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, my name is James Swift. I am 51 years old. I write under my drag name, Fifi Frost.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in West Monroe, La.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I was born in Winnsboro, La. In 1966. We moved to Monroe, La. When I was 5. Shortly after my parents joined a cult. The worldwide church of God. At age 6 our pastor told my parents I was most likely possessed by a gay demon. Little did I know my life was going to change dramatically. I was beaten daily as to keep the demon from latching onto my soul. I guess it was the physical pain that stopped it. The following years were horrible for me, even being molested by my mother. At age 15 I was sent to Juvenile Conversion Therapy. There I was tortured, beaten, starved, fed dog and bovine food and was sold into human trafficking. At the end of 17 weeks my parents were told to dispose of me, I wasn’t trying to get better and I would drag them all to hell with me. I am an over achiever as well as Trans.
I was 15 and on the street. What I did to survive will haunt me for the rest of my life. The next few years I was nothing more than a juvenile prostitute. Later on, I did attend Beauty School, I grew up in the environment, My, mom owned a beauty shop. From there I was able to get my life on track. I have a 9th grade education, but, have managed to survive. Ended up on a reality show in 2014, which changed my life again.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I am finishing my 3rd book, “DUST”. A medical mystery with a science fiction twist. I am finishing the requirements to open a homeless shelter for LGBTQI youth. Has been a life long dream of mine. No child should have to live through what I did, sadly I hear from people who did daily. This must change.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
After being I a cast member on the show, Utoipa, we were cancelled. I was able to get part of my story out while the show was airing. I had a large online following when I returned home. After doing some interviews I was asked if I would write my Memoir, “Rusted Rhinestones” was born.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my memoir won an award. A Next Generation Indie Book Award for non-fiction. I was shocked my first attempt at writing was a winner. I had so many ideas, and my second book, “Trans Trap” came next. Very personal to me. Set in a small Louisiana town, I tried to tell an important story. Adding my sense of humor, and memories of friends long lost to the Aids virus, along with larger than life influences in my life today.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I do not have fans, I have an online family. With so many wanting to know my story, I sat down and began to write. It was not easy, but, I am very proud of the result.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I had a dear friend who you will read about in Rusted Rhinestones. He was an elderly Drag Queen. The first night I went on Stage as Fifi, He loaned me a necklace. He said to me, it is only an old rusted rhinestone necklace, but, when the light hits it. Well it shines like diamonds. Thus the title.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I don’t have a set writing style. I have been told reading my work is like sitting down and having a cup of coffee and a conversation. What I find difficult, my triggers. From my life and traumas, I have CPTSD and severe social anxiety disorder.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Rusted Rhinestones is 100% my life. Trans Trap I would say is based on about 50% based on real events. I think all my future books will always hold life truths and those of friends.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I have traveled to do research, and specific locations. In my fiction I want people to be able to relate to the storyline. I once stopped reading a book because the author wrote Orleans county instead of Parish. It put me off the entire book. I do all research before I write. I feel it helps me shape the story.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I design my own covers. That, may change in the future. I am still learning.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, there is a message. Inequality!! Even with recent victories in the fight for equality. D.A.D.T. ending and winning the right to marry, that doesn’t change the life already lived. And as I release new titles I am not only focusing on LGBT issues, I will cover all issues from Women’s rights to racism. I touched on Racism in Trans Trap. I will really open up on this in Trans Trap 2.
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?
There are so many writers I admire. Anne Rice and Stephen King are my top go to for a good read. As for indie authors, still too many to list. And out of fairness, I don’t want to forget someone and offend them.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Oh wow. It may seem strange. My online family, so Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus. I have so many people encouraging me, and I am so thankful for them all. And they buy my books, that is amazing to me. Also, I have so much support from the Reality Rally, an amazing group of people who have accepted me into their world.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do see writing as a second career. I had to stop doing hair and makeup. Because of my CPTSD, my hands now shake constantly. I have donated all of my profits so far to opening the shelter for the youth. As I add more titles I hope my reputation as at least a decent writer will grow.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not really, I have had some blowback because of the theme, dealing with Transexuals, as part of my story line. That just makes me want to write more.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes, EDIT!!!!! I trusted the wrong person to edit my book, I will have it reedited soon.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Oh, this is easy!! Laverne Cox!!!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Never stop writing. Always listen to creditable critics, ignore the fake ones. Stick to your voice, your idea. Beware of people who try to change your point of view. They are not your friend. BE TRUE TO YOUR VISION!!
I want to thank them all, and I am honored to have them in my life. I know some of my subject matter is tough to read, but, I feel it needs to be discussed.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am reading “Daddy Issues”. I can relate so much to this story.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book I ever read for pleasure was, “The Wizard of Oz”. I learned that in a world one can not bear, a good book will take you away, will help you cope with current troubles.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Well politics make me both laugh and cry. I can’t stand injustice, I hate animal abuse as well. I cry when the neglected animals come on tv, I cry when someone does well on a reality show. Americas Got Talent is a full box of tissues for me. What makes me laugh is unexpected humor, just life that turns funny. My friends are the funniest people I know, many of which are in my online family. Lastly, religion. I cry because of so much pain I have been caused by misguided so called “Christians”.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I have on my bucket list to meet RuPaul. She has changed the world, at least mine for sure, and I feel we have so much in common. She brought drag into the mainstream, and she did it with class.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love to sing, being on stage as Fifi, painting, sewing, gardening and cooking. I get lost in them all.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love all reality tv. Big Brother, Naked and Afraid, The Amazing Race etc…… All types of films, comedy, drama, action and documentaries.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love top 40 music, Disco as well as old country. Crazy I know lol. I love bread and pasta, but, I cook all southern classics. My favorite color is Red!!
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Oh my, If I couldn’t write? I know I would still be working with kids. I can’t do hair any longer, so I might try and teach cosmetology? But, not sure my CPTSD would allow that.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I spoke for those who had no voice, I fought for those who could not fight.
www.amazon.com/author/fififrost James swift aka Fifi Frost @twitter and Facebook