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?
Hello everyone. My name is Heidi Manley, and I am 23 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from Christchurch in Dorset.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I live with my fiancé who I’ve been with for near two years. By day I’m a coffee shop assistant within a garden centre. Writing is my life, though for my other hobbies I’m an amateur artist (self-taught) and love to Cosplay as my favourite sci fi characters (Usually Doctor Who, or Marvel related) my most recent costume at a local comic con was the 13th Doctor, which earned great feedback from other people attending and not to mention the 6th Doctor, Colin Baker himself!! I’d really love to start learning how to make and create my own costumes as I love crafting and anything generally creative. I love reading and losing myself into another fictional world that or settling into a great boxset. I love visiting old heritage sites, such as castles, houses or gardens and learning the history behind them. If you hadn’t already guessed I’m a massive Doctor Who fan (hence the cosplay at comic conventions) Sherlock, Marvel and of course Game of Thrones. Slightly in love with the good ol’ PS4, which I blame my partner on, who practically knows every game going so his gamer habits are slightly rubbing off on me, so now I can be found unwinding either on Skyrim, Assassins Creed or Fortnite.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’ve only recently become engaged and moved into my first home with my partner. Though of course having to say goodbye to family and pets (even if they are two minutes down the road) was always going to be a little tough.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always had a passion for writing, I love the idea of the possibility of millions of worlds and the impossible number of storylines and outcomes within a book. It has always been easier creating a fictional world where I have control over the outcomes then controlling things in real life, perhaps that is why I love writing so much .Nothing can be considered wrong within your story as you are its creator and that’s why I love writing. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and would always make up stories in English whenever I could. As I grew older I wrote a few Doctor Who stories and uploaded them up to site Fanfiction to help progress my writing ability. I then tried to create a set of fantasy books after falling in love with the Inheritance cycle but found I could never quite get into a fantasy world quite as much as science- fiction. It was only as I began to write what I know that I finally was able to progress with Death by Kindness. Firstly, getting the idea for the two lead characters, Schmidt & Jones, before slowly progressing after a year with a general idea of where I wanted the story to end up.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I first held the paperback version of Death By Kindness. When it came through the post that’s when it really hit me, I had managed to get my book published and hold my own creation in my hands. I think it will really hit me when I tend more book signing events, but it is reward enough to see the reviews for the book and know that they have enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve always loved anything science-fiction and just the idea of getting my own story out to other people to read for themselves was just overwhelming. I love some writers where they hold such depth and messages within their stories, that they can captivate and inspire people and that’s what I wanted to do as well.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Without spoiling the story too much it is a literal meaning to the story. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind, and the main antagonist does not have the same understanding of simple things and emotions as the lead characters. They think they’re helping and that by killing them it is a kindness to them.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’ve been told I’m very descriptive, I don’t like to hold back when it comes to emotions. Especially focusing on the main character Adelaide Jones as she is giving quite a hard time and I love to use emotions to get across to readers. I love to be raw and don’t like to hold back with what I think or want to express.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
A lot of my characters are based on people I know to really gain as much realism for people to like, love or hate characters. The main protagonist is mostly based on myself personality and manners and traits.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I wish that was the case, there are some amazing places that I would love to use as inspiration. Fortunately a quiet place in my house with headphones on listening to soundtracks also seem to do the trick.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The lovely people at Rowanvale Books
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There’s a few goodwill messages, such as never lose faith even in the darkest hour you will find there is always hope. Schmidt tries to teach the antagonist of the book about mercy and faith, and striving to be something good even if you’re born from something truly evil. That and there’s a few digs at the worst affairs of today, such as the possibility of the NHS collapsing.
There’s some strong speeches towards the end of the book, mostly about mercy and not starting wars to end wars. The hope always being there is a theme that runs through all my future instalments of Schmidt & Jones cases, so hopefully the message gets through.
