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?
My name is Aleigha Siron. As for age, don’t we keep that secret? I’ll say this, I’ve always been an old soul, so age is irrelevant. But I do share my birthday with Claire of Outlander fame, i.e., October 20th.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., but I’ve lived in Southern California since 1973.
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
I have an educational background in marketing and philosophy. But mostly, I attended, and still do, the school of hard knocks.
I’m the oldest of many half-siblings scattered around the country.
I live with my husband, Robert, who provides no end of technical support and positive encouragement. Every time I threaten to quite (at least once or twice a week,) he laughs and reminds me the real money is in poetry or romance novels. It’s a standing joke in our house.
And I mustn’t forget, slobbery four-legged support from my service dog, Strider, who keeps me moving even when I don’t want to. He’s getting on in years now and keeps threatening to retire unless I curry his favor with lots more chewy treats.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m hard at work on book three of the Finding My Highlander Series. Book one and two both hit the Amazon best seller rank for several days this year, one in April, one in August. A major milestone for any writer.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. For several decades (showing age here,) I wrote management, sales, and communication training programs for small to Fortune 500 companies. I also developed communication training programs for State and County Victim/Witness programs.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I published my first poem,more years ago than I care to count.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The first books I wrote were children stories for my many nieces and nephews. I went back to college in my early thirty’s and took eight or nine creative writing classes. That experience left me with my share of unfinished manuscripts. Years later, following an accident with a long recuperation period, I delved into the romance genre pretty hard. Needed those HEA’s, and who doesn’t?That launched me into Finding My Highlander (book one.)
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
As soon as I started writing the first book I knew the title would be Finding My Highlander. It’s one of those writer’s mysteries. Sometimes we don’t know the sources of a title, or character, or plot idea. They might come from something seen, read, or imagined.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Predominantly, I write by the seat of my pants (Pantser,) with only the briefest outlines. I’m seeing a need to enhance my outlines in future works. I hope a stronger outline will reduce the number of rewrites. My current book hit a snag when the characters took a detour leaving me clueless where we were going. And that’s where a more detailed outline might come in handy.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I write time-travel romance, so, not exactually realistic. However, since the stories are historical, they require a lot of research. I try to keep all historical references accurate. As for the characters, they might possess a conglomerate of characteristics and personality traits from many people I’ve known, or they might be wholly imagined. Other characters come to me in dreams or just pop up on the page while I’m writing. All my characters tend to craft at least a portion of their own stories once they emerge.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Wouldn’t it be perfect if we could always travel for the stories we write? In the case of my Highlander series, I’ve traveled to Scotland twice. The second time was after I’d already finished Finding My Highlander, book one. Book two, My San Francisco Highlander, offered the opportunity to visit with a dear friend in the Windy City. But I’ve been to San Francisco many times. Perhaps I should select exotic locations for the next series. Hint, hint on the travel plans.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Cora Graphics designed my covers and I love her work. She’s very creative and willing to craft something unique from stock photos.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think the primary message is always about love and how love allows people to overcome the many obstacles and tribulations life presents. Love is the path to our highest purpose and self-discovery. I try to illuminate that in my stories.
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 don’t think I can select a single “favorite.” I’m a prodigious reader and read across many genres. In the romance genre, I particularly love Tessa Dare, Grace Burrowes, Christi Caldwell, the list is endless. In the Scottish romances, I’ve followed the reigning queen, Diana Gabaldon, since 1991. I recently discovered Susanna Ives and especially enjoyed her book, Frail, which takes a serious look at the realistic hardships encountered when a woman in 1860 finds her world turned upside down with no supporters. A realistic and often sad storythat still allows for the HEA we desire.
If you are interested in the Werewolf paranormal genre, Lisa Kessler has penned a brilliant new take on werewolves in her Moon Series. I also love Herman Hesse, and devoured George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, Phillipa Gregory, etc.; I could easily list a thousand more, but considering space and time I’ll stop here. I oftenreview books I’m reading in my newsletters.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I would have to say my publisher, Tirgearr Publishing. They gave an unknown author that first break and were very supportive through the entire process.
