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 Jessica. I write under the name J.R. O’Bryant. Pretty much everyone in my life calls me Fyre or Mom. I turned 35 this year. I’m still kind of surprised I survived to 35. My new goal is 60.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from all over, really. I grew up in Central Coast California and then spent the next eight years in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. These days I haunt the Midwest but try to escape to the mountains or ocean at least once a year.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I have three awesome girls in my life who call me mom. My youngest is the only biological one, but the other two are mine in every way that counts to me. I am beyond happily engaged to the love of my life and when we can afford to escape we will be happily married. I am owned by 6 cats varying in age from a year and half to fifteen and they all think they rule the house. We also have a huge red tail boa that chills in the living room and likes to watch movies with us. I read voraciously and there is always music playing somewhere in the house or in the car, I can’t stand not having my music to move through the day. Let’s see… I am self-educated. I can pick up most things up from books and all of MIT’s and the Ivy League School’s curriculum is online for free if you are willing to do all the hard work and reading on your own time. So while I have no official degrees I’ve spent the last twenty years studying anything and everything I can get my hands on. My family and house is an eclectic conglomeration of beliefs and walks of life. We are all pagan as in non-Judeo-Christian, but we all walk different paths. Between us there is a Norse Godi, a Celtic High Priestess, a Native American Medicine Woman/ Shaman, and a Voodoo Necromancer. (The younger spawn is still finding her path and has not decided on one yet…) Let’s just say that my life can sometimes seem like a sarcastic episode of Supernatural or maybe “How the Cauldron Turns meets Twisted Tales of the Odd and Freaky.”
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
So the latest news sadly, is not good news. I am in the process of having several back procedures and surgeries so that I can live with a little less pain, but the ordeal leaves me almost incapable of doing much more than hiding in the dark for weeks at a time. So, what I was hoping to be awesome news, is going to have to wait. I’m revamping my first four books with more content, better edits, new covers, and just overall better stuff coming. I had hoped to re-release all four in time for Halloween, but my health has to come first. Oh, and I dislocated my left shoulder and fractured the socket as well as tearing the muscle so typing has been a one handed adventure. Wish me luck as I try to work through the obstacles and get actual content out to you guys.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I can’t remember when I started, but writing has always been my favorite outlet for all my emotions. Angry, happy, sad, depressed, manic, lost, overjoyed… I write. My outlet became a hobby in high school and I took a hobby and ran with it. Even when I am writing my novels for reader consumption, it’s still a favorite pastime. Putting words on a page always makes me feel like nothing can touch me in the moment and that maybe a piece of me will stick around when the world has changed a hundred times over.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think it was the first pay check that I was able to pay a bill with. I think it was Stephen King who said, “If you write a book, sell that book, and pay a bill with that pay check, then you are a writer.” Mind you I’m paraphrasing, but you get the gist. It didn’t feel like I was a “real” writer until that first real check that actually paid a bill in full. It was an amazing feeling. I have to remind myself that it’s worth it, even when it feels like I’m going nowhere, I know I can pay a bill or two and that means something good is happening.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had the idea for this bad ass female vampire lead who was a little too human in some of her reactions and emotions. But I wanted her to be sex positive and LGBTQIA inclusive and comfortable with all kinds of alternative lifestyles. I wanted a bad ass, but one with brains and a great body, lol. Anyway I started her as a DnD character and she just evolved into this amazing character that needed her own story told. Before Krystianna I had written a couple Erotica novels for the heck of it, but Krys drove me to actually create.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
That was actually pretty easy. I wanted the name of a vampire run winery and something vaguely gothic. I came up with Cold Crypt Cellars as a kind of tongue in cheek title.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I am a total punster when it comes to writing. I have a general idea what may happen in the next book, but I just let the words flow and see what happens as it happens. It means that my first drafts are totally chaotic and sometimes down right gibberish. I think the most challenging part of writing the way I do is that I have a story in mind that I want to tell to my audience, and I often times create characters that want to do what they want on their own sweet schedule and our timelines rarely line up. I know it sounds silly when talking about characters as actual individuals but the method allows me to “step inside” their minds if you will. I’ve found thinking of my characters as separate from myself is both easier and a royal pain in the ass for writing. Easier in the sense that I am able to poke at them and have conversations… a pain in the ass in the sense that they only talk when they want to. Honestly, though, I wouldn’t know how to write any other way.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
That’s kind of hard to answer. A lot of the places that occur in the books are based on real locations and real events, but with a lot of creative license. A lot of the more adult scenes were written after borrowing models to test out positions and scenes to make sure they actually worked in reality and not just the fantasy aspect of my books. Some of my characters’ wardrobes come from clothes a lot of the people I associate with wear. So while none of the characters are based on anyone there are aspects of everyone I’ve ever encountered in each aspect of my books. The books are a conglomeration of all my life experiences and a very vivid imagination.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I would love to say that I “HAVE” to travel for my writing, but truthfully I just like travelling. I almost always do my best writing when I come home from a long road trip. I don’t know it it’s the experience of escaping my “normal” life for something different or just being able to step away for a while that allows me to come back to my work with fresh eyes. I was born to travel, but I also believe that I was born to write and the two combined to allow me to create in better ways.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I worked with Syd of Blackburn Designs. They are amazing and really went out of their way to make sure I had a cover I could fall in love with. I highly recommend them.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think in the background it comes down to sex positivity. And an acceptance of yourself even the darker parts that no one really wants to look at. Also, possibly that just because you feel like the world is ending there is more out there waiting for you to find it.
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?
A few of my latest Indie favorites are the Amazing Katika Schneider and her Afflicted Saga, the Muse herself Kelly Blanchard and her Chronicles of Lorrek, A. Vers and all of their books (they are just nonstop fun), and the wonderful Catherine Banks who always tells a great tale.
