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?
Hi Fiona, thanks for inviting me. My name is Maggie Cammiss, and if a lady will tell you her age, she’ll tell you anything. Suffice to say, I’m always 30 in my head.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Pontefract, in west Yorkshire. I lived and worked in London for over 30 years, but now I live in a village in Norfolk.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m one of five children. My father was a master signwriter, a talented artist and cartoonist, but I got my love of books and writing from my mother. I trained to be a teacher, but spent all my working life in libraries of different sorts. I’m married, and have no children of my own but I have three wonderful stepsons.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m halfway through writing my third novel, and I’ve recently been pulling together all my short stories with a view to publishing them in an anthology.I hit a bit of a slump a while back and started experimenting with erotic fiction. I really enjoyed writing these short stories, when I got over the initial embarrassment! They’re a bit racy, so if I publish them it’ll be under a pseudonym.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I loved writing short stories and poetry at school and college, though I didn’t take it seriously till I was much older and treated myself to a residential writing course, to find out what all the fuss was about.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After my first novel was published, in 2014, though, even now, I rarely introduce myself as a ‘writer’.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
A lot of my working life was spent in 24-hour television news. It was exciting and hectic and I came away from it with a gift: masses of interesting background material. It seemed a pity to waste it andI set both my published novels in a fictitious newsroom.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It had to be short and pithy, and include the word ‘news’. The second novel had to fulfil the same criteria.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write contemporary fiction for modern women. It took a long time to discover my writing ‘voice’, but once I had, I just had to follow my characters, wherever they took me. They’ve taken me into some situations that have been difficult to write, but that’s all part of the challenge.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I worked hard to make sure the background to the ‘news’ novels was as realistic as possible, without turning the reader off with too much technical talk. I hope I’ve managed to convey how a 24-hour television newsroom operates in the telling of the story. The characters are completely fictitious though I might have ‘borrowed’ the occasional personality trait during their creation.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
So far, I haven’t needed to travel to gather information or experience. My novels are set in England, in familiar territory.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The publisher, to begin with.But the relationship had its ups and downs and we eventually parted company and took my rights back. When Iself-published both titlesI bought stock photographs online and redesigned the covers myself usingCreate Space templates.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I have a lot to say to women my age, which I haven’t covered in the first two books, so the work in progress is a novel that reflects the lives of more mature readers.
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?
My favourite author changes from week to week, but I’ve always admired Stephen King and Kate Atkinson (for different reasons!). William Boyd is another favourite and I’ve recently discovered Lianne Moriarty’s Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My writing group. We meet once a week and the members have been very helpful, giving me honest feedback on the first drafts of both novels. Writing can be a lonely pursuit and the regular input and support from people who understand the process has been a huge benefit.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
No. I’ve had my career; I just enjoy writing for the sake of it. I’m proud to have completed and published two novels, with more on the way, and it would be nice to earn something from them but I’m not holding my breath!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I could do some research and ask old colleagues about how things have moved on in a newsroom, from a technical perspective, but I’m not keen to revisit. In fact, one of the storylines in my second novel, Breaking News, is so current (even though I finished writing it almost three years ago) that I wouldn’t want to change a thing. The WIP gets changed all the time.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Still learning; we never stop, do we? I’ve recently had to do some research about crime and forensics, which has been very interesting.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
What a difficult question! I honestly have no idea, but if the WIP was ever to be filmed, there’ll be a lot of scope for women of a certain age.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t talk about it, just write. If you don’t start, you’ll never know if you can.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Just that I hope they read the books and enjoy them. They’re not deathless prose but there’s a good story to them, told well, I’d like to think.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Just finished Kate Atkinson’s Transcription
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I’m struggling to remember the first one I read independently, rather than had read to me, but I was a precocious reader and I loved all the children’s classics. My mum hated Enid Blyton, but I loved the Famous Five and the Adventure series. I joined the public library quite early onand when I’d finished all the books in the Children’s section, my mum took me downstairs to the Adult Library and picked out some novels for me. John Buchan, Daphne Du Maurier, Agatha Christie, all stand out.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Everything and anything makes me cry these days. It doesn’t have to be particularly sad, or poignant. I joke that I’d cry at the opening of an envelope, and that’s not far from the truth. My husband and I love comedy and we laugh a lot, thankfully at the same things.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’d love to meet Stephen King. He’s a master story-teller, and I’d hope that some of the magic would rub off.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I read an awful lot, sometimes to the detriment of my writing, and I’ve recently started knitting again. Socks, this time.Using four needles. I’m hoping to stave off dementia.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Any drama or mystery with an interesting plot.Lots of crime, UK and American, plus modern historical documentaries and current affairs. Much of my working life was spent in news libraries, and that’s where my interest in social history started.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Hot, salty chips and a glass of lager would be my last meal on earth. I love purples and blues and I have the radio on all the time at home. I can’t name any particular favourite artists but I have a large collection of CDs and vinyl. I haven’t got the hang of Spotify yet…..
