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 name is Mark L’estrange, and I am 25…35…45… 55 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Balham (gateway to the south), in London.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am divorced (so technically single), and I live in Kent with my six wonderful fur babies, all of whom are great fans of my work, and encourage me to be creative by constantly jumping on my key pad while I’m working. I have a law degree from the university of Westminster, and work in one of the legal sections for the ministry of justice…Not as boring as it sounds, as I have a marvellous team around me, and no two days ever seem exactly the same.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My next book, a collection of 19 short horror stories for Christmas entitled: ‘Christmas Evil’, is due to be published in September, and my publishers (Creativia/Next Chapter) have struck a deal with a company to create merchandise with the front cover of my book on them. It’s incredibly exciting to see your name on: tee shirts, mugs, posters, blankets, etc. It’s certainly a first for me.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Over the years I’ve had many creative outlets, inc: amateur dramatics, singing, wrestling, etc, and writing is something I have always been keen on since childhood. Back when I was young we didn’t have computer games, or social media, and even the telly only had three channels, so reading became a full-time hobby for most of us. I try to write books in the style of those I used to love reading when I first discovered horror-fiction.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Ha ha, oh you are kind…I still don’t. I am a full-time civil servant and writing is definitely my number one hobby. Much as I would love for it to become my career, I insist on being realistic about the prospect.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first published book ‘Night of the Kraken’ came about from an idea I had once when I was at the seaside looking out over the sea on a stormy day. As the waves crashed against each other I suddenly imagined a huge tentacle rising from the depths, and imagined the beast attached to it, making its way onto the beach to cause carnage and devour innocent (and some not too innocent) locals.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I stole it! No seriously, I did. There have been so many books and films in the horror genre that had ‘Night of the…’ as their title, I wanted to create something of my own to add to the phenomenon.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Horror will always be my true passion, and I include under that umbrella offshoots such as: paranormal, ghost stories, space and post-apocalyptic stories, so all my future writing-I suspect-will fall within one of those areas. As for my style, I like to think it is ‘easy-reading’, switch your brain off and enjoy the ride.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
It’s hard (for me anyway) not to include real-life experiences in my writing, even if it’s a character I base on someone I saw on the train on my way in to work. These days, so many people spend their commute talking (far too loudly) on their mobiles, by the end of the journey you know they’re entire life story, which makes it so easy to create a character around them.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Lord no, it all takes place in my imagination. That is one of the things I love about the horror genre, it taps into the imaginations of both the writer and the reader, and if you allow it, you can be in for one hell of a good ride.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publishers, but I do get to make suggestions and choose from the final drafts.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really. There’s nothing deep and meaningful in my work, it is pure imagination and escapism.
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?
To be honest, I find an awful lot of new horror fiction to be outside the realms of what I consider to be horror. An example would be the twilight stories, not, in my opinion,real horror, even though the subject matter is vampires. So many recent novels are classed as horror, but should be re-categorised as ‘thriller’ or ‘psychological drama’. I prefer the original writers who captured my imagination. The likes of: Guy N. Smith, Richard Laymon, the earlier Stephen King stories, and of course, James Herbert.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My good friend Alisha Ramsey who patiently and painstakingly copies all my chapters on to a computer stick-thingy and keeps them safe in case my computer goes kaput…NB: Note the technical terms I use, I am sooooo advanced.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
More a fantasy, in the respect that it would be my dream job.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’ll tell you after the comments start to flow!!! Personally, I love the idea of horror stories at Christmas, and each one of those in my latest book is set on Christmas eve, and together they cover such areas as: vampires, witches, werewolves, cannibals and various monsters of all descriptions, human, and otherwise, so I hope there’s something in there for everybody who enjoys a creepy tale.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
The one I am working on at the moment has taught me that you can spend an entire week formatting a chapter, and when you finally manage to write it, most of what you intended, needs to be changed.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
The only character(s) I have ever envisioned as far as actors/actresses are concerned, is in my novel ‘Ghost Song’. I imagined Jodie Comer as the wife of the main character, and former x-factor singer Lucy Jones as the ghostly apparition. Well, a man can dream.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Never quit! I was writing short stories and failed attempts at novels for over twenty years before I finally made it into print. Rejection, is part of the process, so accept it with good grace and carry-on.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you all so much for taking the time to read my work, please continue to do so, and comment whenever you feel the urge.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Guy N. Smith’s Tales from the Black Hills, creepy stuff…Lovely.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I think it was called Sebastian the bear, or something similar.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh: Modern Family.
Cry: Les Miserables.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
John Denver. Without a doubtthe greatest singer-songwriter the world has ever produced. I saw him many times in concert, including one in the final year of his life. Such a tragic waste.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Writing, reading, watching whatever I think is good on the box, playing with my fur babies.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Game of Thrones, Modern Family, Superstore, Killing Eve, most Nordic dramas.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Colours: Midnight Blue.
Music: John Denver, classical, easy listening, and I love a good requiem such as Emanuele Cardosa.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Volunteer to look after unwanted dogs and cats.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my fur babies, watching Modern Family, drinking champagne (Moet, naturally).
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Beneath this sod, lies another.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Alas I have no media presence whatsoever. I am a true luddite and believe that all things electrical from televisions to computers and everything in between, should come with a know-it-all 10-year old you can keep in a cupboard and bring out whenever your system is playing up.
Here are the links to my amazon books and the company advertising the accessories for my new book.