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?
Martin Ferguson and I turned 30 (+1) this year.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I currently live in Norwich, England, but have previously lived in Nottingham and London for a few years at a time.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am married and am a father to a ten-month old little girl Felicity. My day job is as an Urgent & Emergency Care Manager in the NHS.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I am very excited that the third book in my series Relic Hunters will be out on 17th July this year. It is called War of the Damned and follows the team of relic treasure hunters as they seek out the lost Nazi Gold Trains.
Relic Hunters: Book Three: War of the Damned
Release date: 17th July 2018
When a perfectly preserved German U-Boat from the Second World War is discovered on the coast of Scotland, Adam Hunter and the rest of the British Museum team are dispatched to investigate.
They discover two items of interest on board; a gold bar belonging to the fabled missing Nazi Gold Trains, and the body of a British soldier of the Suffolk Regiment.
With these two clues, Adam and the team set out across Europe in a thrilling adventure in search of the infamous Gold Trains, chased by other treasure hunters and ghosts from their past who will stop at nothing to claim the promised riches. However, their hunt awakens a terrible force that has been waiting decades to be released.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing as a way to avoid studying – especially around exam times. Over the years I wrote more and more, releasing a few novels and short stories under the pseudonym of Edward Drake. Then I came up with the idea for Relic Hunters.
I was brought up on the stories of legends and myths of old and thought it would be great if these were proved true and there was a team who sought out the relics from these legends. Relic Hunters as a series is unique in itself in that it involves the: modern story, of a young team from the British Museum seeking out and protecting relics from across the globe, and the historic story of the relic itself, be it a young legionary forced into the gladiatorial games or the Queen of Egypt seeking vengeance.
I knew that this series had potential and when I contacted Little Bird Publishing House I was eager to finally publish under my own name.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I first held the paperback copy of Eagle of the Empire, book one of the Relic Hunters series.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted to write something that I myself would enjoy. I had been through a period of starting and stopping a number of books that I just could not get into – so I decided to give writing a go myself. Believe me, it was a lot harder than I thought. What really encouraged me to give writing a go with the Relic Hunters series was a knee injury that prevented me from football and running. I focussed all my attention to writing – initially as just a method of staying sane whilst I healed up. In a way that injury was a blessing in disguise.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The titles for the books and the series as a whole are pretty self-explanatory. The series revolves around a group of treasure seekers working for the British Museum in London. The first entry, Eagle of the Empire,revolved around the team seeking out a Roman Legion Eagle standard. The second entry, Curse of the Sands, is about the discovery of a mysterious pyramid and the terrible dangers awaiting the explorers within. The upcoming War of the Damned, is about the search for the Nazi Gold Trains hidden somewhere in Europe. These trains are said to be filled with precious historical items and valuables stolen throughout the Second World War, but their discovery could awaken a deadly force that has waited decades for release.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I would not say that I have a particular writing style. I just try to entertain the reader. I try to not plan everything out – the plot, the characters, etc., but I’m afraid it does usually turn out that way simply to tie everything together and make sure I don’t forget anything. I find the biggest challenge is generally finding the time to write. With a full-time job and a little baby girl – I don’t think this challenge is going to get any easier!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I wish the books were based on experiences in my own life! That would be amazing. Sadly this is not the case and I guess the stories are wish fulfilment for me.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I do try to visit all the locations that feature in my stories. In preparation for Eagle of the Empire I visited the British Museum in London, Loch Lomond in Scotland, Rome and Pompeii in Italy and Vatican City. This was all before and during the process of writing the book. The same can be said for the Pyramids and tombs in Egypt for Curse of the Sands and the European battlefields such as Dunkirk and the D-Day landing sites for War of the Damned.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publisher Little Bird Publishing designed the covers and I could not be happier with them.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are a few messages throughout the stories; trust, family and never giving up on what you seek no matter the setbacks.
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?
