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?
I’m P.J. MacLayne. As far as my age goes, let’s just say I’m probably older than many of you.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I grew up among the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, but I currently make my home ion the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
After a number of career changes, I ended up working in IT and I love it. Not as much as I love writing, of course, but that’s a given. My family is all grown up, and I never have enough time to spend with the grandkids.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m in the middle of writing the fourth book in my Oak Grove Mysteries series. Harmony Duprie, the ex-librarian turned internet researcher, is getting herself in over her head – again.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing poetry fresh out of high school with some limited success in getting published. But a few years ago, I decided to try to write a book and I haven’t stopped writing stories since.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think after the third draft of the first book I ever wrote. I decided that it wasn’t any good and that I’d never publish it, but I knew I could get words on paper and tell a story. And that the next attempt would be better because of what I’d learned along the way.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The first book in the mystery series started out as a paranormal romance. After working with my characters, I realized that the genre was all wrong and it turned into a cozy mystery. Harmony Duprie, my main character, can be opinionated and she’s not afraid to share her point of view with me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
All of the books in my Oak Grove Mysteries have a piece of jewellery as part of the plot or subplot. The titles reflect that. In fact, that’s the first thing I figure out when I begin writing those stories—what piece of jewellery will be featured?
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
The mysteries are all written in first person. My other series, the free Wolves, is third person. I have to keep track of which series I’m working on so I don’t get mixed up.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I’ve tried to make the mysteries realistic. The town, although fictional, is based on places I’ve lived. The characters in the books aren’t based on any one person, but share characteristics with people I’ve known. They might be part the next-door neighbour or someone I worked with, and part someone I bumped into at the store one day.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I base my stories in areas where I’ve lives and previously travelled so I don’t have to travel for my stories. Of course, I’ve travelled all across the Unites States for one of my jobs, so that helps.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My sister is a graphics artist, and she does my covers for me. She has a great eye for the possibilities in stock photos and how to transform them into images that represent my stories. Thank you, K.M. Guth!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
No matter how strong you think you are, there are going to be situations where you need help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends and acquaintances when the going gets rough.
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 good authors out there I can’t possibly read them all. Ann McCaffrey was among the first writers who grabbed my interest as an adult. The way she created her world and told stories that spoke to social issues while being entertaining inspired me.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My coworkers have been really supportive. They may tease me about my shifter series, but I know they do it because they care about me. (and also because it doesn’t fit in with my ‘work’ personality and they don’t quite get it.)
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
A secondary one, yes. I can’t support myself with my writing yet, so I have a full-time job. But I keep hoping that one of these days I’ll have a best seller and my writing will do more than break even.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so. I’m pretty happy with it. I got to get Harmony into big trouble and get her back out again with only minimal damage. It was fun for me and I think it was fun for the readers too.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I’m always on the lookout for new trick driving skills and self-defense skills for Harmony to put into use. I don’t have the ability to use those skills myself, but it’s interesting to watch other people demonstrate their use.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
You know, I don’t keep up with current TV shows or movies, so I don’t know the names of many actors. I’ll leave the choice to the experts.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t worry as much about word count as worrying about sitting your butt in the chair and getting at least a few words on paper. Quality is better than quantity.- most of the time.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I hope you enjoy reading my stories more than I enjoy writing them. And if you would be so kind as to leave me a good review, I’d greatly appreciate it.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Unless you count technical manuals, I’m not reading anything right now, as I’m trying to make progress on my current story. The last book I read was Cornelia Amari’s Moonless Nights: Hope Swims in the Darkest Seas. It’s based on the stories of Celtic gods but deals with the tough subject of childhood abuse.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, but I remember my older brothers and sisters reading books aloud to my mother for homework when I was little. And I remember the old Dick and Jane textbooks.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Happy little kids make me laugh. The joy of their laughter is contagious. I don’t cry easily, but when I hear about an old couple that has been together forever dying within days of each other, it’ll get me every time.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
There are so many I can’t list all of them so I’ll go with one that isn’t controversial. John Denver. His music spoke to me and in a way, was responsible for me meeting my husband. I’d like to thank him.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love to needlepoint. And I’m pretty darn good at it. I’ve slowed down, because I’ve got nowhere left to display my projects.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I rarely watch TV. The last show I followed was Longmire.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Favorite food- anything Italian. Favorite color – red or purple, depending upon my mood. Favorite music- classic rock or John Denver.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
That’s actually on of my fears, that something will happen and I won’t be able to write. I suppose I’d go back to reading more. I used to read a book a day, now I’m doing good if I read a book a week.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I’d drive up to a mountain lake with my hubby and sit there and talk, drink, cuddle, and listen to music until my time ran out.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
No headstone. I want to be cremated and have my ashes scattered in the mountains.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Sure do! You can visit https://pjmaclayne.blogspot.com/ for my latest blog entry and to stay caught up with my news.
The Marquesa’s Necklace
Her Ladyship’s Ring
The Baron’s Cufflinks
Amazon Author Page