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 Colette McCormick and I am 56 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m originally from Sheffield in South Yorkshire but I now live in County Durham.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I attended Notre Dame High School for Girls and have A levels in Economics, Politics and English. To be honest, none of them have been much use to me but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I have been married for nearly forty years and have two grown up sons. My job is a retail manager in the charity sector which is a job I love. No two days are the same.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My fourth book An Uncomplicated Man is published by Headline on 5th December
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing stories when I was at school. When I was about nine, I wrote a story called The Plaything Princess which I had to read to the class and I knew then that I wanted to write things that anyone could read.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I signed a three-book deal in 2015
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I got the idea for Things I Should Have Said and Done when my husband joked that they didn’t need me. I was away from home an had called to check that everything was alright and that he had fed the kids. ‘We don’t need you,’ he laughed and that started me thinking. What if I never went home?
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I didn’t come up with the title for my first book. I had called it something completely different and when my editor suggested Things I Should Have Said and Done I had no idea where it had come from. Then, I read the book again and realised that it was the perfect title.
My fourth book started out called something else too. I called it Danny Boy and it was advertised as such but a few months ago my (then) publisher decided that the title wasn’t as ‘strong’ as my others and I was asked to come up with something else. An Uncomplicated Man is how Daniel’s wife describes him. I have a tentative plan for a sequel, so maybe the original title will get used afterall.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I like to write in the first person. It allows me to get into the character’s head and tell the story from their point of view.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I try to keep them believable and realistic though so far, nothing has been based on real experience.However, I keep threatening to write a book based on a long-distance friendship that started with letters between two twelve-year old girls and is still going strong forty odd years later
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I’ve not had to travel so far because all of my books have been set in northern England.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That random things can turn our lives up-side down and that there are people out there who use people if they can gain an advantage.
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?
My favourite author of the moment is Michael Connelly. He’s been writing for years but I have only recently discovered him. The greatest tribute I can pay him is that he reminds me of Ed McBain and in my opinion, McBain was the master of writing conversation.
I also love Clare Mackintosh. Once I start one of her books, I struggle to put it down.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Jan Weiss who is an artist form the Bay Area of California. She is my oldest friend and the only one who truly knows what getting books published means to me. She has been with me from the beginning. Without her encouragement, I would have probably given up long ago.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
No. I’d like it to be but realistically I doubt I’ll ever be able to support myself from writing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so. I’m pretty happy with the way that it turned out.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned about interest rates in 1957 and that petrol was rationed during the Suez Crisis.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Have realistic dreams. We can’t all be J K Rowling.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
That I am eternally grateful that they read my book and I hope that they enjoyed it.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ve got two books on the go at the moment. I’m readingThe Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and The Scarecrowby Michael Connelly.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book I can remember reading is The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Anything from the stories of the kids doing The Rickshaw Challenge to the latest John Lewis advert can make me cry. I’ve even been known to cry for no reason at all. It’s harder to make me laugh and I hate being told that something ‘is hilarious.’ If I need a laugh I can always rely on films like The Full Monty and Baby’s Day Out.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I would have loved to have met the doctor that sewed my head back together when I was a child. I was just 6 years-old when I was hit by a car and my head was open from front to back. I was unconscious at the time so I never saw him but my dad said that the doctor had huge hands and he could never understand how he did such a good job with such a small needle. I’d have loved to have seen those hands for myself.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy, gardening, cooking and taking the dog on long walks.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
New Amsterdam and The Good Doctor are my favourite TV shows at the moment. My favourite film is Les Miserables and I watch it at least once a year.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Favourite food? Well, I’m rather partial to Christmas Dinner and if I had to order my final meal that would be it. Colour? Red. Music? That’s a hard one because I don’t listen to a lot but I love the songs of Billy Joel and Steve Earle – they’re poetry.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
My days would be spent baking, reading and walking the dog.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I’d take the dog for a long walk in the morning, spend the afternoon eating lunch and spending time with my husband, son’s and their fiancée’s and then in the evening, I’d watch Les Mis one last time as my husband and I shared a bottle of Chianti. Then I’d top the night off with a large gin and bitter lemon.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
‘She’s actually dead this time.’ I’ve had more than one dice with death.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?