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, My name is Kirsten Nairn and I’m, well let’s say 50 something. I make a point of never actually saying the 2nd number out loud. That way I never feel as old as I actually am.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m originally from Fife, on the East coast of Scotland, but haven’t lived there for a while. I now live in the North East of Scotland which is beautiful but a little too far north for me. I dream of moving back to the East Neuk of Fife one day. Well to be honest, I really dream of moving to somewhere permanently sunny where I can enjoy a glass of wine outside on a balmy evening, but realistically, it’ll be Fife!
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I originally studied science at Edinburgh University when dungarees were in fashion and Dexy’s Midnight Runners could still cut it with the young ones. I should have studied Art and English as these were my passions, however to this day I still blame my guidance teacher who was convinced there was no future in it.
I live with my husband, two boys, cats and rabbits
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I am currently working on three novels and have another two making a desperate bid to get out of my head and onto paper but I’m holding back, because once I start writing I can’t stop, and I really need to complete the others first.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I actually put pen to paper (literally) about 15 or 16 years ago. It was a children’s book. The idea came to me as I was driving home and, like all my stories, once I started writing I couldn’t stop. Sadly though, once I started transferring it onto the PC I had real doubts about it so I saved it to a floppy disc and that was the end of that. I still have the disc somewhere, but just need the technological know-how to access it.
I have always had stories buzzing around in my head and had a notion to commit them to paper one day but for some reason that never happened, until about 4 or 5 years ago, instead of working on the project I was supposed to be working on, I just started writing my first novel. I am still editing that novel, however in that time I have published another story, A Sorry Affair, and written another two.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
To be honest I still don’t consider myself a writer. I sometimes laugh hysterically when I look at my first published novel and find myself in the midst of marketing and selling. I should have explained, I work full time in a completely different job and I write in secret. No-one, not even my husband knows I write or have even had a book published. He thinks I’m doing the day job every night as I tap away manically on my laptop.
It’s no mean feat keeping it all a secret, however I have slowly adjusted to having another life. At first I was constantly on the verge of blurting it out, but it’s just the norm now. It doesn’t help with the marketing though as I can’t rely on friends and family to share the word. I have invented a whole new person and have had to build up new friendships from scratch. Thank goodness for social media!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The inspiration for my first published book, A Sorry Affair was a conversation I overhead on a train journey to Edinburgh. It was the Friday train and filled with the usual hen and stag parties as well as small groups of women headed for a weekend city break. It’s a noisy train fueled by prosecco and high spirits, but it’s a writer’s paradise. The chat is noisy and no topic is out of bounds. The conversation I tuned into was about a couple who had been together for years. They had everything going for them and were solid, so the shock was palpable when ‘the other woman’ turned up on the doorstep completely out of the blue.
In this conversation, the other woman was condemned without question and somehow the man seemed to be excused. I began to wonder what it felt like to be the other woman in an affair and what if she didn’t actually realise she was the other woman. Would there ever be a situation where she wouldn’t be blamed? I pulled out my phone and immediately started typing.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title didn’t come until half way through the book when there is an emotional scene between Mack, the main male character and Abbi, the other woman. Mack has said sorry so often that Abbi screams that she is fed up of hearing him say it. At that point I came up with the title.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’m not sure if I do. I am still in the early stages of writing so it’s difficult to say. I do tend to go for more dialogue rather than lengthy descriptions of places or events. I am more interested in people and what they are feeling and thinking. I know when I read books I get put off is there is too much descriptive detail or a catalogue of names and places rather than information about the people themselves. I’m definitely more at ease writing about feelings. Most of my stories are romantic (sometimes in the loosest sense, as they can be full or turmoil and angst), but they definitely veer towards that genre.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
It’s not particularly based on personal events or experiences, but it is set in Edinburgh which is a city I know well and is close to my heart
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
So far, no, however my stories are set in places I know well and I have streets, pubs, restaurants or particular places of interest in mind (such as Arthur’s Seat, Stockbridge or Portobello beach in Edinburgh) when I am writing scenes. I am writing a novel set in Spain, which is now challenging. I’m not sure whether to make up the place or base it on a real place. There are challenges with both
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
This novel was published by a hybrid publishers so they designed the cover
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, if anything, I would hope that the readers will ask themselves what they would do in the situations which occur in the book. There are several key points in the novel where the characters are faced with tough decisions and I hope at these points the readers can put themselves in their place.
