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?

Hello, my name is Davene Le Grange, and I am 29 years old.

Fiona: Where are you from?

I am South African born, a Belgian citizen, currently living in the United States of America.

Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.).

I have a BA in Theology and Religious Studies. Even though I was born an only child, my family life is one that continues to grow and is full of love, praise the Lord. I mean every family has its struggles but our motto is to never give up.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

Lately, I have been seeking out a Literary Agent for my book Éatheria: Logbook 1.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

The exact date was November 4th, 2016. My husband had asked me to write a story where instead of aliens coming to once again invade Earth, we humans invaded the alien’s home planet. This was after watching the movie Arrival and seeing a poster for Independence Day: Resurgence. I must admit, even now it seems more logical that we humans would start a fight as opposed to some alien race picking a fight with us.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Growing up I would write pieces and poems here and there, but I only considered myself a writer after completing my first novel on May 3rd, 2017. This is despite having had a poem published while I was still in High School, and writing columns for a newspaper in India while I was studying at KU Leuven.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

My husband most definitely inspired my first book,as well as having the time to just sit and dream up crazy new worlds.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I came up with the title Éatheria: Logbook 1by trying to imagine Earth from a new perspective, and keeping in mind that languages change over time. So, the story is set in a distant future, and Éatheria is the combination of the words Earth and era. Except the r in Earth is somewhat silent, and era is pronounced eerie-ah. Logbook 1 follows the main title, because there are supposed to be six more logbooks in the series, which I hope to complete one day soon.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

My style is unique in that I try to use a format, which allows for speed-reading, by making the dialogues easier to follow. Also, a person can either read the novel as it is or enjoy the entertainment pieces I have written as an aside. I was inspired by online interactive novels and wanted to translate a similar style into my book. With a predominant focus on character development and descriptive language used to invoke imagery that awakens all of the reader’s senses.

My genre is challenging in the sense that I think most Literary Agents are interested in either Science Fiction or Fantasy, but rarely both together. However, I am not deterred and believe it is all about finding the right person to work with. I know my story will hit home with a wide audience, because at the heart of it, it is about patriotism, which is a timeless topic.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Had I taken part in this interview a few months ago I probably would have said that most of my ideas are a bit of a reach. However, very recently, as in November 2017, I came across an article that spoke about sending Tardigrades into outer space.Tardigrades are microscopic creatures that can survive long periods of time without food or water. This is an idea that I had written about in my book back in November/December of 2016.

Given the genre a lot of what I write is based on taking one tiny emotion and pushing it almost to the extreme. For example, if my character is in a spacesuit in the vacuum of space, I would try and imagine what that experience might be like. Would my character feel cold in the spacesuit or would anxious emotions make them sweat? All in all, I try to keep the events and experiences as far away from my own life as possible.

However, considering the main theme is about patriotism and how my characters deal with topics such as intolerance, misconduct, and uncertainty, which are at the forefront of today’s conversations. Issues, as such, have definitely impacted me while I write.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

It is always good to travel and gain new perspectives. As mentioned above, I am from Africa, lived in Europe, and currently live in the U.S.A. with my Indian husband. So, my life is a tale of four continents and having experienced different cultures has definitely shaped my worldview throughout life. Also, the added benefit of once progressive technology, such as being able to research images online, maps, and bloggers sharing their personal travel experiences,means that I am not confined to four walls and a laptop.

The brain is a powerful tool, and using it allows me to imagine the feeling of being somewhere I have never been before. I can travel before, during, and after writing a particular scene, which yes does mean that there is a lot of imagery in my book. Also, it is a story where a lot of events happen in space, so I have to rely on the experiences shared by our brave astronauts either way.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Unfortunately, I do not have a cover at the moment, but I like to imagine that it would either have my main character with the silhouette of his spaceship crew behind him, a picture of Earth as seen from space, or the symbolic language I created as part of the book cover’s design.

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The main message in my novel is that being a patriot should no longer have to mean being loyal to one country. Travel, the media, and so many have helped bring people closer together. Also, I want to inspire people to persevereand not take Earth for granted.

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?

Not at the moment, as I have chosen to refrain from doing any reading, while I am busy writing. I’m hoping it will allow me to develop and preserve my writing-voice until I have completed all seven logbooks. My favourite writer is J. R. R. Tolkien, his understanding of the importance of fellowship in particular. His life also resonates with me in that he was born in the Free State, made a new home elsewhere, wrote poetry, and included in his novel a language he had created.

Long before I knew about his life or read his books, I had similarly created my own language at the age of 9, perfecting a symbolic form in February/March 2017.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

My commitment comes predominantly from my faith,the support of my beta-readers, a drive to inspire others, and world leaders in general. Indeed anyone in a leadership role, the actions and inactions they have committed to throughout history have certainly and indirectly supported me in completing this novel. Reading, a person will find that Itry to discuss our daily issues from an alien perspective or out-of-the box point of view.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I most certainly do, as writing is about far more than just telling a story or living it. You essentially become your own boss, set up a private space, create a product, seek investors, and attempt to sell your product in a growingly competitive industry. The success of which hopefully earns some revenue, and while you pray your total sales exceed your total expenses, youpre-emptively take the risk to create your next product for the market to enjoy. Depending on the demand for your product, and ability to supply of course.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Anything can always be perfected, be it strengthening an introduction, improving grammar, or extensively researching a topic where new information has come to light. However, at some point I have to stop self-editing and rely on the professional background of a Literary Agent and/or Editor for my novel to reach full potential.The day my first book is published; I will probably start pouring all of my energy into focusing on publishing the next book.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

I learnt that I have the capacity, inner motivation, drive, and patience to finish writing a full novel. Honestly, I learnt more than I could have possibly imagined, not only about myself, but also about my work. I do not possess a background in science or the military, and have had to educate myself along the way. Overall, writing this book has been an uplifting and extraordinary process.

