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?
Thank you so much for having me. I look forward to spending this time with you. I am Linda Joyce—not of the Irish Joyce clan, though they’ve offered to adopt me. Age? Hmmm… let’s just say I’m old enough to drink but not old enough to retire. LOL
Fiona: Where are you from?
Hmm… I usually way to answer this question with a questions: What year? You see, I was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, yet home is New Orleans. I moved around a lot as a kid. I’ve lived from coast to coast in the U.S.A. and in Japan.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
A titbit about me—I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from the University of Florida. I am Six Sigma trained—I can organize the heck out of your underwear drawer and I can organize the heck out of a company. I married my college sweetheart. I claim three adult children as mine, they came to me through my marriage.
Beyond being obsessed with writing (that’s how my husband describes me), I’m a snobbish foodie preferring farm-to-table organic food, I love crafty things, I love water—river, lake, ocean. And though I’m a dog person, General Beauregard passed in January, so this is the first time in fifteen and half years we’ve been without an animal in our home.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I am thrilled to share that I have just completed a novel, women’s fiction, that has been in the works for a number of years. The working title is Secrets Between Friends. I recognized when I first wrote the book, back in 2011, that I didn’t yet have the writing chops to do the story justice and put it away. I think it’s ready now. Ihope to find an agent who loves it.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote my first novel when I was about eleven or twelve in Japan. It was a sweet story. I didn’t write again until 2008. Since then, the drive (I don’t call what I do an obsession) to write keeps me sane.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Tough question. It took me a while. Like several years. I had several poems published in literary journals—even had one displayed with a Smithsonian traveling exhibit in Missouri—several memoirs included in anthologies, and even after my first novel was published in 2013, I wasn’t comfortable owning up to being a writer. Author Julie L. Cannon told me, “Writers write. Authors speak.” And once I began speaking as an author, I was able to comfortably claim being a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
We think of inspiration as stimulation to do something creative. However, inspiration isalso defined as drawing in a breath, which is what writing is for me. Bayou Born was my first novel. Branna Lind, the heroine, just battered me with her emotions until I got them down on paper. It was like I couldn’t breathe with ease until I finished her story.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Titles—pesky words…I had a working title, but no idea if my publisher would accept it. When I realized the stories coming to me needed to be a series, since I’m from the bayou, I wanted that as a theme. Bayou Born describes me.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write contemporary fiction stories because they deal with the now of life. Eloisa James said (paraphrasing), “Fiction teaches us to deal with real life.” I tackle real life in my stories.
What I finding challenging about contemporary is slang lexicon. It’s different in different parts of the United States and it’s different around the world. And then there is the age-appropriate speech. Right now, in Secrets Between Friends, my work in progress, there is a five-year-old boy. Getting his dialog right is very important. I rely on friends with children this age or teacher friends to ensure my correctness.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There is an element of me in every character I write, male or female.I do include real experiences, but my fictionalized version of them. For example, in Bayou Born, there’s a plane crash near the college where Branna works. When I was in community college, a plane did crash in the way I described it in Bayou Born, however, all other details surrounding the crash as it relates to my characters, Branna and James are fiction.
In Secrets Between Friends, I see an aspect of myself in all three of the female characters.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I’ve never been paid to travel in order to do research for an upcoming book, however, I do take notes and pictures and sometimes a story speaks to me when I do travel. I have a Pinterest board for each of my books to capture the inspirations for parts of the story.
For example, the Fleur de Lis Brides series—there are lots of wedding gowns, wedding cakes, bouquets, etc. I collected.
For one book, I had an amazing experience when my husband surprised me with a Valentine’s Day present—a trip to Donaldsonville, Louisiana. We stayed at Bittersweet Plantation, owned by celebrity chef, John Folse. I learned about a pirate ship the town had purchased and met some…normal looking, but strange acting people. From that experience, Behind The Mask came to life—a little Mardi Gras, Mystery, and Love.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I am both published through a small press and also have my own company. The small press has a stable of cover artists I can chose from to design my covers. However, the press controls the covers. For my company, Work Works Press, recently I worked with Elle with EJR Digital Art.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A message for readers… What I hope to impart through my novels is that people are flawed and even with flaws, everyone is loveable and deserves respect and a second chance.
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?
To answer this would be like sticking pins in my eyeballs. I don’t have one favorite. I do love discovering new authors. When I fall in love with their words, I read everything they write.
