Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Hi, Fiona! Thank you for having me!
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
I’m Tosca Lee I have been 29 for the last two decades. ;D
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m originally from Virginia in the U.S., but now live on a farm in Nebraska.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Growing up, I wanted to be a classical ballerina—actually, I wanted to be a superhero before that, but that didn’t work out. Today I have a bachelor’s degree in English from Smith College, am married to the love of my life, and have four children.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My 9th novel, Firstborn, just released in paperback! Firstborn is the sequel to The Progeny, my globe-trotting young adult thriller that I wrote specifically to keep my readers up late at night!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
It was right after my freshman year at Smith College that I uttered the words “I think I want to write a book” while talking about how much novels had meant to me in my life.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably right after college when I took a job writing on the staff of a computer magazine. I had written most my life, but now I was actually doing it for a living.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My dad, actually. When I said those words—“I want to write a book”—he made me a deal: he would pay me what I would have made that summer working at the bank as a teller if I would spend the summer writing my first novel full-time. So I did.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For my first novel, I chose something very dramatic. That first novel is, however, in my basement. ;D These days my titles are a collaboration between my publisher’s editorial and sales teams and I.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My style actually changes with the genres that I write. But I’m known for my prose, for its lyricism and, in my historical novels, for my research.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My books are very research-based, so in that sense, they’re quite realistic. That said, they’re fiction, though I occasionally include an experience from my own life. I sometimes those details and insider secrets on my blog at www.toscalee.com for my fans.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Often, yes, for research. And always before. Research informs my outline.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
They’re designed by the in-house art department of my publisher.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
What a reader takes away from each of my books, which are largely about questions of identity, depends so much on what they bring to it and what’s going on in their life at the time. It’s important to me that they enjoy the story, that they feel entertained and transported.
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?
Great question—yes. I’m fortunate enough to meet many young, up and coming authors at the conferences I teach and speak at. I’m thinking specifically, at the moment, of young adult author Kara Swanson. And I’ve always admired Anne Rice for her evocative style, her lush and spectacular prose.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Teachers. I was so fortunate to have amazing teachers through school, college, and in my early writing career.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. I write full-time.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Agh!! The compulsion to pick at a story—or individuals sentences, or dialogue—is always there. But there comes a time when you realize you’ve told the best story you can right now and it’s time to move on to the next one.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes! While researching Elizabeth Bathory—AKA “The Blood Countess,” the most prolific female serial killer of all time—for The Progeny/Firstbornduology, I actually learned I was distantly related to her. (Eek!)
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
The Progeny is in development for TV, so if it’s all right, I’m going to stay mum for the moment. 😉
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
I always say write like no one is ever going to read it, because it takes the pressure off and allows you to be bold and audacious as you fearlessly get that first draft down.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I love you. Thank you for going on each of these adventures with me. Ready for a new one?
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw, by recommendation from my sister, who loved it.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My kids. For all the best reasons.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
My mother’s mother, who passed away before I was born. I would have loved to know her.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love to travel, love movies, cooking, and time with those in my life—including the four kids I gained when I got married two years ago!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
So many! Sherlock, The Voice, Game of Thrones, The Handmaid’s Tale, Homeland, The Blacklist, The Path, Vikings… and then cooking shows—not so I can cook the dishes, but imagine eating them.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Bacon, anything unhealthy, blood red and pretty
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
<blink> I have no idea. I’d have to say I’d probably teach fiction writing!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She loved and inspired others.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Absolutely! www.toscalee.com. My newsletter sign-up and blog are there, as well as info. on all of my books—including Ismeni, my free e-short prequel to The Legend of Sheba.
Tosca Lee’s Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Tosca-Lee/e/B001JPCC42/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
“One of the most gifted novelists writing today.”
–Steven James, bestselling author
FIRSTBORN, the highly-anticipated sequel to THE PROGENY, is out now!
Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of the House of Bathory duology (THE PROGENY and FIRSTBORN), ISCARIOT, THE LEGEND OF SHEBA, DEMON: A MEMOIR, HAVAH: THE STORY OF EVE, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker (FORBIDDEN, MORTAL, SOVEREIGN). A notorious night-owl, she loves watching TV, eating bacon, playing video games and football with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband.
You can find Tosca at www.ToscaLee.com, on social media, or hanging around the snack table. And be sure to check out ISMENI, the free e-short prequel to THE LEGEND OF SHEBA!
Thank you, Fiona!