Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Hi, Fiona! It’s great to be here. Thanks so much for having me.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Judith Sterling, and I’m 51.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Eustis, Florida, but now I live in Salem, Massachusetts.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I have a BA in History with a minor in British Studies and an MA in Linguistics. I studied in Florida, Wisconsin, England, Scotland, and Sweden. When I’m not writing and promoting my books, I work at The Witch House, the 17th-century home of Jonathan Corwin, one of the judges in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. My husband works for The House of the Seven Gables, and our identical twin boys attend Salem Academy. We’re a tight-knit family and love spending time together.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I just turned in The Sword Unsheathed, the third book in my Guardians of Erin YA paranormal series, to my editor, and the second book in the series, The Stone Awakened, is up for a RONE Award. (We’ll see what happens!) I’m also about to read through the final galley of Night of the Owl, the fourth book in my medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood, so I’ll have a release date soon.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote my first story when I was three years old and have felt compelled to write ever since. It’s always been a part of me.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Honestly, I always have. Even in elementary school, I believed I’d have multiple books published one day.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wrote my first chapter book in elementary school, but my first published book was a nonfiction title, My Conversations with Angels, written under Judith Marshall and published by Llewellyn Worldwide. It was based on research and personal experience. My first published work of fiction was Flight of the Raven, a medieval romance set in 12th-century northern England—a place and time I adore—which sparked a series I’m still writing now.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My publisher came up with the title for the nonfiction book. For the fiction book, I knew ravens would factor into the story, and the title literally popped into my mind, along with the heroine’s name, Emma. Soon afterward, I learned the Anglo-Saxon word for “ravens” is hremmas, in which “emma” is embedded. Pretty cool!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I guess my style is a balance of elaboration and brevity. If I can communicate something in fewer words, I’ll often do it; when a story is over, it’s over. In my medieval romances, the love scenes are the most challenging. The publisher rates them “spicy,” and there are moments when I can’t BELIEVE what I’ve written!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I blend real moments with fantasy and fiction, and I’ve experienced firsthand many of the paranormal elements in my stories.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I usually don’t travel during the writing process—not that I wouldn’t, given the opportunity—but I’ve spent a lot of time in the British Isles, which really helps me create an authentic sense of place wherever I set my stories.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Two wonderful artists with The Wild Rose Press: RJ Morris and Debbie Taylor.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I write all my books with the intention of telling a story which makes readers happy. But if I had to think of a message, it might be this: the mystical and the mundane are inextricably linked. There’s a lot more magic in the world than many people believe.
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 Donna Simonetta’s A Sweeter Spot (contemporary romance) and really enjoyed it. As for a favorite author, it’s hard to choose, but maybe Elizabeth Peters (a.k.a. Barbara Michaels). Her stories are a blend of mystery, history, and fun, and I love her characters’ intelligence.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
The editor of my two nonfiction books.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope. Not a thing.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned more about life in a medieval convent and wrote some truly cathartic scenes!
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
If any of my books were made into films, I think I’d like talented unknowns with real depth.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
If you’re struggling to get published but truly desire it, NEVER GIVE UP! If you’re already published, don’t let all the promotion and marketing overwhelm you; remember why you started writing in the first place and just do your best.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you so much for your love and support. I hope my books whisk you away from your troubles and enrich your life.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Lord of the Silent by Elizabeth Peters.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I think it was a Little Golden Book: Little Mommy.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My family and I love to laugh while watching episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and movies “riffed” by Rifftrax. Poignant moments in movies make me cry, as do my empathy and intense love for my sons.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
It’s a tie between three strong, fascinating women: Cleopatra, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Elizabeth I of England.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Exploring historic sites and paranormal investigation.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Classic movies, paranormal investigation shows, investigative travel shows like Expedition Unknown, period dramas, and mysteries from many different eras. Sometimes I enjoy watching shows I grew up with, like Charlie’s Angelsand Fantasy Island, or the more recentStar Trek: The Next Generation.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love all kinds of food, from many different cultures, and I’ve never met a potato or chocolate I didn’t like! I adore the colorperiwinkle but also gravitate toward darker shades, like burgundy, brown, and hunter green. As for music, pretty much anything but country.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d continue working at The Witch House and spend more time investigating the paranormal. If money were no object, I’d do A LOT more traveling!
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I’d spend quality time with my family somewhere in the British Isles.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I’d leave that up to my family.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Website – https://judithmarshallauthor.com/
Flight of the Raven
Soul of the Wolf
Shadow of the Swan
The Cauldron Stirred
The Stone Awakened