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 Alexis Lantgen, and I’m 37 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from the United States, but after that’s it’s a little complicated. I was born in Sitka, Alaska. My mother worked for the US civil service, so we moved all over the country for her job when I was young, and later I moved around quite a bit as well. I’ve lived in Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida, New York, and now I live in Texas.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I actually studied classical music when I was in school! I’m a violin/viola player (mostly viola). I have my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music performance, and another Bachelor’s in Letters.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I recently released my first book, a collection of science fiction short stories called Sapience. Right now I’m editing a collection of fantasy short stories titled “Saints and Curses” as well as writing a new middle grade fantasy novel.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing during my first year as a teacher. I had an extremely difficult group of students, and I found teaching very stressful. To blow off steam and work on something creative, I started writing reader’s theatre plays for my students to read out loud. That evolved into writing my first (as yet unpublished) novel, and I’ve just kept going from there.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think when I finish my novel. It might not be the best book in the world (though my mother liked it), but I was proud that I finished writing a book at all, even if no one wanted to publish it at the time.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was inspired by one of my favourite students, as well as American folklore and mythology. I felt that so many fantasy books featured Tolkien-esque elves and lore, and so few incorporated American folklore or magical myths such as Mayan Gods or Haitian Vodou.
After I had my first child, I found writing novels quite challenging. Writing a novel is like running a marathon–it takes endurance. I was too exhausted for that, so instead I started writing short stories. I love science fiction, so I ended up writing lots of science fiction short stories.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It was tough! The first couple of titles I came up with already had books with similar names. I tried to think about what linked my short stories together, and one common thread was AI or cognition. After trying out different names, I went with Sapience. I like the sound of it, and it seemed to express the short stories well.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I probably do, but I think it’s hard to see your style without an outsider perspective. I think one of the difficulties I have in writing is avoiding abrupt tonal shifts. I sort of like stories that have unexpected or surprising endings, but without foreshadowing an unexpected ending can feel abrupt or unrealistic. It’s strange, because life can be so shocking and so abrupt, but I guess that’s why they say truth is stranger than fiction.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some of it is based on my own experiences or based on people I knew. But in general, especially since so much is science fiction, I just make it up!
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I love to travel and will use any excuse to do so! Nonetheless, I don’t think it’s necessary to travel before I write a book.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My husband, David Farmer. He’s a talented graphics artist who’s been Emmy-nominated three times for his work.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think just perhaps that the small decisions we make can impact our lives as well as future generations.
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 love so many writers! I would say my favorite science fiction writer is Connie Willis, and I loved Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor. I also love nonfiction, and I’ve read several books by Ian Mortimer. My favorite new writer would have to be my brilliant friend, Sarah Mensinga. Her book is called “Currently,” and I’d highly recommend it.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My writing group! I probably wouldn’t have made it without them. We have weekly write-ins, and we’ve done a couple ladies’ writing retreats that have really helped me.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I hope so. I understand that the odds are long, but I certainly want to keep trying and keep writing to make it one.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, but I haven’t had a bad review yet, so many I’ll change my mind about that.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned tons! Each story has a different character, and I had to think about each character’s voice and worldview as I was writing. It was a great exercise!
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Hmmm, I think I’d like Sigourney Weaver to play a role in there somewhere.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Keep going and read as much as you write!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
If you like my book, please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Paper and Fire, from Rachel Caine’s The Great Library Series. It’s an alternate history series where the Great Library of Alexandria was never burned but grew in stature and power until it became corrupt.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, I’ve read so many over the years.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My children’s baby pictures.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’d love to meet Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I’d want to hear him improvise at the keyboard and talk to him about music.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
In addition to writing and playing music, I like to make crafts. My husband and I enjoy Viking re-enactment, so I’ve learned tablet weaving and nalbinding, a type of ancient knit or crochet used by everyone from ancient Egyptians to Vikings and Saxons.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love the Great British Baking Show, as we call it in the U.S.! I love watching all the amazing food they make and how kind and friendly so many of the contestants are. I also like lots of science fiction and fantasy shows.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love Chinese food, especially all kinds of dumplings or dim sum. My favourite colours are purple and sea green, and I love classical music. I also like Renaissance music and plainchant.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Quilting? I like being creative. Could I write music instead of words?
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Snuggling my children and going someplace beautiful to camp.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“To die would be an awfully big adventure.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website: https://www.lunarianpress.com/
Here are my links:
Amazon ebook (UK): https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07N74LCGH
Amazon paperback (UK): https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/173366260X