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’ve recently started reading Robin Hobb’s Assassin books and love them! In par with Game of Thrones and the Inheritance cycle I love them. In general I am inspired by Neil Gaiman’s books and just love all his work.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
All my friends were very supportive, but without my partner Jack(or my sister Stephanie) I really think my book would still be unpublished they gave me the encouragement to get on and ensure it happened, and kept me writing when I was ready to give up.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love for it to be a possibility, although I realise authors have to sell a lot of books for that to become a full time thing. But that isn’t to say I do not stop thinking about my next instalment for Schmidt & Jones.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?Once published I think it is best to keep the story as it is, completed. There will always be aspects of your work whether writing, crafting or drawing that you will hate and try to change and then you will end up in a vicious circle of never being happy with it, and risk making it sloppier than it was before.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
New words certainly, and patience. It takes a while to get the words you need to put pen to paper, but eventually you get there. But that’s all part of the journey, amongst creating a new world and characters with their own feelings and traits.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Hayley Atwell would be a great choice as Adelaide Jones, and David Tennant for Jonathan Schmidt. Both are diverse actors and would be just right for the cheeky relationship the pair have together. Not to mention on emotional scenes both actors would be perfect for the role.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Rome wasn’t built in a day, so why should your book be written in one? Take your time, learn from your mistakes and most importantly accept that it isn’t going to be perfect right away. But never give up, your first draft may be absolute rubbish but reworking over it could make it into something incredible.
Every writer is different, we all have our styles and we all have our own ideas. Don’t listen to people who say you’re not good enough, because only you are holding yourself back. Most importantly this is your creation, there are no barriers, there is nothing holding you back from putting whatever you like into your book.
Believe in yourself.
Most importantly: Write what you know.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for taking the time to read and live through the journey with Schmidt and Jones. Without the readers there are no writers. You are our audience and we value every single one of you who reads and gives feedback even if you hated some aspects but loved the rest.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
As a child I loved Roald Dahl’s books. So probably something like Matilda or James and the Giant Peach. Those were the first books I remember buying for myself and loving the impossible situations and the vivid creations of all his books. Before I remember moving on to Sherlock Holmes which is still one of my favourite characters ever.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I have a very simple humour, anything daft or crazy and I crack up. As for crying Lion King still gets me every time, and often its Doctor Who whenever the Doctor regenerates or when something beautiful happens in anything.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I would love to have met Leonardo Da Vinci, the creative and brilliance of his mind would have just been incredible to even know him or get to know him. In terms of writers Shakespeare is another brilliant mastermind I’d love to meet. To write such emotions and create such classic as he has, to me he is still one of the greatest writers ever. A more recent one I’d have loved to have met is Arthur Conan Doyle as his stories and creation of the brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes are still one of my favourites that I can never tire off.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Writing usually takes over most of my free time, then its usually reading, drawing or gaming.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Honestly the list could go on forever. The main ones are Doctor Who, Sherlock, Game of Thrones, anything Marvel related, Robin Hood (tv series and films included) and perhaps Merlin (tv series)
Film wise there are so many that I can class as my favourite, who doesn’t love a good Disney or Marvel film , but perhaps Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves tops my list.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
This may sound bizarre but my favourite music is actually soundtracks, I love listening to Doctor Who soundtracks, Game of Thrones soundtracks etc when writing or drawing and it just sort of helps calm me down.
I love jam…whether sandwiches or doughnuts. I just can’t get enough of it.
Favourite colour is TARDIS blue…specifically TARDIS blue, no other blue will cut it.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I think I would concentrate on drawing more, I like to keep myself busy with things to be creative and taking writing away would dull my senses to express myself
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I would try and spend as much time with my family as I could, and also my partner giving the chance if I had only 24 hours to live. If I was on my own however and they couldn’t get to me, I’d eat all the junk food I could get my hands onto and just binge watch all the tv shows I loved
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Run you clever boy, and remember me
(Nice little Doctor Who reference had to be done)
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Hopefully a blog will follow soon for now: Currently for all updates head to Twitter or my Facebook pages
Amazon International: https://www.amazon.com/Schmidt-Jones-Death-Kindness-Manley/dp/1911569023