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?
I’m Jessica Ames. I’m 33—34 in June.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in Stoke-On-Trent in the UK. It’s home to some of the most amazing pottery designers on the planet!
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I moved to Stoke when I was 16 or 17. I have a dual honours degree in History and American Studies, which I put to good use to get into the publishing industry. For over a decade, I’ve worked in journals and magazine publishing, so I’ve been writing professionally for a long time.
As for family: I have three siblings, the best parents on the planet and a small, yappy type dog called Myley! I also have to mention my uncle, who has been super supportive throughout the process.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m really excited to share that I’m putting the finishing touches to my debut novel, Snared Rider. I’m hoping to release it in June. It is a motorcycle club romance, set in the UK, in the (fictious) town of Kingsley. I’m also in the process of working on my next two books, so there is a lot going on this year!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I was about ten or eleven when first started writing, but I always had a flair for storytelling.
I wrote a lot of fanfiction back in the day, which helped to hone my skills in a safe place.As for why I started writing fanfiction… I was never satisfied with how TV shows and movies ended. They left so many unresolved issues and I always wondered what happened after the screen faded to black. I started writing fanfiction to fill in those gaps.
I also wrote original stories when I was younger, and, for a brief time, I dabbled with screenwriting. I like words though, so I struggled with the absence of prose that comes with producing scripts.
I didn’t start with romance, though. In my teens, I was really into fantasy, in particular JRR Tolkien and David Eddings. I was fascinated by world building and the process of creating societies. I loved drawing maps (I should have been a cartographer). I wrote my first full length fantasy novel when I was 17. It was awful, but it was so much fun!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
As I said earlier, I’ve been writing professionally and for fun for a decade, so I’ve always thought of myself as a writer. But even if you don’t publish, the moment you put pen to paper and start crafting a story you’re a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was in a funk with my job. I was tired of doing the same things, of being creatively constrained. I knew I wanted to leave publishing and get out of editorial based roles, but I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. I also did not want to start at the bottom of the ladder in a new career area.
For a few weeks, I mulled over setting up my own copywriting business. I actually got pretty far into the planning of it before a conversation with my parents changed everything. I was talking (moaning) about things. Matter-of-factly, my parents asked me if I could do any job on the planet, what would I do. I didn’t hesitate. I told them instantly I wanted to write books. Their response floored me. They told me to go do it, as if it was that simple!
Actually, it was that simple. I quit my job and sat down at my computer. Seven weeks later, I had the bones of Snared Rider.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I don’t remember exactly where it came from. I knew I wanted ‘biker’ or ‘rider’ in the title somewhere, so people would know it is a motorcycle club romance. I also knew I wanted the first part to be one word and short. This will be a theme through subsequent books. My second book, which I’m working on now, will be Safe Rider.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I guess my writing style is pretty much a stream of conscious thought from my main character. I like to get right inside my MC’s head and work out what makes them tick. For the duration of writing Snared Rider, I was Beth. I lived and breathed her trials and tribulations.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Everything I write is 100% fictious, even the setting. Kingsley, the city backdrop for my book, does not exist. I suppose my life in some respects influences aspects of my books. Kingsley is based on my experience of living in a place that was once affluent because of industry (pots and coal), but suffered once those industries died off.
All my characters are made up. I don’t base them on people I know.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Unfortunately not! I’m probably unusual in that I’m not a huge fan of travelling. I’m terrified of flying and inner ear problems mean I suffer on both planes and boats.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My cover was designed by the wonderful Kellie Dennis at Book Cover by Design. She did such a brilliant job, given I had no clue what I really wanted. I gave her a vague idea of setting, characters and story, and she came back with a fabulous cover that encapsulated everything I didn’t know I wanted!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I didn’t write it with a message in mind; I wrote a story I wanted to read. Even if I had interwoven some deep and meaningful message, every reader will find their own based upon their own experiences.
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?
