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, thanks for having me. My pen name is Crystal North. I’m 31 – still, just! – but I don’t feel a day older than 21. I feel like I just mentally at least stopped aging. Sometimes I have to remind myself that is not the case though.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from the U.K. I live in the Devonshire countryside but not too far from the sea (the best of both worlds). I absolutely love it and I wouldn’t swap it for anywhere else in the UK (although I would love to live abroad). Originally I’m from a big city in the Midlands.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I have a BA Hons degree in English Language and English Literature, and I also have a PGCE in English alongside ten years secondary school teaching experience. I’m married to my sister’s husband’s brother (it’s not as weird as it sounds but I like messing with people!) We have a baby boy who is ten months old, and a fur baby puppy.I’m currently enjoying the last few weeks of my maternity leave before heading back to work as a secondary school English teacher. Writing is very much a huge part of my life, but I have to squeeze it in around all of that other craziness!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I guess my latest news would be that I’m close to publishing my first ever full length novel before the end of the summer! I’m really excited about it. It’s a new adult reverse harem book which is set in an academy. It’s a revenge bully story with a twist and a bit of mystery. It works as a savage standalone piece, but also has a prequel and sequel to it for full closure for those people like me who need a HEA!I’ll be sad when the series is finished, but I already have another two in the pipeline, as well as two co-written pieces that I’m super excited about!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
It sounds cliché but I really have always written. When I was small I used to make up stories and as a teenager I wrote lyrics, stories, poetry and an entire book which I’m relieved to say will never see the light of day because it’s saved on a floppy disk somewhere, never to be recovered. It’s probably all pretty cringe!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Writing is just something I love to do. I did take the plunge and set up my social media etc under my pen name, so I guess I kind of am classing myself as a writer now! It got real when I worked up the courage to get some test readers and their enthusiasm for my story and their dedication to helping ensure this book got published made me think “holy moly, I am a writer!”
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
This particular book? In all honesty, a dream! It happens all the time. I have a very vivid imagination and attention to detail, and I’m one of those rare people who can continue a dream the next night, which is good when I need inspiration for the next scene or whatever. If I have a slow day writing I look forward to going to bed to get a boost! I’m pretty sure that’s weird but I don’t apologise for my crazy.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I just knew. Books and ideas play in my mind like a movie, with blurbs being read in a dramatic voiceover style. They just come to me, so it makes sense that the title, Vengeance, did too. I even know what the prequel and sequel will be called. I almost always start with writing the blurb when I have an idea for a story, it’s not something I’ve ever struggled with.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I don’t think I have a particular style, but I do like detail and description. I think it’s important to paint a picture for readers. I usually write very steamy bdsm erotica, so a challenge was toning it down for this particular book. For me, the biggest challenge is describing kisses. I can write about what happens in the bedroom all day long and not get bored, but I’ll put off describing a simple kiss for days! I recently looked back through my body of short stories for inspiration and discovered that in over 40 pieces, I never once described a kiss! I think I need to do some practical research on this…
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My book is an academy bully RH romance with a massive twist, so it’s not hugely realistic to my life (how I wish I was filthy rich, 18, and had 4 hot guys after me!) aside from the bullying element sadly. That said, I have put a lot of my real life experiences into the book – things like family and Christmas traditions. It’s a nice touch I think. I definitely have the same sass as the main character and also her inability to choose a guy!
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Sadly no, I don’t have to travel – though I wish I did because I love to! I gain inspiration everywhere I go though, so I’m looking to write some more exotically located works in the future based on past experiences. I already have a few in the pipeline and I’m hoping that an upcoming holiday in Europe may provide further inspiration.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I’m so glad you asked! I absolutely adore my cover for Vengeance, which was designed by another Author who has become a good friend of mine, Jaye Cox. At this very moment I haven’t shared the cover with anyone, but I’m excited to launch it soon when I have the time to create a real buzz with it!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I don’t think so. I’m pretty open and a firm believer in the idea that ‘love is love’. My book is kind of focused around revenge which causes my main female character to do some crazy things, but the book doesn’t actually have an ultimate message of forgiveness. It’s more “burn everyone to the ground”. At least in this book’anyway, who knows, maybe in the sequel I can come up with something more profound?
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’m a massive fan of Amelia Oliver who is due to release her amazing debut ‘Never Ever’ really soon. I was privileged enough to Beta read for her and I am hooked. I also love C L Stone, but waiting for the next instalments in her series is a beautiful kind of torture for me. That woman knows how to turn her fans into total masochists who always come back for more!
Thanks to the beauty that is social media, a whole world and network has recently opened up to me and I feel like I’m rediscovering a whole genre that had previously become a bit stagnant for me. There are some great works out there and I love most that you never read the same thing twice, there’s so much variety!
