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?
Hi Fiona. I’m Andra Ashe, and I’m 63
Fiona: Where are you from?
Born and bred in Melbourne, Australia – and still there, for now.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Finished high school a looong time ago, then did two years at what was called ‘business college’ back then. Trained to be a secretary (today known as Personal Assistant). Worked in corporate life and had two children – boy and girl who are now adults and I have twin granddaughters. They don’t live in Melbourne now, so I’m increasing my driving miles and frequent flyer points.
I gave up my ‘day job’ a few years ago and now split my time between writing and flipping houses.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I have two stories in two box sets coming out very shortly.
‘Caught In’ is a hybrid of The Little Mermaid and Selkie folklore, part of the paranormal Twisted Fairytales box set coming out on the 29th October.
‘Mistletoe Kiss’ is a sexy contemporary romance in the ‘Love Under TheMistetoe’ box set coming out for Christmas.
Now that I’ve actually (just) finished those, I’m back to working on ‘A Firm Hand,’ book one in my contemporary erotic romance series about the Bedford Brothers.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
At an early age, pre-teen. I wrote some poems which were read out on a kids’ radio program.As a young teen, I put together a book on cats, information gleaned from the library in those pre-Google days and pictures from magazines and drew some very bad illustrations. I can’t even recall when I started writing fiction, probably once I started reading adult fiction in my early 20s.
As to why I began writing? I have absolutely no idea. It just feels like I’ve always done it. Always enjoyed putting words together. Needed to do it.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Not until I joined my fabulous writers’ group (Melbourne Romance Writers Guild) around 20 years ago. We discussed how we ARE writers, just by the fact that we write and work at our craft. It’s not a title bestowed just on those who are published. If it’s a big part of your life, if you put consistent time into doing it, you are a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The first idea I had for a story is still just an idea (an American Civil war erotic romance). By the time I actually knew anything about writing and actually put fingers to the keyboard I had new ideas. No idea where they came from. I still don’t know where they come from.
My first published storyhad a theme as it was an anthology – The Boys of Summer. I set it in the fabulously remote Cable Beach in Broome, Western Australia. I’d been there and absolutely loved it, so it was the perfect setting for some sexy summer naughtiness.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I wanted to relate the title to the theme and location – Diving In. Broome is famous for its pearls and one protagonist is a pearl diver. The title relates both to pearls and the heroine’s plunge into a sexy new experience.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I guess I must have a style, but I couldn’t put a name to it. I find I adapt my writing/language quite easily to whatever sub-genre I’m working on like historical or paranormal.I figure my style has just evolved over time (and probably continues to).
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
A question writers of erotic romance are asked all the time ! I’ll be honest and admit that yes, I do dip into personal experiences for most of my books. I think it’s hard to keep at least some aspect of yourself from your writing – whether it’s your reality, or your fantasies.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No such luck. Apart from my first story, set in Broome, I’m afraid I’m an ‘armchair traveller’ to research my story locations. Apart from that first story, the locations hasn’t played an important part. It’s just a setting and Google gives me any information I need.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The publisher organised the covers for my published stories, but the gorgeous covers for our Twisted Fairtales stories have all been designed by EmCat Cover Designs.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That love and lust go hand in hand and feed each other to create strength in a relationship.
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?
In my genre of erotic romance, Emanuelle De Maupassant is flawless in the way she paints her characters and their experiences with sensuality and eroticism.
Non-romance, I have every Kay Scarpetta book by Patricia Cornwall. She captured me with her characters in the first book and held me with the way they grew and changed and were ‘real’. One of these books is the only book that has made me cry because I was so invested in the characters.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
The support, motivation and friendship of a group of women who share the same passion for their work and their genre is priceless.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
If a career is something you happily put a large part of your time and mind into, something you constantly work to improve yourself in, then yes. If it’s all that, but also earns you your living, then no. Not yet !
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not with regards to the characters and their story, but I’m an eternal editor and if I still had the manuscript I’d still be tweaking and thinking it can be improved.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That my decision to try ‘pantsing’ was a good one. I did it with my previous novella and wanted to be sure it wasn’t an aberration. I learned to trust myself, that if I have an understanding of my characters, they are totally capable of leading the story.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I don’t find movie stars particularly inspiring, but I do create Pinterest boards for my stories. If I had to cast my new story it would be with a long-haired Chris Hemsworth as the laid back surfer, and French actress Myriem Roussel.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Find your tribe, writers who get it. Get you. Support and motivation are essential in this somewhat solitary life. Also, learn your craft. I find that the writers I know, whose work I admire the most, are those who I know over the years have put in the hard yards in honing their skills. I’m still excited to find ways to improve the way I put my words together.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for letting me share my imagination with you.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
‘Catching Captain Nash’ by the fabulous Anna Campbell. Her writing never fails to inspire me. The way she builds sexual tension is masterful.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I’m not sure if it is precisely the first one, but ‘What Katy Did’ by Susan Coolidge, and then ‘What Katy Did At School’. They set me on a path of then going to second hand shops and buying old (1920s) books about girls at boarding school.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My two year old twin granddaughters make me laugh. Silly memes crack me up.
Animal cruelty makes me cry. And parents who shouldn’t have children.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Stephen King. One of my favourite authors and his book On Writing is fabulous. I’d just like to listen to him talk about his work. His imagination and talent fascinate me.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love photography. I also enjoy (but haven’t done any for too long) sewing, and digital scrapbooking.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m an unashamed tv realty show tragic 😊 I also love bingeing on good drama like Game of Thrones and am a recent convert to The Walking Dead.
I love good Indie and foreign movies. Even though I write romance, I’m not a fan of happy endings in movies. Go figure.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Love love Indian food. Used to love Italian, but now I eat low carb, that’s not an option.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Read. Take photos. Garden (if I had a garden).
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Honestly? In bed with the man I love. Talking. Loving. Just being.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I’m not going to have a headstone. Or a plaque. I’ll be scattered in the wind and my family will have their memories. I don’t feel the need to leave a physical reminder that I was here.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?