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! My name is V.C. Lancaster, I am 28 🙂
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in Norwich in England, in the bump on the east coast.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Hmm, let’s see… I write full-time. In the past I have worked as a shop assistant, receptionist, and office temp. I have a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies. I’m not married, no kids, no pets, no property, no dependants! It’s nice! I have an older brother. He’s the only one in my family who knows my pen name, and sometimes he uses it to blackmail me into doing what he wants!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I hope to release a new series soon which will be called the Sweetheart Alphas series. The first book is called Killer, that will hopefully be out in May. It’s a break from my usual work, which has been Sci-Fi Romance with heroines falling in love with alien heroes. Killer will be M/M Omegaverse (A/B/O). It’s the story of an omega, Wil, who buys an alpha, Jack, from an illegal underground fighting ring in order to mate him, so he can stage a killing in self-defence of his evil cousin, Dominic. If Jack kills Dominic, Wil can claim he was protecting him, and it will be legal, but Jack doesn’t want to do it!
I am also working on more print books and audiobooks. I recently recorded a test of myself reading from my first book, Ruth’s Bonded, to see if I could narrate my own audiobooks. I haven’t been sent the file yet, but when I am, I shall post it on my social media so my fans can be the judge!
I will soon be setting up an online shop for merchandise based on my books, using art I have commissioned, so watch out for that, and I will also be selling it at the UK Indie Lit Fest in Bradford at the end of July. If anyone is around, come say hi and get a signed book!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Like most professional authors, I have been writing all my life. You have to be passionate about it to make it your career. It was always school projects, then I started posting fanfiction when I was about 14. My first book, Ruth’s Bonded, was my first original work, and I published that in July 2015. I wrote it because I had been reading a lot of Sci-Fi Romance for a while, and I felt like I knew the genre well, what was popular, what the tropes were, and what I personally wanted to see.
My motivation was my office temping job, because I hated it so much! I had just finished a contract, so I took a month off to write the book. I knew I wanted to be a writer, and felt that if I didn’t do something then, that office job would be it for the rest of my life! I self-published on Amazon because it felt comparable to me to publishing fanfiction. It was anonymous, it was free, it was immediate. I didn’t expect it to be successful, it just felt like dipping my toes in the water, now here I am!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I quit my part-time hotel receptionist job to write full-time in April 2018. Before then, I would always say I was a receptionist. After that, I had nothing else to say, I had to own up to being a writer!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
See above re: terrible job! But why did I write the book I did? It would be handy if I had kept a diary of my thought processes. Honestly, I like King Kong, I like Tarzan, I like survivalist romance, cabin romance, language barriers and animalistic heroes and tails. I just poured in everything I myself like, and built a plot to make it work.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I’d noticed that a lot of books in the genre were titled “X’s so-and-so”. Ruth is the heroine, I didn’t think the hero’s name, Gron, would sell as well. So, “Ruth’s Something” but what? Well, Bonding is the mating process in Gron’s culture. So “Ruth’s Bonded”! It also handily reflected the abduction/imprisonment element at the beginning of the story when they are both abducted and forced to share a cell. I tried to capture that on the cover as well, which features a man gripping chains draped over his shoulder.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My writing style is something that I work on and develop with every book, learning more and improving, I hope. Things I have decided are parts of my style – features and not bugs – are stream of consciousness, sentence fragments, and practical thought processes where the hero or heroine will think logically through a problem on the page, considering every angle. I like my dialogue, I hope others do too. I try to make it funny. I have also been forced to admit that a lot of people find my heroines cold or unlikeable for their lack of sentimentality. I write heroines like me, so that was hard to handle at first, but now I’m happy if someone says they loved to hate her, or that she came across as human, relatable, or understandable, if despicable and unsympathetic.
My heroes are often softies, even if I try to make them something else. I just can’t like an “alpha-hole” hero enough to write him! So my guys get described as betas. I don’t really like that classification, that if a guy is nice, he’s not an alpha, but any and all labels help with branding and marketing I guess! If that’s what I’m known for, and that’s what someone is looking for, it works for me that they can find me easily that way.
As for genre, I can only talk about Sci-Fi Romance for now, since Killer isn’t out yet. The Sci-Fi Romance genre is a bit clogged with samey plots and characters. My second series, Office Aliens, are cute, low-stakes office romances with alien heroes. I think they suffer in the genre for not being about big buff space barbarians, but hopefully, anyone who reads them will find them refreshingly novel! There’s nothing else like them at least!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not much if any of my books are realistic. I can’t brag about that. I do little to no research, I like to just use my imagination. I always say my heroines are me though, either one aspect of my personality blown up, or who I wish I was, doing what I wish I could, saying what I wish I could. They often have jobs that I’ve held, or something similar. Ruth was a temp. Maggie answered phones, like a receptionist. Anna was English like me. My heroines aren’t kick-ass Strong Female Characters ™, because I don’t know martial arts, can’t fix things if they break, can’t cook… They’re smart, they take the time to think, and they love hard instead.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Nope! I hate travelling! It gets in the way of my work too, since it takes me away from my laptop. The less travelling the better.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did all the covers for my Ruth & Gron series using Canva.com.
The covers for my Office Aliens series were done by Joe Taylor, a local graphic designer here in Norwich.
