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?
(Takes deep breath)
I’m Author/Historian JB Richards, but mostly everyone call me Jeannie. And I am NOT telling you my age, except to say that I’m over 50… And, I have an upcoming birthday the day after Christmas (Wink! Wink!)!
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m a lifelong resident of Manchester, New Hampshire. That’s located in beautiful New England in the United States for all our friends across the Pond!
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m an historian and international multi-award-winning Amazon, Goodreads, and Xlibris author, I hold Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and History.
I’m the founder and driving force behind the Indies Helping Indies Book Review Project (IHIBRP)—which I created and initiated in April 2017 to provide qualifying Indie authors with high-quality book reviews and free promotional services—and the Indieverse Resource Library (IRL)—an online eLibrary for Indie authors and readers who wish to obtain information and guidance on a variety of topics and services. I’m also the founder of the Indie Fabs—a team of authors who are equally dedicated to offering free assistance, guidance, and support to Indie (independent) authors with the aim of building strong bonds of cooperation and fellowship within the Indie community. The Indie Fabs include authors Aliya DalRae, Renee Gauthier, Eva Pasco, Lyra Shanti, Joanne Van Leerdam and myself.
I’ve been a member of the Women Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) and The International Women’s Writing Guild (IWWG) since 2016.
In November 2016, I was nominated for “Top Female Author” by TheAuthorsShow.com. In April 2017, I received a nomination for “Author of the Year” in the Indie Author Books 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards. I’ve been a regular contributor to several Indie news magazine publications including Indie Publishing News and Golden Box Books Magazine.
My fantasy tale, “The Dragon’s Heir”, is included in an award-winning adult fairy tale anthology—penned by my author team, the Indie Fabs—called “Once Upon a Fabulous Time” that was published in December 2017. My multi-award-winning debut novel, “Miriamne the Magdala”—Grand Prize Winner of the 2017 Golden Quill Award—was published in 2015 after more than 20 years of extensive research into the lives and times of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. This reimagining of their lives together provides an intimate, yet provocative and controversial look into a relationship nourished by a rich culture, forged by ancient traditions, transformed by an insurmountable love, and threatened by a turbulent and oppressive political landscape. “The First Christmas: A Yeshua and Miri Novel Series Short” was released in December 2017, and my upcoming sequel, “Yeshua the Christ: The Silk Road”, is due for publication soon. I’m currently working on several multi-genre novel series’ including The Dragon’s Heir Series, The Heaven’s Guard Series, a cookbook, a novel about my personal experiences with childhood sexual-abuse, and a number of illustrated children’s books, including “Angela’s Apples”—a holiday-themed generational short about a young girl coming-of-age.
I’ve been a lifelong resident of Manchester, New Hampshire, where I live with my husband, Daniel, my son, Matthew, and my two dogs, Monty and Ayden—who have taken over social media and have their own Facebook and Twitter pages called “Life Of Monty” & @LifeMonty, respectively.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I just completed a huge project that I’ve been working on since the beginning of this year. The Indieverse Resource Library is an online Elibrary that provides free services and resource information for Indie authors and readers to enhance their reading and writing skills. It took me and my Web Team—John Boudreau of Boudreau Design in New York & Matthew Richards, my son and administrator—the better part of 6-months establishing the IRL base on my website, and it was officially launched this summer. We’re so proud to be able to provide this up-to-date data bank to Indie authors and readers throughout the Indieverse.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started keeping a diary and writing down story notes when I was just a kid. I penned my first book, “The Red Roan”, about a young girl acquiring and taming a wild pony (every little girl’s dream, of course, lol) when I was about 8 or 9-years-old. I still have that well-worn conglomeration of note pages, attached with a single Bostitch staple from my first stapler, in my Secret Treasure Box that I keep up in my attic. My husband and son both know that if they touch it, they’re goners!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I wrote “The Red Roan”, of course!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
From the time I was 3-years-old, I kept putting a pony on my Christmas list. When I didn’t get one, I just made one for myself… You know, I always manage to get what I want, lol!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Wow, it’s been a long time since then… But, I remember seeing this movie with John Wayne, and there was this pretty little red pony galloping in the corral… I just had to have him for my own! Christmas present or not, he was mine… Ahem—the pony, not John Wayne!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write what I think… or what I dream. I picture the characters… How they act together… How they speak… What their surroundings look like… And I put it all down on paper. I always read my work aloud after I write the first draft to make sure the paragraphs flow right and the dialogue sounds natural… You can catch a LOT of mistakes that way!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
So far, I’ve published two books on my own: “Miriamne the Magdala” and “The First Christmas”. Both are part of The Yeshua and Miri Novel Series and it took me well over 25-years of extensive ongoing research into 1st-century Roman and Middle East history to write Miriamne and continue the series. All the historical references in both books are based on that research and I pride myself, as an historian, on knowing my subject. Aside from a degree in History, I also hold a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, giving me a rare insight into a character’s personality and motivation. The only character based on someone I know, is Haggah the Head Cook for Miriamne’s family. Her general personality is based on my maternal grandmother, Irene.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I wish I could travel! Unfortunately, I suffered a spinal injury in 1996 that left me quite homebound and unable to travel at all. Mostly, I depend on my research, Google maps, atlases, and colleagues around the world to share their perspectives of the world around them.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I always choose the cover art for my books myself, and sometimes it takes months to find the right cover image for my novels. “Miriame the Magdala” started off having a Renaissance photo as the original image for the cover, but my son, Matt, recommended a painting he saw in one of my college art textbooks. It was perfect! Miriamne’s cover is an actual painting by French impressionist painter Pierre August Renoir that I fell in love with the moment I saw it.
I found “The First Christmas” cover online after my good friend and Indie Fab teammate, Aliya DalRae, recommended a stock photo site. After searching the site for about a month or so, I found the perfect representation of the Nativity, along with the image for my upcoming novel, “Yeshua the Christ: The Silk Road”.
Another great friend and Indie Fab teammate, Renee Gauthier (RM Design), designs all my book covers. I’m always amazed at how she can take my ideas and turn them into reality. Renee’s graphic design skills are astonishing, and the book covers she puts together turn out even better than I could possibly have imagined. In fact, she can effectively translate what’s in my head and make it a reality. I can’t think of anyone else who would be better suited to handle all my design needs!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In both Miriamne and “The First Christmas”, the message is simple… We have to follow our own dreams in order to fulfill our destinies.
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?
Oh, my goodness… That’s a question that really can’t be answered because I have such a diverse and vested interest in all kinds of writing, from Fantasy to standard textbooks, and everything in between! But, I can tell you this… Since I started my Indies Helping Indies Book Review Project, serving Indie authors in need of reviews, I’ve noticed that they—as a whole—are moving closer and closer to the high-quality reads released by traditional authors who are sponsored by the big publishing houses. Over the past 2 years, I’ve personally read and reviewed more than 200 Indie books as part of my IHIBRP program, and I’m so impressed with the amount of talent we have in our own Indie community! You can find all my IHIBRP 5-Star Recommended Read Award Winners and read my reviews on my website to find all my favorites!
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I owe a lot to my lifelong friends, who are mentioned in the Acknowledgements of “Miriamne the Magdala”. I’ll list them in alphabetical order here—Christianne Ackerson, PhD., Jan Chapman, Annie Gosselin, Arleen Gosselin, and Marie Thibeault. Aside from my brother, John, my husband, Dan, and most of all, my son, Matthew, these 5 women were my cheerleaders and contributed much to my taking the major step to publish Miriamne.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Huh?! I thought that was already a clear, “YES!”
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
That would be “The First Christmas: A Yeshua and Miri Novel Series Short”… I definitely would use more care in editing. You see, I was in a bit of a hurry last year to get the novelette out in time for Christmas and I botched the name of one of the main characters. Fortunately, I’m in the process of getting the proper edits completed before I publish in paperback form.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
With a lot of help from my Indie Fab teammate, Renee Gauthier, I actually self-published “The First Christmas” on Kindle Direct Publishing for the first time without relying on someone else to handle that part of the publishing process. Prior to that, I had used a self-publishing company to release “Miriamne the Magdala” and was more than disappointed with the results—not to mention, it cost me dearly. Once Renee walked me through all the steps, we celebrated the fact that I never, ever had to rely on anyone else to publish my books for me again—It was so liberating! (Thanks, Renee!)
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
That question is so funny because the Fabs and I had this conversation not so long ago! The actors may be a little too old for the parts now, but we had chosen Cole Sprouse to play Yeshua and Chloe Grace Moretz for Miriamne. They aren’t at all ethnically accurate, but it was so much fun to picture these two actors in those parts!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Yes… Never, EVER let anyone tell you that you can’t write!
And, read all your work aloud—you’d be surprised what you find when you read your own work.
Oh… And, get rid of those sticky notes! Keep your ideas on your iPhone or android. If you think about it, your phone is always with you, so who needs paper and ink anymore?!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for loving Miriamne and Yeshua so very much! It thrills me to know that these two characters connected with you on such a personal level, and that the vision I have of them has inspired so many of you to reconnect with the Divine!
My books are not about religion… They’re simply a vehicle to teach you to accept yourself, and to inspire you to become everything that you were meant to be.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I constantly have my nose glued to the books submitted to my Indies Helping Indies Book Review Project, and currently, I’m reading “The Alien Diaries” by Glenn Devlin—an amazing read that seamlessly blends Sci-Fi, fantasy, futuristic technology, US history, and a billionaire’s plans. Watch for my review to appear on the IHIBRP section of my website soon.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Aside from those classic Golden Books I loved as a kid, my dad used to deliver a new volume of the Golden Book Encyclopedia every Friday evening when he arrived home from work. I would eat, breathe, and live that volume from cover to cover, over and over again, all week long, until Dad would take home the next issue the following Friday.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
You know those ASPCA ads on TV? Nope… I just can’t watch them—and if I do, I’m done for! I cannot deal with the horrible thoughts running through my mind when I see all those sad puppies and kitties!
As to what makes me laugh… Ask my son how hard I laugh when he can;t find his cellphone! He’s adopted, but I swear, he inherited my brain cells!
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
That’s easy… Yeshua (Jesus). I’ve studied him for my whole life, yet he remains an enigma. I don’t think he is at all the man who the Church portrays—I think he’s much more human, empathetic, and intelligent than that… And, I think he has a great sense of humor!
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Not a lot of people know this, but I have quite the pen and ink collection of my own work. I also enjoy trail-walking with the dogs, cooking, baking, and amateur photography.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Oh, you’re going to be so sorry you asked—The TV in our house provides constant background noise to all our other activities!
Anyway… I’ve got really eclectic tastes in movies and TV. I have Guardians of the Galaxy I & II on my DVR forever, and I even keep the soundtracks in my SUV! I love The Avengers, DC Comics, and any fantasy action adventure. I also enjoy TV programs that are in my genre (History, Religion, Lost Treasures—Oak Island ranks among my Top 10), and I’m usually riveted to Science, Space, and Medical documentaries. I absolutely can’t miss ABC World News Tonight. But, my secret passions right now are This Is Us (OMG!), Pose on FX (It’s absolutely THE best!), Ghost Adventures, The Dead Files (my favorite of the “ghost shows”), and Kindred Spirits. I’ve also been known to stay up late to watch Alaska the Last Frintier, and to see who gets Chopped!
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Seafood—especially Lobstah and Scallops! I’m from New England, remember?
Green & Blue.
I’m a huge Matt Nathanson fan and his early album Some Mad Hope rules! You’ll also find Lady Gaga, Cat Stevens, Journey, Kelly Clarkson, Classical Music, Broadway scores, Indie music, Hip Hop, Rap and a host of other genres on my iPod and in my CD case. Usually, my choice in music reflects my current mood.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d probably go back to Pen & Ink Drawing or Photography again—even with my Myasthenia and neuropathy, I’m the type of person who has to have a creative outlet.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I would be at The Lake with my family and dogs… You can’t beat laughing at Monty and Ayden’s silly antics as they “Zombie Hunt” every duck, squirrel, and chipmunk on the planet!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She Revealed Her Truth… Despite Her Fear!
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
You can subscribe to my Indieverse Newsletter, meet the Indie Fabs, access my Indies Helping Indies Book Review Project (#IHIBRP), the Indieverse Resource Library (#IRL), and keep up with all my writings, special projects, and social media links through my website at
Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/JB-Richards/e/B00XVBM10M/
Twitter at: https://twitter.com/jeanneRichard11
Twitter at: https://twitter.com/YeshuaMiri
Twitter at: https://twitter.com/OnceFab
Pinterest at: https://www.pinterest.com/jeanniebrichard/
Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/author_jb_richards/
Thanks for having me, Fiona—It’s been a rare pleasure!