Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Hi Fiona-thanks for having me over!
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
I’m Janine Ashbless when I’m writing dark romance and erotica, and I’m Keris McDonald when I’m writing horror. And I’m 51. Still not quite sure how that happened…
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in Yorkshire, England – but only for the last 28 years, so I don’t yet count as a Yorkshirewoman 😉
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I live with my husband of several decades and – currently – one rescue dog; I’m hoping for more!We’ve just moved house so I have a billion things to fix and paint. I got a completely useless though lovely BA in Philosophy from university, trained as a computer programmer and then retrained in urban tree management, then worked in a living history museum as a Viking, then gave it all up to write. Basically my attention span is too short to make a long-term career out of anything except writing.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’ve been asked to write a horror scenario for The Cthulhu Hack game system. I’m incredibly excited about this – it might be a whole new phase in my writing life.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
When working my first job as a library assistant,I made some new friends who wrote ghost stories for each other, and it grew from there.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my first short story was accepted by Black Lace back in 1998.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was a collection of paranormal erotic stories called Cruel Enchantment; I wrote it after coming across a Black Lace book and realising that yes, there were people who wrote (and read) properly filthy stories about exciting things. Suddenly I had an outlet for all those stories whirring round in my brain!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
A character in one of the stories references Love as “a cruel enchantment” so I went with that. I’m still annoyed I didn’t make it plural to point out that these are short stories.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My erotica leans very heavily on plot and world-building, not just sticking-it-in-and-jiggling-it-about. There’s a lot of dramatic tension, and usually someone’s life is in danger, and there may be fighting, daring escapes, sacrifice and death.I do a lot of research for my foreign locations and unfamiliar settings; this takes time so I don’t write quickly.
Fiona: How much of your books are realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Apart from the settings, very little. My own life is comfortably uneventful. No ghosts and no horny dragons 😉
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
OH YES! A lot of my stories are set in places I’ve holidayed, and I love to travel all over the world. My Book of the Watchers angelic trilogy starts in Montenegro and goes on to Ethiopia, Rome, and Norway; all places I’d been, or visited during the writing process. My Arabian Nights story Heart of Flame begins in medieval Damascus, which of course is all but impossible to visit nowadays, so I was very lucky to get my chance before the war. I want my settings to be convincing, and I love to tie local folklore and history into my plots and characters.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My favourite covers are those recently published by Sinful Press. But I’ve had many publishers and you often don’t get a say in how they look. My self-published books (which I’ve started doing only this year) all have matching covers for an “own brand” look, designed by John Harcourt.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Sex matters. People will live for it, die for it, destroy their careers or lives (and the lives of others) for it. It can transform people into the best or worst versions of themselves. For good or ill, it’s a critical part of human nature and we mustn’t ignore it.
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?
Samantha MacLeod is a rising paranormal romance writer who does great things with Norse mythology. In the horror genre, I’m currently gripped by Paul Tremblay. My faveauthor is and always will be Angela Carter, for the quality of her writing and the way it oozes sensuality; she basically reinvented the fairy tale genre for adults.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My old erotica editor at Black Lace strongly encouraged my horror writing too (he’s now a very well-known horror writer).
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, though I have no expectations of ever making a great financial success out of it! It’s the thing I do that defines me, and my means of validation in life; I don’t do it for the money that’s for sure.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My most recent novel was The Prison of the Angels, third in TheBook of the Watchers trilogy. I can’t think of anything I’d change in that book or series, it really was written from the heart and I’m still delighted with it. Hmm… maybe make it a bit longer? The action is kinda breakneck speed…
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned the Montenegrin national anthem! 😀
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Aidan Turner as fallen angel Azazel.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t let social media suck up all your writing time. I don’t actually stick to my own advice, of course!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Just because my story’s written by a “narrator” doesn’t mean that I believe it myself, or that you should take it at face value. I love writing in unreliable voices or from skewed perspectives.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ve just finished Paul Tremblay’s very tense novel, The Cabin at the End of the World. I’m also readingSapiensby YuvalNoah Harariand loving its eye-opening explanations of human history.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The earliest one I remember is probablyThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C S Lewis of course.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Clever, edgy things make me laugh – think Deadpool. I don’t ever cry over things that make me upset or angry, but heart-warming animal rescue videos make me blub.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Alan Moore, the comic-book writer. I admire his work immensely, and he’s a really unusual and interesting person.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I’m a tabletopgamer and a LARPer (live action role-play). I’m currently involved in running a Victorian horror LARP system called Gothic. I own a teeny-tiny wood and I like to go out and look after that – planting and felling trees, that sort of thing.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Right at the moment: Westworld, The Terror, Black Mirror, Game of Thrones on TV – I like cleverly-written dramatic spec-fic.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Raspberries and cream, midnight blue… and currently I’m listening to Gary Numan, Rammstein, Foo Fighters, Muse.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Finish redecorating our new house and then move again, lol! I can get very down if I don’t feel like I achieving something new. To be serious, I don’t think I could manage if I didn’t have some form of writing, even if it’s only game scenarios.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Having sex!Well, why not? And I’d watch The Lord of the Rings movies.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“Love fiercely. Because this all ends.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My erotica/dark romance blog is www.janineashbless.blogspot.com
My website: www.janineashbless.com
My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janineashbless
I don’t have a horror site or blog I’m afraid – it’d just be too much upkeep to do both!
Amazon Author Page US:https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B0034PAVJ8/
Amazon Author Page UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janine-Ashbless/e/B0034PAVJ8/