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 Georgina Young-Ellis and I’m 58 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m originally from Los Angeles, but am now in Portland Oregon by way of New York City!
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Well, I am married with a 26-year-old son who still lives in NYC. He’s a musician, music producer, and sound engineer, and doing quite well for himself. My background was originally theatre. I graduated from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and was an actor for many years before my focus shifted to writing.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Lots of late-breaking news! First, my latest novel, Incandescent, was released in March. It is my tenth! Second, I am finishing up the 5th book in my time travel series, and hope to have it released by the end of the summer. Third, I am co-writing a modern romance with my husband, and possibly a dystopian novel with an author friend, but that one is still top-secret! Finally, I am going back to school at my ripe old age, to get my Master’s Degree in Spanish Language and Literature at Portland State University. It’s never too late to learn!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing my first novel in 2007. I didn’t mean to become an author, actually. I just had an idea that I was intrigued by and couldn’t get out of my head. My husband encouraged me to write the story down and so I did – more than 100 pages by hand. Then he convinced me to put it into the computer, which I did, and it began to evolve into a novel. That was my first time travel book, The Time Baroness.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Once The Time Baroness was published and I had my first sales, I began to think of myself as a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
See the question before last 😀
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I’m not sure about that. It just kind of came to me. It was handy that I named it that though, because it lent itself to the titles of the rest of my series: The Time Heiress, The Time Contessa, The Time Duchess, and The Time Mistress.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
The time travel genre is challenging because it requires a lot, and I mean a lot, of research. When I first started writing The Time Baroness, I thought I knew tons about the Regency period (early 1800s) because I’d read all of Jane Austen’s books over and over and so I thought I was an expert. Not so! Turns out I still had a lot to learn about the details of everyday life and that’s where the research comes in: reading history on, and commentary about the time period and basically getting my hands on everything I could having to do with it, and also, making sure my characters talked like people would talk back then. Same with every time period I wrote about which includes the pre-Civil War era, Renaissance Italy, Elizabethan England and WWII Hollywood.
When I’m writing Regency Jane Austen Fan Fiction, which means novels or novellas based on her works and using her characters but with variations on her plots and situations, the challenges are several. They are the same research-wise as above, but also they involve kind of writing with Jane Austen’s voice, and staying true to how your audience believes her characters should and would act. There’s lots to think about there. Incandescent was easier because it takes place in modern day.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All my time travel books have the same main character, Cassandra, who is very loosely based on me. I like to say she’s a far more beautiful and talented version of myself. My latest book, Incandescent, contains a lot of my experience as a former actor because the main characters are all actors, making a film version of Pride and Prejudice. It was a lot of fun to draw on my memories of the acting world and what it’s like to make a film, which I’ve actually done.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I do have to travel, but sometimes I just luck out. For instance, I had already been to England and Italy by the time I was writing about them, and I decided to write about New York in 1853 while I was living there which made it easy to research. However, I have made specific trips for research sake, like to Boston and L.A.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My father, who was a graphic designer created my first cover, then my husband, also a designer, took over. He’s done most of them, but I was working with a publisher for a while who did my two latest time travel books, The Time Contessa and The Time Duchess, and tweaked the others. I think they are all exquisite. That publisher Celestial Waters and the design firm they use is call Dark Water Arts Design.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In Incandescent there is a strong message of inclusivity. My characters are multi-racial and of various sexual orientations which is very rare for a Jane Austen Fan Fiction novel. However, since it’s set in modern day, I decided it was important to include those aspects, and actually you will find that in all my time travel novels. In most of them I deal very frankly with issues of race and sexuality.