Alys Earl and Aisha Khalaf’s works have really caught my attention – and are local authors to me who I have been lucky to meet on a few occasions. Chris Hannon’s Orca Rising is also very good.
My all-time favourite author has always been Bernard Cornwell. The characters he creates are extremely relatable, despite the time settings, and the way he describes battles have you feeling like you are actually there in the midst of it all.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Really I cannot thank Little Bird Publishing enough. They helped and are still helping me to develop as a writer and without them none of my stories would ever see the light of day.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love for writing to be a full-time career for me and hopefully it will be in the future. For now I use every minute I have spare to work on the Relic Hunters series and develop my writing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would maybe add in a few little details and conversations that I have thought of since. I know that a lot of writers don’t like reading their previous books as they see things that they would change – to be honest I think I am going to be very similar.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Book three was one that I was really looking forward to. For each entry in my series I focus on a different era of history and for this one the Second World War is the focus. I originally wanted to follow the actions of the Norfolk Regiment (being a Norfolk lad myself), but the campaign of the Suffolk Regiment matched all the key events I wanted to feature in the book. In my research I learnt so much about their battles, their heroics and the terrible conditions they faced – such as the battle at Chateau de la Londe which became known as the bloodiest square mile of the war. This regiment has so many stories that very few people know of and it is a great privilege to bring those to light.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
The lead protagonist in the Relic Hunters series is Adam Hunter, 17 years old, rebellious, reckless and always eager for an adventure.If the series was made into a film I think the casting for Adam Hunter would need to be someone like Taron Egerton (though I know he is currently 27). It would need to be someone with a bit of edge to them but heart too.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Do not be afraid to tell others that you write or what you write about. It truly is an amazing thing to dedicate yourself and your time to writing and it is something to be proud of. Above all though, write. Write and make mistakes – it is the only way we learn!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Just that I hope they enjoy what I have written so far and that I have a lot of big plans for the next few books in the Relic Hunters series.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George RR Martin.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book I can remember reading was the Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks – a great story about a magic cupboard that could bring plastic figures and toys to life (this was before Toy Story hit the cinemas).
As a young adult it was Sharpe’s Eagle by Bernard Cornwall. It is still to date my favourite book of all time.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Sadly it is usually the inappropriate things that make me laugh – like my nephew accidently tripping over and landing face first in the mud. For crying – I must admit there were tears when I first held my daughter.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I always wanted to meet Muhammad Ali. His charisma and energy always impressed me and I used his example a few times during my own running training and in life, specifically; ‘Don’t count the days, make the days count’.
The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill is a good one too – to ask him what it was like to lead your country when it was on the brink of annihilation during the Second World War.
I would love to see my grandad again too. He passed away a few years ago – before I was married or saw any of my books published. He always encouraged me and I would love to speak to him again and tell him all that has happened.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Outside of writing I am a keen runner and occasionally play football when my team needs me. The knee injury I mentioned before was inflicted during a game of football. I was told by surgeons that the damage was so great that I would never run or play sports again and that there were no medical/surgical options. I was determined to prove them wrong and though it took a long time I was able to recover enough to run again. I then sought to prove myself further by participating in running challenges; first 5kms, 10kms, half marathons and then the Greater Manchester Marathon. I still return to play football when needed but I am always cautious of damaging the injury even further.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
At the moment I have been watching a mix of historical / fantasy TV shows; Game of Thrones, Vikings, Black Sails, The Walking Dead and Arrow/Flash. I enjoy films that are much the same enjoying this year’s Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther.
Fiona: Favourite foods, colours, music?
Food: Depends on the mood but Spaghetti Bolognaise, British Sunday Roast or Sweet & Sour Chicken Chinese takeaway.
Colours: Red and white (Arsenal fan)
Music: Foo fighters or 30 Seconds to Mars (seen both this year and both were amazing!)
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I really don’t know, maybe more running or more of a return to playing football again. To be honest out of those options I would rather be writing.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Something like Spike Milligan’s ‘I told you I was ill’.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?