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?
I’m Lisa Hofmann, and I write dark fantasy. I’m 43 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from Germany, though I lived in Ireland for several years, which was certainly a time that shaped who I am today.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I was educated in Germany and in Ireland, and I attended university in my home town, Siegen. I worked in several professions after that – as an interpreter, doing direct translations and translating non-fiction, for example. I’ve been a teacher for a number of years now, working with migrant and refugee children.
At home, I’m a mother of three with a houseful of pets and hens, and I write while everyone else is sleeping after our home has gone quiet and I’m alone.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Well, I’ve recently sent off my newest manuscript to my editor, and I’m expecting to hear back from her any day now. It’s the third book of my series, and I’m very excited to see it to publication!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I think I’ve always been writing, ever since I learned how to shape letters and form words. I had some wonderful teachers at school who very much encouraged me, though I only began writing professionally in my late thirties, after discovering independent publishing. I’m a convinced indie, since I can’t adhere to any certain timeframe or contracts where my writing is concerned, and I also like being my own boss in terms of control and decision-making. Not always an easy road to go down, especially with so many awesome writers doing so many great things out there, but I’m doing my own thing.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I first started aimfully writing my first book, Stealing the Light. I loved the whole process or writing and publishing it.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Stealing the Light is the first book of afour bookseries. The idea arose from a piece of music I’d been listening to and was fascinated with at the time. I was talking to a friendabout it, and she encouraged me to pursue the thought.
At the time, it was more of a joke, really, since we were both dabbling in our first writing attempts on a free reading site and playing around with characters from a TV show, discussing how so-and-so would handle a complete disaster like the one I was imagining for my storyline, and what such-and-such a person would do. But then I sat down and started making character charts for original characters and I began outlining. The idea kept growing and getting bigger, and I suddenly found myself completely captivated and unable to stop working on it.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title of my series is derived from Mozart’s Requiem: Dies Irae. The titles of the individual books of the series always have a Light and Darkness theme, and I like playing with that to suit the story.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I think my style is pretty much my own. I don’t try to imitate other writers, but I do read a lot of books by great authors whose work I love and have been reading for decades, so there are always bound to be traces of those authors’ styles somewhere in what I’m doing. But I do think my voice is my own.
I find writing in my particular genre a bit of a challenge since it’s not strictly sword-and-sorcery or epic fantasy, but something that I would consider more “soft fantasy”, for lack of a better term. There is magic, and there are magical creatures, but the story is very much more character-driven than a typical sword-and-sorcery might be. I don’t do formula writing – I don’t write for a market of readers who would expect a storyline to develop a certain way per se. I write for readers who love intense characters and intense story development, rather than expect epic battles with dragon-riders and orcs on every other page of the book. My books have characters who are people of their time in a world parallel to ours, only with the premise that magic is a reality, and not a superstition. There are real people’s conflicts in a medieval setting based on that premise, and there’s good and evil and every shade of gray in between.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I often travel within a certain radius of the area where I live to be able to gauge walking or riding distances, for example, and one of the big towns in my series is based on a large medieval city near my home. Most of my work is set near the place where I live.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Giuseppa Lo Coco from magicalcover.de designed the covers for the series. She’s very talented, pleasant, and easy to work with, and she came up with the images to the words as if she was seeing what I was seeing as I was telling her about it. That’s magical!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’m not a very political person, and I don’t write to lecture or teach, but I do have thoughts on current-interest topics, of course, and those thoughts can and will reflect in my fiction writing. Discrimination of minorities is a central theme in my series, for example. We’ve been faced with the challenge of tackling that particular evilthroughout history. Any form of prejudice and discrimination can trigger certain dynamics in a society, and that’s something we know about in great detail, as it’s already led to enough hardship and suffering. It’s something we’re more conscious of now than maybe a hundred years ago when standards and ethics were different to those we hold high today,and we discuss this quite openly, yet it’s still happening, and we’re still not dealing with it the way we should.
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 have been reading a lot of books by independent authors over the past four or five years, and I have to say there’s a lot of good stuff out there, but I won’t just name one. What really strikes me about many of my fellow indies is the dedication with which they work, dividing their time between family, their jobs, and their writing, and always plodding on, always striving to become better and deliver great books to their readers.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I have several friends who’ve been cheering me on from the first day, and I’m eternally grateful for that. You always have doubts and setbacks, and without those friends, I’d probably be lost.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do – it’s one of two careers that I actively pursue and work very hard at.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I can honestly say I gave it my best and I have the feeling that it’s as good as I can make it. I’m looking forward to getting it out there to my readers.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Patience. I’m not a very patient person, and least of all with myself.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I couldn’t say. It’s a dream for any author, of course, but I have no idea. I don’t think it’s something authors even get to decide if their books are picked up and reworked for the big screen.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
In terms of the craft of writing as such: practice your Art and stay humble. Writing is a craft that you need to hone, working hard to move forward toward as high a level of writing as you can get. Outline what you’re doing (it saves you a lot of time and heartache), and rewrite and revise as often as necessary. I also believe it’s ever so important to work with professionals to make your work shine and stand out. Get in touch with a good editor, even if you’re thinking of having your work agented and traditionally published – polish your manuscript and make it the best you can before you put it in front of an agent or your readers.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for enjoying my books. Tell your friends about them and support indie authors by leaving an honest review, if possible. It’s what keeps us going.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading The Poisoned Pilgrim, a medieval fiction by Oliver Poetzsch. And no, I can’t pronounce the name of the author either, but it’s a third book of a series that’s got me totally hooked. Very well written.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I think my first children’s book was Cinderella. I love that story to this day. My first adult book was Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea – I read that at five, I think, because I was forbidden to touch the books in a particular shelf at my home, and I liked the title. It wasn’t my cup of tea. Not then and not now. I didn’t give up on the adult books, though, and the next in line was Moby Dick. I loved that one.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I love people with a sense of humor. My cats also often make me laugh.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’d love to meet DaVinci, and I’d love to have a chat with Mary Shelley.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love to read, of course, and I love my cats and the hens we keep. My writing takes up any time that’s left after our family activities, but I used to be good at playing the guitar and I sometimes still do. I love going for walks, and I enjoy going to the movies.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Mostly medieval fantasy. I’m watching the last season of Game of Thrones at the moment – who isn’t – but would have wished they’d had some better screenwriting…
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Food: Lasagne with a lovely, cool glass of Lambrusco Bianco. My favorite color is blue. I love rock music, but I’ll listen to anything except rap.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I suppose I’d be turning in my grave if I wasn’t writing…
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I’d spend that time with my family, of course.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I don’t think I want a headstone with an epitaph. I would rather have my ashes scattered somewhere cool, like in the forest near my home, but that’s illegal here, so I’ll have to think of something yet.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I don’t have a blog and I don’t do mailings, but you can follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorlisahofmann, where I post my news once a week, mostly. I also have a website you can visit to stay up to date with my publications and such: https://www.lisahofmann.net
Stealing the Light: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HSD58D0
Into the Dark: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MDNG8GZ
Trading Darkness: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0728N6C5V