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?
Hello Fiona, Thank you very much for the opportunity to write a little about myself and my passion, writing.
My pen name is Skadi Winter and I am 65 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Originally, I am from Germany but living part time in the U.K. since about 16 years. Have been brought up by my grandmother as my mum had been divorced when I was 5 years old. In those times, being a single mum had been very harsh and brought many financial difficulties. My mum had to work hard to provide a decent living for me and my brother; my grandmother was and has always been the rock of our little family. She had seen two World Wars, lost her husband when she was only 53 to cancer and worked in a shoe factory for over 32 years. Working then meant 6 days a week for 10 hours until things changed for the better during the Sixties.
I had a solid German High School Education for which I had to travel by bus every day for 2 hours back and forth.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My latest news? Well, from September on I will get my state pension. Not a very happy prospect as it is so low that I can barely live from it. I brought up 4 children, who all have University degrees and a good life but, for which reason, I never managed to work full time, hence the small pension. My ex-husband had been the main bread earner and followed a career, whereas I merely contributed to the household without any energy or real chance to build up a career because my main task had always been to care for my sons and manage the household.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing as a young child. I have always been an introvert child, never having many friends in our village. Some children were not allowed to play with me because my mum had been divorced. Those were the days. Books and the stories told by my grandmother had always been my closest friends and comfort of my childhood.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
At the age of 50 I wrote my first book, HEXE, which I self-published and is on amazon.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Inspiration was, as I have mentioned before, the life of my grandmother.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
HEE is the German word for ‘witch’, generally used to brand women of villages who had been different in their ways.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My writing style is simple story telling, partly fiction, partly historically researched. I think, every fiction is somehow based on real events; the writer paints a picture of how he sees the world or events.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My book HEXE, as well as my second book ‘Malin and the Wolf Children’, both are based on events which I had heard of during my early childhood. I was born in 1953, only eight years after the Second World War and still, the damages of war around me, in people and the environment, were all too visible.A book, which I had read as a young girl from my mum’s bookshelf, was ‘Draussenvor der Tuer’ bei Wolfgang Borchert, a German writer who had written about his home-coming from the war, had deeply impressed me. Later in life, after I had grown up, I always had been interested in post-war literature. Being German comes with a responsibility for history as such and ours in particular. All wars happen for a reason and if we don’t learn from them, we will make the same mistakes over again everywhere in the world. The impact wars have on the soul of young children, who are the next generation to build a better world, is underestimated.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No, fortunately not. All the blessings of the internet…..
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My covers have been designed by a young web designer.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Every writer has a message, one way or the other, intentionally or not. The message I send out through my books are very simple: Think! Feel! Respect! Love your fellow human, no matter what!
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?
My favourite writer since some years are Philip Kerr, the Bernie Gunther novels, and Helen Fields. I love the antihero Bernie Gunther and am fascinated as to how well Kerr researched the historical places and background of his novels. And, of course, his psychological insight. Helen Fields, I simply like her writing style and the flashes of mystic and myth in her books.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I have met several new writers and authors over social media and find discussions with them very helpful and inspirational. Belonging to the ‘older generation’, it is not always easy to use the internet to its fullest but I’m getting there with the help of my grandchildren. Much advice I’m getting from fellow-authors has proven to be of great value to me; with two authors I have met over the internet, I keep even more than that: friendship since years.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Not for me, no. I am rubbish when it comes to marketing or even the self-publishing process. The main thing for me is to write, always to write. To read in front of small audiences, to be in contact with people who have read my books, the feeling of having been able to connect through my words, is something which means a lot to me. But, just in case, if a publisher would approach me based on my books and I would have the opportunity to just write and not care about the whole publishing process, I would be delighted. Somehow, I think, the freedom of being an amateur is a blessing. I would never bend my writing, my style, my words, myself, to gain publicity or to please the hype of the moment. And, not for money either.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
You always learn when writing. About yourself first of all, and about the power of words when released from a thought and brought to paper, staring back at you.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Funny enough, a film maker from London had been interested in HEXE to make a short film of it. Unfortunately, neither they nor I had the funds to produce a film. Nice idea, though. The lead role, Frigg, as well as the role of HEXE, the old grandmother, I would have given to amateurs – because I think, they would have played the roles as real people. And, they would have had to be German. I think, being German makes you feel the heart of my books, not just the story.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Oh, who am I to give advice to other writers? Do believe in yourself. Never underestimate the power of words. Learn, not only about the techniques of writing – because it is an art – but, learn about your fellow humans, because only then you can put life into your characters, become authentic.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Read! Never stop reading!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am reading about Orthodox Christianity at the moment. Books written by Orthodox Monks.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book I ever read was Wilhelm Busch.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My dogs make me laugh – at times. The way the world is developing right now, makes me cry – at times.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Jesus. Just to find out……
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Reading. Gardening. My dogs.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The only films I ever watch are historical ones. Or, for instance, Charles Dickens’ Bleak House’. I don’t enjoy watching shows. I am not a great TV watcher. I find, I can spend my time more fruitful without being brainwashed or indoctrinated.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
My favourite food are salads of all kinds and berries. And fish. And cheese. My favourite colour is blue in all shades. Music? All sorts, depending on my mood.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Looking back, enjoying every moment of joy I have ever had. I would beg every person I have ever hurt, or offended, for forgiveness.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
‘Unconditional love is the answer to all questions’
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I am on social media like Facebook and twitter and I have a website:
Facebook: Skadi Winter Author https://www.facebook.com/skadiwinterwriter
Twitter: @skadiwinter1 https://twitter.com/skadiwinter1
YOUTUBE: Hexe, Malin and the Wolf Children
Malin and the Wolf Children https://t.co/c5pjTgPCBq