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. I write under two names: B. Roman for my YA and suspense books, and Barbara Roman for my children’s books. You can call me Barbara. As for my age: I’m a very youthful 75 (but some days are better than others. Ha)
Fiona: Where are you from?
Originally from Philadelphia, PA in the U.S.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I have a rather eclectic background. My “marketable skills” and education centered on journalism, PR, communications and event coordination. I still work a wonderfully creative job using those skills. My other career was/is as a professional vocalist since the age of 17. But I only do an occasional concert now with a swing orchestra. I’m single, self-supporting and have a wonderful son and two grandchildren.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My most recent book release is called “Before the Boy” and is a prequel to my YA fantasy trilogy (The Moon Singer series). It’s a bit more adult than the trilogy and somewhat of an “afterlife” fantasy – but also takes place in the time before the main character’s death.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I think I’ve been writing since I was a little girl – poetry, essays, song lyrics, and so forth. It’s something that chose me, so to speak, even before I began to think about it being a profession. I love words and images, and really always wanted to be an actress – on Broadway and in the movies!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I went to college I began writing for the college newspaper, actually writing satire as well as fine arts features. When people started to recognize I had talent and began requesting my services for local newspapers and magazines, I realized it was a path I wanted to take.
Initially, I was into non-fiction writing and found myself – because of my music background – very interested in the power of music to influence your health and well being. I was also exploring my spiritual side and began researching music from that vantage point. At first I thought I would write some magazine articles on the subject, which I did, but then the articles just blossomed into a book titled, “Music Power: Creative Living Through the Joys of Music.” This was 1986. Then suddenly, like a bolt of lighting a little voice in my head said “children’s books” and I wrote several stories, two of which have been published, and two are waiting.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Well, after I penned four children’s books a new one popped into my head about a little boy who had a tiny boat that he fantasized would be a mystical ship to take him to wondrous places. Once again, this idea grew and grew into a book, which ultimately became “The Crystal Clipper,” the first book in the Moon Singer trilogy.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Once again my spiritual (we are speaking metaphysical teachings, not religious) exploration led me to a crystal party, where beautiful crystals of all types are laid out before you. As you run your hand over the display, without physically touching any gem, a crystal “chooses you.” The one that chose me was shaped like a miniature boat, complete with mast, hull and rudder. I was told that this kind of crystal was a “singer” crystal with special powers. Indeed, it inspired me to incorporate that singer crystal into my book, “The Crystal Clipper,” with the Clipper being a supernaturally-powered clipper ship of crystal and gold that transcends the boundaries of time and space. I still have that crystal which I made into a pendant.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
If I have a style I think it’s, of course, a feminine voice. There is no overt violence or sex in any of my books, and I try to evoke ethical and moral principles, even in the suspense fiction. I write crisply without a lot of narrative, and try to make every word count. Making the stories substantive and engaging is the biggest challenge to any writer. My books are short – about 150 pages – which does not fulfill the “word count” requirements of agents and publishers and could hold me back from being traditionally published. But I write until I’m done with the story, not just to fill up pages. It’s probably because of my love of stage plays and films – where you have to get to the point in a brief period of time.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I find the basic images through Google or Shutterstock that I feel express the essence of the story, then turn that image over to the publisher (I have an Indie publisher, Creativia), who then has their cover designer work their magic for a finished product.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Many messages without being heavy handed. In The Moon Singer series, the lead character is a deaf teenager who, through the ownership of magical artifacts, develops amazing powers, not the least of which is to realize that his “disability” is his greatest gift. He must be selfless, compassionate, brave in the face of fear, and to realize that his enormous potential for doing good in the world comes with the weight of responsibility.
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?
There are so many wonderful authors that it’s hard to zero in. I love everyone from Victorian mystery writer Anne Perry to authors of books like Life of Pi, Ishmael, the Alchemist, and John Grisham’s legal thrillers. Good stories. That’s what it comes down to.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I have to say it was Creativia Publishing. They took me out of the Neverland of self-publishing and completely redesigned my book covers and gave me visibility and opportunity. They publish everything I write and support me with marketing and promotion.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
More like a calling. When I start making money I’ll call it a career (Ha!)
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, but ask me in five years.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That the Moon Singer series had to be written and it had to be a trilogy. But to make it complete, I had to tell the story of David’s mother whose influence in his life throughout the trilogy was aching to be a book of its own. Now I feel it’s complete and I can move on to other books.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Well, years ago when I began writing the Moon Singer series, I envisioned River Phoenix as the perfect David Nickerson. Of course, he is sadly gone, but if the stories were miraculously made into films today, I would want some wonderful young actor who is hearing impaired to play David, and someone like Blake Lively to portray his mother, Billie.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Be yourself. Write what you want to write. Make it your own. No one can tell your story better than you can. But learn your craft along the way; you never stop learning.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Just let them know I respect them, and I want to tell stories that not just entertain but enlighten. Know that authors are revealing very intimate parts of themselves in their work and I’m doing the best I can; always trying to do better.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m still trying to make my way through the 700+ pages of “Winter’s Tale” by Mark Helprin. The prose is daunting. I loved the movie and wish I had Helprin’s gift for story telling.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Probably a little Golden book called “The Pokey Little Puppy.”
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Puppies. And all those wonderful rescue videos online.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
How I would love to meet Meryl Streep. I am in awe of her ability to wrap herself in a character’s unique persona, no matter what the role. Plus, she sings! And I adore “Mamma Mia” because of Abba’s timeless music and Streep’s exhuberant vocalizing.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Tap dancing once upon a time. Which I long to get back to if my knees hold out.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Medical shows, legal dramas, and the time-traveling “Timeless.”
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Darkest chocolate, the purple color wheel, rock and roll!
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Watch all my favorite TV shows! And foster some senior doggies that need love in the last days of their lives.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Thinking about where to spread my ashes.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“Some days are better than others.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and
No personal website but they can find me on Goodreads and some other links I will provide you with.
Thank you, Fiona for this wonderful opportunity to share my work and personal insights with you and your followers.