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 Andi Lawrencovna. And because I know it’s a weird one, it’s pronounced: and-i…just kidding. Lawrencovna (Lawrence – ove – na) is an Americanized pronunciation of the Russian name for “Daughter of Lawrence.”
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born, raised, and live in Cleveland, Ohio!
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie. your education, family life, etc.).
I am currently single, looking for a gentleman who loves books, quiet walks on the beach, midnight thunderstorms, and has can answer questions like: what poison would mimic a heart-attack but be undetectable by medieval coronary sciences?
As to me, well, I have a master’s degree that I worked hard for, and currently don’t use in my day job as a legal office manager. But I’m proud of it anyways!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My latest news: hmm, well, I am working on a weird, mashup retelling of Rumpelstiltskin-Ursula-Maleficent, a three-part series, which I’m hoping to have the first one out by September, fingers crossed.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Oh Gosh, I began writing in…grade school? Maybe…? High school definitely. I had the opportunity to compete in a “Power of the Pen” competition and, well, have recently put down my pen in favour of the keyboard, but haven’t stopped writing since then.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Yes, because I do consider myself a writer…exactly…
No, honestly, it’s a sliding-scale for me. And I think that is very similar for a lot of writers. When we publish that first manuscript, it hits home that: Wow, I’ve done this. And then you get that first bad review, and you think: Wow, maybe I shouldn’t have done this. And then that first STERLING review comes, and you think: Wow! I am AWESOME AT THIS! And then the process starts again. Writing and being a writer is a sliding scale. I’ve been a writer for a long time, I’ve been an “author” with my first publication since 2015.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Boredom. I know, don’t tell anyone, but I did one year of lawschool and was not the biggest fan of civil procedure…so, I started writing about lawyers and their romantically inappropriate work relations, which led to a slew of fantasy publications…don’t ask, but, boredom and a need to escape those drudging classes was what led to my first book.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Well, my first book, published under a different name, has a legal theme, and is about lawyers, so I took a legal title-esque for it. As to my first fantasy, it was a retelling of Cinderella, and it was more about the prince and from his perspective of having to deal with not being the hero, and it just seemed… “Charming.”
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Interesting. Well, currently I write fantasy, leaning towards epic fantasy in shorter novels. Fantasy, for me, has always had a “romantic” tone to it, referring to the language and word choice and really the flow of the story. Writing it has to come from my poetic side, putting away the normal conversations and way I speak in “real life” to find this “almost” medieval tone of voice which, to me, represents my fantastical time-period, while still maintaining the snark and attitude of my characters.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Well, I have definitely fought in epic sword battles a number of times in my real life…Or not, but whatever. No, the character interactions, I hope, are relatable as being possible to have happened. Leaving aside the magic and the myth of the fairy tales themselves, I wanted to make sure that my characters could be considered human, even as they’re elves and dwarves and what-not. As to based on someone I know or real life…not really. I think they’re situations I would want to have, and they’re my imaginary ways of dealing with them, while at the same time I really hope I’m never fighting for my life against a basilisk or a shape-changer.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I wish I did, but no. I’ve been very lucky to have travelled broadly throughout my life so far, so I take a lot of inspiration from those travels, but specifically for my stories, no, I have not had to or done a lot of travelling directly related to them.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Multiple designers, all of whom I ADORE! Currently the designers of the “Shado” series is Julie Nicholls of JMN Art/Covers by Julie. She’s an absolute gem to work with. I also use Linda Boulanger of Tell-Tale Book Covers for a lot of my covers as well and honestly, have not met a bigger sweetheart out there!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not so much a message, really. I’ve always had a thing about fairy tales where they ended happily ever after…when that’s not how reality works. We have to fight to get and keep what we want, and sometimes the battles don’t go in our favours. I write fairy tales that don’t always end happily-ever-after, because life doesn’t. But I end them with, I hope… “hope.” The story always goes on, even as the last page says: “the end.”
The other thing about my stories is that the “princesses” don’t need to be rescued. They’re fighters, or they’re women who learn to stand on their own, or they’re smartasses who aren’t going to take any BS from anyone. Women are strong. I let them be strong in my stories because I hope that it can help encourage “girls” to be strong in real life too.
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?
Okay, I can’t list just one, so, sorry not sorry. Anne Bishop writes beautiful fantasy with characters who will rip into your soul from the very first moment that you’re introduced to them. Her stories are dark and yet beautiful; they’re tragic, but they’re also filled with hope and the hope of what we can do and achieve, even as that darkness has a hold of us. Sara Douglass created a whole world and wove her stories intertwiningly throughout it. From continent to continent, her stories never let you go. They’re just amazing. Jacqueline Carey just writes beautiful prose. I don’t know what it is about her stories, maybe it’s the historical elements to them, the riveting religion she’s created as part of her narrative, that draws you in and never lets you go.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Unknowingly, after I published “Charming,” I reconnected with a college roommate, like two years after the fact. In the course of reconnecting, we started talking about what we were up to, and I mentioned I’d published Charming, and she paused on the phone, took a breath, and then, well, in complete writerly hyperbolic fashion, screamed with glee. She’d read them already, not knowing they were my stories, and fallen in love with them, and knowing that I had had that affect on someone is one of the most powerful things that has uplifted me in the course of my writing career.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do. But I don’t see it as my only career at the moment. I would love it to be, but the literary market is so flooded with books right now, which is an amazing thing, don’t get me wrong, that I know before it can be my full-time career, I have to carve out my little niche in it. So, as I work towards that goal, I have another career as well to help me supplement my writing.
