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, Eveyone! My name is Ellwyn Autumn and I’m 47-years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I live with my family in Pennsylania. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education, as well as, a Master’s Degree in Education. I have recently left the classroom to pursue a career as a children’s author and a classroom visiting author. I also am a contributing writer for Coffee House Writers.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
On August 8, 2018, the second installment to my picture book series was published. It’s called Kamyla Chung and the Classroom Bully. It’s about a little girl named, Kamyla Chung, who learns how to deal with a difficult and disruptive classmate. I drew on my teaching experience in the Philadelphia public schools to write this installment.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing when I was seven years old. For me, writing is like breathing. It’s something I need to do to live and be happy.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After I wrote my first story, when I was seven years old.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Growing up I wrote lots of “books”. I would get a blank notebook, write my story, and then decorate the front cover. I still love a brand new, empty note book. It’s got so many possibilities.
My first self-published book, Chris Kringle’s Cops The First Mission was inspired by my son. When he was little, I used to tell him and his friends that I was an agent for Santa’s secret service.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Since the elves in the story act like FBI or CIA agents, I wanted a title that could have a similar acronym. The acronym for Chris Kringle’s Cops is C.K.C.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I try to weave humor and sarcastic characters, that have a certain vulnerablity, into my stories. I want to show the humanity beneath their salty exteriors. I strive to write stories that will make people laugh and empathize with the characters as they overcome the the challenges facing them.
Writing fantasy novels can get a little out of hand for me at times. I create these worlds and fill them with all these characters and magic. Magic has rules. Once you create these rules in your world, you have to follow them. Sometimes I lose track of what’s going on. Over the years, I’ve learned to make outlines and ask for help from fellow writers in my writers group.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Although C.K.C. is a fantasy story, a good portion of it is very realistic. The protagonist, Patty Pringle, is dealing with the loss of her mother, and the consequences such a loss has on the family dynamic. It is also set on the streets of Phildelphia, so I used a lot of places local to the neighborhood where I grew up.
I drew on my own experience with personal loss to express Patty’s reaction to her mother’s death.
Kamyla Chung and the Creepy-Crawlies was partly inspired by the shadows I used to see on my bedroom walls as a kid, and partly as a way for children to begin discussing their own fears.
Kamyla Chung and the Classroom Bully was based on the situations I witnessed as an inner-city, public school teacher. There are so many troubled young children that need a voice. I’m hoping Kamyla Chung and the Classroom Bully will help to teach them that they are their own best advocates.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Yes and no.
No, I don’t have to visit a certain place to construct my settings. I use pictures, my imagination, and my memory of places.
Yes, sometimes while I’m writing a novel or a picture book, I find myself scouring the shevles in my living room, the library, or a bookstore. I often read to keep the creative juices flowing.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Melody Whitaker designed the cover for Chris Kringle’s Cops and Dahn Tran has done the covers for both Kamyla Chung books.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Through Kamyla Chung and the Classroom Bully, I’m hoping to teach children that they are their own best advocates. Bullying is a series social issue with long lasting effects. Childen must speak up for themselves if they are being mistreated by adults and children alike.
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?
Some Indie authors who have caught my attention are Claudette Melanson, Lynn Lamb, P.J. Webb, and KristaLyn A.Vetovich. I also like Scott Washburn, A.E. Decker, and Artie Bennett.
My favorite writer is J.K. Rowling. Her world building, character development, and story telling is amazing. She is so versatile.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My junior year English teacher, Ms. Leone.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely! I have been working very hard to pursue that dream everyday.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Thankfully, no. I was painstakingly thorough when I proofed the text and pictures. In the beginning stages, I also asked my writer friends to read over the manuscript. They gave me some wonderful suggestions that really helped to polish it up.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
As a teacher, I’m so glad you asked me that question. I feel that there is something new to learn with each book we read and write.
With Kamyla Chung and the Classroom Bully I learned that I really like to self-publish. It’s a lot of work and nerve-racking at times, but so rewarding when you hold the completed book in your hands, knowing that you had a say in every aspect of its creation.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Eleven-year old actress, Alexa Nisenson.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write, read, and write some more.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you so much for reading my work. I hope you as much fun reading it as I did writing it.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Wishtree, by Katherine Applegate.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book I remember reading is Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My children’s intelligent humor makes me laugh and sometimes watching them struggle to find their place in the world makes me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I would love to meet with my grandfather again because I miss him. He would have been 100 years old on August 11.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Reading, writing and making mason jar nightlights as a companion item for my first picture book, Kamyla Chung and the Creepy-Crawlies.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I enjoy fantasy films: The Lord of the Rings, The Narnia Series, The Harry Potter Series, Star Wars…I have so many.
My favorite TV show is Game of Thrones. I also like to watch The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
My favorite foods are chocolate and anything my husband cooks. He is an amazing cook.
Favorite color? Hmm…Today I like sky blue.
I don’t have anyone particular favorite genre of music. I’m all over the music spectrum: movie soundtracks, Alternative Rock, Classic Rock, Celtic, Meditation and Healing.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Paint, draw, sing, dance, participate in theater productions, and make movies.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
In Disneyworld with my family, telling them how much I love them, and making as many happy memories as I could.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I’m not going to have a head stone, but if I did, maybe, “See You On The Other Side?”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Other Social Media:
Chris Kringle’s Cops The First Mission
When eleven-year old Patty Pringle answers a help wanted ad, she has no idea that she will soon be embarking on an adventure that will change her life forever. Patty and her younger brother Sean go to the mall to meet Santa, which is when Sean steals some of the letters that children have sent Santa. Determined to return the letters to Santa, Patty teams up with an elf named Agent 12-25, who takes her to the North Pole. At the North Pole, they discover that it is too late for Santa to deliver the toys that the children asked Santa to bring them. Hoping to save Christmas for these children, Patty and Agent 12-25 set off on a mission to deliver all the toys by midnight on Christmas Eve
Kamyla Chung and the Creepy-Crawlies
Kamyla Chung has a big problem. Every night after her parents turn off the light, a giant creepy crawly appears on her bedroom wall. Her parents buy her a night-light, but that only makes things worse! Will an exterminator be able to help, or will the creepy crawlies scare her away? Beautiful illustrations and creative prose will endear children to the story of Kamyla, a little girl who sees things on her wall that might or might not be products of a vivid imagination.
Kamyla Chung and the Classroom Bully
Kamyla Chung loves school! Then one day everything changes when a classmate named Nikita begins to disrupt the classroom. Kamyla grows anxious about Nikita’s hurtful behavior. It’s hard to learn and have fun in school with Nikita constantly misbehaving. One day the two girls have an argument and Kamyla gets hurt. Afterwards, Kamyla learns of Nikita’s own struggles. Saddened by the unfortunate news, Kamyla rises to the challenge to help her troubled classmate.