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 John Wait. I am 65.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I am from the Kansas City area, but currently live in Columbus Georgia
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am happily married to Holly, who is Executive Director of the National Civil War Naval Museum here. I have two grown children, Matthew who is a medical physicist lives in L.A., and Lizzy, a high school special ed science teacher in Richmond, Virginia. I have a Master’s Degree from the University of Kansas. For the past 25 years, I have been a golf course consultant.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My first book, Mortal Musings: Waiting for Dawn, has just been published by Blkdog Publishing and is now on Amazon.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote my first Science Fiction novel in 7th grade as a Coping mechanismin Junior High. I loved writing and took a Science Fiction writing course from James Gunn. But I never could find time to write. I started a “real” SF novel 20 years ago. I completed it earlier this year (Prime Directive: Earth), but it has not yet been published.
I made the commitment to writing when I was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and given only a few months to live. I wanted to document my journey and thoughts. This would ultimately become my first published book, Mortal Musings.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I basically committed myself to being a full-time author and editor in February this year. But I won’t really consider myself a true writer until I have had success in selling my books!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
When I was given a few months to live, I wanted to document my experiences, including my thoughts on dying and what, if anything, comes next. At first, I did this through You Tube videos. When I started to get better, I started putting it into writing.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I was facing the end of my mortality and thinking about its consequences. Thus “Mortal Musings”. The second part, “Waiting for Dawn” refers to the saying, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” So in my darkest moments, I kept waiting for dawn.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I am writing in two completely different genres – memoirs and science fiction. These require completely different styles. So it is challenging switching back and forth.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
As a memoir, it is very realistic as it is an unembellished telling of my experiences. As to my conjectures about God and the afterlife, well I like to think they are realistic. As I discuss in the book, I pride myself in my logic and reasoning ability, which I applied to the metaphysical.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I went back and forth to the hospital for treatment, does that count?
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The publisher, Blkdog Publishing in London. They based it on my preliminary cover, but there is much better.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
For cancer sufferers, Jimmy Valvano’s famous words “don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” For those questioning their faith, inspiration and hopefully a renewal of faith.
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?
This is horrible to admit, but I have not read a lot of new books. It has been difficult to find the time. I used to read at least one book a week, but those days are long gone. I certainly hope to get back to it. I have met a lot of new authors at writer conferences that I am following, especially Dana Ridenour, who has become my wife’s favorite author.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Writer’s conferences. I have been to two. The first was the Southeast Writers Conference, which is very small. But it came at a time I really needed the boost, and really inspired me. The second was the Florida Writers Conference, which was much larger and was extremely helpful.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. I am certainly going to try!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes, not come down with cancer in the first place.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I thought I was a good writer. In my work, I have to produced very long, detailed reports that will reach 100 or more pages, single spaced. I have always been told I was very good in my writing and my ability to communicate complex issues simply. But as I have gone through the process of writing these two books, I realized just how far I had to go. Something that was really brought home when I sent it out to publishers and got my pen handed back to me.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
George Clooney or Tom Hanks
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
- Don’t give up. 2. Be willing to accept criticism, which is extremely hard as it is your baby. But if you really want to get good, you must learn to listen to others. 3. Go to writer’s conferences.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Sure, buy more copies of Mortal Musings.It makes an excellent Christmas gift.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Behind the Mask by Dana Ridenour and Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry. Both authors I met at writer’s conference.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book I remember reading was A Wrinkle in Time. But I know I read a lot of books before that. I was always reading.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Since the cancer, I have become a lot more emotional and just about anything can make me cry –such as sappy commercials. I am known for my sense of humor and I can find humor just about everywhere.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Wow, there are so many. I guess it would depend on the mood I am in or what I was doing. Of course, I would want to meet great historical figures such as Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Da Vinchi, etc.The person I guess I would like to meet the most who is currently living, if I had the chance to sit down and talk with them, would be Tom Hanks. He seems so genuine in an industry where few are.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I used to play golf, but that is harder now.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Movies I like science fiction and comedies. I include the superheroes as sci-fi. TV shows I enjoy are mostly comedies, such as Superstore, The Good Place. We also watch some action/dramas. We are both fond of the new show, Evil. I also like God Friended Me
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Food – Pizza, Steak, Mexican. Colors – blue (KU and UNC blues), and Red (Chiefs). Music – Classic Rock
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Trying to figure out how to get another 24 hours.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
The world’s oldest man.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?