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, My name is Eden Gruger, young at heart middle aged woman (45)
Fiona: Where are you from?
The lovely, scenic and unexpected Essex, England
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie. your education, family life, etc.).
I live in London with 2 cats, 2 dogs, 1 husband and no children. School wasn’t the best days of my life, so I didn’t continue with education then; but went on to do an Open University degree later; which was the best, most challenging, interesting experience. I know that funding opportunities have changed since then, but if you have the chance to study with the OU then take that chance.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I published my first book ‘Down With Frogs’last August, and that has been really well received. It’s a collection of candid, humorous, occasionally tragic short stories about being in, ending, and the aftermath of, the modern romantic relationship; each story is told by a different female narrator. It’s been a busy time getting out there, talking to people and spreading the word about that, whilst trying to writing my second book ‘Laughing at myself’; if I can make my deadline it is due out at the end of this year, so watch this space.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
When I learnt to read and realised that it was someone’s job to make up the stories I have always written, there are stacks of exercise book sin my parents loft that are my childhood stories, and I have folders and folders of work on my current laptop and her predecessor.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I set myself the target of finishing a collection of short stories and making them into a book by August 28th, 2018, before that it was considered my hobby.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Hearing all my friends talking about dating, realizing that finding the right partner – not the one that ticks the boxes you think that you have, but the one who accepts you just as you are, is actually pretty hard for a lot of people.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I wanted a play on words around you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. There was a film some time ago called Down With Love, and that must have been hiding somewhere in my brain, the two got together and Down With Frogs was born. It is a way of saying ‘no more frogs!’ we want to avoid dating anymore rubbish boyfriends.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write in a tidied up version of the way I speak, people who know me who have read the book say it was like having me there reading to them, to which my standardreply is don’t read on the toilet then. It is hard to try and be funny, it is better to be yourself.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some of my characters and stories have grown from the grain of a real person or an experience or are a combination of real characters and truths’. However, my imagination has always carried off on a tangent.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I don’t have to travel for my material, but I do use it for inspiration, and to give myself a break from everyday life to be able to concentrate on writing.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Being the control freak that I am, I did myself using an online template provider. Then a lovely friend who knows about marketing and branding gives them the once over.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Just that we all struggle.
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?
David Sedaris is my inspiration, he can be funny, candid and blunt, but you still feel connected to the people he writes about. He is brutally honest at times, and don’t we all wish we had the confidence?
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I did a 10 week creative course for women called ‘Peaced Together’ (it’s all over the world, so look it up! everyone should do it). Part of the message was to look at who you really are – what is your purpose, and that is what made me realise that writing is the only job I ever really, really, wanted to do.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It is a more like a calling, you might never make any money, its not an easy way to pay the bills, and people can tell you to your face that you are rubbish – which doesn’t happen in most other jobs.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes, I have an issue with discipline and procrastination, the more people that ask me how the next book is coming along the more creative my excuses for not meeting my deadlines have become!
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Lesley Manville is a fabulous actress, she is a chameleon and would be able to play all the lead characters and capture them all.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Don’t wait to get your work out there, starting blogging and getting feedback, work on achievingthe 10,000 writing hours.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Yes, thank you for giving me your time and attention, it is an honour for me to be able to have anyone read my words, let alone pay to read them – I thank you.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I have just finished reading Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – wow, just wow it made me really question myself, and it is a good book that can get you thinking like that.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Growing up in the 1970’s it was the Mr Men, I used to ask my dad to bring me one home every day. Mr Tickle was probably my favourite.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Animal’s being hurt, ill or sad, so no animal rescue programmes. The secret life of the zoo makes me blub on a regular basis, when Gavin the anteater died I was sobbing.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
For purely entertainment purposes Freddie Mercury (from Queen),he was incredibly talented and intelligent. I find his music is energetic, soulful and impossible to ignore. I would listen to him sing and then we would have afternoon tea together with his cats.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
My garden and two allotments – one for fruit and one for salad and vegetables, keep me busy, reading of course, and I have recently learnt to crochet.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Crime thrillers, detectivesshows like Vera Brenda Blethyn is fabulous,
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Indian – Chana Masala, Mushroom rice and Sag Aloo. Favourite coloursblue and green. And I enjoy all music (except heavy, heavy metal)what I listen to is dependent on my mood.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Wow, that’s a horrible thought, I would have a second hand book shop
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Cuddling my husband and dogs, there is no-where I would rather be
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
A wife, an eccentric, a friend, loved and missed.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I sure do, my blog features all my news, current projects, and interviews (just like this one!) https://edengrugerwriter.wordpress.com/ , my publishers page http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/eden_gruger and there is my Facebook page @edengrugerwriter. Currently have a special offer for American readers at https://thirstyauthor.com/book.php?s=1&b=23806