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?
KJ Waters Age I like to pretend I’m ageless. My face betrays me daily.
Where are you from:
I grew up in Maryland between Baltimore and Washington
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I have a Master’s in Business and run my own Author Consulting biz, I am the co-host of the podcast Blondie and the Brit, and I write time travel stories swirled in hurricanes. I also have a book cover design business called Blondie’s Custom Book Covers.
I have three active kids, one who is about to graduate high school, and struggle to find time to write, like most of my writer friends.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m excited to be working on three writing projects right now. One is the third book in my Stealing Time Series, called Killing Time set during Hurricane Jeanne when it hit Puerto Rico. I hope to have it out next spring. I’m also working on two shorter projects. One is the sequel to my short story called Blow, set during Hurricane Ivan that will release this fall if I can find time to get it done.
Finally, I’m hoping to release a short story collection of my watery travel adventures this spring. It is called Blondie in the Water that is based on my blog with the same name. I just now got it back from my assistant who was compiling it off my blog and I’m hoping to get that to my editor soon.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
That is a great questions Fiona. I used to have a high-powered job as the Director of Marketing and Communications for a National Behavioral Health company in the US. I enjoyed a lot of traveling and late hours but after I had my second child I chose to stay home with my kids. After a few years of fun with the kids with mashed potatoes in my hair I realized I needed a higher level creative outlet.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Not until I published my first book, Stealing Time, in 2015.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
After reading (uh more like obsessing about) the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and living through the horrible hurricane season of 2004 in Florida I decided to throw my hat in the writing ring. I mean what better backdrop for a novel than four major hurricanes in six weeks, eh?
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’ve been told that I write simply and clearly while making the reader feel what I’m feeling, adding little details to pull the reader deeply into the story. My books are very fast paced and keep you on the edge of the seat.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
With Stealing Time, it took be about 9 years to get a book finished. I had no title for a long time but one day I decide to tackle it and came up with several variations of something with ‘Time’ in the title, but finally settled on Stealing Time as it captured the energy of the piece. My second book needed to capture the same energy and given the plot points Shattering Time was the perfect fit. I like to have several ways that convey the story title in the plot. Killing Time is the third book and I used the same logic in coming up with that one. The final book in the series is going to be Fracturing Time.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
For my main character, Ronnie Andrews, it is an arc of empowerment. She is thrust into a situation where she has absolutely no control over what happens to her. Going back in time to an era where women were treated as a bargaining chip and not actually a person of worth is hard to overcome. She learns through this adversity to take control of her life and with that control begins to make better choices about who she allows in her life.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I love this question, as I always want to know this about other writers. I have made up a few characters out of thin air, but Ronnie is much like me, and as the first character I wrote it was an easy way to create someone as a novice writer. Steph, her best friend, is based on a dear friend of mine who I used to be very close to, so this was a way to spend more time with her. Jeffrey, Ronnie’s boyfriend, is the bad half of someone close to me, where Mike Walsh, her boss who appears in the second book, is the good half of that same person.
The rest of the characters are amalgamations of several people that I have been close to.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I have always loved Michael Crichton’s books (Jurassic Park, Timeline) with the fast pacing and basis in science. Diana Gabaldon’s time travel series, Outlander, captured my soul and her writing encouraged me to give this whole gig a whirl. In her book, Outlandish Companion Diana shares her writing style. She talks about how she writes scenes and then later pieces them together. I always thought authors had to be super organized and structured, which is not my style. When I read this it resonated with me and over about a year it grew from a tiny vibration to the purchase of a few ‘how to’ books and the beginning of Stealing Time.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
The third book in the Stealing Time Series, Killing Time, continues the time traveling adventure when Ronnie Andrews heads to Puerto Rico on a business trip with her new boss, Mike Walsh. There is tension with Mike because of something mysterious from his past but Ronnie is forced to trust him with her life when circumstances careen out of control when a hurricane forms off the coast battering the island with 26 inches of rain and high winds.
During the storm, Ronnie goes back in time to the wild west in the early 1800’s putting her in an impossible situation between the Natives who try to help her and the settlers who misunderstand their motives.
Here is an excerpt:
Ronnie Andrews bit her lip until she tasted blood. Another hurricane was tearing up the Atlantic and heading towards Florida. This one, Ivan, just posted the lowest pressure in recorded history. She pressed into her temples and fought a deja vous feeling that plucked gooseflesh across her arms.
“Not again.” Ronnie’s mind spun with the turmoil she’d been through the last few weeks. In that space of time everything she had found comfort in had been upturned and rummaged through, tossed on the floor, stepped on and left her feeling alone, damaged, and unsure of her future.
She stood and clenched her fists ready to duke it out with the local weatherman Terry James. “How the hell can there be another hurricane?” She’d only been in Florida for a few weeks and already there had been two major hurricanes that brought a lot more than roof and tree damage. “Damnit. When is this going to stop?”
Terry James shrugged his shoulders as if in response. “Florida can’t seem to get a break. We will watch this storm closely as it develops. The sea temperature is ripe for development and we don’t see the wind shear potential like we have in past hurricane seasons. This year is proving to be one of the most severe in decades. Stay with Channel 13 for updates on this evolving situation.”
Ronnie clicked the TV off and paced across the living room trying to tamp down the panic that was threatening to push her blood pressure into near bursting. Hurricane Ivan wasn’t the only reason for her stressing out. It was what the storms brought that scared her more than the pure destructive power of Mother Nature. She almost died in the last round of time traveling, and had it not been for Steph’s braving the storm to bring her to the hospital she likely would have not made it.
Fluffy, her Persian cat sensed her distress and rubbed against her leg. She scooped her up and buried her face in the soft white fur. “Fluffy, I will not be so stupid this time.” During Hurricane Frances she had tried to leave town and head north to her mom’s house in Virginia, but fate had intervened. Fate or Jeffery, her boyfriend. He hadn’t exactly been her ally in the effort to get ahead of the storm. Instead, he’d done his share to distract and interfere with her evacuation, much to her detriment. It was hard to blame him outright, as he had no idea what would unfold, but this time she’d not let anything get in her way. The second she had any inkling another storm was heading towards Orlando she was out of here. Screw Jeffrey and whatever he had in mind. Screw work, screw anything that put her in the path of a friggen hurricane.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
My biggest challenge is trying to find the time to write between the activities of my three kids, work, marketing, podcasting, book covers business and a growing author consulting business.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t have to, but I would love the opportunity to travel and research for the books. Right now the kids are my priority so I wouldn’t want to miss a second with them.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I designed my covers with my book cover business partner Jody Smyers. Together we run Blondie’s Custom Book Covers (blondiebooks.com). Jody is a professional photographer and together we create magic in photoshop for authors and of course for my own books.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For me the ideas just flow out of me. The most difficult part of writing a book is all the cleanup to make it perfect. I enjoy it the first few times as I see all the pieces assembled together but the details of the final drafts are my least favorite part, parsing words and cleaning it all up. I’m inpatient to get the book out but also have a bit of perfectionism.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My website is kjwaters.com, and my blog is Blondie in the Water, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love for your readers to join me in my newsletter. You can find the sign up sheet on my website. I offer free goodies and gift cards for being part of my journey.
My books are available here:
Shattering Time: Amazon