As to my favorite writer… WOW… Ummm…. There are so many. My top three right this second would be Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, and Larry Correia. LKH because I’ve been in love with Anita Blake since my early 20’s and her world just continues to thrill me to no end. LKH is very sex positive, her characters have depth and a realism rarely seen. Jim Butcher writes like a man possessed. His creativity is endless and watching his main character, Harry Dresden, change and evolve through the series has taught me so very much about character creation and storytelling in general. And then there is the Monster Hunter International Series by Larry Correia. Mr. Correia’s books are a slow build to nonstop violent action and dark humor. He writes visceral scenes that you can almost feel and smell and taste with characters that make you cheer for the good guys even if they are sometimes the bad guys too.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
It’s not really an entity more a group of amazing people that I call my pack. They are like brothers and sisters to me and they all helped me along the journey and they still do to this day. They are my pack. My chosen family. I wouldn’t have made it this far without them.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
In a word: ABSOLUTELY! But it is also a drive and a passion and hobby and a piece of my soul. It’s part of who I am.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
NOPE. Because each book I write allows me to grow a little bit more and the succession of growth can be seen in my writing. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I changed anything in the past. It’s just that simple.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
OH, Yes…. Mostly I learned about myself and the work I wanted to do and the worlds I wanted to create. But I also learned a lot about my chosen lifestyle and family and what they meant to me.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
WOW! I have never really thought this through. I’m not sure I have come across an actor/actress that I could see doing Krystianna justice. She has some very unique personality quirks and I just don’t know if anyone could portray her the way I see her in my mind’s eye.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Get the words on the page, don’t look back, don’t revise, and remember that art is not about judgement of any kind. When your first draft is done, and you’ve written the last word, step away for a few days, then and only then allow yourself to tweak and revise. But get that first draft down without judgement first and foremost. Believe in yourself, and believe in your story. Someone out there is waiting for your tale to be told.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Hang tight. I promise the next books are coming and they only get more wild. Krystianna evolves, emotional rollercoasters ensue, and you are in for a wild ride.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading several books. I’m reading Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer with my daughter. I am reading MHI: Vendetta with my fiancé. And for my own reading pleasure I am working through the Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs. I’m also beta reading for two amazing authors, but I won’t give away their secrets.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I don’t remember the first book ever…But I do remember one of my first favorites. My grandmother and I read it together. It was “Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher” by Bruce Coville. It’s still one of my favorites and I read it to my kids as well.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laughter is easy… my beloved fiancé, my kids, my granddaughter, my critters, funny movies, good jokes, happiness, little silly things throughout the day. I love to laugh and enjoy the happy chemicals its creates in my brain. Laughter is medicine for the soul. As for crying, it’s not something that happens often. Tears of joy in the moments in life that break through the hardened walls we all have been forced to put up. I cried when my girls were in my arms for the first time. I cried every time I lost someone close to my heart and soul. I’ve cried over the death of many a furry companion. And rarely, I’ve cried in physical pain when the pain was so overwhelming that I feared no escape and no release and my tears of anguish were the only release I could find.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Honestly? I’m not sure. There are so many figures in our history that I would love to sit and talk with for hours just to see their view on the world and the world they came from. But to pick one specific entity from all time, past and present… I just couldn’t narrow it down to one. I have to many questions and too much curiosity.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Too many I fear. Obviously writing and reading are in the top of the list. I also love gaming whether it’s table top, console, or LARP. I prefer violent hack and slash with a good dash of puzzle solving and storytelling. On occasion you can find me with colored pencils, charcoal, sketch book/coloring book all around me and me absorbed in my art. I used to design and create massive fantasy wings and would like to get back into at some distant future point. When my body isn’t broken you can find me in some grassy area sparring with good friends with and without weapons of some kind. I am also obsessed with music and dance. I always have music on if I can get away with. I need my music and dance is just another aspect of spiritual expression as far as I am concerned.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
This is another one that I just have too much to mention. I’ll try to generalize here… Supernatural, Lucifer, Vampire Diaries/Originals, The I-land, Arrow, Flash, Charmed (the original series), Hannibal, Cooking shows in general, Jane the Virgin, Reign, and Once Upon a Time are a few of the shows I watch on a regular basis. As for movies… I’m obsessed with John Wick, I enjoy Marvel and DC alike (though I’m mostly an MCU fan), I enjoy most decent horror films, and Disney will always hold a place in my heart.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Foods: Sushi/ Sashimi in all its amazing variances.
Colors: Vary day to day but the tried and true are: black, red, midnight blue, hunter green, and silver, sometimes royal purple…
Music: I listen to pretty much every genre except uber religious babble. In a single day I can listen to musicals, Gregorian Chant, Heavy Metal, goth-industrial, club mixes, techno, pop, latin, Hispanic, 80’s rock, and Native American Drums….
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I don’t think such a reality is plausible. But sure… I’d probably be designing fantasy wings, painting and drawing, and teaching self defense classes. I would dance every weekend and learn new dances as often as possible so that I could also do choreography for a local theatre group in my spare time.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
That’s too easy. I would spend it in the company of my nearest and dearest and reminisce about all of our adventures until it was time for me to pass. I would make of my last day on earth a time of celebration of the lives that will continue on in my absence.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I would prefer not to have one at all. But if I were to have one against my wishes…
“Never the less she persevered and lived her life to the fullest. She left with no regrets.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
You can find me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorJROBryant
You can find me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JRFyreDancer
You can find me on my Blog: www.JRFyreDancer.wordpress.com
You can find me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/JRFyredancer
Amazon Authors Page USA https://www.amazon.com/J-R-OBryant/e/B01CM3EGDY/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1