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?
My real name is Valeriya, but I prefer to be known under my pen name L. Salt. I was born in mid ’80s.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Belarus and have lived for many years in Ukraine and Russia, then finally settled down in the North of England.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I studied History of World Culture and did my Master’s Degree in Art Expertise at the St. Petersburg University of Culture and Arts. My interest in writing dates back to my teenage years. Apart from creative writing, I have a passion for travelling, arts, history, and foreign languages. I’m a multi-genre author, writing exclusevely for Crazy Ink Publishing.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I have a new double release this summer. Book 1 Off The Ways duology, The Ways We Follow, was published in June and its sequel, Book 2 Angels of Zion, was released in July. Both books are published by my publisher, Crazy Ink Publishing.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started to write at school, at the age of 12-13. I wrote a sci-fi series about time travel and another dimensions. I always liked to tell stories, creating new, fancy worlds.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think when my very first short story The Iced Asylum was shortlisted for the Eyelands International Short Story Award and was published in Stories in Colour anthology in 2016.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book in English was The Ways We Follow, although it hasn’t been published first.
The Ways We Follow is inspired by my life in Russian second largest city—St. Petersburg. Although the story is 100% fictional and its plot set in the future, I want to show how real Russia looks like, destroying all daft clishes associated with this country.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It came to me accidentially, I think it reflects the story line: four best friends are searching for their own ways of life, love, and freedom in the hash reality of totalitarian society.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’m not sure about the style, but in my writing I like to blend several genres, starting from suspence and thriller to history and sci-fi. The most challenging to me is research for my projects as some of them involve lots of scientific data.
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 stories are based on real people and real events. The Ways We Follow and Angels of Zion are based on my own experience living in St. Petersburg. His Personal Reich and Legacy of the Iron Eagle feature many facts and theories from Word War II times. My short story Red Days, White Nights (Royal Scoundrels anthology book 2) features many historical figures and fact about the Romanovs and the October Revolution.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Yes, travel is my second greatest passion after writing. I travel a lot. As a result, my books set all over Europe, from St. Petersburg to Berlin, from the Isle of Skye to the Adreatic coast of Montenegro, from Iceland to Cyprus. I bring ideas for my stories from almost every trip.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My amazing publisher, Crazy Ink Publishing, designes all my covers, graphics, teasers, books’ trailers, etc.
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’ve discovered a new author recently. Andrew Turpin is a thriller/suspense writer from the UK, whose debut novel The Last Nazi has attracted my attention. The author blends World War II historical facts with modern days’ thriller–everything I like in a good book.
As for the second question, it’s difficult to name just a few, because there’re so many of them, starting from classics to modern days’ authors. I put here just a few, who influenced my taste and my writing style.
Albert Camus, Hermann Hesse, Jack London, Jules Verne, Carlos Casteneda, Dan Brown, Philippa Gregory, Mikhail Bulgakov, Henryk Senkevich, Alexandre Dumas, Alexander Belayev, John Le Carre.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My great publisher, Crazy Ink. They’ve given me a chance and published my novella His Personal Reich. I’ve been working with them ever since.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love it to be. Moreover, I believe writing is not a job, it’s a lifestyle.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I wouldn’t change anything. I think Angels of Zion is a good story which connects nicely to its prequel, The Ways We Follow, and finalises the story of Laura Danco and friends.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Oh, it’s such a difficult question. I’d rather name directors I would be honoured to work with: Ridley Scott, David Lynch, Steven Spielberg.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
I know it’s easy to say just “don’t give up”, but my advice is a bit different. Never give up just because somebody provided you with negative feedback. Leave it, if you feel you don’t want to do it anymore, if you don’t have any efforts/ideas to continue your writing, if writing doesn’t bring you joy and satisfaction. If you want to become successful, grow a thick skin. Lots of people will criticise your works (maybe even you personally), but this is just one of the components of success. Learn constantly. Learn from professionals, from fellow writers, from lovers and haters, from your own and somebody else’s mistakes. Never stop learning something new.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you very much for reading this interview. I hope you enjoyed it. If you like thrillers and suspense with some historical references and elemets of sci-fi, if you like a mix of action and stories based on real events, check out my latest releases. I’m sure you’ll find a new read for your TBR pile there.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ve just finished The Last Nazi by Andrew Turpin. I’d reccomend it to all thrillers and WWII history fans.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Not really. Most likely something in Russian.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
A good, clever joke makes me laugh. As for crying, it’s more complicated and depends on my current mood. Sometimes even a tiny, insignigficant thing can make me cry, a long-forgotten memory or something like that… Sometimes even a serious disaster doesn’t bother me much.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Apart from writiting and reading, I’m a passionate traveler. I also enjoy gardening and hiking. I’m a huge history and arts fan.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Another difficult question 😀
I love almost all works of David Lynch and Ridley Scott. I also enjoy old Russian films from the Soviet Union times (especially comedies).
As for TV shows, my recent top favourite is a mini-series Chernobyl. This is the best series American and British TV have ever filmed about USSR. Amazingly filmed, well-researched, exeptionaly played!! I also enjoyed Twin Peaks (both seasons), The Night Manager, The Knightfall, a German series Das Boot, Deutschland ’83 and its sequel, Deutschland ’86. I like to watch documentaries on Discovery or History chanells. They help me a lot with my research and ideas for my works.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Favourite foods: everything Russia, Italian, German, Chineese. I can’t eat anything spicey, though.
Colours: red, purple, violet, navy blue, black.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
My second job’s choice would’ve been art management or art history (or both). I hold a degree in Art-Expertise, so I’d love to work as a curator in a museum or art gallery.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I’d spend it with the most important people in my life: my family, relatives, and best friends.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I don’t really care, I’ll be already dead anyway. Probably, something inspiring.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
You’re all welcome to visit and follow my blog www.saltandnovels.wordpress.com
I’m also active on social media, don’t hesitate to join me there.
Facebook author’s page : https://www.facebook.com
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/608692496170838/
Amazon author’s page USA: https://www.amazon.com/Valeriia-Lapteva/e/B079TTKDHL