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, all, I’m Julie (aka JF Holland) and I’m now 51-years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live on the border of Manchester and Cheshire in the UK. I still live in the small town where I was born and raised. I’ve lived in my home now for just over 25-years; a house I used to play in as a child as a school friend lived here.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.). I
I’m a mother to six children, 5 boys and 1 girl. My 2 eldest sons have both left home now though, but still come to visit. However, my daughter and my 3 teenage sonsstill at home. As 2 of them are on the autistic spectrum, life is never dull around our house. My background is in customer service and teaching unemployed adults IT, Customer Service and Back-To-Work Skills.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I have a new release due out next month, the 1st in a new series. Each book will be a standalone read and the series is called, ‘When the Ink dries,’ Second Chance Romance for over 40’s. I love romance, but to be honest, there isn’t much around in the genre for us over mid-twenties, early thirties and I’m not a spring chicken myself anymore. The idea came to me about 5 women becoming friends after meeting at an exercise class. As each of them is either divorced or going through a divorce, they named their little club, After the Ink Dries. Each book will follow one of the women’s antics as they search for their Second Chance at love. Blindsided is book 1, and I always try to work the title into the blurb. In Blindsided, an old crush comes on the scene and he’s blindsided by the woman she has become, the more mature and confident woman. Blindsided releases on June 16th.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Reading and writing have always been my escape. If I didn’t have a book in my hand I had a pen writing something for as long as I can remember, I’d rewrite the stories I’d read to my own preference.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I got my first review from someone I didn’t know saying they’d enjoyed my story, that was my defining moment. To be able to come up with something that someone else enjoyed reading was a wonderful feeling. Then, recently, with another book, I had a message from a male reader saying it was as if I’d written his life story due to how well he connected with the male character. That was an awe inspiring moment for me, and very humbling.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve always written in one capacity or another. People watching fascinates me… so, if you ever find me looking at you, I’m not being weird honestly, it’s just that I tend to look at people and try to work out their story. If it’s a couple, I try to figure out what brought them together. As for my first book, just an idea that popped into my head. I passed a building and got to thinking about the people who worked there and their lives in and out of the workplace and The Dennison Property Services Series was born.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Only One came to me as I believe there is always that one person for us, a soulmate if you will, so the title seemed rather apt.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
As I write in the romance genre, I find too many make their characters too perfect or the town or village is somewhere they know or want to go which I find limiting. I don’t like to be specific about areas,my Paranormal is a completely made up place, based loosely on where I live. I think reading should be immersive. You should be able to lose yourself in a story so I try to make my characters relatable and give them flaws like all humans have. Being none specific on area allows the reader to put themselves in the story, to think of it as a building or place they know and they can let their imagination run wild.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I try to add some realism to my characters, as a writer, you will find most of us end up putting more of ourselves into them than we’d like. Writing can be cathartic, if we are going through something painful, we may add in a little of that into our story which can add another layer of realism as we work out our own conflicts. As for specific people, not really, but there may be characteristics or mannerisms we use from others we know. If someone annoys me, I may add them in as a victim but that’s just another writer thing lol
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel?Before or during the process?
I haven’t, but research is a major part of writing… hell, if they ever got hold of my search history, I’d be doing time. If I’m writing shifters, I research animals, the way they move, the noises they make etc., Soldiers, I have to look at age, rank, area, uniform and weaponry. I’ve used wiccan terms and written spells and let’s not forget the research done for the best way to kill someone… yeah, I’d most definitely be doing time. I’d have to travel if I was area specific, but as I’m not, I’m good on that one, although never say never.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I design my own covers, I like the cover to represent what is on the inside. I’ve seen too many covers where there is a blue-eyed blonde on the front only to find the main character has black-hair and brown eyes… very confusing.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There is always a message. I’ve covered life after abuse in This Time, I’ve covered the effects of PTSD on the main character and those around them in others. There is always a fight either psychologically or emotionally with my characters as they find their way to their Happily Ever After. The message is, nothing worth having is easy and that it takes work, either physically or emotionally to get there.
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 recently read a debut book called, Ice Burns by Lucy Alice and thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend. As for my favourite writers, there are so many, but I’d have to say that Lynsay Sands is my absolute favourite. I love how her characters have flaws and that she adds in a bit of snark and humour; which I also try to add into my own. Afterall, we are not perfect, and sometimes, life and circumstances can be damn amusing.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Friends, I have a few friends that had been telling me to write for years. I’d been making up stories since I was little and I was told it was about time I began putting them on paper.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
The simple answer is, yes. Writing is what I love to do, what I’m compelled to do.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I don’t think I would, I write what I see. By this I mean, I don’t just get ideas, I see a screen playing in my head and I write what I see. Each book I write is a movie I’ve watched in my mind, so very little control over what I write.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I always learn something, with this one I’ve learned about the divorce process lol
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Sandra Bullock, she’s about the right age.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
The only advice I could give is to never give up, to just keep writing. To do your research, not just for your books but also for an editor who meshes with you and understands you. To find your own way of doing it and not to worry too much over the small things. Also, you’ll never please everyone, what one person loves about your book, another may hate. Therefore, write what you enjoy and are comfortable writing as it does come across on the page.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Just that I hope they enjoy what I write as it’s not a simple, easy or quick process. That I hope that after reading one of my books they’ve either laughed, cried or screamed, and if I can do that, I’ve done my job.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading a mix of Indie and Traditionally published books. I’m reading Rosie Chapel, a regency duet, shifter romance and also I’ve just gotten Gena Showalters latest Lords of the Underworld, The Darkest Warrior. I’m also about a quarter of the way through Frost Bites, Lucy Alice’s second book.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I think it was Mrs Pepperpot, my gran bought it for my sister (who was 6-years older than me). Also Anne of Green Gables; I was an early reader. I was reading Great Expectations by the time I was 8-years old.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I have a weird sense of humour, I laugh at the strangest things, like someone falling over. As for crying, cruelty and unfairness makes me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Marilyn Monroe, I’d love to get the real story about her life.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I read, I crochet; when my hands allow it. I make my own swag, I enjoy family time, cinema’s with the kids. I used to love walking the dogs, but as I struggle to walk now, that is a no go.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
TV shows, Medium, The New Sabrina and Criminal Minds to name a few. Films, I’m a Marvel and DC Junky, I also love The Predator Films, Commando and also Independence Day.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I struggle with food, partly due to my illness and nausea, but I love bacon on toast and roast dinners. Colours, red, black; and yes it’s a colour. I also like pink and baby blue. My musical tastes are eclectic. I listen to everything from classical to metal.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write.
What would you do? Apart from go mad with all the voices in my head, maybe go into some kind of social work or a therapist, someone who helps people.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my family.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I have a few places, but I’d probably say my newsletter and these other places are update the most often:- Newsletter signup- https://jf-holland-romance-author.us13.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=d75290c9e09826b67b1cdbf5c&id=123411f168
Amazon author page:- Author.to/JFHollandBooks
Draft2digital: – https://books2read.com/author/jf-holland/subscribe/1/64310/
Book Bub:- https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jf-holland