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My family and friends actually don’t know that I write, so I’ve relied heavily on my online support network. Jaye Cox has been amazing for giving really constructive feedback on my writing, Amelia Oliver has been a godsend with the logistics of getting my work out there, and Jessica Roessler has been my own personal cheerleader and biggest fan. Her enthusiasm, and the support of my beta team, is what has driven this book forward and made it a reality.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I absolutely do; it would be a dream come true for me, but I’m under no illusions of the hard work, discipline and dedication it takes to make it a success. Honestly, I think running social media and promotion is a full time job, I’ve no idea where they find the time to write! I admire anyone who has been able to make a full time career out of writing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so. I absolutely love Raven’s story and I think she ends up exactly where she need to be right now. She’s very hardened by the loss of her twin sister, so I think her actions throughout the book are justified. I am looking forward to seeing her soften a littlein the sequel though. Maybe she can work on forgiveness, who knows?
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned heaps about the logistics of getting a story out there. To say it’s a minefield would be an understatement. The community is absolutely amazing and so supportive. I definitely couldn’t have done it without them, especially because I was without the ‘real life’ support from home. A funny thing that I also learnt when looking at using English vs American English is that ‘homely’ literally means opposite things in the two languages. It caused so much debate within my team that I just switched the word to cosy instead! Hopefully there aren’t any more clashes like that.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Oooh that’s a difficult question! My remit when writing my main female lead was that she was unapologetically ruthless and not afraid for anyone to get caught in the crossfire. She doesn’t believe in no collateral damage, won’t apologise for bleeding people, and is prepared to burn everything and everyone to the ground to get what she wants. A total badass basically. I think there are a LOT of amazing, empowering women out there who could fill this role!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Never read a negative review. You can’t be everything to everyone, but if you do you and are your own unapologetic authentic self, you will find your tribe and your followers. What I do isn’t for everyone, but my fans love it, and that’s good enough for me!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for the love, support and encouragement!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I always have a dozen or so books on the go. Reading has taken a back seat to writing at the moment, but I go on holiday next week which is basically going to be a three week reading orgy for me so I have a massive ‘TBR’ list to start working though!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
A couple of years ago my mum bought me copies of my childhood favourite books for Christmas (Old Bear and The Rainbow Fish) and I can’t wait to read them to my son. Throughout every stage of my life books have influenced me and I remember them all – from The Worst Witch all the way through to YA and RH. Harry Potter forever has my heart though.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I absolutely love to laugh, and I’m lucky that my husband and son make me laugh every day. I try to avoid crying because I’m an ugly crier. Full on snot bubbles and blotchy face. But it’s cathartic too, so I just tend to do it in private. To be honest I don’t think you need an excuse to do either; both are good for the soul.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Probably a hundredI could list. I’d like to say something deep and meaningful, but right now the way I’m feeling it would probably just be Chris Hemsworth so that I could jump his bones!
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I really like holistic healing, crystals, reiki, things like that, so I’m often doing something along those lines. I love spending time in nature too, particularly taking photos. When I’m at home and not reading, writing or playing with my son, I’m either crafting or taking the longest baths known to man! My record in three hours with a good book and lots of hot water top ups!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I have eclectic taste but love to binge watch series. I’m loving the newest series of The Handmaids Tale and Big Little Lies, andI also love Criminal Minds, 911, Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon. I enjoy documentaries, conspiracy theories and nature programs too. And I’m not ashamed to admit that my guilty pleasure is Love Island!
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
All the foods, all the colours, all the music! I’m really bad at the ‘favourites’ game. I always say you wouldn’t ask a parent to choose their favourite child, so don’t ask me! Luckily, the RH genre is all about #whychoose so it suits me perfectly!
I do however love chocolate, KFC, thaifood, BBQs and roast dinners. I adore a very rare steak. I love the rainbow and always have, andbecause I believe in colour therapy, I find love of colours ties to moods. Music is very mixed: indie, accoustic, rock, pop, 60s through to modern day. My dad raised me well on music and I’m great at ‘spot the intro’. I love classical music too – I play the flute in my school’s orchestra with the kids. I don’t like RnB, Hip Hop, electro, funk, garage… there seems to be loads of new genres that didn’t used to exist either. I don’t even know what some of them are.I’m showing my age now but I love that 90s/00s indie rock like Blink, Greenday and Jimmy. I’m a massive Newton Faulkner fan &I’ve met him several times, including a cheeky bum pinch and ending up in the paper with him!
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I think you’ve just described my hell. I don’t know how to NOT write. It’s just something I’m always doing. However, if you mean as a job, I would definitely do something to do with holistic healing.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Maybe at the beach, with loved ones, reminiscing, eating great food and leaving plenty of time for cuddles. Then home for really good sex so hubs knows what he’ll be missing!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I don’t really want a headstone. I want my ashes tobe sprinkled on every continent. If I don’t check off every place on my bucket list, I want someone to make sure my ashes go there. If I HADto be buried, I probably wouldn’t care what was written on my headstone, so long as it was grammatically correct!
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Absolutely! On Facebook, youcan friend me, like my author page and even join mygroup which definitely has all the best bits! Just search for The Dark Crystals on Facebook – I look forward to sharing more with you!