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 don’t know that my favorite authors are new, necessarily, and may not be very well known. One of my very favorites at the moment is Luis Alberto Urrea who wrote a stunning novel called The Hummingbird’s Daughter. He writes historical fiction about Mexico, as well as modern stories about immigrants, and also some very important non-fiction. No matter what he writes, he does so with great humor and compassion which is one reason I love him. I also closely follow Neil Gaiman because I do like some scifi and fantasy. He has such an imagination and also a wonderful sense of humor. I think books should have some humor even if the topic is serious. Even in the most dire of circumstances I think that people are usually able to find some humor there.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
One incredibly supportive person is a friend I only know through the internet, an author named Barbara Silkstone. She has such a wide range of books I can’t even begin to name them all, but she is another humorous writer whose work tickles me to no end. Anyway, when I first began to connect with other authors online, she and I instantly clicked. She has been a mentor to me for years and actually is the person whom I may collaborate with on the dystopian novel.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It is a career. It’s not my only career, but it’s the main one, and I usually, (but not always) make a living at it.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
You know, there is some feedback that I take to heart, but I still don’t think I would change anything. It is exactly how I want it to be. I’m speaking of Incandescent here.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned to listen to my beta readers. I mean, I always listen to them, but this time their input was especially helpful.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Depends on the book. For my time travel series, either Nicole Kidman or Amy Adams. Cassandra has to be a redhead! If it was Incandescent, it might tickle my fancy for Anna Kendrick to play the lead.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Connect with other authors. If you’re new at the game, get on Facebook and ask to join some author groups. Ask for advice but don’t be needy and expect everyone to do the work for you. Support other authors – this is the main thing – share their work, and they will be happy to answer your question and promote you too. Other authors I’ve connected with online have meant everything to me in my journey toward success.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Mostly I’d hope that they go to my websitewww.georginayoungellis.com and browse for what looks interesting to them. I’ve got a lot to choose from. Also, if you like what you read, please leave a review, and spread the word!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – in Spanish. It’s required reading for my Master’s Program, among about 40 others, and boy, it’s dense!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Could have been Winnie the Pooh?
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
A dry wit makes me laugh, like David Letterman’s. But then really silly, stupid comedy can tickle me too – I just have to be in the mood. My favorite comediennes/slash comic actresses at the moment are Amy Schumer and Melissa McCarthy. Amy with her raunchy humor and Melissa with her great physical comedy.
Heart-wrenching romance makes me cry…the good kind of crying. Of course tragic tales of injustice, especially regarding children or animals makes me sob but I avoid them because they’re just too difficult.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
There’s one former U.S. president I’d like to meet but I won’t say who, or if he’s living or dead. I consider this person so incredibly intelligent and compassionate that it would be an honor to sit down and have a conversation with him.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Lots. Kayaking, swing dancing, exercising, playing the piano, hiking, and, of course, reading.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Recently, I’ve been into Stranger Things, Sense 8, the new Lost in Space, This Is Us, Timeless, Sherlock, The Last Man on Earth, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Crown…I could go on and on because I do like to watch TV in the evenings to unwind. I tend to like comedy movies but will take a good historical flick as well, and I also like quirky, independent films if they’re well done. This last year I loved Ladybird, The Big Sick, Dunkirk, The Darkest Hour, and The Post.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Love Mexican food – making it and eating it. Same for Italian. I love to go out for Japanese but can’t make it. My favoritecolors are purple and orange, but not to wear so much. In my house and to wear I mostly love greens and blues. I love rock music from the old to very new and that includes alternative, folk and electronica. I feel a person shouldn’t let their musical taste get stuck in the past! I’m also a big fan of classical and swing jazz.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would devote myself to Spanish: translating, and maybe teaching on the University level.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my husband and closest family members: my son, my mom, my brother and his kids.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She rocked it.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website is www.georginayoungellis.com and my blog is http://nerd-girlsromanticsandtime-travelers.blogspot.com/
Darcy’s Awakening: http://amzn.to/2mnWanx
Time Travel Series, called The Time Mistress Series: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FZ8BGVS/ref=series_rw_dp_sw
Amazon author page; https://tinyurl.com/ybo25ymz
The interview was a lot of fun, Fiona! Thanks for having me!