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?
Thank you for having me, Fiona. My name is Sloane Kennedy and I am 43 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Germany but was raised in the US. First in Virginia and more recently in Wisconsin, which is where I currently live.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m single but have three nieces that I spend as much time with as I can. Before I began writing full time, I worked in health care information technology for many years. I have two Masters degrees, one in Business and one in Medical Informatics. My immediate family all lives in the same area as me and when I’m not writing I’m usually hanging out with my younger sister.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m about to start writing my second book in my Pelican Bay series. I was extremely productive in 2017 (I released 9 solo books and 2 books with a co-author) so I’m hoping to match that in 2018.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Officially, I began writing three years ago when I self-published for the first time. Unofficially, I started writing (for myself) in my early twenties. I loved romance novels and I loved movies so I wanted to merge the two and I ended up writing screenplays. It is a brutally competitive industry so nothing ever happened with it, but it led to me writing my first novel, (again, just for myself). Twenty years later I took that novel and self-published it on Amazon in the hopes that I could make a few extra bucks to pay some bills. Fast forward three years and I am closing in on having 30 published books under my belt and writing for a living.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It probably didn’t happen until just this past year. I’m notoriously insecure and so it was hard to call myself an author, even though the proof of it sits on my bookshelf with a row of books bearing my name. There wasn’t any exact moment when I finally accepted that I am, in fact, a writer – it just kind of “was” one day, I guess.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve always had stories in my head, even when I was a teenager. I loved reading romances and would always dream up my own stories of figurative knights-in-shining-armour. It wasn’t until I got my stories on paper that they’d finally go quiet in my head, so writing almost became a necessity. Letting Go was my first full-length novel.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I came up with the title, Letting Go, because that was what the story was about – the theme of needing to let go of one’s fear and pasts to move forward is prevalent throughout the story.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I am what they call a pantser – I literally sit down at my computer and just start typing and whatever happens happens. I rarely do any kind of outlining and what I know about my characters is minimal at the time that I start writing. They often end up surprising me.
I write gay romance so obviously there are certain elements that I can’t personally relate to. That can be a challenge because I want to be both respectful and accurate when it comes to the stories I tell.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Several of my books take things from my own life – mostly personality traits or qualities rather than actual experiences. I deal with a lot of dark elements in my books and while I fortunately haven’t had to experience them all first-hand, there are some that are very personal for me because I’ve lived them. I don’t model my characters after other people, but sometimes I might see a topic in a news story and use that as inspiration for a future book.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No. I typically set my stories in places I’m more familiar with (many of my books take place in Seattle because I lived there for many years). If I use a different place, I try to google the information I need. I’d like to travel in the future to add some depth and realism to the locations I use, but we will have to see if that is a possibility.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Jay Aheer has designed all of my covers.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Most of my books are about strength and family. I want people to know that they can survive anything and that love is still a possibility for them, no matter what they’ve been through. And as an author of gay romance, I want people to understand that love comes in all forms. It is abhorrent to me that someone can decide that two people are not allowed to love one another because of something as insignificant as gender. I’m not a big believer in labels or judgement. Just because I don’t understand something doesn’t make it wrong. Love is love. Period.
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 can’t say I have any one particular favorite author. Most recently I’ve been reading a lot of Care Dee’s books. Keira Andrews and Lucy Lennox are also favorites. Cameron Dane was an author I read a lot of before I started writing, though I don’t believe he/she has released anything lately. I was also a fan of the late Sandrine Gasq-Dion, who I was lucky enough to also count as a friend.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My family really wasn’t aware of my writing early on and like me, probably didn’t think anything would come of it… certainly not that I’d be able to make a living off of it. So I’d have to say my readers/fans were the ones who supported my commitment, because they bought my books and they reached out to me to tell me they enjoyed them or to ask about when certain secondary characters would be getting stories. They’re the ones who made it possible for me to live a dream I didn’t even know I had.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. It’s a job like any other – it takes work and it has its good days and bad days. But it is also a dream, so it’s so much more than just a career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I wouldn’t change any of my books. I’m proud of every single one and I often re-read my own stories because I love the family of men I’ve created.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I would say I improve with every book I write. I’ve started to challenge myself more and more with different kinds of characters who are outside my comfort zone.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I have absolutely no idea.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write what you love first and foremost. Then after that, just write, write, write. Few authors are able to get it perfect right out of the starting gate. My own career has been a slow build over three years. The key was to keep readers coming back for more and to do that, I had to keep getting books out there.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I wouldn’t be where I am without you.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am between books right now. I just finished Deal-maker by Lily Morton and did a re-read of Aftermath by Cara Dee.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No clue. I do remember reading Watership Down when I was a kid and really liking it but also being scared by it. Books like Native Son and Black Boy by Richard Wright showed me the reality of the world we live in. I read these books in high school as part of anAfrican American literature class and I remember my gut just sinking as I experienced the world through that author’s eyes. It was so very different than mine and it was the first time I really understood how powerful books can be.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I’m guaranteed to cry when someone else does. Laughing is a little bit more of a trick but the weirdest things will get me going. In one of the books I wrote with Lucy Lennox, she wrote this particular line that had me laughing so hard that I had to call her to tell her but I couldn’t stop laughing long enough to tell her how funny it was.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I don’t have as many as I used to now that I write so much. Reading is a big one, of course. I also love movies so I watch a lot of those.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch as much TV as I used to – I watch movies instead. The TV shows I do watch are Shark Tank, Intervention, Modern Family, Will & Grace, and Life in Pieces.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I’m an addict when it comes to espresso drinks. I have at least one latte a day, usually two. Music is really varied. I like a lot of instrumental stuff from movie soundtracks but I also have a range of music on my phone – anything from rock to pop to classical.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d probably want to do something with animals, especially horses. That was always my dream as a kid.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
LOL, no idea. I want to be cremated and have my ashes spread in the ocean or the mountains. People can remember me in other ways besides visiting a grave.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I’m on facebook under Sloane Kennedy and my website is www.sloanekennedy.com
Amazon Author Page: