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 am Stephanie Ayers. A lady never reveals her age.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I grew up in northern VA, but now call southwest Ohio home.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am a coffee guzzler, word whisperer, creative ninja, and unicorn. I am mom to 2 kids still living at home and 4 furbabies. I enjoy window shopping and exploring new places when I’m not on the computer, and I do graphic design as another creative outlet.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I am trying the self-publishing route after having my first 2 books (and all the anthologies I have work in) traditionally published. I just launched my first fantasy as a free read on instafreebie in August, and I just added a bunch of premade book covers to my design company’s Facebook page. I am celebrating The 13: Tales of Illusory’s 1st book birthday and the release of The 13: Tales of Macabre with the blog tour and a Facebook event, Anyone can grab a digital copy of The 13: Tales of Illusory for $.99 during the month of October. It will return to its normal price of $2.99 November 1.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote my first story, a 4th grade assignment about a dancing peanut, as a child. It was read aloud to the class and fostered my interest in writing. In 6th grade, my writing was again a feature in class, and I won a writing competition. I entered the school writing competition every year after that, and piles of unfinished books collected on my desk. In 9th grade, I made it to the state competition level and won 4th place. By the time adulthood arrived, I had started dabbling in poetry and songwriting. Most of my 20s involved pencilling down a poem or a song. It wasn’t until 2010 when I had the idea to start a blog and joined in some writing groups that my passion for writing was reignited. I haven’t looked back since.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Since I became serious about it in 2010, I would say that would be when I called myself a writer. I come from the school of thought that all it takes to be a writer is to write.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
NaNoWriMo. My first year out of the gate, I wrote a 54K fantasy novel.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title has changed many times over the past 8 years. It started as “A Most Unlikely Hero,” then became “Master of the Relics,” and has finally settled on “Destiny United,” as the first book in a trilogy out of the Destiny Defined book series.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I am a pantser through and through. I also write a lot of short fiction. The art of brevity I have learned makes it challenging at times to write longer pieces because I feel like I am just adding words or filler to make it longer. I am reteaching myself to let the story breathe. It can always be cut down later.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The 13: Tales of Macabre aren’t based on anything real or any experiences I had, except maybe ideas in my head. I’m quite imaginative and “what if” is always a question on my mind. I can’t help it that it’s almost always a dark answer.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No. I am doing a little travel to market the books though.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
For Til Death Do Us Part, my brother took my concept and painted it then sent me a picture of the painting. I added the title and my name. For The 13: Tales of Illusory, I did it all—inside and out. Most of the anthologies covers were done by the publishing company. I did the covers for Ambrosia and Tales from Our Write Side. I hired a designer, Grady Earls, to do the rest of the covers for The 13 series. He did the cover for The 13: Tales of Macabre. For my fantasy series, I hired May Dawney for the entire 7 book set.
Why would I hire a designer if I am a designer myself? It’s really hard to write 2 series and do your own covers too. Besides I really enjoy seeing my visions come to life under someone else’s hands,
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
No. I don’t intentionally put morals into my stories. For the horror, I hope to creep them out a bit, and for my fantasies, I want to take them to someplace new, an escape from the real world for a moment.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Andy Peloquin. e He has a couple of dark fantasy series that really jive with me. I particularly like his Thief series.
Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I have more than 1 favorite. Stephen King, James Patterson, and Cornelia Funke, along with Tolkien. They all inspire my writing. Stephen King awakened the dark side Patterson taught me how to twist it, and both Tolkien and Funke showed me there are no limits to your imagination.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Bannerwing Books. They started out as part of a writing group, The Red Dress Club, then emerged into Write on Edge, who opened a small press, Bannerwing Books. They literally started my writing up again, matched me with an incredible writing partner, and published my first book. They are still incredibly supportive of my writing today.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. I don’t expect to ever make a six figure income from it (though I hear its possible, but that’s rare), but it is absolutely a career. I do it full time, whether it’s actually penning new words to a story or getting that story out there and marketing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I’m 120% thrilled with how it looks, what’s in it, and how the marketing is going.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes and no. my biggest hurdle right now is learning marketing. Going out there and doing it myself is proving powerful. I can’t say “I don’t know anything about marketing” anymore.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
For Til Death, I could see Tom Hardy as Drew/Doug. The others are short stories, so there would be a lot of room for different actors and actresses along the lines of Black Mirror and Electric Dreams.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Before you walk away from your WIP, take a moment to set yourself up for the next day. Leave yourself enough of the next scene so you can pick up where you left off without doing a lot of reading.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you. Without you, my stories wouldn’t be alive.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Trelloran Seduction, Deepest Cut, and the Ocean at the End of the Lane.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, but I remember reading a lot of Nancy Drew and Little House growing up.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Everything. Literally. I’m as sappy as they come and find everything funny.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I would love to have a sit down with Stephen King and talk about writing, where he gets his ideas, and how long it takes him to really write something.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Aside from window shopping and tv binging, not really.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
This is Us, Criminal Minds, Chicago Med/Fire/PD, Stuck in the Middle, Last Man Standing, Marlon, The Voice, Law & Order SVU, Ink Master, Property Brothers
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Food: pizza, pasta, ice cream, chips, second breakfasts
Songs: Anyway by Martina McBride, Chasing Cars by Soul Patrol, Dream On by Aerosmith, Cotton Eyed Joe by Rednex, Cake by the Ocean by DNCE
Colors: purple, coral, blue topaz, turquoise, light green, dark pink, black
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Cry. Writing is a part of me. If I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I would wrap up as many of my unfinished works as I can, and then make sure my family knows how to access everything. Then I would go out to dinner with my family and snuggle with my boys.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I don’t know, but I do know I want “I Will Remember You” by Sarah Mclachlan played at my funeral.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I do. I call it “Growing Up Stephanie” and most weeks you’ll find a writing prompt, a recipe, writing advice, and an author or book spotlight. Sometimes you’ll even get a peek into my writing. You can subscribe to the monthly newsletter or the blog right here: https://stephanieayersauthor.com.