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?
Ha. I’m Jean Knight Pace and I just turned 40 this year (yikes).
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from a tiny town in rural Ohio called Gallipolis.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m a wife and mother of four kids. We also have a cat and 10 ducks. I love to read, write, go for walks, exercise, sing, play the piano, and braid hair.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My most exciting news is that my newest book, Grey Lore, is coming out this December. It’s a little bit urban fantasy, a little bit fairy tale, a little bit wolf lore.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve loved writing for a long time and I’ve been doing it for a long time. I first tried my hand at a novel about 12 years ago. It was terrible, but gave me great experience. When my co-writer, Jake, and I started talking about ideas for a fantasy novel, something just clicked and I knew it was just what I’d been looking for.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I probably did as a kid, then not again, then I did again later in college.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book (the terrible one that never got published): honestly, I was inspired by my family (I still am) and I used writing when my kids were young as a way to work through feelings (good and bad ones). Interestingly, I use it as a way to both connect to my family and to keep a little piece of life just for me. If that makes any sense.My next book (the first one published) was inspired by my love of fantasy, my fantastic co-writer and his great ideas, and my kids.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It took a while coming. We wanted something original, something that inspired thoughts of fantasy, but not something too weird (which is what we kept coming up with at first). But then when it clicked, it clicked. There’s an important metal called the Shining Grey and an important stone. They come together in the story and the title.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I guess I would be considered more of a pantser, though I plot a little. I like to give the story lots of room to wiggle and grow, but there are times where it needs to figure out where it’s going (pretty similar to my parenting, honestly). I still write longhand for my first draft. I love the connection of body to page. It’s just different. And then when I type it up, I catch errors or issues with syntax and it’s almost like a first edit for me.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
As a fantasy novel, most of it is, well, fantasy. But my co-writer and I both snuck (or sometimes overtly plopped) our children into certain characters. And that was tons and tons of fun. For us and our kids. Of course, the characters are still fictional and largely made up, but there are definitely some strong threads connecting them to our children.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I don’t. My couch probably has a saggy spot from me sitting in it. My mind goes plenty of places though.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Deranged Doctor Design. They are amazing in every way.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. Mostly, I hope they come away with some concept of love being something that requires sacrifice, but—ironically—ends up giving back so much more than what was given.
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?
Two authors really inspire me. The first is Brandon Sanderson. He’s just so brilliant at fantasy. His stories and worlds are amazing. The second is Kelly Barnhill. She also writes the fantastic, but in a lyrical way that is just haunting and beautiful to me.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My family was definitely my biggest cheer squad, but I was almost embarrassingly touched by the way friends rallied around the book as well, buying it, leaving reviews, talking to me about it. Several of my girlfriends chose it as their book club book and they just made me feel like a little celebrity. They’re amazing.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do. But sometimes I live in a fantasy world. We’ll hope that that’s for the best.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope. I love it. Ask me in ten years and I’ll probably tell you I would have tightened this or tweaked that, but at a certain point, you have to decide—I can spend the next 15 years on this while I shoot for perfection, or I can produce something really solid in 2 years. I went for the latter and I don’t regret it. I actually think overworking a story can kill it. (Please don’t misunderstand—I believe a story should be tight and amazing and well edited. I just think at a certain point we need to leave our OCD and perfectionism behind for a little minute.)
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I always learn things about myself. I learn what I most care about. I learn what I hope my children will most care about. That’s what I love about writing.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
An unknown actor—someone with a little naivetéand innocence still in his life.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write regularly. Take small bites if you can’t take big ones. If you have to choose, be a bit of a tortoise—steady and consistent. And edit, even though it doesn’t seem as fun.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Keep reading. Make time to give that sweet gift to yourself.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No. But I remember that Little Women was the first book I cried over.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Children.Families.This beautiful world God has given us.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Hmmm. Maybe C.S. Lewis.A great writer of fantasy and also such an interesting thinker in general.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Tons. I love music. I love the outdoors. I love cooking. I hate cleaning, but sometimes I have to do it to clear my mind.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch much TV or movies (I know I know; heresy). But I do love a good superhero movie. And comedy, clean comedy.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Favorite food: Cake. Favoritecolor: Red. Favorite music: Show music (Yeah, a little weird, but so true)
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d garden and cook and read and walk and sing. But something would be missing. Writing is the place where I most find myself.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
My name, some dates. And maybe the words ‘wife’ and ‘mother’. Heck, just leave off the words and carve a picture of a butterfly. Apparently, I’m a headstone minimalist.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes, please. http://jeanknightpace.com/ . You can also find me on Facebook (@jeanknightpace.author), Twitter (@jeanknightpace) and Instagram (@jeanknightpacewrites). Come on over and see me.