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.
Fiona: Tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer?
I live in Cardiff. For all its modernisation, there are still remnants of old Victorian Cardiff. I love the castle in the centre of the city and the fact that you have the sea on one side and the mountains on the other side of Cardiff. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I’ve always loved to write. My teachers at school used to limit me to no more than ten pages. I wrote short stories for magazines, it paid my way through college.
Fiona: What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Primarily I chose to write Paranormal stories. They are fun and you can let your imagination run riot. But you can’t be limited to one genre so I branched out and wrote a few other short stories in different genres. My latest is called The Decoys and it is an erotic comedy.
Fiona: What have you had published to-date? Do you have a favourite of your books or characters?
My first novel Judgement of Souls 3: Kiss at Dawn was published as an eBook by www.bookstogonow.com back in 2012 and is available on Amazon and Goodreads. I love Rachel, my main character – she’s strong and independent, but I do admit to having a soft spot for Daniel, the club owner. But I realised that her story was more intricate than I had put on paper so I decided to go back in time. Judgement of Souls 2: Call of the Righteous is a 300 year time period through mortal history introducing a deadly adversary commissioned by the Church to hunt down anything supernatural. Judgement of Souls 1: Origin goes back even further, to the times of the Crusades and the shady deals made by the Church with the vampire army.
After JOS3 was published, I wrote two short stories about a fake Psychic who gets a surprising visit one evening during one of her ‘séances’. And another about lost love. Story of my Heart proves that the Universe will always put you together with your true love, just when you thought it was lost.
I wrote a compilation of short stories for a Christmas offering.
I wrote Ordinary Wins, a sexy little story about a woman who meets a famous drummer from a rock band. It’s been received really well. It’s one of my favourites.
After that came The Trancers. Do you really know where people go when they’re in a coma? A creepy tale of being trapped. The Decoys is an erotic comedy about two Welsh girls and holiday and two handsome jewel thieves. I mean, what could go wrong?
Fiona: Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Lots and lots, its part of being an author. Before I met Jenni at Bookstogonow, I sent the novel off to several agents in the UK and US. Rejection is all part of the profession, it’s tough each time you get a letter, but you have to put up with it because one day, you’ll get accepted. What isn’t easy is getting a rejection from a publisher who couldn’t be bothered to write you a letter back, just scribbled no thanks at the bottom of your letter! That’s harsh.
Fiona: Are your books available as eBooks? Were you involved in that process at all? Do you have any plan to write any eBook-only stories? And do you read eBooks?
Yes my novel is available, in ebook form and also in paperback. I’m happy with that, ebooks reach a lot more people and they are the way forward. I didn’t have much to do with the epublishing process, I left the whole process to BTGN, they knew what to do and I thought I just might mess it up. I did a lot of editing before we agreed with the finished product, I deleted almost ten thousand words with Judgement of Souls 3, but the story flows so much better and I couldn’t be happier. I do read eBooks but I try never to read while I am in the middle of writing a new novel. I just feel that you may subconsciously end up duplicating something that someone else has written and that would upset me. Plus it’s time wasting when I realise the mistake and have to frantically start rewriting.
Fiona: How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
100%. Gone are the days when your publisher would do all of that for you. I promote on all social media outlets. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, magazines, blogs, websites, you name it, I’ve tried it. Yes it’s very hard and it’s extremely time consuming. If you’re not promoting then people don’t know your work, if you’re promoting then you’re not writing. It’s a vicious circle and you have to schedule yourself to do both.
Fiona: Do you write under a pseudonym? Do you think they make a difference to an author’s profile?
No, I write under my own name. It’s who I am. I think to each its own, if the writer wants to work under a different name then that’s fine, confusing at times, but up to them.
Fiona: If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Funny you should mention that. It has been optioned already but I wasn’t happy with the terms so the US Producers and I parted company. But I have excited news to come in the next few months.
I did used to have several actors that I could see fill the roles. But over the years the characters have changed and I no longer found that my actor choices suited my characters. I suppose it’s going to have to be someone new. Someone whose personality shines out and certainly one that can capture Max with just one glance. I guess it’ll be a surprise for all of us.
Fiona: Did you have any say in the title / covers of your book(s)? How important do you think they are?
Very important. I have a huge input into how it should look. BTGN has an excellent graphic artist who I work closely with. For Ordinary Wins I added tattoos for the drummer. For Trancers I found a picture that I loved, so I searched for the artist and asked if I could use it and she said yes. The Decoys I searched a gallery of images to find my girls. I love this creative part and it’s only the author that can see her character’s 100%, which is why it’s important to have full control over it all.
Fiona: What are you working on at the moment / next? Do you manage to write every day?
