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?
My name is Suzie Hindmarsh-Knights,and I’m 64 on the 3rd December.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in the Adelaide Hills in a small town called Balhannah.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I went to school in the UK but left home when I was 17 and traveled to Australia to work on a racehorse property in Victoria. I’d had a passion for horses as most young people do, so for me, working with thoroughbreds was a dream come true.
Years later I met my current husband and life changed from horses to windsurfing, scuba diving, skiing,and travel. My husband Peter has a background in computers and so looks after my website. We never had children but have three Bearded Collies and live amongst koala’s, kangaroos and a variety of bird life.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’ve recently Indy published my Racing Series and should have my fourth book, Second Chance out early next year.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always loved writing but didn’t take it seriously until I was in my late fifties. Something generally pushes you to pursue a dream,and for me, it was a personal crisis. But I didn’t know as much as I thought and spent a few years learning the craft. I struggled alone for awhile and then found a writing group of mainly romance writers. Not long after that, I joined a critique group,and that’s when my education began.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It took me a few years to consider myself a writer. While I was learning the craft, I didn’t feel I had the right to take that title. But when my critique group and my readers started giving me positive feedback, it gave me the confidence to say, yes I’m a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Working in the racing industry. I had a story to tell which grew into a three book series.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The first book was called Reckless Night,and my editor said it sound too racy. So I put my thinking cap on and tried to put together a theme. Racing seemed the obvious way to go for the first part of the title. I then looked at the three books and worked it out from there. The first story is about a women’s dream to win a Melbourne Cup. So book one was born. Racing Dream. The second was all about timing,so that ended up being Racing Time,and the third was a fate story so that one ended up being called Racing Fate. The titles work well.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
It takes a while to develop a writing style. But I think those first three books were written with horses in mind. My style seems to be changing. I’ve written ten books now,and I can see it when I read my early work. I wrote a two-book series about two people who lived in Peru and became involved with the terrorist organization called the Shining Path. Because the first book was set in 1970, it had a certain tone that is entirely different from my current works. The story is a struggle for survival, a parting of the ways and coming back together. It was my first work,and I’ve recently gone back to it and done a massive edit. It is dark and powerful. I hope to get it published one day.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My Racing Series calls on my experience as a young woman working in the industry. I met many colorful characters. Even when I moved away from it,I still rode. I think all writers use personal events to a certain extent when telling story.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I don’t have to travel,but I think it’s a great tool. Book 2 and 3 of my Racing Series moves to the South Australian Outback. I’ve traveled extensively through the Outback and have a feel for the wide open spaces. I think it’s quite hard to write about something that hasn’t touched you in some way. I recently came back from a trip to Peru and was pleased that I’d managed to capture the scenery in my South American series. I did hours of research for those two books but seeing the desert, Sierra’s, Andes and jungle confirmed in my mind I’d got it right.
My current series which starts in Colorado takes my characters to Coober Pedy. I stayed with a friendduring the year who was writing a book about living in an Outback town. She lived in a dugout and introduced me to many local characters. It certainly helps set the scene.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Allison Martin, Book Design. I told her what I saw on the covers,and she came up with thedesign.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My Racing Series hints at trust issues. I didn’t mean to write it that way the characters took over,and it just happened.
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 was a big Dick Francis reader as a young woman. I loved that he used his experience as a jockey to tell story. I love Wilbur Smiths adventure stories especially the African ones. Paullina Simons and her trilogy, A Bronze Horseman, A Bridge to Holy Cross, and Summer Garden had me riveted. I recently read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and George R Martin, Game of Thrones.While in Peru I read Nora Roberts, Chesapeake Series and thoroughly enjoyed them. I’ve read Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series and Fifty Shades trilogy. I’m open to any genre.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My writing friend Linda Brown. Without her support and belief in me, I’m not sure it would have happened.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. I gave up the day job three years ago to take up writing full time. It was the best thing I did. Writing at night after work was exhausting. I now have the best time of the day to create.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My Racing Series is complete, so no. I like them the way they are. Plus you could keep changing things forever. It’s a nice feeling to put them to bed. My South American story I keep messing with as I’m not so sure I’ve totally got it right.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learn from all my books. I love the research element and like to bring in real events if possible.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Gosh. My Racing Series has a different hero and heroine in each book. All the characters go across the three books though,so that’s hard. The men are so different.James in book one is a jockey. A younger version of Jensen Ackles might work. Ian Somerhalder would have made a lovely Alexander from book two and perhaps Sam Heughan for my Scottish hero in book three.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Never give up. Persistence is key. I still hope to get picked up traditionally but will do what I have to do. And if you do decide to go the Indy path get your books edited by a professional.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Trust me to take you on a journey that will keep you turning the pages. My stories tend to be plot driven because that’s what I like to read so they can always expect to get consistency from my books.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Linda Howard, Dream Man
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
A hundred and One Dalmatians
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I’m an emotional person. Emotion, romance, animal stories. I teared up through two of Nora Roberts, Chesapeake Bay Series. She’s excellent at emotion. And everytime I read Paullina Simon’s trilogy, a Bronze Horsman, it breaks my heart. I must have read it three or four times over the years.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Michael Landon. He was my first crush when I watched Bonanza as a kid. Still, watch Bonanza and still love him. He had a big heart. I believe he was ahead of his time.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I have a sports car and am a member of a sporting car club. I love joining the other members on a car run where we head into the country then find a friendly pub for lunch.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Current shows I love are varied. Supernatural, Game of Thrones, Outlander, Walking Dead, the Vikings, the Crown, Poldark, Downtown Abbey and Breaking Bad to name a few.
I recently saw Mission Impossible and loved it. Tom Cruise goes beyond the call of duty to bring realism to his films. I like action, romance, and comedy. I avoid horror movies although I don’t mind reading horror.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love Indian, Thai,and French. I love color. I’m a lover of the Spanish design label Desigual. I’m into classical,and we attend the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra concerts during the year. But I love rock, sixties music, the Moody Blues and anything that stirs my imagination. I love the Outlander music from the shows and Fifty Shades tracks. The only music that doesn’t do it for me is rap.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Crikey, I’m not sure. Probably walk, spend more time in the garden and read. I can’t imagine a world where I can’t write.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I would gather my dogs, husband and closest friends around me and get drunk on French Champagne.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Suzie went to her grave skidding broadside, kicking up her heels, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming… wow what a ride – lol or something like that.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events,and special offers?
Yes, my website is http://www.suziehindmarshknights.com/ . I’m on Facebook, Instagram and occasionally Tweet.