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?
Susan Old, I’m 66. I was born with the last name of Old (my father was from Cornwall).
Fiona: Where are you from?
Me: Originally California, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) for two years in the Peace Corps, Central rural Illinois for twenty years, and now I live North of Seattle, Washington on the Stillaguamish River.
Fiona:A little about yourself…
Me:Before I published my first book, I was an Addiction Therapist (M.S. in Psychology), Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire, young widow, remarried. We’ve got interesting, loving, adult kids and an amazing grandson. 2X Breast cancer survivor (Please get your yearly mammograms). I volunteer at an Animal Shelter, a Veteran’s museum, and the Unity Museum.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Me: I coded in E.R. this year, my heart stopped four times and now I have a pacemaker (bless the inventor). The week I got home from the hospital I finished my third book, I could not leave my readers hanging not knowing what happened to Miranda and the nocturnal maniacs who have invaded her life. I have a little different perspective now on what I want to focus on.
Also, my book was banned at a Farmers Market in Marysville, WA, because the market was sponsored by a church. They didn’t think it was appropriate. Ha! So, when I sell at fairs and markets I put up a sign that says banned in Marysville, and it helps sales.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing, 25 years ago, about Vampires to give me an outlet for the stress in my life. I could not write about my clients because of confidentiality so I wrote about a world where bright, snarky mortals contend with charming, seductive, aristocratic immortal serial killers. The manuscript of my first book was lost when lightning struck the power line and wiped out everything on my computer. I did not take it as a sign I should stop writing. It was a lesson learned, now I back up everything on the Cloud. It took me years to write the book over again from my notes, but this version is better.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Me: When my late mother-in-law was an author, who wrote books about English history, said she liked my writing.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Me:I wanted to read books with a strong but imperfect female protagonist. Miranda Ortega is made up of all the kick-ass women I’ve known who have taken on the world.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Me: Rare Blood (Book 1 of the Miranda Chronicles) comes from the extremely rare blood type, HH, that vampire’s prefer.About one in a million people in Europe have it, and a slightly higher percentage in Mumbai India. It came from my early musings about why a vampire might be attracted to someone. My heroine, Miranda has HH blood.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Me: I like to write first person. I love writing about vampires. They are fascinating, terrible, powerful, yet somehow still human at their core. I don’t like it when my editor says I’ve written too many words and begin to cut back. Sigh!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Me: Good question! Although I write as an escape, a lot of the difficulties, and even some of the strange rangers in my book are connected to my life. I loosely base the head of the vampire world, The Magus, on some of the psychiatrists I worked with. My main seductive vampire, who is Miranda’s love interest, Baron Tristan Mordecai, was inspired by a client who had a career in films. Women would always stare at him when he walked into a room. Writing about the death of a character I was fond of in the second book brought tears to my eyes as it brought back memories of my late husband’s passing. Miranda persists, gets stronger, and finds her voice through her struggles and challenges during the various phases of her live in all three books.Much like I have.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Me: No, but each book takes place in a place where I’ve resided.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Me: The original cover was taken from a picture drawn by an artist acquaintance of my daughter. In order to have a theme carry through on all three books I had the first cover redone and will reissue it. Karla Bacelis Sosa/Lily(Atelier Droeven) did the cover art for all three. The first cover is Baron Tristan Mordecai on a throne, the second is Miranda sitting on his throne in jeans, in the third Miranda has her foot on a the over throne which is laying on its side.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Me: My world is full of characters from all over the world. Some of my vampires are straight, some are LGBTQ. My book, like my life is better because of diversity. Also don’t be too quick to judge the characters in the books or realpeople in life as good or bad, weak or strong, they may surprise you.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favourite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Me:I like Tori Centanni’s Paranormal romance books about a young witch who doesn’t fit into “witch” society and faces adversity as she works as a private detective.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Me: My dear old friend Annette, who always has my back. We worked a lot of night shifts in a psychiatric hospital together. She helps edit my writing and says things like, “Is this what goes on in your head?”
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Me: It is now that I retired. I admire people who publish while still juggling full-time jobs and family.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Me: Happily, no.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Me: How great it feels when some one come s up and asks if out yetbecause they couldn’t put down the first one. I love telling them it will be published soon. The appreciation of my vampire fans means more to me than I expected.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Me: Aimee Garcia (She is in the TV show LUCIFER)
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Me: Don’t listen to self-doubt. We all have unique stories to tell. Write, write, write. Experiment with genres, you may find you have a talent for writing mysteries, ghost stories, or even political satire.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Me: Give your brain a break from reality get lost in reading/writing books.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished Lord of the Dead by Tom Holland. Lord Byron becomes a vampire in a well-written dark tale. I enjoyed the way he explained why and how Byron was transformed. In my books I have all sorts of people who have become vampires like Tsarina Anastasia, Outlaw Billy the Kid, and Alexander the Great.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Me: Winnie the Pooh
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Me: I love dark humor, like the film ‘What We Do In The Shadows’. There is a lot of dark humor in my writing. Books like, The Little Prince and Schindler’s List make me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Me: Paul Mc Cartney and Ringo Starr. I saw the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl when I was 11, and I still listen to them all the time.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Me: Collecting vampire stuff. My favorite T-shirt has Vampira on it. My favortite mug shows Bela Lugosi as Dracula. A Navajo friend made me a beautiful silver bat necklace.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Me: I loved the ‘Versailles’ series. I’ve enjoyed watching The Good Place. Also ‘Happy’ about the detective who abuses substances and talks to an imaginary unicorn.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I think coffee should count as a food. Coffee completes me. I love every cuisine! Indian, African, Mexican, Thai, Japanese, etc. It’s all amazing.
I like Purple and Red.
It’s only Rock N Roll but I like it! (I saw the Stones a few years ago… still rocking! They inspire me.)
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Me: Continue my volunteer work at the animal shelter and museums, and my garden would look a lot better.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Me: Send Love to all my friends and family.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I’ve already ordered it: “Off to see the Wizard!”
And the head stone is shaped like a book with Rare Blood written on the spine.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Me: My website is https://susanold.com/
My blog is https://susanold.com/blog/ . My first book is currently available on Amazon, the second book Rhapsody In Blood will be published and available soon.
Amazon Authors page USA https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Old/e/B079P92C56/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1