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?
Hi, my name is Elisabeth Zguta and I’m 59 years wise.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in the Berkshires hills of Massachusetts, a place of small towns and lots of character. I later lived in Rochester New York, Venice Florida, Hatfield Ma, Sturbridge Ma, and currently I’m residingin Rossville Tennessee, in the Memphis area. It’s fair to say I’ve moved around a bit.
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
Years ago, I attended college, but I’ve learned more from everyday living, reading, and my work. I’ve worn many hats atvarious jobs but my most rewarding was being a mother of four children (all grown now). I now have a talented grandson, as well.I worked outside of our home for years with many titles fromCredit Analyst, Buyer, and other positions in between. Now I write from my office upstairs in my house. I wish I could have done this while raising my children, but it wasn’t an option back then. Thank goodness for change.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My newest book ‘IN THE WOODS – Murder In The North East Kingdom’ was released as an eBook in November, and now the paperback is also available. I’m very happy to be able to share this story with others.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Years ago, when I was in college, I dreamed of writing a book. I think many of us do that, and I’ve always had stories in my head. But it wasn’t until 2010 that I seriously placed my ideas to paper. Our family suffered a loss that year and I had a hard time dealing with my nephew’s death. I needed to find an outlet to release my emotions and writing stories down proved to be very therapeutic. Once I started I couldn’t stop. Writing became an important part of my life.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I thought of myself as a writer when I first released stories to the public. I did this through one of my blogsI Jumped! Into Writing… which I recently began using as a review site. I remember it was difficult to press that publish button the first year. I second guessed every word, went back to edit and update. It was killing me, but I remained focused on becoming a better writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book is titled ‘Breaking Cursed Bonds’ and it was a reflection of my feelings about our family’s grief.I imagined a story about a cursed family because that’sexactly how I felt—cursed—when my nephew passed away. Of course, the book is completely fictional, with different eccentric personalities, new bizarre places, and outlandish situations. However,writing about the ancient curse,and having my characters overcome the obstacles to conquer the curse, helped me heal and move away fromgrief.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Once I started writing, I often took walks while thinking about how I wanted to develop the story and the characters. The title came to me during a walk. Then I went back and played with other potential titles using an excel sheet. As I read them aloud, I kept coming back to Breaking Cursed Bonds, so I went with it.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Genre is one of the hardest things to pin against our work. I write suspense supernatural thrillers, some parts of the books could even be labelled horror, other parts paranormal romance. The problem with using the genre horror is that many readers anticipate gore, but true horror can be deeper than blood and guts. Suspense and horror cuts the reader down to the core of our fears, oftenmore psychological than anything else.
My style is a storyline that builds on the emotional insecurities of the characters. I like to bring Native American folklore into the tale because they are rich with lessons and superstition, and I can’t resist using them to intertwine with the plot. I also like to treat the setting as a character and let the characters interact and respond to their surroundings.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All my stories are fictional. Like any writer, some of my own experiences might inspire a plot twist, or perhaps a characteristic, but I don’t want to write about real specifics or people, it could prove to be hurtful. I use my past and perceptions, and meld them into something new. I sprinkle in the research about particular subjects and places to try to make the fictional story feel possible. I’m a curious person by nature and like to research and learn new things and often have to delete things I’ve written because it litters the story. I’ve discovered that editing involves a lot of deleting.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
While I was still editing ‘IN THE WOODS – Murder In the North East Kingdom’ I visited Vermont’s North East Kingdom area and the places in the story. I wanted to make sure the feeling was right, since the woods played a major part in the story. It’s a lovely area and I recommend those who enjoy the outdoor life to visit.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I design my covers, format my books, and all my posts. I enjoy all aspects of making a book, and have also helped other Indie Authors with their books, too. If anyone is interested, check out EZIndieDesign.com.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Each of my books are different, but they may have a couple of common messages:
#1 People wear masks and aren’t always who they seem to be.
#2 We all have quirks and should embrace them, otherwise we’ll go through life feeling persecuted.
#3 To be whole we need to become one with ourselves and nature.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favourite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
My favourite author of all time is Saul Bellow, hands down. The book “Henderson The Rain King” really moved me. More current authors I enjoy reading are Diana Gabaldon, Dean Koontz and Karin Slaughter.
I read mostly Indie books and here are a few of my favourite Indie authors whose work I thoroughly enjoy reading:Jeremy Bates, Allan Leverone, D.V. Berkom, and Joe Hart. They all write thrillers some bent with supernatural and horror, which ismy genre of choice as of late. There are many more talented Indie authors and more to discover each day. I encourage readers everywhere to support Indie Authors and decide for yourself if a book is worthy. Don’t depend on bought lists to discover great stories!