The one good thing about the indie romance industry is there are so many talented new people coming through all the time. I recently picked up a few new books that I really enjoyed. I love Annie Dyer’s new series and Emery Rose. I think both those girls will go far. I think the important thing is for readers to take a risk on new writers.
As for established authors… I definitely have a go-to list, but I don’t limit my reading. I’ll try anything, as long as the blurb catches my attention. Because of this, I don’t really have a favourite. Every author I enjoy gives me something different. If I want overprotective alpha’s I’m hitting Kristen Ashley; if I want MC romance I’m reaching for Bella Jewel or Ryan Michele. It really depends what mood I’m in.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My family has been phenomenally supportive, but outside of them I would say my best friend, Tom. He has been amazing. He held my hand through every step of this process! He’s definitely gone over and above the call of best friend duties to get me to where I am now.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
For sure. I’ve made my living most of my life from writing (albeit it not fiction). Publishing like this is a lot different from the type of editorial publishing I’m used to. I don’t have a large team behind me to support me, or to bounce ideas off. I don’t have the expertise of designers and content managers. I’m alone in this and that can be a little overwhelming. That is why it is really important to make sure you have a good community around you. I’m lucky, in that my tribe of fellow authors are incredibly supportive.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t like to think about the should have, could have, would have outcomes. Looking back is never as productive as looking forward. Besides, I don’t have time to worry about what I could have done differently. I’m already focused on moving onto the next project.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That writing is the easy part of publishing. The hard bit is the rest of it! I learnt a lot about my own determination to see through something. I also learnt that if you want something you have to take it. Life isn’t going to do you favours; you have to be in control of your own destiny.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I ‘cast’ all my characters before I start writing. I usually scan Google images for actors/models etc that look like my vision of my characters, so I have a reference for them. I’m a very visual person.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t give up! Even when you feel like giving up, push through. Also, don’t do it alone. Seek the support of other writers. The indie community is phenomenal. They’re the best bunch of humans I’ve ever had the pleasure of being around. There’s no sense of competition; everyone is willing to help everyone else out. It’s astounding really. I don’t know many other industries that are willing to support and help essentially the competition.
I’m fortunate in that I have my own smaller author network of about seventeen; we all starting this publishing journey together. It’s been amazing having them there. To be honest, I don’t think I would have survived the past five months without them.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Only that I hope you enjoy my story. We writers do write for ourselves, but we definitely do write with our readers in mind.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ve just finished The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. After reading that I need to get back into some lighter stuff! So, I’m working through Ryan Michele’s new book, Bound by Destiny.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I don’t recall the first thing I read, but I have vivid memories of my mother sitting me and my siblings down and reading stories to us from an early age. She was a fantastic storyteller. She introduced me to fabulous worlds like Narnia and Middle Earth. She’s also the reason I grew up to be such an avid reader myself.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My dog makes me laugh all the time. She’s a little scamp! She has a big personality and an even bigger heart.
I’m quite an emotional person, so I’ll cry watching sad movies or reading sad books!
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
There are far too many people I would love to meet to list them all!
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love to crochet! I don’t get to do it as much as I would like, but it is a great way to keep my hands busy while watching TV. I also enjoy video games, walking and camping!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love to watch documentaries, particularly true crime stuff and anything science. I love dramas too. The more dramatic the better! Movie wise though I’ll always pick an action flick!
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I could eat Mexican food every day.
Music wise, I’m all about the seventies and eighties rock. I love a good bit of nineties pop, as well.
I don’t have a favourite colour, but I love rainbows. Anything rainbow is an instant win for me!
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d be a crochet designer.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my friends and family. There would probably be a lot of booze and a lot of cake.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I’d probably go down the Spike Milligan route and have something fantastically witty, like ‘Told you I was ill’.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website is www.jessicaamesauthor.com. You can find all my latest news there, including sneak peeks of current projects and links to my social media pages. You can join me on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAmesAuthor/
And don’t forget to add Snared Rider to your Goodreads to-be-read list! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39871482-snared-rider