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.
Hi Everyone! I’m Joanne Van Leerdam. I’m old enough for my spine to think it’s 90, and young enough for my brain to think it’s still 25.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in a country town in south-western Victoria, Australia. It’s not too far from the beach, and close enough to the city to visit if I want to, so it’s a perfect spot for me.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m married with two furkids. I teach senior high school English and History part time, and am also involved in my local theatre company.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I just spent a week camping by a river, where I spent my time reading, exploring the surrounding countryside, and nutting out plans for my next collection of horror stories.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write stories and poems, even as a child. As an adult, I wrote to help myself reconcile issues and experiences that were challenging or negative, and to celebrate those which were positive and joyful.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Friends started to tell me that my writing was really good, and I should seek publication. I “dipped my toes in the water” by blogging short pieces of writing, where I received the same kind of feedback from strangers. That’s when it started to sink in.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had a collection of poems that I’d written over a few years, and when I had enough to start submitting them to publishers, I did. Some of those poems were inspired by my own experiences, others by what I saw friends and acquaintances experiencing.
I have enjoyed poetry all my life, and have been particularly inspired by poets like Tennyson, Longfellow, Whitman and Bronte.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I used the title of one of the poems in the collection – a poem that was particularly meaningful to me at that point in my life.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Obviously, with my poetry, I use a lot of different imagery to communicate key ideas in powerful ways. I probably do that when I’m writing fiction, too. There’s a lot of great imagery in a good horror read.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My horror is all fiction. So are the fairy tale novellas I wrote for the ‘Once Upon A Fabulous Time’ anthology last year.
My poetry though – a lot of that is highly autobiographical. Many of my poems are about overcoming challenges or difficulties that might actually be my undoing if I didn’t fight them. I use lots of different images and ideas to explore the emotions and responses that are part of those experiences. Other poems are inspired by people I know, and their experiences in life.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No, although I have taken inspiration from some of the places I’ve visited on my travels. There are some particular places in Quebec’s Eastern Townships that I’ve used as models for some of the settings in my writing.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did, although in consultation with others who have backgrounds design or marketing. ‘Leaf’ and ‘New Horizons’ have my own photos as the covers. My other books use images that I have obtained legally from other sources.
Fiona: Is there a message in your writing that you want readers to grasp?
A recurrent theme in my writing – both poetry and fiction – is that there will always be things in life that try to destroy you, and sometimes those things might even think they have won – but you can resist them, and you can overcome them. Sometimes that means closing the door and pretending they’re not on the other side, but that’s okay, too.
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?
A new poet whose work I really enjoy is Patrick Williams. His poetry is very different than mine, but it’s very powerful and evocative. His debut book, Lethal as Love, is incredibly good.
I have a number of favourite writers in various genres. There’s no way I can whittle it down to one.
Aliya DalRae got me hooked on paranormal with her Jessica Sweet series, and that’s how I discovered Eric Tanafon, who is also amazing. J.B. Richards writes magnificent historical fiction. Eva Pasco’s book ‘An Englightening Quiche’ takes me right back to those same townships in Quebec that I love so much. Lyra Shanti’s ‘Shiva XIV’ series is brilliant scifi/space opera that really carries you away into the universe she has created. R.M Gauthier writes fantastic contemporary romance and thrillers. For horror, my go-to authors are D.J Doyle and Nikki Landis.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Two of my friends, Kath and Nicky. They were two of the people who really encouraged me to seek publication and to share my writing with the world, long before it became a reality.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love to be able to write full time, but poetry doesn’t really seem to be the most popular genre in terms of sales, compared to what I’ve seen people achieve in other genres. That is exactly what I expected starting out, so that doesn’t bother me.
I’m really just starting out in horror, so maybe when I have a few more horror titles or some more reinvented fairy tales under my belt, it might be a possibility.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That karma doesn’t move as fast as I’d sometimes like it to.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Be thorough, especially in proofreading your work before you put it in front of someone else. Using the wrong “your/you’re” or “past/passed” is enough to shoot a hole in your credibility.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Yes: thank you from the depths of my heart for putting your faith in my writing, and thank you for your responses and reviews.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
‘Reaper’s Folly’ by Nikki Landis.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No. Given the books I still have from my childhood, it was probably Dr Seuss or Pookie.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh at dark humour, irony, sarcasm, witty comebacks. My favourite comedies are Monty Python and Black Books.
I cry because of injustice, hatred, prejudice, and physical pain. I cry because I miss people that I love who live a long way away. Anxiety and depression have also caused their share of tears along the way.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’d love to meet William Shakespeare and ask all those questions that people keep kvetching about. It would be great to settle them once and for all – and that book would definitely be a bestseller!
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Reading and reviewing great books. Games like Sudoku and Words With Friends. Photography.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Monty Python, Black Books, Doc Martin, Harry Potter, Gilmore Girls and The Musketeers. I’m also a big fan of musicals.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Food: pizza, Indian and Chinese food. Anything cookies & cream or lemon.
Colours: Red, purple,silver, orange.
Music: I have really wide tastes. I’ll listen to anything from Beethoven to AC/DC. The only thing I don’t really go for is rap, not because of prejudice, but more because I have difficulty relating to it. I’ve never been part of that culture.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
To be honest, I can’t imagine that.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“At least now I can become a famous poet.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My main blog is at www.wordynerdbird.com.
I also have a blog where I post new writing at www.wordynerdbirdwrites.wordpress.com.
Everyone is also welcome to follow me on the following social media:
My books are all available on Amazon and other major ebook stores.