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I found support from other Indie Authors who offered the stories of their own journey ofwriting, publishing tips, and how to overcome the marketing ‘stuff’. I’m thankful for the first people who shared publicly to help us, people like Dean Wesley Smith, Joanna Penn and David Gaughran. There are many groups that helped me also, especially She Writes, AiA, ALLi —three great resources that changed my perspective about publishing. There are more helpful websites out there if anyone cares to look, and as the business side of writing changes, we need all the help we can muster. I listed the resources that helped me on my website here: EZ Publishing Information
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do take my writing career seriously. Though I’m not making as much money as I did while working in the more traditional jobs I held, it is the work that I love to do and I’m privileged to be able to work at it full time. I hope someday the money part kicks in and it pays for itself.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I think that no matter how well we work, a story can always be improved, but no, I’m happy with the way it reads (for now at least, ha ha).
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes, I learned about the Abenaki tribe, some of their history, and the story of their struggle to reclaim their heritage. IN THE WOODS – Murder In The North East Kingdom is as much a story about finding one’s roots and home as it is a murder mystery.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I never thought of this before, but I could envision a strong woman, like Jessica Biel.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
The seed I used for this book’s plot came from a few chapters I wrote years ago. I had set them aside thinking they weren’t good enough. Then one day I decided to try to breathe new life into it and rewrote what I had, and developed it more thoroughly.While writing this novel I realized that the pieces of work we set aside isn’t necessarily wasted.Sometimes if we wait for the right time to finish, it will work.
So my advice today is to be patient, work each day, and never beat yourself up.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I’d like my readers to know that underneath everything I write, no matter how dark it gets,I leave optimism. Positive thinking lifts us all from the dark side.
If anyone knows of other readers who are like us, people who share the same interests in books and reading, then please share my books with them.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading a couple of ARC books for writer friends of mine. I also want to finish ‘Soul Walk’ by Melissa Bowersock and ‘The Mailman’ by Jeremy Bates.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I remember reading a book that had belonged to my father when he was a child titled‘Mitzie and Fritzie of Germany’ and I have no idea who wrote it. I recall a few titles from my first bookclub subscription: ‘Big Red’, ‘Misty the Colt’, and later on the Nancy Drew mysteries were fun childhood books.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My family makes me laugh and I am happiest when they are around, especially if I get to cook for them.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I think I’d like to meet Frank Lloyd Wright because I love the way he envisioned architecture and its blending into its surrounding. I enjoy studying the structure of buildings and furniture, how they’re put together, and would enjoy a conversion about Fallingwater. A second contender would be Thomas Edison. These men both changed the way America looked and lived.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy cooking when there’s people around to eat it. I’m a camera buff and like to snap pictures wherever we go, especially of the outdoors and buildings. Sometimes my kids get annoyed by this, ha ha. Of course, I read, but to me that’s more a part of living, like breathing, than it is a hobby.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
My tastes in shows vary quite a bit. I’m a curious person by nature and easily jump from genre and topic. I enjoyed the episodes of “Outlander”,“Stranger Things” and thought them original. I’m also a ‘Twin Peaks’ fan, of the bizarre yet artsy show. My all-timefavourite series is most probably ‘Detective Morse’—I’m also a fan of series of the early years,‘Endeavor’. Films that awed me were “The Revenant” and “Australia”
Fiona: Favourite foods, colours, music?
Food favourite of all time – spaghetti. Favourite colour is Purple and music . . . well, let’s just say I have a lot of favourites. I enjoy listening to Yanni and Bocelli then also the opposite spectrum with H.I.M. The Killers, Cranberries and Imagine Dragons. I enjoy the old sixties tunes like Petula Clark’s ‘Downtown’and seventies rock bands like Boston and Kansas. To me, music is like books, the more you devour the better.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Play with the children, think up stories in my head and share them, and thenbake cookies.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I don’t want a headstone. Like the Kansas song says, “we are dust in the wind.” So hopefully that’s what will happen to my remains. People will have to remember me in their mind and not by a grave marker.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I hope readers out there will check out my books on my website:
If they sign up they can receive the eBook of Breaking Cursed Bonds for FREE but only at my website 😊
Thank you, Fiona for your thoughtful questions.
Keep reading – Keep writing! And thank you for your time.
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