Also, I never imagined that the same character I created to inspire others would end up inspiring me in the process. Especially, when I am having a rough day, re-reading how my characters overcome their obstacles fills me with hope and that is exactly what I want for those who read my book.

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

My book as a film would be a dream come true. My main characteris an Asian American,a young, strong, and respected soldier.In terms of looks I imagine him as the combination of Torrance Coombs, ShahidKapoor, Josh Hartnett, Lee Dong-Hae, and Godfrey Gao. However, in terms of character I would have to go with a combination of a moody Christian Bale (in The Dark Knight),a dangerous Matt Damon (inTheBourne Identity),an almost robotic Zachary Quinto (in Star Trek), and basically James McAvoy’s character(in X-Men: Days of Future Past).

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Tell your story despite the obstacles and be courteous in spite of the rejections.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I cherish you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Nothing at the moment, but I do hope to one day read George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Firebook series. I’m interested in learning how he wrote the descriptions for each character, before they were adapted for a televised audience.Also, I really hope to finish reading Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Most likely I will first try to catch up on a few Japanese manga and anime series, because many contain fascinating concepts and interesting philosophies.

The Ghost in the Shell by MasamuneShirow is still one of my favourites.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

The first book to truly impact me was a children’s Christian Bible book; just the idea that someone would give their life to save the lives of what I felt were complete strangers, it boggled my mind. You have to understand that I grew up learning if someone gave their life for you that automatically meant your life is indebted to them. The first novel I can actually remember reading was The Giverwritten by Lois Lowry. The idea of looking outside of the life one lives to gain a new perspective and how we pass our memories on to one another captivated me.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I enjoy stand-up comedy, witty comebacks, and good-natured raillery.Any homesick, torture, or tales of loss are instant tear-triggers.

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

As someone who loves art, scientific discoveries, and inventions I would have thoroughly enjoyedmeeting Leonardo Da Vinci.

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Singing and being a member of HitRecord, founded by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which promotes artists worldwide collaborating on projects together.

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

Honestly, I can watch movies ranging anywhere from Inception, The Martian, Deadpool, Star Trek (2009), Gravity,all the way to Rang De Basanti(a Bollywood movie about patriotism).My guilty pleasure is re-watching The Lion King, Anastasia, Mulan, The Land Before Time, and Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Something about being reunited with family and bringing honour to the family name gets me every-time. The adult in me prefers TV series such as Firefly, Dark Matter, Reign, Stranger Things, Switched at Birth, Man to Man(a South Korean television series), BBC’s Paradise, Madam Secretary, and the Peaky Blinders, these are but to name a few favourites.

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

I used to love Kudu Biltong, Ostrich steak, Melktert, Peppermint Crisp Tart, and veggie Bao Buns. My husband then introduced me to the world of MattarPaneer, GulabJamun, Frozen Yogurt, and Falafel with Baba Ganoush. My favourite colour is vantablack, even though I know technically black is a shade, so then blue. I enjoy researching and listening to music from all over the world.

As a teenager Arch Enemy’s song “Nemesis” was my lullaby and Evanescence my safety blanket. Lately, my playlist includes one or two songs from Starset, Written by Wolves, Stereopony, SVRCINA, Eurielle, G. E. M., Digital Daggers, BIGBANG, Welshley Arms, and Lindsey Stirling.

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

I’m a bit of a Jack-of-all-Trades, so I can adapt to whatever is available. I think being a Social Worker would be a challenging and fulfilling job. Although something more in the volunteer, artistic, inventive, or theological line of work would be a better fit for my current set of skills.

 Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?

Forgive the pun, but the thought of being buried six feet underground has always scared the life out of me. As a kid I imagined a Nordic Viking funeral, that way if someone messed up and I’m still alive, I can just dive into the water, no worries. Apparently this is illegal, so I guess either a blank tombstone with an engraved cross on it or for kicks an engraved, please plant a mustard tree here, would be great. That way when the tree grows people can hang notes, ribbons, or engrave whatever they want in memory on the tree.

Also, I prefer trees (and being cremated) to tombstones, something about the whole paper beats rock, I guess. Needless to say trees are better for the environment and I would die in peace knowing I left behind a little extra positivity.

 Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

For now Facebook and Twitter will have to do. Eventually, as things progress I will set up other accounts, a website, and the works. I’m currently working on recording a few Vlogs, which I’m excited to see if my book-related idea works out well. However, I still have Logbooks 2-7 to chisel out, and as a perfectionist just because I’ve completed something doesn’t mean I don’t go back and rework or edit certain parts.

I’ve lost count with Logbook 1, but I figure if someone is taking the time to read my story, they should get their money’s worth in quality as well as quantity. Every single person matters to me.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DaveneLeGrange

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaveneLeGrange