throughout 2017 ended up adding 20,000 words, which I think was a good thing.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes – I have been through hell and made it out the otherside!
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Cillian Murphy! He would be perfect!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Just write. Write when you’re happy, write when you’re sad, write when you’re smiling, write when you’re mad. I sound like Dr Seuss now haha.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I hope you find value in my writing, and even if not, I found value in it for myself 🙂
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading ‘And The Dogs Were Silent’ by Jere Alexander as well as ‘Ukraine In Wartime’ by Tim Judah.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was probably the Mr Mugs book series when I was first learning to read. It was about a shaggy sheepdog getting into shenanigans.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
When people are unnecessarily or exponentially kind in any and every way makes me tear up. Black comedy makes me laugh.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Edgar Allen Poe for sure – he’s been an inspiration for some of my writing.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Writing, painting, drawing, spending time with friends, hockey, travelling and music to name a few!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I have to admit that I’m a huge fan of adult cartoons like American Dad, Family Guy, South Park and the like but I also love The Big Bang Theory, MASH and my guilty pleasure is Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Nothing beats my Dad’s spaghetti and stew, but I also love cake and baking in general. My favourite colour is any shade of blue – especially deep ultramarine or royal blue or really bright turquoises. I also love purple.
I’ve been on a real Marilyn Manson kick lately music wise. But honestly when it comes to music I like almost everything including some classical and country.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I think I’d probably travel full time! 😀 or try to break into being a professional painter.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Something super random that would make people question the meaning like “Don’t forget to close the door” or “I can’t believe you left the bread out.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My Facebook author page is the best place for that. The link is https://www.facebook.com/avenkellyauthor/