Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Hi there! Thank you for having me.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Morgan Sylvia. I don’t want to give my exact age, but let’s just say I grew up in the era of rotary phones, disco, and the original Muppet Show.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I am a Mainer, though I did spend a few decades in Tampa, Florida.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m a bookworm, a lifelong metalhead, and a bit of a ditz. I went to school for recording engineering, but never ended up working in that industry. I spent about 14 years at The Tampa Tribune before it folded, including a few years doing obituaries. I watched the demise of the newspaper industry from the inside, which was sad. About 5 years ago, I realized that I was really frustrated and burned out on my job. So I quit, moved back to Maine, and took the plunge into freelance writing. Best decision I ever made. I am currently a full-time copywriter, so I spend most of my time writing, drinking coffee, and removing my cat from my computer keyboard.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I just released my first fantasy novel, Dawn. Dawn is the first book of The Aris Trilogy, and has been released through Crossroad Press’ Mystique imprint. To give the elevator pitch description, I’d say it is sort of Druids meets Spartans meet The Tudors, but set on a post-technological world, with some paranormal elements. I’m also going to be releasing an ocean-themed poetry collection, As The Seas Turn Red, soon.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started very young. I was already writing for fun in grade school. I blame my mother, who was a librarian, and the fact that I was an only child growing up in a fairly remote area where you got more or less snowed in for a good chunk of the year. Whenever I complained that I was bored , I was told to read. You see how that worked out.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m honestly not sure. I think in a way I sort of always have. However, I didn’t feel like I could really call myself a writer until my first sale, which was a novella called The Seven. That story actually never saw print, as that press unfortunately closed down, but I got paid for it and remember feeling that I could do this.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My books aren’t being published in the order I wrote them. The first book I published, a horror poetry collection called Whispers From The Apocalypse, was the third or fourth I had written. But, to go back to the first one I wrote, that is a fantasy epic series that I am still tweaking 30 years later, it was a combination of songs, videos, movies, art, and other things that inspired me. It’s sort of my LOTR or GOT or WOT, I guess. The first novel I published was Abode. I wanted to do something that was straight up horror, and I knew that if I was to scare readers, I had to scare myself. So I dug into the things I found scary.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I’m going to answer that for Dawn. I actually had been working on this long, epic series, the one I just mentioned, and was burning out on it and wanted to do something new. I wrote a chapter off the top of my head, complete brainstorming, and then had to figure out how to get there. That chapter ended up being one of the final chapters in what is now a trilogy. Turns out, it took a lot of backstory to get there.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’m often told that I have a very poetic, lyrical style. Prose, rhythm, flow, and imagery are very important to me.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
For Dawn?Very little.My horror novel, Abode, however, pulled directly from some things I experienced.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I don’t have to, but it would be nice. I want to in the future. Currently, I just travel through movies, shows, and other books, I guess.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Dawn’s cover was designed in-house by David Dodd. Abode’s cover was designed byKealan Patrick Burke. As The Seas Turn Red’s cover was done by Joseph Schmalke. All three did amazing jobs in very different styles.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think it’s whatever any individual wants to glean from it. Art should be interpreted on an individual level, IMHO.
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?
The newest writer I would mention is Doungjai Gam Bepko. I just read her collection, Glass Slipper Dreams, Shattered, and loved it.
I don’t have a single favorite writer, but the list would include Tanith Lee, Robert McCammon, Clive Barker, Charles de Lint, Alice Hoffman, Anne Rice, Robert Howard, Michael Moorcock, Stephen King, Nancy Springer, Gene Wolfe, Brian Lumley, and S.E. Hinton. Those are my re-reads, the ones that influenced me the most and whose books I revisit regularly. George Martin is amazing, of course. I’malso enjoying Patrick Rothfuss. Other authors I would note are Peter Dudar, Paul Tremblay, Ed Kurtz, Christine Morgan, James Newman, the Sisters of Slaughter, Tony Tremblay, David Price, and John McIlveen.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My writers’ group, Tuesday Mayhem Society. The other members are Peter Dudar, April Hawks, and Emma Jane Shaw Gibbon. They’re all incredibly supportive.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
At this point, yes. I write for a living, though my ‘day job’ is copywriting. I’d love to be able to support myself off my fiction one day, so that is my goal. I’m all in at this point, I guess.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’ll find out when I edit Books 2 and 3. I’m sure I’ll think of something I should have done differently in the first book.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Just put the work in. It helps for me to have a deadline, even if it’s just a loose one, as that will keep me in the chair longer. I try to set high standards for myself. Also, reading backwards is very helpful.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Whatever unknown fits the part the best.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Feed your head. Read every day is common advice, but it’s also important to watch movies, listen to music, watch videos, look at art, and just explore the world. You have to put things into your brain before you can expect your brain to produce anything.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
2) Dawn is very, very different from Abode. Not just genre-wise, but in the type of story it is.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Aside from children’s books?Hm. I remember devouringthe Nancy Drew and Black Stallions series in second grade, so I guess it would be those. Or maybe, Alice In Wonderland? I read voraciously from a very young age, so it’s hard to even say.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I like goofy humor, especially if it’s sarcastic and snarky and sometimes kinda raunchy. Talladega Nights kills me every time I see it.Same with Airheads. I love that movie. I have to admit, Trailer Park Boys also makes me giggle. Silly memes also crack me up. And cats. Cats are just naturally funny.
