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?
Hello Everyone. My name is Maureen Thorpe. I will be 77 years old in December. I can’t believe I just wrote that. It seems impossible!
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live with my husband, Jim, in British Columbia, Canada. Our log cabin sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains at the edge of a small mountain town where everyone but me skis and climbs mountains. We have frequent visits from elk, wild turkeys, black bears and coyotes. We escape the mountain winters by staying in Victoria on Vancouver Island
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I was born and grew up in West Yorkshire, an only child. My dad was a coal miner. I went to Castleford Grammar School and then onto nursing at St James’ Hospital in Leeds. I married while in training, unheard of in those days. I was 20 years old. As soon as I graduated, my new husband and I emigrated to Toronto, Canada. I cried all the way over the Atlantic on the Empress of Canada Liner.
We had two children, a girl and boy, all grown up now, of course, with grown up grandchildren. I divorced many years ago and re-married a gentle Canadian; between us, we have 5 kids and 7 grandchildren spread across Canada.
My career remained in nursing and I went to university to upgrade and eventually worked in Public Health. My last job, before I retired was as a community health nurse working on a First Nation Reserve.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I just returned from England on my annual trip, visiting family and doing research on my third book by visiting Hadrian’s Wall and exploring Roman Forts. I also just heard my second book, ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ has been accepted by my publisher and will be released in 2020.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started my first novel when I was 8 years old. The story was about a pit pony who lived in the mines. I was horse-crazy at the time and used to beg my Dad to bring home a pit-pony. Usually, by page 3, I wanted to draw a horse. As my horses never looked remotely like I imagined, I ended my writing attempts.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
About three months after my first book was traditionally published!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I belonged to a Writing Group at the local library. We used to bring in assignments for a critique. Someone commented, after listening to my piece, that I was a ‘storyteller’. A light went on in my head. I awoke one morning and the beginning of the story and main characters were there!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My first book, ‘Tangle of Time’ is about a young woman, Annie, who involuntarily goes back in time and becomes involved in solving crimes in a medieval village in Yorkshire. Although she is actually a midwife, she is also a fledgling witch. She attempts to cast a spell to assist her friend who constantly whines about becoming a writer but can’t write. The spell intensifies and her friend begins to write about Annie’s adventures even though they are centuries apart.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I enjoy history and humour and because this is a series about Annie travelling back to different times in history; my research leads the way and generally dictates the plot. Book one: ‘Tangle of Time’, medieval, traditionally published. Book 2: ‘Sailing to Byzantium, Viking, to be released in May, 2020. Book 3: ‘Eboracum’ (working title), Romano-Britain, in progress. So, lots of research, hard but fascinating.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The stories are imaginary but based on real events in history.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I have done both. With ‘Tangle of Time’ the setting is Yorkshire. Easy-peasy! I did go back and visit places I hadn’t visited previously and made adjustments. ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ begins in York and the action moves eventually to Constantinople. I had already visited Istanbul so that really helped.
As I said earlier, I just returned from exploring Hadrian’s Wall and also visited some Iron-age sites in prep. For my third book, Eboracum.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Myself and my Publisher: Extasis Editions of Victoria and Banff.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I enjoy the idea of a strong and resourceful female protagonist. I also enjoy the concept of magic happening in life. I also wanted to feature the lives of ordinary people, not kings and queens.
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?
Interestingly, I mainly read police procedurals, so Peter Robinson, Val McDermid, Ian Rankin. I used to love Reginald Hill. I adore anything from Kate Atkinson. David Mitchell was a new discovery for me recently but his dystopian novel ‘The Bone Clocks’ scared the daylights out of me. Why I began writing about magic and witches involved in crime is beyond me!
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I live in a small town. Initially we had only one published Author, Elinor Florence. She has been a huge mentor for me.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
At my age, retired, it is a career. Thank goodness though for my pension and my husband or I’d be on the street.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would have a map of Yorkshire in the front and put the glossary also in the front rather than the back. (The glossary is there for non-Yorkshire speakers!)
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I have no idea.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write every day even for a short time. Ensure a professional edit. Learn your craft, don’t just write. Lots of stuff on the internet and good books to help. I love Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ and ‘Your First Page’ by Peter Segin.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Find a mentor or support group. Banish self-doubt.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
‘Your First Page’ . ‘Dead at First Sight’ by Peter James.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
‘Famous Five’ by Enid Blyton is the first I remember.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I can cry at commercials. Dry British humour cracks me up.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
William Shakespeare. I am a Shakespeare nut, going to the Globe Theatre whenever I am England. He lived in such an exciting time. He could keep me entertained for a long time. Mmm, might have my protagonist, Annie, meet up with him down the road.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Writing. Reading about writing. Reading. Gardening. Golf. Developing presentations about my books. Marketing. Selling books. Phew! I attended our summer Farmers and Artist Market every Saturday this year. Learned to be a market vendor, loved it!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
British/BBC drama series. No cinema here so miss all the new movies.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Thai curries. Fish and chips. Pork pies. Cheese. I only get to eat the middle two when in the U.K.
Green and purple (red-violet). My entire wardrobe seems to be red-violet. Must stop, pick another colour.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Read, take long baths.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Contacting my loved ones.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
‘She made a difference’.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
https://maureenthorpe.com/ If they sign up, they will receive my monthly newsletter and blog.
Amazon Authors page USA https://www.amazon.com/Maureen-Thorpe/e/B07RBZQVGS?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1573103170&sr=1-1