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?
Jan Lostina Mayes. Mother trained me never to reveal my age. Hint: 25 x 2 + a few years.
Fiona: Where are you from?
The Pacific Northwest.Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I wanted to be a writer or journalist, but after an accident gave me tinnitus (ringing in the ears) I went to university for a Master of Science instead. I became an audiologist and specialized in tinnitus. I worked in hearing healthcare, adult education, and workplace hearing disorders evaluation and prevention. My dream of writing was postponed until about 10 years ago. I’m married with 2 children, 2 cats, and 2 dogs.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m publishing my second non-fiction self-help book in 2018 called Tinnitus Toolbox – Hyperacusis Handbook. Along with hyperacusis (sound is painful), this book includes info on other types of decreased sound tolerance like phonophobia (fear of certain sounds) and misophonia (hate of certain sounds).
Fiction writing is my true passion. I’m working on my third horror anthology, and have a fantasy paranormal trilogy in the works.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing when I was 5. I always had nightmares as well as a really overactive imagination, and wanted to put my scary dreams and stories down in words.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer when I won an Eric Hoffer Award in Non-Fiction Health in 2013 for my first book Tinnitus Treatment Toolbox (2010; rev. 2012).
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first fiction book, Doctor Bell Anthology?
A 50 word flash fiction story challenge for Halloween inspired Doctor Bell’s optimistic psychopathic experiments to cure tinnitus.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title Doctor Bell Anthology Tinnitus Terror Tales?
I thought Doctor Bell was punny since tinnitus often sounds like ringing. I wanted to make it clear to my readers this book was terror fiction, and not self-help non-fiction.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My non-fiction style is educational and easy to understand. The challenge is keeping up to date with all the science and fake news on tinnitus and decreased sound tolerance.
My fiction style is murderous, creepy and suspenseful, with splashes of dark humour. One big challenge is when readers think all horror is gory and terrifying, where mine is more disturbing. Sometimes there’s blood, but no gore.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I did a lot of research for Doctor Bell, so descriptions and devices are accurate even though he actually doesn’t pay attention to proper medical procedures or ethics.I also took a lot from my experience as an audiologist seeing unscientific scam products or therapies for distressed people with tinnitus willing to do and pay anything to be cured.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I don’t travel, but I take inspiration from places I’ve been before. My fiction books aren’t based on real places. I don’t have to worry about accurately describing specific locations, although some take place somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I collected a graphic designer who lives in my attic.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Life is macabre. People are Machiavellian.
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’m doing the 2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge, so I’m finding new books by authors I wouldn’t have discovered like Titans of Ardania by J.S. Frankel and I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid.
I have so many favourite writers. My most favourite is Canadian writer Margaret Atwood. I lovehow she gets into her characters’ minds, and creates new words to fit her story world. I also really likeCaleb Carr, Patrick Ness, Richard Adams, Minette Walters, Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, and Carrie Ryan.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
The American Tinnitus Association was very supportive of my first self-help book, and sold it through their online bookstore before it shut down. My audiology colleagues have also been very supportive, getting the word out about my book.
For my fiction, I’m in some online author groups that are very supportive. I’m a member of The Writer’s Path where there are good shares of professional advice to help become a better published author. 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook is a great support group, especially joining it and not knowing anybody. I’ve “met” many helpful authors willing to share their knowledge and experiences.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I hope so.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book Regretfully Invited?
No. Regretfully Invited is a horror anthology; I like all the stories, and I’ve had good feedback from readers.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
People are more scared by my writing than I am.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I want Ryan Reynolds to play Doctor Bell.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write regularly. Even if it’s only for short periods of time, the words add up. Write something. Even if it’s only a 50 or 100 word flash fiction about a strange news story or picture. Practice.Even if it never gets published. Writers write.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Doctor Bell is satire. I would never use the same treatment methods in real life on my clients that Doctor Bell uses on his experimental subjects.To be honest, I’m shocked you would think that about me. Anastamosis?Seriously?
For my horror fiction, you can read it at bedtime without getting too scared to sleep. Probably.Maybe.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Bag of Bones by Stephen King for fiction.
Dancing with Rejection by Michael R. Gaudet for non-fiction.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The Wizard of Oz.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My family and pets make me laugh. Frustration and lies make me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
JamieFraser from Outlander. Do I really have to say why? I’d knock off Claire, get Jamie to myself. Enough said.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I like gardening, needlework, Animal Crossing,baking, and most of all, reading.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
For TV, I like Black Mirror, The Curse of Oak Island, Into the Badlands, Jeopardy, Game of Thrones, and Vikings. And all baking competition shows.Some singing competitions.
For films, I like Pan’s Labyrinth, Silence of The Lambs, Tropic Thunder, The Shape of Water, Moulin Rouge, and The Others.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love cookies, red and purple, and most music except opera. I’m currently listening to a lot of alternative metal bands because the lyrics are very well written and expressive.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would be dead. I can’t imagine not writing.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my family and pets, having a tea party, and eating as much chocolate, cookies, and cakes as possible.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I don’t want a headstone because the thought of my bones left loose nearby, for anybody to do no good with, gives me the creeps. I’d like to be buried in a biodegradable urn under a cherry tree so people could eat dead author cherries. There would be a sign saying, “If you hurt this tree, you will be ghastly haunted for eternity.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Blog at website:www.janlmayes.com
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Jan-L.-Mayes/e/B01NBFTAW1/
Goodreads Author Page https://www.goodreads.com/JanLMayes
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JanLMayes-Author
My 99 cent fiction e-books Regretfully Invited and Doctor Bell Anthology are available on Amazon worldwide, or free on Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Lending Library. Free digital copy with paperback purchase for Doctor Bell.