After that connection, I would say the Romance Writers of America provides an amazing forum for romance authors. I’m a member of the very active San Diego Chapter.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, but not one I ever expect will pay the bills. Writing is an obsession, and except for those lucky and gifted few, not a money-maker.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Other than a few errors overlooked before final print, I would not change my books. However, my publisher requested I remove six chapters from the first book as it was too long. Some of that material will end up in subsequent books, but not all as I reworked the end and I think the advice helped redirect me for the series.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learn something new from every writing experience, whether it’s a novel, poem, or writing blogs and newsletters. That’s especially true for my Finding My Highlander Series because I did a ton of research. And my characters persistently nudge me to a greater understanding ofwhat motivates them, which in turn requires more research.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I maintain a storyboard on Pinterest where I post pictures of people who most reflect the images of my characters. Any one of the pinned photos could easily fill one of the roles.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Never give up on your dreams. Read everything you can, and write something every day, even if it’s just a recipe or a handwritten note to someone!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I’d like to thank all my readers. Knowing someone enjoys my work and finds a brief escape from their daily routines through my words is both humbling and exhilarating. I love hearing from readers. And I want to encourage everyone reading this to remember to post your comments and reviews on Amazon and other outlets. Reviews provideessential exposure and are the life-blood for author’s hard work. The publishing world is tough and finding your audience is even tougher. Most of it occurs through word of mouth and honest, heartfelt reviews.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I recently finished All the Light We Cannot See. A completely riveting story. After the heavy topic of World War II, I switched to something lighter. I’m currently reading: The Duke’s Tattoo, a Recency Romance of Love and Revenge. Funny, and entertaining with a much lighter theme.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I think it might have been the Bobbsey Twins. But I absolutely loved the Camp Fire Girls series written by numerous authors in the early 1900’s. The books originally belonged to my mother and her sister. I don’t know if they’re even in print anymore.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I can cry at the drop of a hat; weddings, funerals, sad movies, poetry, sometimes even happy movies make me cry.
And I love romantic comedies such as: When Sally met Harry, Moonstruck, Bridget Jones’s Diary, While You Were Sleeping, and my all-time favorite, Pride and Prejudice (both BBC production and Kiera Knightley version.) I also enjoy stand-up comedy.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I dislike this question because it is so hard to answer. I’ve been blessed to meet many people I admire over the years. But I would have loved a sit-down, casual conversation over tea/coffee and something sweet with people like: Deborah Tannen, Ph.D., the poet/writer Robert Penn Warren, Beethoven (who began a letter to his inamorata, “My Angel, my all, my very self…”) How, could I not want to speak to the man who penned those words to a lover? Though sadly, history suggests he never mailed the letters and the woman to whom he wrote them has been lost to the pages of time. Again, Fiona, you can see that I could go on forever.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I’ve dropped most of my hobbies for one reason or another. I used to enjoy needle work, but the eyes won’t have it anymore, and gardening, but back issues limit that as well. I still enjoy messing with my succulents (they survive with little attention, thank goodness.) Besides, writing is a consuming endeavor that leaves little time for anything beyond mundane chores, time with friends and family, swimming, and long walks near the beach. And I love live theater and the ballet — do they count as hobbies?
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
In addition to romantic comedies, I’m a huge fan of Drama shows and anything historical. I’m addicted to Game of Thrones, and of course, Outlander. I’ve read all the books and watched all the shows of both series. I’m enjoying the current BBC production of Victoria (love the costumes,) and the former Downton Abbey. Again, if I listed all my favorites, we’d need a lot more space for this interview.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Favorite foods: artichokes and coffee ice cream. Not together though.
Favorite color:all things periwinkle.
Favorite music is a bit tougher because I enjoy many types of music. When I’m writing, I usually listen to mood music or classical – no lyrics to interfere with words going on the page.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Until I can’t do it anymore, I’ll always be writing, even if it’s only my poetry.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
My husband would say: “I’m telling you!” because I make a lot of prognosticative declaratives. But I think it might read: “I wore my heart exposed and now go to heal my earthly woes.” This excessively dramatic statement feels humorous to me, though others might not read it as funny.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes, thank you for allowing me to share this information for your readers.
My Amazon Author Page: https://goo.gl/kB3YhN
My Webpage is: http://aleighasiron.com/
My Blog spot is: http://www.aleighasiron.com/blog/
Book one: Finding My Highlander: https://goo.gl/ZUcpgu
Book two: My San Francisco Highlander: https://goo.gl/ZYnfhF
Book three: My Colonial Highlander: (Coming in 2018)