What makes me cry …Apathy.Cruelty.Lonely people.Child abuse.Senior Abuse.The destruction of our environment tears me up: scenes like the recent devastation in Florida, with all the dead sea life. The whole DAPL thing just hurt my heart, with both the disrespect to First Nation tribes and the land itself.Animal abuse.War stories.
I don’t understand hatred, or how people can be so cruel to one another, or just go around hating this group or that group… It just makes me all really sad.
From an entertainment level, some movies just get me. The very end of Titanic, where old Rose drops the jewel into the ocean. The end of The Last Unicorn is another. Braveheart.I tear up every time at that FREEEDOMpart. Anything sentimental gets me sniffling.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Jim Morrison. I find him fascinating. Also, Joseph Campbell.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Aside from reading and writing, I like going to concerts. There are a lot of things I want to delve into but don’t have time for: pyrography, gardening, permaculture, painting, cheesemaking. My boyfriend and I also like yard sale-ing and just exploring Maine’s nooks and crannies.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Most recently, I’ve gotten into The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon. Other favorite shows include Falling Waters, The Americans, Beyond The Walls, Rain, The Dark, Glitch, OINTB, Stranger Things, Black Mirror, I’m Dying Up Here, Shameless, Game of Thrones, Rome, Britannia, Homeland, and The Handmaid’s Tale. I’ll add Walking Dead, though recently I have begun to prefer Fear The Walking Dead. For movies, recent favorites include Mandy, The Endless, As Above So Below, It Follows, and Annihilation. I’m really looking forward to the Suspiria remake as well.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Food: I love seafood in all forms, especially shellfish.Also, Italian.I’m doing the keto diet now, so many of my former favorites, like shrimp alfredo and pizza, are off-limits in their original forms. Instead,I’m doing things like zoodles instead. So, I guess now it would be a zoodle seafood alfredo. My mom’s crepes would also make the list.
Colors: vary depending on what they’re for. For clothes, black, grey, olive, and brown. For décor, black, purple, maroon, grey.
Music: I’m a metalhead at heart, but I’m also quite eclectic. A list of my favorite bands would include Swallow The Sun, Dissection, Emperor, Black Sabbath, Alice in Chains, Dead Can Dance, Moon and the Nightspirit, Kyuss, Conan, Tori Amos, Behemoth, Allagoch, Wardruna, Enslaved, Benediction, Electric Wizard, Duran Duran, Acid Bath, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Iron Maiden, Slayer,Dio,WASP, Anthrax, Madrugada, Death, Opeth, At The Gates, Dismember, Satyricon,Halou, Orchid, Carcass, Bathory, King Diamond, Cannibal Corpse,Testament, Suicidal Tendencies, Mastodon, Paradise Lost, Brutality, White Stripes, Skeletonwitch, Disincarnate, Slayer, and too many more to list. I also love classic rock, like Aerosmith, The Doors, Pink Floyd, BOC,Zeppelin, and CCR.I’ll stop there.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I guess I’d be some sort of desk jockey, possibly an administrative assistant. I’d also be very sad.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Eat some seafood alfredo, spend the time with my boyfriend, friends, and family, and cuddle my cats. I may go for a walk on my favorite trail. If teleportation was available, I’d visit Stonehenge.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Nothing. I want to be planted under a tree. Or, possibly, have a Viking funeral.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?