The cover for Killer was done by Golden Czermak at @OneFuriousFotog on Twitter. Check him out! He’s really nice and a writer too!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The message is the strongestin my Office Aliens series. The alien heroes in that are all refugees from another planet, so the message is acceptance, welcome, and charity, but also seeing refugees as individuals who can be funny or humourless, sexy or cold, charming or grumpy, with a past and a future – that refugees and immigrants can contribute not only to the workforce, but also to people’s happiness by becoming friends and lovers. They enrich their heroines’ lives in ways they never thought possible as they discover common ground and love. The women might think they know the heroes, but they usually find out that they don’t, and the true inside of the heroes is more wonderful than they could have believed.
In my Ruth & Gron series, the message is more difficult to grasp, but it’s based around the language barrier. The heroes and heroines can never talk to each other, so their love has to be a choice that they make to commit to an alien, knowing they are never going to know exactly what their partner is thinking or feeling. They will never hear “I love you”, so they have to make a leap of faith, and decide whether the other person makes them happy enough that it’s worth it to give up everything. They have to reach a point where they say “Okay, I believe they love me, so I’m going to bank everything on that.” They have to make the commitment to love with absolutely no input or guarantee from the other. I suppose that makes the message about the commitment, selflessness and faith necessary for any relationship to work.
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 don’t know about new authors, but I have a few favourites! I love Skye Warren for her dark, honestly often messed-up romances that really just dive into the reader’s id to give them all the problematic romance they secretly crave. I love Eileen Glass because she writes whatever she wants, however she wants, with no care to what will sell. She’s different, she has balls, she’s inflexible, and I love that. In Historical Romance, Alice Coldbreath’sVaudry Brothers series really impressed me, and Mimi Matthews, and Grace Burrows. The Hating Game by Sally Thorn was the best enemies-to-lovers office romance I ever saw. Amanda Milo is another great Sci-Fi Romance author, as is Marie Dry, and LaurannDohner’sNewSpecies series is a forever favourite.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My best friend has always been in my corner. She’s read more of my books than anyone. She used to read as I wrote and act as a beta-reader.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do! I don’t think I could do anything else now.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would say no. I don’t consider my writing particularly high-stakes. Normally, by the time I publish a book, I hate it and never want to look at it again, but there are things I love in each one, and I know I did them all my way. I write for myself first and foremost, and once a book is done, it’s on to the next one!
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
My last release was The Guy Next Door, book 4 in the Office Aliens series. It was kind of a last minute decision to write that one. It was an idea that took over quickly, so I changed my schedule to fit it in. Normally books have to percolate for months or years before they get written, and this time I learned that that’s best. I don’t think it came out fully-grown.
It was also the first time I ever employed a sensitivity reader, as my hero, Kez, was biracial. Unfortunately, the reader told me that my portrayal was not very good. I made amendments, but some things were structural to the world-building and too established to change at that point. That was certainly a learning experience.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
For my Office Alienheroes it would have to be Doug Jones or Javier Botet in full prosthetic make up, there’s just no two ways about that, given how they look!
For Ruth & Gron…. Is Jason Momoa available? Or Javier Bardem? Benicio del Toro? A younger Ron Perlman?
For Wil and Jack from Killer, I have been trying to think… Wil would need to be someone like TimotheeChalamet, pretty with curly hair. Jack has a black buzzcut, blue eyes, and a lot of muscles, so if you know anyone, send them my way!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t listen to advice.
If you need more than that: If you’re a writer/want to be a writer then it’s already in you. Do what you want to do. Read, write, practice, learn by doing. Don’t let the voices get in your head. There’s too much advice out there from people not qualified to give it, like me.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Not off the top of my head!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m really bad at finding time to read… I’ve got a few unfinished on my Kindle. Last night I started Kiss Me, Daddy by Quinn Ward. Also in the line-up is Maria Vale’s The Last Wolf, Virtual Reality by Kitty Cox and Auryn Hadley, Criminal by Alexis Abbott… In paperback, Fran Dorricott’s After The Eclipse is sitting on my bedside table, waiting for my next train journey.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No? I learned to read off Mr Blue Hat, Mr Brown Hat, etc, which I found out as an adult my mum despised having to listen to me joltingly read them after she had already gone through the process with my brother.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Getting a bit literal here but jokes? Sad things?21 and 22 Jump Street always make me laugh, and I’m usually walking around grinning like a loon as I amuse myself with my own thoughts, usually about Adam Driver.
As for crying, I’m always a sucker for a hero who doesn’t think he’s good enough. I read Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Dogs of War and that made me cry. The author really twisted the knife with that one.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’d love to meet an alien, for obvious reasons. I’d love to meet my child. I’d love to meet a space-faring human person from the post-Earth expansion times.
I’d love to meet Ruby Dixon, the queen of Sci-Fi Romance. She practically invented the genre as it exists on Kindle.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I go to the gym. I like role-playing, but I’m not in a game at the moment.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love Star Wars, particularly the new sequels. I like action movies. I don’t like horror movies, I’m a big wimp.
I like Asian dramas, and Netflix originals. I liked The Punisher, and Star Trek: Discovery, and Final Space. I was seriously into Teen Wolf for years.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Barbecue ribs are my favourite food. I like blue a lot.As for music I like pop, dubstep, trap and EDM, indie, country and folk.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Grow my own vegetables and forage for supplies in this post-apocalyptic dystopia.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Batten down the hatches, call my loved ones, and wait for death. I’m not a last-minute type of person. I wouldn’t try anything ambitious.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
My name. Beyond that, I haven’t thought about it. I’m a bit young for that yet, I hope.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My Amazon author page is USA https://www.amazon.com/V.C.-Lancaster/e/B0121K0OXY?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1554051463&sr=8-1