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?
I’m Laura M. Baird, and I’m fifty-one… oh, 51 on March 27thJ
Fiona: Where are you from?
Currently, I live in Washington state. I originated on the east coast, born in Virginia, grew up in Florida.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
When I was 19, I joined the Army for direction. I spent 5 years in, met my husband (whom I’ve been married to for over 27 years.) We have 2 grown sons who make us so proud. While raising a family, I put myself through dental hygiene school, and have been working for 18 years. Being empty nesters, hubby and I love eating out too much, so I have to be sure to stay active!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
As of March 9th, my sixth story will be released! It’s been amazing. I’m furiously working on promotion while writing and while working.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing as early as 4th grade, mostly poetry, as I was encouraged by my teacher at the time. I really began writing my first novel around 1995, before I went back to college. I LOVED reading, and thought what a joy and a challenge it would be to be able to write a story that would move someone the way stories moved me.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I felt like a “dabbler” up until only three years ago. I wrote off and on for many years, but thought, “this is it; this is what I’m really going to do.” I knew physically I couldn’t continue hygiene for too many more years, and I wanted something else; something I absolutely love.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first story was inspired not only by reading, but by a patient in the dental office I worked at (as an assistant, before going back for hygiene). That book was a naïve attempt to self-publish. Nine years later, my first book by a publishing company came out, and I felt like I really made it! (chuckles) But I knew it was only the beginning. That book was inspired by my love of music, having played piano and other instruments when younger.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title is “Keyed Up”, and not only is it a play on words, as my heroine is a pianist, but her life becomes a little wound up when she encounters the love of her life from years ago.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I don’t know if I can catalogue my writing style. When an idea strikes, I start writing or typing down notes so I don’t lose what’s on my mind. I may not immediately start on that particular story, but it’s something to come back to. I have about a dozen files, each story getting its own. I have all kinds of notes and references for my stories. I keep details about what my characters look like, their personalities, their family and friends, location… plots – what could possibly happen and their reaction to that. Personally, what’s challenging is not laying it all out there in the beginning. I have a tendency to “info dump” and I’m learning to sprinkle it in when appropriate.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
With “Keyed Up”, while I played piano, never was it in front of any audience other than family, so trying to convey that experience was all made up based on concerts and videos I watched, as well as just imagining what an amazing experience it must be.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I only wish I had the luxury of travel for research for my books. I do A LOT of research on the computer. I have had the pleasure of experiencing the Seattle Symphony (which is featured in “Keyed Up”) With my life experiences, I have drawn from those, considering I’ve lived in 6 states, and have travelled through about fourteen, and have met so many people.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The cover for “Keyed Up” was designed by the artist David King, of my publisher, Black Rose Writing, based on suggestions from me.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There should always be a message. “Keyed Up” portrays a woman striking out on her own, and when confronted with a past love, she makes a decision that’ll soothe her heart while not compromising who she wants to become.
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 newer author I adore is MarloLanz. She has a rock n roll romance out, with her second on the way. Her writing is gritty and real and definitely sexy. Picking a favorite author is nearly impossible. J However, Nora Roberts has been my all-time #1 and a huge inspiration. With the variety of reads I enjoy, there are so many others, like Rachel Grant and Rebecca Zanetti, Kerrigan Byrne and Laura Kaye… just to name a very few. I love their rich plots and sexy romance.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Family was definitely huge, especially my younger sister. One of my best friends is Jill, whom I met when I was in service. Although we have a lot of distance between us, she’s been amazing with her encouragement and support. (I’m also a part of RWA – Romance Writers of America, and members are extremely encouraging.)
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I really, truly hope so! I enjoy it so much, and as I said, hygiene isn’t going to be physically possible for much longer.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I think any author could say they’d change something, even if it was just the slightest little tweak. With “Keyed Up”, yes, looking back, and based on reader comments, I would have added a prologue about when my characters first met and fell in love; instead of starting off when they’re older and reuniting. Or at the very least, had the characters go back in time in their minds to remember their first encounter.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I hoped I’ve learned to continue to get better. I play out scenarios and see what’s going to make the story enjoyable for a wide variety of people, while also pleasing me and making me proud to say I wrote that.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I honestly can’t even answer that right now. Many actresses and actors that I enjoy are a bit older than my characters.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write what you love, but study the craft in order to produce your best work. It’s a roller coaster, so enjoy the ride!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I simply love writing, hoping others will enjoy what I have to offer. Will my writing change the world? Doubtful, but I hope it’ll bring laughter and emotion, and a view on something that might not otherwise be seen.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m actually reading outside my normal genre of romance. I’m readying “The Polar Adventures of a Rich American Dame” by Joanna Kafarowski. The historical telling of Louise Arner Boyd and her explorations of the North Pole region.Rich in research and detail.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Not specifically, but it was probably Dr. Seuss. I think mom bought me the entire collection!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Oh boy… hubby would say, “Anything!” I’m a very emotional person. I can laugh or cry at a song, a commercial, while reading a book. 😉
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
This is tough, as there are many author idols I have, and plenty of people throughout history that would be fantastic to meet. There are also family members I’d love to have known in order to learn more about my origins, so I think I’d say my great-great grandmother. (My dad’s father’s mother’s mother) J
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Besides reading and writing, I’ve had little time at the moment for anything else. When the weather’s good, hubby and I enjoy walking. We’ve done a little hiking and would like to do more.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I haven’t watched much TV for some time, other than college football and The Walking Dead. I get impatient and can’t sit to watch anything else. I feel like I should be writing!
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Mmm… I’m a breakfast gal, so I love eggs and bacon with cheddar cheese, avocado, and sun-dried tomatoes. I listen to much of today’s country, some top hits, and especially 80s rock. Lately, I’m loving the color cranberry. (Orange is another fav.)
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Go crazy?! I’d finally get the time to read my immense to-be-read pile! But as far as a vocation, I’d run an animal sanctuary. I love animals and would want to care for all those that don’t have a home.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Yikes, I hate to even think about things like that… hubby would say it’d say, “too nice for her own good” J But I’d want it to say something like “Caring and giving wife, mother, friend who only wanted to see the good in everything.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I have a website (no blog or newsletter at the moment, but I’d eventually like to get a newsletter going)