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?
Why, hello! My name is Stephanie Louise May and I am a 28-year-old Aussie gal.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in Penrith, NSW former resident of Toongabbie, NSW where I had the best childhood!
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I live in the western suburbs of Sydney with my family (Mum, Dad, annoying Brother 😝) in a beautiful area. I have a fur baby, Corey, and no children 😃 I went to a selective high school where I chose all my electives as performing arts, and I work in that industry to this day. I love acting, modeling and writing, and hope to pursue this indefinitely.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I have a novel pending in limbo, it seems. It is called LOVE DOESN’T END WITH DEATH and it is currently in the hands of a publication house. I am very excited about this one, as it dances between present day, and then back to 1964 during the time of the Vietnam War. It is a romantic drama and I am super thrilled about sending it out there in the open world.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing in public school. I did little short stories that my teacher would pin on a board for all the other kids to read. I took Advanced English in high school, but I only started to pen novels a few years ago. I am a late bloomer for sure… but, better late than never.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still don’t know if I do consider myself to be one, to be completely honest. I still feel like I am writing stories for my friends to read. I suppose when I get my first really bad, negative review I’ll consider it a sign of legitimation.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted to write a screenplay, actually. I am in the performing arts industry and I wanted to produce my own movie. I set off to write a screenplay, but it wasn’t panning out as I expected. I spoke to my mentor, Bobby, and I just felt that if maybe I wrote a book it would give the characters more substance, and the story more weight. I set off to do exactly that, and next thing you know it’s “bugger the screenplay, I want to write novels!” I have written six now in total and no screenplays… Writing has surpassed my involvement in acting.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
“Cherry” is a stereotypical name for a fifties pin-up model. I like stereotypes though; they’re there/created for a reason and that reason is usually accurate!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I don’t want to be confined to a certain style, I guess. I feel I am still a novice at this and I look forward to exploring what I can bring to the table. I also do not want to stick to a certain type of genre. I have written an additional five novels – which need to be edited – but they range from: erotica, to thriller, to sci-fi and then horror. Every genre has its own challenges and I’m still figuring them out.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I am going to be completely honest with you, Fiona. When I first started writing “Cherry” as a screenplay, it was about 20% my life, and 80% fabrication. Then, when things in my life started unfolding as I continued to write the book, I would say those statistics did a role reversal and it became about 80% truth; 80% verbatim in situations, circumstances and events. I am not going to say which parts of the book are true or false, as “Cherry” dabbles in sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll… but, it’s fun for people to guess… I guess. Those that know me, know pretty much what is real VS imaginary so let’s leave it at that 😊
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
There is one book I am about to pen that required travel. I travelled around Australia with my best friend and documented what I needed. It was a great trip … all in the name of work, of course! I wont reveal the title, but it’s about a woman who takes off from work; sets out on an adventure with her dog, and together they travel around Australia in what is set to be a comedy.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I had the team at Critical Mass Consultants design the cover for Cherry – the front and back.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are a lot of subliminal and obvious messages throughout “Cherry”. It is anti-drugs for starters, and it warns young, naïve women about the dangers and traps within the performing arts industry. Although in some parts it may seem like it’s a deterrent for people to stay away, I can assure you it is not the case. I am simply saying that not all that glitters is gold, and if something sounds too good to be true then it usually is. I love the performing arts industry. I wouldn’t still be here some fifteen-odd years later if I didn’t, but like anything in life, some things come at a price and sometimes we are so blinded by what we want, that we don’t see what we need. It lingers around the themes of family, friends, education, and I guess there are undertones of fighting for what you love, but to proceed with decorum.
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?
My heart will always belong to Steven King. He is my main man where horror is concerned. I have loved him from the day I picked up “Carrie”, followed by “IT”. Geez, talk about nightmares! Not only do I love Mr. King because of his writing style, but I love the fact that he is so flexible, so diverse, so adaptable, so damn versatile; it’s almost annoying that he can switch from horror to romance so effortlessly. I’ll tell you, my favourite novel by Stephen King would actually have to be 11.22.63 – a book which couldn’t be further away from horror if he tried. It’s about a man going back in time to prevent the assassination of JFK, and man did that book leave me in tears, and left me thinking about it long after I put it down. He is simply the master. No one in my eyes will ever come close; I bow down to the King and hope to meet my idol one day.
In regards to new authors, I always love reading novels from all different writers – not just Stephen King. I also had the pleasure of meeting Michael Robotham a few weeks ago – an Aussie author who claimed the coveted Gold Dagger award – incidentally knocking out two contenders by the names of Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. Michael was so down-to-earth and his latest novel THE SECRET SHE KEEPS was a ripper! I also have the privilege of receiving uncorrected books – usually before the release date – so I catch up on the latest most-talked-about books in the industry. I just finished a book by Lauren Weisberger (THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA) called “When Life Gives You Lululemons” and man was that a crack up!
