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 Fiona and thanks for having me. I’m Isobel Blackthorn, age 56.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from London, England, currently living in Australia.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’ve had a rich and interesting life, which is a euphemism for a lot of hardship. I come from humble origins and I now live a quiet life in a pretty house by the sea.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
HellBound Books have just released my latest novel, The Legacy of Old Gran Parks. It’s a dark comedy thriller set in the Australian wilderness.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing creatively in 2007, egged on by my then boss, Mary Cunnane,a former publisher at Norton, New York, who’d set up as a literary agent. I’d just been awarded my PhD and I found myself as her PA, answering calls from authors who were professors and high-profile journalists and I felt pea-size. I had a PhD in the occult and I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. But she believed in me, and so did one of her authors, who mentored me for about a year.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my first offer came through from a publisher. That was in 2012. It made all the difference. Before then, I was uncertain if I deserved the label.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was setting driven. I used to live on an amazing volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean. Lanzarote is one of the Canary Islands and writing a story set there took me back in my imagination. It also took me back in reality as six months after it was published, I returned for the first time in 26 years! I stood and stared at the scenery and it was as though I’d never left. I didn’t want to leave a second time. I felt riven.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
That was fairly easy. It was always going to be The Drago Tree, which is a tree, of course, with special properties. It is a central symbol in the book.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write across genres. I do have a unique style. I tend to write in parallel narratives from multiple points of view. I write dark fiction, thrillers, contemporary/literary, mystery/suspense. The occult features in all of my writing.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All my writing has an element of me in it. I don’t base anything on other people. Events, yes, people no. I think it is better to invent characters.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Sometimes, yes. It depends on the book. As long as I’ve been to an area before, or it is obvious what it’s like based on my own experience, then I don’t need to travel. I’ve had over 70 addresses, so I don’t have trouble picturing places.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
No idea, other than to say, my publishers.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’ve five novels out in the world now. All of them contain something I’d like readers to consider. It might be a moral point, such as how we treat the environment or each other.
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 have a favorite author. There are too many to choose from, so many I love. I like unusual books. I think Donna Maria McCarthy is a name to look out for. Her gothic horror is formidable. And Rachel Nightingale, who writes exquisite fantasy. Those two writers exist at either end of a continuum. I am still puzzling out what that continuum is.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Mary Cunnane. She stands out as the most important early supporter. Her encouragement impacted on me deeply.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do. I write every single day. I have a list of WIPs on my desk. Some of my projects are huge. Others are lighter and easier to write.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, once it’s between the covers, it’s done.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
The Legacy of Old Gran Parks wrote itself. It was extraordinary how it all panned out. I learned that out of a few tiny seeds, an entire story is built and it takes on a life of its own. Be careful with those seeds.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t stop! Be the best you can and read, read, read.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for believing in my work. And please, please do rate and review on Amazon. I will love you forever.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Javier Cercas’ The Imposter. It’s good. I’m learning a lot from it.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
People. Just people.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Scottish author, Iain Banks, just to shake his hand.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I wish! I used to knit. I like to go for walks on the beach. I like watching interesting movies if I can manage to stay awake.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I enjoy British dramas. Each and every one of them.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love pesto, my favourite color is purple, and I hardly ever listen to music anymore because it sticks in my head on replay. I’ve been listening to a lot of cheesy nineties Pop lately, but that’s for research.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?