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?
Oh, too many to say. I love Mhairi McFarlane as she is witty, romantic and creates lovable characters who stay with you long after you have finished the book. There is often a moral element to the stories as well, which I like. But I have lots of favourite authors ranging from John Irving to The Brontes
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Ah well, that is difficult due to the not insignificant fact that no one knows I write. I really didn’t think beyond the next step of writing and completing my novel, but not surprisingly, once I’d completed it, the next natural step was to think about publishing it. I think the main thing which pushed me to publish was the fact that I really enjoyed writing it, loved the characters and just really wanted to see if other people enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love writing to be my career but it’s such a difficult field to break into and I have a mortgage, children and a pension to fund so for now it will remain a hobby
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes, I’d edit, edit and edit again. I can see so many things which I’d like to change. I don’t want to list them in in case it puts people off reading it!
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Patience! I think you have to be realistic and be prepared to spend time looking at the detail, putting it aside and looking at it again with a critical eye. The path to marketing has also been a very steep learning curve. If anyone had told me I would have created my own website a year ago I would have had serious doubts about their state of mind.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Definitely James McAvoy for the male lead, but if was otherwise unavailable, then Joe McFadden would do just nicely. They’re very similar looks wise and both Scottish! (and of course both very good actors).
Kate Middleton for Jen, although I’m not sure about her acting skills, so perhaps Ashley Mulheron is really a safer bet- this is how I imagine Jen to look- a sort of understated, natural, effortless beauty.
Rose Leslie, from New Town and Downton Abbey would play Abbi. She has a vulnerability about her which would be needed for Abbi’s character.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Just do it! Don’t wait around for 14 years thinking about it. And don’t save it to floppy disc!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
If you like my book, please leave a review- even if it’s just a few words. The first review I had was completely unexpected and gave me such a buzz. It was a fantastic feeling. I think I thanked the reviewer in the comments section, messaged her and then stalked her on twitter, liking everything she posted.
Oh, and if you like it, share it with your friends.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
A breath After Drowing by Alice Blanchard. It’s a psychological thriller. I’m only on page 2 so can’t say more than that.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I read all the time when I was young, and still do. The first memorable book was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I would read it again. It’s one of those books which has no age boundaries.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Well, ever since having my children, I seem to cry at a lot more things than I used to. I have been known to cry at DIY SOS- often! My friends and family make me laugh as well as James Corden, Rob Brydon, Peter Kaye, Paddy McGuiness and Keith Lemon. I am guaranteed to laugh and cry at anything which Richard Curtis does.
The film and the book, One Day definitely made me cry
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Any of the comedians mention above- why is easy- they make me laugh. I’d love to just hang out with them and listen to their comedy banter. I know I should probably say someone who has more depth, but after a hard day I just like a laugh.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Not as many as I’d like. I have a list of potential hobbies in my head but never have any time to do them. When I’m not working, taking the boys to their activities or writing, I like to run, well jog!
I used to draw and paint, but never had the patience to learn properly so gave it up, but I’d love to go back to it at some point.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love a good thriller or psychological drama, period dramas, romance and comedy shows. I have to admit I do like the x-men films, but that’s probably my children’s influence. Christmas isn’t the same without Love Actually- it’s still one of my favourite romantic films
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Food- any kind of bread. I’m not much of a foody, but I couldn’t live without bread. I have no problem with the carbs!
Colours- very seasonal. Right now I love red, yellow, orange, but I also love autumnal colours- rusts, pistachio, teal
Music-all sorts from 80s classics to the Killers, Snow Patrol, and Calvin Harris. I loved punk in its day and still smile when I hear it.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Well, I’d still be reading, so books would still be involved, but I’d love to paint and draw again (and be good at it). I’d obviously have to go to Tuscanny to do that so I would be drinking the local wine as well.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Oh I can’t bear to think about that. It makes me too sad because it would have to be anything with my husband and boys. It would be their choice so no doubt it would involve pizza and ice-cream. If you could experience Disney land in 24 hours then they’d probably choose that.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I was writing a book! That’s what I was doing every night on the laptop. Sorry I lied!
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I have a website- all my own creation, so be kind. I post excerpts from my novel and the first chapter as a taster, but I’m also on twitter, facebook and google plus and post there most days. I am more than happy to answer any questions and would obviously love more followers from readers as they are the ones who matter most.