Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Hello everyone and thank you Fiona for asking me over for a visit.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Colette McCormick and I’m 55 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Sheffield but I have lived all of my adult life in County Durham.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I was educated at Notre Dame High School for Girls in Sheffield where the nuns were able to teach me a lot about English but next to nothing about Maths. My first job after leaving school was a ledger clerk, which ironically meant that I had to make figures balance. When I went back to work after my children were born I had a variety of jobs that included Play-Group Leader, Dinner Lady and Sales Assistant on the deli counter in a department store. For the last 18 years I have managed a charity shop. I spent 10 years working for Cancer Research UK but have been with Barnardo’s since 2010. My husband and I have two grown up sons and a daft dog.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My biggest piece of news is that my second book ‘Ribbons in Her Hair,’ is due to be published on 23rd August.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I was just a child when I started writing stories and I did so because I enjoyed it. I think it’s really important that you write because you enjoy it because if you do it with the intention of becoming a millionaire, chances are you’ll end up sorely disappointed.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my first book was commissioned I wrote ‘Writer at Accent Press’ on my Facebook page. Before that I used to think of myself as someone who wanted to be a writer. Having said that, my occupation is charity shop manager.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was on a trip away for work and I rang hometo check that they were OK. My husband joked that ‘We don’t need you,’ and that started me thinking. I was only away for a couple of nights, but what if I never went home? ‘Things I Should Have said and Done’ was born that night.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I didn’t. The original title (the one that I gave it) was ‘Beyond the Light’ but that was considered too ‘churchy.’ My editor at the time, Rebecca Lloyd, suggested the name and it’s perfect.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I like to write in the first person and in a conversational style. I want the reader to feel like the characters are there with them, talking to them. The biggest problem that I have with this is making sure that I write in a way that everyone knows what the character is talking about. I have to be careful not to use colloquialisms.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I can’t think of anything in ‘Things I Should Have Said and Done,’ that was based on anything other than the world that I had created inside my head. Ribbons in Her Hair,’ was inspired by a conversation but the story in the book isn’t the story of the person that I was talking to. I did give a nod to my though when Susan said that her mother made the best mashed potatoes in the world. She didn’t – my mum did.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
The only place I have had to travel to so far is the place between my ears. Maybe I should set a book in an exotic location.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Zoe Foster created the cover of ‘Ribbons in Her Hair,’ and also the kindle cover of ‘Things I Should Have Said and Done.’ If the paperback was reprinted it would have Zoe’s cover this time.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think it would be not to judge people. I think that as a society we are too quick to make decisions about people’s lives without understanding what’s going on and what they might be going through. I try not to judge anyone because I’m not in their shoes.
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?
Now that’s a tricky one because I read a lot of books by a lot of different people. I often read a book and think I’ve discovered someone new only to realise they’ve been writing for years and I’m four books behind. One of my favourite writers was Ed McBain because he wrote incredible dialogue. He could move a story on so quickly with a conversation.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author
To be honest I kept just how committed I was from my family and the fact that I had been offered a book deal came as a shock to them all. The one person who truly knows how hard I have worked for this is my oldest friend Jan Weiss. She is a very talented and successful artist so she understands how it feels to try, be rejected and then try again.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I wish. I really enjoy my job but as time goes on and that job gets harder I’d like to think that I could write and earn enough to live on. We’ll see. When I’m retired I will still be writing so does that count?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I don’t think I would. I was pretty happy with the way that it turned out.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
It made me appreciate my family, especially my mother and my sister more. Not everyone is as lucky as me.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Ooh that’s a tough one because in my book we see Susan as a child, a young adult and then middle-aged. If it were ever turned into a film I wouldn’t mind who played her, I’d just be thrilled that it was happening.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Apply back-side to seat and get on with it. Procrastination is the writer’s enemy.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for reading my book. The fact that you are means more to me than I can ever say. I hope you enjoy it.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ve got two on the go at the moment, ‘Hummingbird’ by Tristan Hughes and ‘The Things We Learn When We’re Dead’ by Charlie Laidlaw. They are very different books.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I’m not sure of it was the first book I ever read but the first one I remember reading was ‘The Faraway Tree’ by Enid Blyton.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Everything makes me cry, books, films and even adverts have had me balling my eyes out. Laughing is much harder because I don’t like being told that I will find something funny. That being said I only have to look at Peter Kay and I start giggling.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
When I was six I was hit by a car and my head was split open from front to back. I would love to meet the doctor who put 20 stitches in my head and mended it. My dad always said that the doctor had ‘hands like shovels’ and he thought he was going to make a mess of me. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I would love to shake his hand but I suspect that he is dead by now.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love cooking and gardening. I’m trying to become a more adventurous baker.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I rarely miss an episode of ‘Coronation Street,’ but that is the only soap that I watch. As for TV shows my favourites are ‘Elementary’ and ‘Chicago Fire.’ My favourite film is ‘Les Misérables,’ but there’s a long list of films that I watch regularly. I think the one that I’ve watched the most over the years is ‘Working Girl,’ and I always watch the ending twice.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love food but my favourite would be savoury rather than sweet. I think if I had to choose one meal it would be scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on lightly toasted sourdough. My favourite colour is red though laptop, my favourite handbag and my fountain pen are all pink. I don’t listen to a lot of music though I love Ava Cassidy’s voice and ‘The Best of Billy Joel,’ is regularly on in the car.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d spend my days baking cakes and making soup in the morning and pottering the garden in the afternoon.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I’d have smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for breakfast and then take the dog for a long walk. I’d make Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings for all of the family and spend some quality time with my husband, sons and assorted fiancé’s. I wouldn’t want the lads to know it was my last day because they might treat me differently and I’d want them to spend all afternoon mocking me for one reason or another as they usually do. In the evening I’d watch ‘Les Mis’ as I drank a bottle of Chianti and finish off the day with a gin and bitter lemon. I’d want to die with my husband’s arm around my shoulders and the dog’s head on my knee.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?