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?
Hello, folks! I’m RJ Blain, and according to my birth certificate, I was born approximately 36 years ago. I’ve been gathering evidence I might actually be an alien dumped on Earth because they knew trouble when they saw it.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Originally, I’m from Maryland (or possibly space…) but moved to Montreal, Canada when I was eighteen. I stayed there for almost two decades before my husband and I packed our bags and headed for California.
Of all the places I’ve lived, California is my favorite.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I have a husband, two cats, and four fish. I don’t hold a college degree; it turns out when you move to a different country as a family member, you can’t attend school for a long, long time, and by the time you can get a work or education permit, that bridge is kinda run down and rickety. So I dove into life head first and regret nothing. Now I’m a full-time author living the dream.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Hmmm. This is a tough one. I have a novel releasing on April 23, which I’m really looking forward to! Hypnos is an urban fantasy/paranormal romance with a hefty amount of humor tossed in. It’s the first book in a twelve-book series.
In other news, my Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) series is getting a new release, too. Burn, Baby, Burn releases on May 14. It’s a direct sequel to the first book in the series, Playing with Fire.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Eh. Good question. I didn’t take it seriously until adulthood, but I scribbled stories in high school or so because I was bored when I ran out of new books to read.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I wrote things? I think anyone can consider themselves a writer if they’re writing. I didn’t consider myself a truly professional author until I qualified to join SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and RWA (Romance Writers of America) as a professional member.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I honestly don’t remember. That was a long, long time ago. It involves magic, so I’m going to guess it was my love fantasy and magic that ultimately drove me into writing. Later, horses and magic. And then horses, magic, shapeshifters, romance, and stuff like that. And humor. A lot of humor—I love laughing and making people laugh.
My first books were dark, however. The humor didn’t come until much later.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Goodness. At the risk of sounding like an idiot, my first book is called The Eye of God, and it’s now only available as part of a large boxed set of reallyyyyy old novels. There’s an artefact called the Eye of God in the book that is a focal point of the plot, so I named the book after the item.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Snappy dialogue and humor are my jam. Humor can be hard. It involves side stepping out of life and finding humor in the oddest of things and then putting that on the page.
It also involves a certain willingness to be offensive, because no one person likes all sense of humor.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Very, very little. I write to help people escape life, and while some references to the real world creep in, I try very hard to avoid specific people. Places are critical in urban fantasy, but I try to catch the feel of a city, not the specifics. I dislike bogging down a book with too many details.
Now, I do use a lot of psychological references to help build characters. Personality types are exceptionally useful when trying to create real characters.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I absolutely love traveling, but I’ve only travelled once as a part of initial book research, and that was to Las Vegas—and my husband and I had already planned a trip to Vegas in the first place. I am going to be using research material I gathered while visiting England in a book, but I don’t travel specifically to write a book. Now, that said, my travels often do find their way into books in some fashion or another.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My covers are designed by Rebecca Frank (of Bewitching Book Covers) and Daqri Bernardo (of Covers by Combs.) I adore working with both ladies, and they have unique strengths, which help make their art so fun and beautiful.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. Writing is my day job, although I work too many days/hours right now. I’d like to get down to 8 hours a day 5 days a week, but right now, I’m at 12-15 hours a day Monday-Friday and another 8-16 hours spread out on the weekends. It’s worth it, but it’s a lot of hard work.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Honestly, the latest book I released was under my contemporary romantic comedy pen name, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m really happy with how that book turned out. It was a great deal of fun to write, and I stepped outside of several boxes and went to town on it.
If I *had* to change something, I would have made it an even longer book than it already is, as I had a few sweet pranks up my sleeve for it that I didn’t get to use. But that’s okay. The book is everything I hoped it to be when I started writing it, so I’m super happy about that. (For the curious, it’s called Shammed, and the pen name is Bernadette Franklin.)
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Right now, I’m working on a book about a search & rescue diver. The amount of research I’ve done on this thing is insane. I’ve watched probably twenty hours of rescue documentaries, I’ve been reading safety protocols about oil tankers and cargo shipping, shipping routes across the world, economic influences of oil shipping, and specifics of search and rescue—and then, once all the research is done, I have to add magic and change all the rules to account for magic!
It’s going to be one interesting ride, and I can’t wait to share that one with the world.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
This is going to be a cliché answer, but… don’t give up. Writing is hard, and you have to do a lot of learning. But never give up, keep learning, and strive to do better each and every book. It never gets easier, but it’s worth doing. Really. It is!
The things worth doing are always hard, but they’re hard because they’re worth doing well.
But try to have fun, too.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m actually between books right now, so nothing. I just finished J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover, and I had a good time with it. It’s the second Black Dagger Brotherhood novel I’ve read, and I’ll probably pick up more in the series. They’re fun. They’re a little more erotic in nature than I prefer, but they’re still fun reads.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes, readers can follow me at a variety of places. https://thesneakykittycritic.com is where my cats talk about books. Right now, they’re on a bit of a break while I’m hard at work on upcoming releases, but they can get pretty chatty sometimes!
I can also be found on facebook here https://www.facebook.com/rjblain.author/
And in my readers’ group The Fantasy Worlds of RJ Blain here https://www.facebook.com/groups/1970054263314922/
The readers’ group is the best place to follow along, as I post unpublished snippets and tidbits there, and we generally try to have a good time!
Burn, Baby, Burn: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NPMRTB7
Amazon author page for the two author mes I’ve mentioned in the interview:
RJ Blain USA : https://www.amazon.com/RJ-Blain/e/B00EA5VH6M
Bernadette Franklin: USA https://www.amazon.com/Bernadette-Franklin/e/B07L7XBJZQ/
Thanks for having me, Fiona!