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
It was actually a well-kept secret to be honest. I didn’t know how it was going to be perceived or received, so apart from my friends and family, I would have to say my dog, Corey!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Most definitely, you just wait and see 😊
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes, I would. I never re-read my novels once they’ve been sent away from me. As I grow older and learn new things like: styles, words, events etc. it’s hard for me to enjoy my books without thinking of a new word I’ve learned that could have replaced one in the book, for example, or a different technique, or a word that could have easily been omitted. It’s a nightmare for me. I will always want to change something, but it gets to the point where it could drive you insane, so you take a step back and send it to the powers that be to let them handle it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
NEVER SAY NEVER…
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I know for a fact I would like Michael Caton (The Castle) to play one of the leads. I also like Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom) and Hugo Weaving (Priscilla Queen of the Desert). As for who to play Cherry… well, that would be a hard choice. I would be looking for someone like myself – God help us.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Never give up! Constantly read, constantly write, and constantly surround yourself with people within the industry to keep up-to-date with what’s new and what’s happening in the writing world. It’s a tough gig, but when the going gets tough…
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Please have an open mind when reading anyone’s book. So many times I read really negative reviews of people’s work and it’s a shame because I don’t think people understand that what goes on in someone’s book is not a foreshadowing of things to come; or is indicative of their subconscious. I hope people are mindful and tactful enough to realise this is a world of fiction and does not necessarily reflect on that individuals beliefs or ideologies. I only say this because I have a few dark stories looming on the horizon and I sincerely hope readers go into – not just my books – but other bodies of work with an open mind. I want to end on a positive and say a huge THANK YOU to those who have travelled on this journey with me, and for those who will continue down this road, encouraging me at every turn. From the bottom of my humble heart, a special thanks to you all!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am currently reading a book called WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT by Mary Kubica, and I am loving it. If you’re into thrillers and/or mysteries, then I urge you to read this book.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was probably something from Disney, or from the Mr. Men & Little Miss series. Those were great little stories. I remember reading Roald Dahl when I was a kid as well.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
It pretty much all consistently relates around animals. Animal videos make me laugh because they’re almost 100% unplanned and genuine, but when I see videos/pictures depicting animal cruelty it can bring me to tears; it has me wondering why there are some many cruel people in this beautiful world we live in. I also cry during movies, namely: Titanic, La La Land, and The Notebook…
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Call me crazy, but I would love to know who Jack the Ripper was – just to see if my research over the years and my assumptions were accurate. I could have said a celebrity, but that’s a bit generic, isn’t it? No, I’d like to meet the crazy killer from 1888 in a heartbeat, just to know for myself.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I sure do! I love travelling and cooking. If I am a good cook, then all the thanks go to my mother who could cook Jamie Oliver under the table!
I also like reading – although that’s a tad obvious – and I enjoy driving around in my car, just cruising with great music!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love films from all genres, but some notable mentions are: The Terminator, Predator, Rocky, the Halloween series, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Titanic, Grease, Scarface, The Warriors, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
When I watch a TV show it’s usually comedy. A few all-time favourites are: Friends, The Simpsons, Sex and the City, Buffy, Charmed and Fawlty Towers.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I pretty much love all food except: mushrooms, seafood and Indian food! Yuk… oh, and I really loath coriander.
I love vibrant colours that make me happy such as: pinks, purples, etc. and music… well, I could talk all day long about music. I love it. I really love my music but I am a bit eclectic with my taste. I love the classics – NOT todays music. Some notable mentions are: Michael Jackson, the Eagles, Queen, Prince, the Doors, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Duran Duran, Meat Loaf, Billy Idol, Elton John, INXS, AC/DC and Foreigner.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Oh, God, that’s a scary thought. Um, I would have been a musician for sure! Or a marine biologist … Yes, I know. They’re like chalk and cheese, but still. I love my music and I love animals.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I’d write a note to those I love … I would grab my fur baby, Corey, and then head down to Pinegrove Cemetery and sit beside my grandmother’s grave while chugging back some vodka and tell her I’ll be seeing her soon.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She tried her best…
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Armen Pogharian said:
I agree that are notions of stereotypes can be quite useful. They did/do serve a purpose (short-cuts really), that as authors we can use for so much more than the negativity associated with them. Best of luck with your pending novel.
Stephanie May said:
Thanks for reading, and thanks so much for the well wishes!!!! 🙂