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?
Old enough to know better, still too young to care.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in Tallahassee, but am originally from Delray Beach, Florida
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I was born in Philadelphia, the daughter of a farming family. My father thought he could have year-round growing seasons in Florida, so he purchased land in Delray Beach when I was a year old. I lived there until a brief stint in the Air Force took me to California. Previous to the Air Force, I graduated from Florida State University with a B.S.in Secondary Education, which was never used for its intended purpose.
After being introduced to growing roses by my father, I planted my own rose garden and later served as President of the local rose society where I became a bronze medal recipient with the American Rose Society.
I have served in many capacities of the Tallahassee Writers Association including President for 2019 andwill be Presidentof the Florida Authors and Publishers Association for 2020/2021.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
While the first edition of Fixing Boo Boo; A Story of Traumatic Brain Injury won the gold medal for Florida Nonfiction in 2017, the second edition, which was put out in July, went to #1 on Amazon.
I am currently writing a companion book to it, where I tell 25-30 different people’s stories of brain injuries. You’d be amazed at the various ways you can damage your brain, and I hope to make this an interesting enough read to help make people become more aware.
My book of poetry Proverbs of My Seasons; Poetry of Transition took gold medals for both Poetry and Adult Cover Design in the 2019 Florida Authors and Publishers Association Presidents Book Awards.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have been writing since I was about 10. Then, it was mostly poetry, but I also wrote a few shorts stories. My mother kept a little “write in book” which was a cloth bound book with blank pages to write whatever you wanted. She had several of these books where she wrote little ditties in them. so, I guess I came by writing rather naturally.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
A few months after I published Fixing Boo Boo. Ha! The words “Author” and “writer” have always intimidated me somewhat, but when I realized I had more stories I wanted to put down, I understood it was thatdesire which made me a writer, not some lofty multi-million dollar book deal.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
After my brain-injured sister died, I was left with notes and lists that every caregiver must keep in order to prod the medicalcommunity to do the things promised for a loved one, or keep doing things that had been started with them. I kept these things on my computer and a few months after her passing, I was cleaning out my files. Rather than just delete the whole thing, like I was going to do, I started reading through them. I realized that there were a lot of hours invested in the information garnered and thought that maybe someone else might benefit from them. Rather than delete them, I started formulating a timeline of things that occurred and the book was on its way.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
“Boo Boo” was a nickname given to my sister Barbara by my husband because she had so many things that were physically challenging to her. (She didn’t mind it, as she knew it was a term of endearment, not something to embarrass her)
The “fixing” part was due to her having a disintegrating hip joint which was beyond needing repair. In order to get that surgery done, we discovered a long list of things that needed to be “fixed” or otherwise cleared up, in order for her to be considered free from any infection.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Most of what I have written so far has been in the first person–for Fixing Boo Boo, I was the narrator. I doubt I will keep that style as I move past non-fiction and take up my action adventure series again.
First person was not particularly challenging, but I know switching to third person for my other books will be, at least til I get into the groove.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Fixing Boo Boo started out as a memoir of my life as a caregiver to my sister, so it is very realistic. The only thing I added as a creative element was dialog that may or may not have happened to help drive the story.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
With the two books I have published, I have not needed to travel, but with my action-adventure series I probably should. The first one takes place in Mongolia, so that might be a bit of a challenge. I have done extensive research on not only Mongolia but the types of experiences one would expect to encounter there. There is a saying, “Write what you know, or research it until you know it.”
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Babski Creative Studios did both of my covers. While I love what she did for Fixing Boo Boo, she absolutely hit it out of the park for Proverbs of My Seasons.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, that you have no idea how fortunate you are if you DO NOT have a brain injury. There are so many things that can go wrong, and so many viruses that can affect your brain that it absolutely boggles the mind.
The only message in my poetry is enjoy your life. Some don’t have what you do. That and just enjoy the poetry!
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?
I have read some very good books by local friends. One standout is S.R. Staley, who writes a broad variety of books, but his Pirate of Panther Bay series is just fun. And historical.
My favorite writer choice vacillates between Stephen King and Patricia Cornwell. King because he knows how to weave a good tale while being entertaining, and Cornwell because I can’t get enough crime mystery/thrillers.
I also enjoyed the series by father and son Michael & Jeff Shaara, who wrote a trilogy about the Civil War, something I am a bit of a nerd on. Both men put the reader on the battlefields where you could see the misery of the soldiers as they marched, smell the smoke from the muskets, and feel the rain on your face and taste the stale hardtack. I want to experience any book this way.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I would have to say members of the Tallahassee Writers Association. It was through them that I found critique partners who helped make my work so much better.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It is all I am doing at the moment, so I guess it is now my career!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I had that chance with Fixing Boo Boo and made a second edition when I changed publishers. We reedited it and updated the resources section. We also added a small photo section and a few other minute details that I think make it a better book.
Proverbs of My Seasons could always be changed, as that is the nature of poetry – always changing, always moving. But the reason I published it, was to stop me from messing with the poems anymore!
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I am learning daily that there are more brain injured people in the world that anyone would imagine.
I have learned a whole lot in researching for my action-adventure series, the first of which is set in Mongolia, of all places!
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
For me, I think Sigourney Weaver, Emma Thompson or Meryl Streep.
For Barb, Shirley McLean, Judy Denchor Kathy Bates.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
I KNOW you don’t have time to write! MAKE time to do it and you will get there. Pick the best 2 hours that you can stick to, and just do that every day until you can increase the time.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Enjoy the story but take the message seriously.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
James Madison by Lynne Cheney
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Probably Brer Rabbit.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh: A comic who tells things as observations rather than a bunch of one liners.
Cry: Watching disabled people struggle to do simple things that the rest of us take for granted and then the rest of us not taking them seriously. They are doing the best they can with what they are now.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Edgar Allan Poe because he was a very early influence on my writing, especially poetry. And I not only read his short stories, I studied them.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I used to do gardening and will get back to it, but right now, aside from writing, I dabble in sketching and painting. I also like to go out with my husband on our boat.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
TV: Survivor (I really don’t know why); NCIS, College Football, Tennis.
Films: Mostly historical type films, but occasionally an action-adventure with my husband. But he only likes those with lots of explosions and action.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Food: Prime Rib, medium rare; single malt Scotch.
Colors: Anything bright – Royal Blue, Cherry Red, Deep Yellow
Music: Moody Blues, Enya, Anne Murray
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Read! Maybe finally get to the bottom of my “To Be Read” pile!
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I would spend a lot of that time with family and very close friends and reminisce of what we learned together, and then have them write that for others to follow.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Here lies our old friend Pat
who was at one time fat.
But now that she is thin
can no longer seem to grin.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
There are book offers, you can see where I am appearing in festivals, etc, news, and all that!
Amazon authors page USA: https://www.amazon.com/Pat-Stanford/e/B06XHM592X/