I spoke with a friend, another writer, recently though who said: this is an expensive hobby to have, regarding publishing, printing, going to events, marketing, etc. in the writing world. To me, this is not a “hobby.” There is no Andi without writing. That takes writing beyond just something I do for fun, though because I find writing fun, is why I do it.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
God, I don’t know. My latest book was So Sweet, a Beauty and the Beast revisionist story. It was a hard book to write, and went through a bazillion and one revisions as it was. Would I change anything in it? Probably, but right now I’m 100% satisfied with where it is at, and so am letting it be for the moment.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
The more you stress, the less you write. I kept overthinking things. Which is a normal state of being for me, but that said, it was a matter of getting it written and done, and then fixing, than trying to do it all at once, because in trying to do it all at once, I didn’t get anything done.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Oh boy. See, I’ve never actually thought about it! I think, if I had a choice and could make a request, I’d want unknowns to do it. The stories I write are already filled with preconceptions because of their source material. The beauty of them is that they’re being retold and re-envisioned and I want that to be the driving force behind them. If I named some known actor, you’d already have an idea of who they are and must be in the scope of the story. So that’s why I’d want an unknown to take those roles.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write. It’s stupid, and it’s one of those “duh” comments, but don’t let the hang-ups of editing, publishing, life, get you down or turn you away. If writing is your passion, then write. Don’t write for anyone else. Don’t write with the hope of becoming famous. That’s a different type of writing and a lot of times there are formulas you can follow to meet those goals. If you’re writing because YOU have to write, then just write, and let the rest come later.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you. I don’t know if readers realize how much they mean to writers, but you guys are our world. You share a little piece of our souls with us, because we’re sharing our stories with you. So thank you for that!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The City of Copper (Book 2 of the Daevabad Trilogy) by S. A. Chakraborty. It’s a super interesting series, but I can’t tell you if I like it or not. I’m intrigued by it, and I have to read it to see what is going to happen, but I haven’t decided if I like it or not yet. Usually I can’t decide that until the end.
I just finished The Library at Mount Char…and when I started it, I had NO IDEA what was going on and didn’t think I was going to like it, but by that last chapter…oh my goodness…AWESOME BOOK…but it’s a weird journey to get there, but worth it because of that.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, but I remember the first book I fell in love with and which led me to a love of reading. I know, what a distinction, but it’s true. The first books I read, myself, would more than likely have been for school and…BLAHHHH. Who likes school assigned books!?!? The first book “I” read, was The Rising Force: The Jedi Apprentice Series by Jude Watson…my mom MADE me pick a book at an airport bookstore for the plane ride home from a vacation…and by the time we landed back in Cleveland, I MADE her stop in the bookstore there so I could pick up the second one in the series. I haven’t put books down since!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
People expressing emotion. I mean, most things make me laugh or cry, but what really makes me FEEL are emotions. How we express them, engage in them, deal with them, that’s what makes me laugh and cry.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Mary Shelley. She was a female writer in a time when female writers were just NOT a thing, and not only did she write, but she wrote about subjects that women should never have even thought about! She was awesome. Where did she get her ideas from? What made her start writing? What was her husband like, because Percy Bysshe Shelley was as crazy as her and the two of them together, I just feel like I’d sit there with my mouth open while they argued humanity and religion and politics in the craziest of ways!
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Well, I don’t know that it’s a hobby, but I love arts and crafts. I make a lot of swag for events as an author, so that’s where most of my crafting is centered right now, but I love doing art projects!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Supernatural. The Umbrella Academy. The Borgias. Spartacus. Sherlock. Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It’s a weirdly eclectic wide range of shows. But I usually find one I like, and watch it over and over, because I like having the background noise to work to, and if I know what’s coming, then I don’t need to focus 100% on it all the time.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Chinese (yes, I choose all Chinese food, no specific one). Blue/teal shades. Any music that is centered on vocals and the instruments (singer-songwriter genre).
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I don’t think there would be one. I don’t know who I am without writing. I don’t know that I would want to be anything other than a writer. I do other things, yes, but writing is an integral part of my being, and I would not be me if I no longer wrote. Teaching writing, talking about writing, sharing my love of writing, I guess those are what I would do instead, but I don’t think it would be me if I could no longer write.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I’m going to go to the US Mint and separate out all the money (bills and coins) and form it into a pool to swim in like ScrougeMcDuck. I know, that’s weird, but if I only have 24 hours to live, I’m assuming that I’ve either known this was coming and have already said my goodbyes, or I’m going out with the people I love and we’re all together for it, so let’s do something completely insane, because tomorrow morning it ain’tgonna matter, right?
Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone?
Next Release Available: Revelation.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I do indeed, here’s a whole big ole’ list of where you and readers can get in touch with me to see what’s coming next.
Newsletter Sign Up:http://bit.ly/2S6APeh
Facebook Fan Page: http://bit.ly/2TW4xUQ
Amazon Author Page USA : https://www.amazon.com/Andi-Lawrencovna/e/B0100KXLQY