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Assuming I could still see, I’d read, read, read. And without the guilt!
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Laughing with my husband.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Too modest to say. I’m not sure I actually want a headstone.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
This is my Amazon Author page
Maggie Cammiss – Author bio
It might be a cliché, but writing about what you know certainly worked for Maggie. Seventeen years spent in the hectic environment of a 24-hour rolling news channel provided her with masses of background material and so far, she has completed two novels set in a television newsroom. Her debut novel, No News is Good News was published by Accent Press in December 2014 and Breaking News by new imprint Octavo Books in August 2016. Recently married to her long-term partner, she was thrilled to be able to put author in the ‘profession’ column of her new marriage certificate. They now live in Norfolk where Maggie can often be found walking on the beach, mulling over subplots for her next novel.
Breaking News – blurb
Television producer Sara Cassidy has her life all mapped out. She loves her job making weekly feature programmes for TV news channel UK24, and is looking forward to furthering her ambitions in the media. She is devastated when her fiancé makes a shattering confession but she hardly has time to come to terms with the betrayal when her closest friend is involved in a freak accident and Sara’s world is turned upside down once again.
As Sara struggles to maintain a professional perspective she finds solace in a new interest and a blossoming romance. But she has to be careful who she trusts in the cut-throat world of television news. Just as she is finding her feet again the career that means so much reveals its murkier side.
When she suddenly finds herself at the other end of the camera lens, Sara discovers that in the struggle for ratings, loyalty is in short supply.
Thanks for inviting me Fiona, great fun.
Reblogged this on Maggie Cammiss and commented:
I’m chatting about my writing journey with Fiona McVie today
Great to find out more about you, Maggie. As a woman of a certain age myself, I look forward to reading your WIP, when it’s available.
Thanks Gilli – it’s been a bit of a struggle lately, as I kept changing my mind (the prerogative of age) but I’m over halfway there now x
Tell me about it! I’m still wading through treacle with my WIP! Getting past halfway must have put some juice your in your engine! I’ve been hovering around 20k of a proposed 100k ts for far far too long. Easier to walk away and do something else! But at last I’ve got past the quarter marker now.
Liz Gauffreau said:
I enjoyed reading your interview! I just checked out your blog and was so impressed by your knitting-saved-the novel post I immediately had to Tweet it! Best wishes for your latest creation!
Thanks Liz, I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Armen Pogharian said:
An entire working career in libraries – now that’s pretty close to a dream career. My daughter would certainly be envious. Best of luck to you.
And so varied, Armen. Public lending libraries, then a news syndication archive, where I pretty much watched history all day. From there I went to a satellite news channel and ran their news library, followed by a stint in the archives of the UK advertising industry. Something for everyone!
Armen Pogharian said:
Now I’m truly jealous.
Like you say – a dream career. And one I never actually planned.