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.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
There’s not much to tell, really. Just like everyone else, I went to school, then went to University and got myself a degree in Business and Management; worked for a while in insurance but it was so soul-crushing that I left and instead, decided to do outreach work with teenager, which I still do. I really enjoy working with teenagers: they are fantastic, inspiring, strong and resilient and I’ve written “Heavenward” for them.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My book “Heavenward” has been re-released (is there such thing?) with a new gorgeous cover and under a new publisher and currently I’m busy writing book 2 “Hallow” of Celestial Creatures series.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
My interest in creating stories came when I was about fifteen and I have my secondary school teacher to thank for it. She was always very passionate about literature and the written word. I remember she used to say: “Revolution can be started with one word – written word. So choose it carefully.”
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ll let you know when I feel or call myself one. I’m just about accepting “storyteller” as a job description. 😀
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
This is not the first book written, but the first published.
First I had my character – Ariel. I had her for a few years now. She lived with me, inside me and one day when I was ready to write, I wondered what I could do with her. For her. She lived an incredibly tough life and I wanted her to have something good for a change. I wanted to give her the power back and for good measure to throw a humanity in it, to put us all at her mercy.
I’ve written this book for all girls out there, like Ariel, powerless at this moment, struggling, emotionally and mentally. With this book I wanted to tell them, that they’re an incredible universe of their own, an archangel, who can change the world if they wish, that their past does not define them.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I wanted to relay the Celestial Lore in my title, so I was playing with words associated with it: Heaven, Hell. Angels and demons are too on the nose and too overused in my opinion. “Demon this, demon that”. Pretty much same with angels. So I was playing with word “Heaven” and ended up with “Heavenward”, which is quite apt, as my main character is an average girl, who literally is taken to Heaven; moving to Heaven – “Heavenwards”.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
All reviewers seem to agree that my writing style is very descriptive, eloquent. I think it’s a must when you’re writing fantasy or horror and “Heavenward” is currently positionedbetween these two and YA. In writing fantasy you can’t get away with poor choice of words. I think stakes are higher there because you’re building a completely new, unknown to anyone but you, world and you need to explain everything. Nothing can be taken for granted there. So yes, I think a quality descriptions are “the must” in fantasy genre.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Ariel is a fused character. She is every girl. She can be any girl. Ariel’s childhood is written partly from my own. The first line of the story echoes my constant childhood fear. She is any girl who has difficult family life, every runaway, every abused girl. She can be anyone: a girl you see every day at the bus stop on your way to school, that quiet girl in your class, or maybe the one who lives in the house down the street, with constantly closed curtains.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I think to write fantasy, especially dark fantasy, you need to be a little bit crazy. And travel? It’s optional, as you tent to bring your craziness with you, wherever you go.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Perie Wolford. I came up with the concept and he delivered. Brilliantly, I think. My main request was an abstract image. I wanted to stay away from images of real people, real photographs. I wanted for the readers to imagine the main character. I wanted her to be anyone. I was taking a risk with unconventional cover, but I think this risk paid off. I take risks in my life all the time. Publishing the novel is a proof to my insanity. 😀
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
This book is an empowering book; for every girl out there, who’ssuffered. Message is that they are an incredible universe of their own, a strong archangel, who can change the world if they wish, that their past does not define them.
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?
I’ve read Susan Ee about a month ago (just because it’s about angels as well and I wanted to check out the competition). I liked it. I liked the fresh concept and although we both starting with a “normal girl” mine is an angel, and the one who can wipe out the humanity should she choose to.
But my inspirations (and aspirations) are Stephen King and Martina Cole. I love these two. Dark, gritty nature of their books; dark for different reasons.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Ha! None. And still none, apart from my husband and my girls. But now I have fans of my story, of my book and their support and enthusiasm keep me going and empowers me.
Fiona: Do you see writing as your career?
Yes and I damn sure would love to! I can spend 10-12 hours writing in one day and I would love it. Sometimes though, I would spend countless sleepless nights, unable to sleep because I’m thinking about my book, storyline or how to progress the story from one point to next. But I still enjoy it. So, yeah, fingers crossed it will turn into a career that will provide for my family.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I want to say “yes” but…I will say “no”. Otherwise it will not be the book I’ve written and people loved. And besides, I don’t think that anything good ever comes from “Cooda-wooda-shooda”. Past is past, we need to learn from it, let go and move on.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
We’re always learning in life – no matter what we do! And it would be very silly not to learn a thing or two from your experiences, no matter how small (or “life-shattering”) they are. I’ve learnt a lot and as I continue to write and publish, I’m sure that I’ll learn hell-load more. But we’ll see how this knowledge will serve me later.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
One of my friends (writer, as well) asked me this once and I’ve got an answer for you:
Three leading roles:
Ariel – Dakota Fanning
Sam – Charlie Hunnam as “Jax” from Sons of Anarchy
Rafe – Iwan Rheon
By the way,readers are commenting on how they could see this book being made into a movie and it would be a great watch! I guess because of the new and unique world that I’ve created there.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
I hate giving advice and hate receiving one. “Not one size fits all” – that’s probably as far as I’ll be willing to go in advice giving. 😀
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Life is not full of fluffy unicorns and dancing on the rainbows. Shit happens, we get hurt. Sometimes badly, sometimes it leaves deep and ugly scars forever. But all that we can do is to heal ourselves, as best as we can, and move on. Sometimes we lucky to have help in healing, but sometimes we need to do it ourselves.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ve been swamped lately, so last book I’ve read was Martina Cole’s “Family”.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I don’t. Probably some usual nursery rhymes type.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My children. They can make me laugh and cry. Sometimes both at the same time.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I can’t go for one. It’s like asking one drink to satisfy all your needs: maybe doable, but extremely boring. So I’ve got a few for you: my writing heroes (above), Dalai Lama, my grand-parents – both highly decorated in WW2 veterans & strong people. Even now when I’m deciding what to do or best way to do something, I think of my grandma and thinking what she would’ve done or said.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
If I have time for one I love baking, even when I’m in a crabby mood and throwing ingredients together. Not following the recipe, cakes turn out nice.
I love, love to travel! If I could, I would spend all my money on travel.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Love: “Sons of Anarchy”, “Sopranos”, “Gomorrah”, “Games of Thrones” (see the dark theme?..)
But I love to watch “Middle” now and again: funny, dysfunctional family, tightly-pressed by finances. It always making me laugh.
I’ve watched “Three billboards outside Ebbing Missouri” two weeks ago and absolutely loved that movie! Scarily, I see a lot of myself in that woman…
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Probably freshly caught and cooked seafood is something that I will never say no to. I don’t have favourite colours – my colour preference depends on the mood and the season.
Music?Nothing nasal and whiny. And no violent rap, glorifying abuse or torture, especially directed towards females. Otherwise my taste is eclectic. I’m open to many artists and genres, depending on the mood I’m in: anything from AC/DC to George Michael, Years &Years to jazz & soul.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Oh my god. I don’t like this future at all!
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
On the beach, under blistering sunshine, with my children around me, playing . And seafood salad to eat! 😀
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“She no longer gives a f**k”. Stars are for your younger audience benefit.
Although if you ask other people what should be written there,the response and advice will vary greatly: from some long opus of adoration to slagging of disobedient, too-honest and direct, disagreeable woman. J
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
and just follow me on Twitter @olgagibbsauthor
and Facebook @AuthorOlgaGibbs
Here’s the link to Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Olga-Gibbs/e/B079Z9NR4L/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
“Heavenward” is currently available in all major stores. Here’s the link: https://books2read.com/u/3nYQ6B