Writers I follow include Jodi Thomas, who is dear to me and influenced my work. Dorothea Benton-Frank. Diana Gabaldon, Elosia James, Lori Wilde, Madeline Hunter. I cried and cried when Pat Conroy died. I always enjoy author Melissa Klein and Rachel Jones. My author fan list is very, very, very long.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
An entity…I would say writing groups have propped me up and propelled me. One person who influenced me early was Mary-Lane Kamberg of the Kansas City Writer’s Group. From her tutelage, I became the newsletter editor for the Missouri Writers Guild, the Vice President of Whispering Prairie Press, and creative director for Kansas City Voices Literary Magazine. I entered contests—and was shocked when I won several awards. I think writing organizations and groups are important. At the moment, the most important entity for me is my critique group.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. Yeah. Yep. And it requires having a multi-segmented brain. And sometimes the business of writing makes my brain hurt. The art of writing always soothes me.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My latest published book is Bayou Brides, book four of the Fleur de Lis series. If I could change one thing, I would have been more persistent in seeking permission from blues guitarist, Tab Beniot, to have his song, “Nice and Warm” included in the book. I tried to reach out to him—I’ve a HUGE fan of his—but I wasn’t persistent enough in getting an answer, so it’s not in the book.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Each book is a learning experience. For Bayou Brides, the lesson was don’t be afraid of change. I fell into a trap and where the book started and where it needed to start was not the same. So I wrote a new beginning. Wasn’t how I planned it. However, I think it makes the story much more compelling.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
If Bayou Brideswere made into a film…first, that would be Soooo thrilling. The story is set in New Orleans and the actors need to have a true grasp of the south. For the character of Nola Bridgette Dutrey, I would love Lucia Micarelli—she is a violinist and she acted in the HBO series Tremé. My next choice would be Megan Fox.
For the character of Xavier Rex Arceneau, this character needs to have a general aloofness, but at the same time be passionate about music and food. Tatum Channing or Chris Pine.Though I would also love to see Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr. team up again. I loved them in Hope Floats.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Take your time. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I love my readers. I love hearing from my readers. I love connecting and interacting. And of course, a review from a reader is precious.
I take what readers say very seriously. I pay attention to their comments to make my next book even better.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading The Cowboy and the Princess by Lori Wilde.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book I read, as in I had learned to read and could read it by myself, I think it was Go, Dog. Go! The book I treasured was a velvet-covered book of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. My grandmother gave me the book when I was five or six for my birthday, which is Christmas Eve.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My husband has a witty dry sense of humor, and he makes me laugh. I don’t care for sarcasm much, but I love intelligent word play. I think smart is very sexy.
What makes me cry…a triumph of human spirit.Someone, who against all odds, preservers. Those are tears of joy.
I’ve experienced a lot of death in the last seven years. I’ve been to ten family funerals. Had several other friends pass, and lost all three of my dogs. I’m all cried out of grief. Tears of joy are so much better.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
My family history is shrouded in mystery because my paternal grandmother was adopted. There are many family stories about her adoption, but I want to know the truth. Therefore, I would like to meet my biological paternal Great Grandmother.
On a different note, I would love to meet Thomas Jefferson. He was such a visionary. I am fascinated about his presidency, his life, his legacy.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love to paint and do arts and crafts. I often like to make little SWAG giveaways for my readers.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like films that look best on the big screen, like Dances with Wolves. Or more recently, The Greatest Showman. I tend to watch shows when a season is over so I can watch them on Netflix without commercials. I like Madame Secretary because it’s smart and the conflict is real. I like How to Get Away with Murder with Viola Davis. I watch that for the story twists. If I’m watching TV just for the sake of winding down, I watch remodelling shows or cooking shows.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Favorite food is seafood in almost any form. Particularly in Gumbo or Sushi—that covers my cultural background.Cajun and Asian.
Favoritecolors: I love red lipstick. I love blues in clothes from navy blue to turquoise blue. I like shades of green in the bedroom for relaxation.
Favorite music: I’m very partial to blues and smooth jazz, but I grew up playing classical piano, so I enjoy the classics. About the only thing I don’t listen to is rap.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I will always write. What else might I do along with writing? I’d like to have a little shop where I repurpose furniture and mixed media art that I create and then sell. Or, I’d love to have a bed and breakfast in the mountains. I love cooking and enjoy meeting new people.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Oh…I’m not sure I want a headstone… I think I’d like to have a marble angel on my grave in place of an actual headstone. I guess it could have my name on it. I don’t want people looking for me in the cemetery. I want people looking for me in my books.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website is fairly robust. www.linda-joyce.com
There you can find my blog—which readers can subscribe to—and a signup page for my newsletter,Letters from Linda, which is THE best way to find out about what’s going on and what’s coming for books and events and giveaways. I even offer a short story for free. My newsletter readers always get new news before anyone else for being loyal and engaging.
You can also find me here:
Amazon author page:http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Joyce/e/B00BODDROS/
Thank you so much for spending this time with me! Let’s connect. You know all about me, let me learn about you! ~ Linda Joyce