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 Carmel Audsley and I’m a very young 63 years of age.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born and live in Australia and have Scottish heritage.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am married and live in Brisbane. I hold a degree in Journalism, Literature and Philosophy and spent my working life as a Journalist, Editor and Publisher in newspapers and magazines.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My blah news is that I have recently had another skin cancer operation on my nose (my third). My good news is that I am writing the third instalment in The Undertaker series.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have been writing since childhood because I was drawn to stories, but I have been a professional writer for around 40 years. That sounds like a long time but when you are busy the time flies.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I got my first job as a Journalist, and was paid for my writing, I knew I was where I was meant to be.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
After I ‘redirected’ (I don’t understand the concept of retirement), I started to research my family’s history in Scotland. The stories I uncovered were heart-breaking and I knew that they would appeal to a wider audience, so that was the catalyst for writing my first novel Ours, Yours and Mineswhich is set in the miners’rows of Scotland.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It seemed that the stories belonged to many people of the time – so ours and yours – but also in Scotland they will say ‘mines’ rather than ‘mine’ and as the stories were set in mining villages Ours, Yours and Mines seemed like the perfect title.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’m a storyteller and I write the way I like to read stories. I don’t go in for too much description – those types of novels leave me cold – so I give just enough description for readers to be able to picture people and places, but leave them room for their own imagination.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Ours, Yours and Mines, its prequel Faeries, Farms and Folk and the sequel Far Across The Sea are based on real people, places and events but I have created dialogue to bring the stories to life. My latest novel Murder In The Bush is based on the true story of a young man who travels from Scotland in 1885 to the Australian bush with a dream of owning land. He makes a lot of money but he never gets the chance to spend it as he meets a madman who has been getting away with murder for years. The Undertaker series is pure fiction, with real places and events woven into the story.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I have travelled a lot and I’ve been to all the places mentioned in my books, with the exception of taking a sailing journey from Scotland to Australia. Thankfully you can do the trip in 24 hours now and not have to take three months across treacherous seas.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I have designed all of my covers. I’ve worked in the publishing industry for many years and am one of those people who likes to learn every aspect of putting a publication together.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There is a message of hope in all of my novels, although it is subtle. All of my characters are strong. I’m especially drawn to strong women like my ancestors and Kate in The Undertaker. They never take no for an answer and keep pushing on through adversity.
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 read a lot of work by new authors and I am interested in different styles of writing, but I am always drawn to the classics.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I started writing novels from a very solid base because of my years in the publishing industry, so I was able to walk into this venture with a certain confidence and my eyes wide open to the pitfalls. I think that people who are completely changing careers would need a lot of support, and fortunately there are plenty of writers’groups around to lend that support.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’ve made my living from writing for around 40 years and have had a very successful career. As for writing novels, I am now in a place where I have the time to write for pleasure as well asprofessional gain.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wouldn’t change anything in any of my books because I take the time before they are published to ensure they are as professionally written and produced as possible. Nobody gets it right one hundred percent of the time and you can drive yourself crazy by going over your books and thinking ‘I probably could have said this instead of that’. It’s a process and you are human. Just do the best you can and then let your book out into the world.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned not to take on too much at a time. You would think I had learned that lesson long ago – I learn it again with every project I take on. Everyone needs to have other interests, but especially writers who need to take regular breaks from writing and just live. Writers are always observing the world around them.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
The book that I most see as being made into a film is The Undertaker. I have the whole cast plotted out. Kate The Undertaker is red-haired and fiery and I see British actor Eleanor Tomlinson as the perfect Kate.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Yes, practise, practise, practise and read, read, read. Good writers need to be prolific readers because while you may think you are reading for pleasure you are subtly taking in turns of phrase and ways of placing action into a situation. My other piece of advice is don’t expect to be successful overnight. Being a writer is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to practise your craft to improve.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I appreciate all of my readers greatly. I get a lot of emails from readers who have been moved to tears by my stories. These readers mostly don’t post reviews on amazon so their thoughts aren’t out for public viewing, but the fact that they have taken the time to find my contact details and write to me personally means a lot to me. I always reply to readers. I’m also open to any questions from readers.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
There aren’t too many books that I re-read – who has the time? But one book I go back to – not to read from cover to cover but for inspiration – is The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I think it is because I have been rather ill of late and that book always picks me up.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I was given a hardback copy of Two Queens At The Abbey when I was a child which I believe was my first proper book, but I can still remember the first grade readers.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My grandbabies make me laugh. Any stories about children being mistreated make me cry. If there was one thing I could change in this world it would be that no child ever went hungry or had their innocence stolen.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
There are many people I would love to meet but theyhave all gone to that great reading room in the sky. I would love to talk to philosopher Aristotle and American authors Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman, probably because their writing had such an influence on me when I was studying.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I’m lucky that my job has always been about writing so I’ve always worked long hours and never really had time for a hobby. I would like to take up singing again so maybe I’ll work on that.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love Grace and Frankie with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. I binge watch it on Netflix.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I have lots of favourite foods but could never pass up fresh sushi and sashimiand any seafood. My favourite colour is probably blue and my tastes in music are eclectic. I like classical music, love opera, but also music from the 60s and 70s.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would teach writing. I have held creative writing classes in the past and quite enjoyed helping people realise their dreams of becoming a writer.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She was passionate and she cared.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Link to ‘Murder In The Bush’ (book number 7) is
Link to ‘Ours, Yours and Mines’ (Book number 1) is https://www.amazon.com/Yours-Mines-Carmel-McMurdo-Audsley-ebook/dp/B008TG18S0