I’m writing the bullet points for book two of The Decoys. I’d like to write everyday but it’s not always possible, I have a full-time job so I try and fit writing in when I can. I carry a Dictaphone so that if I get ideas I can record them for later. And I have a notebook next to my bed for those sudden, middle of the night, ideas. I’m also at the start of writing another paranormal story called Rhiannon, a story about a Welsh witch.
Fiona: What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it?
We all do at some point. Sometimes you do get to a point when there’s too much in your head and nothing makes sense. I listen to music – that inspires me with some ideas. And if not, I leave everything alone for at least a week (or more if necessary) and then re-read what I’ve already written, it helps.
Fiona: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
I plot step by step. Each page has a sub-line of what is meant to go on that page and then I just write that section when I think about it. I have the beginning written in the next novel, then a few blank pages, then more writing etc etc. I even have what I’d like for the end!
Fiona: Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
I form my characters on people I see almost everyday, but with a twist. The names, well I try not to make them too romantic and unbelievable, I like names that are old but still used today. But I have made up a few.
Fiona: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
I edit constantly. It’s a real pain because I never think its good enough and I think the reason it takes me longer to finish the book. I should just write and let the editor do her job. But it’s part and parcel of being an author, to improve or to make the sentences flow easier.
Fiona: Do you have to do much research?
Absolutely yes. I like to use real places so I need to know exactly where they are. And as I write about supernatural beings, I like to get their history correct. In Book 2 there’s a chapter set in Malta. My best friend has just moved over there, so I went over and took a look around. I even joined a Facebook group that told me which streets were around in the 16th century so it now sounds very authentic.
For the Judgement of Souls series I even visited a synagogue in London and spoke to the Rabbi about their Hebrew bible. In it are passages about Lilith that I wanted to use. They were most helpful.
I have done research for every book, some of it extensive and some just experiences told to me by people I have spoken to.
Fiona: Some writers like quiet, others the noise of a coffee shop etc., do you listen to music or have noise around you when you write or do you need silence?
I write better at home and usually at night. I have the TV on or I listen to music, I need background noise. And it depends on what genre too. If I’m writing about Judgement of Souls then I have gothic/heavy metal music playing. For Ordinary Wins I listened to rock music. For the others more mainstream that gets you in the zones.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t give up. If you have a story that is dying to be told, then work hard to tell it. But make sure you are doing your best work and you get an editor that can help you make the most of your manuscript.
Don’t give up even though you may get rejection letters. If everyone thought like that there’d be no books, no films. Keep writing, even if its dribble! Then read, re-read and edit. Try and write a little each day. One hundred words a day is seven hundred a week, twenty-eight hundred a month and one hundred words a day is so simple!
And carry a Dictaphone or a notebook and pen!
Fiona: Where do we find you?
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in an area of South Wales called Tiger Bay and that’s situated in Cardiff. Tiger Bay in its day was a very notorious area and was very poor. These days it is filled with luxury apartments, bars and restaurants and renamed Cardiff Bay, but to the locals who have always lived there, it’s Tiger Bay aka the Docks.
Where do you live now?
I still in Cardiff but moved away from the area I grew up in – around 5 miles away so not too far. I visit every week because my family still live in the same house, I may live in another area, but it’ll always be home.
What would you like readers to know about you?
I work for the BBC and have done so for over 20 years. I’ve worked on BBC news, music programmes, drama (Torchwood and Doctor Who), factual, arts and now I work for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales – we play the music that you hear on things like Doctor Who! I was the Production Secretary on Torchwood Series 1, had a brief stint on Doctor Who and worked on a few local Welsh dramas.
I have three little dogs that are spoilt rotten, I live just outside of town and love to get home and close the world out!
I have a lot of research books because I have to get facts right in my novels. Judgement of Souls 2: Call of the Righteous was set over 300 years, so I had a lot of history to cover. I even got my vampires involved in the French revolution which was fun, but I also had a timeline to consider, three hundred years of mortals who die and vampires who didn’t, so it was very challenging. I love researching my subjects.
When I wrote Judgement of Souls 3, I used a club in the storyline that I used to visit, so the club and its clientele are real. I love Gothic music and culture so it was easy for me to write my first novel.
I enjoy taking pictures and here in Wales we’re lucky to have such an old coastline. It’s Triassic and Jurassic and an ideal place for fossil hunters! On the other side of Cardiff and perhaps a 30 minute car ride down the motorway, you’re surrounded by mountains and valleys, with waterfalls, old castles and abbeys… a picture takers dream!
Best Selling Author
JUDGEMENT OF SOULS 1: Origin
JUDGEMENT OF SOULS 2: Call of The Righteous
JUDGEMENT OF SOULS 3: Kiss at Dawn
Story of My Heart
A Christmas Embrace