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?
Hi my name is Coral McCallum and I turn the big 50 next summer…EEK! I’m not grown up enough to be that age!
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from Gourock on the west coast of Scotland, a small town about 30 miles down the coast from Glasgow.
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
Well, I’m married with two grown up children, who are both at university and I’m the human slave to four spoiled cats. I started to train as a physiotherapist after I left school but, after a year, realised that wasn’t the career path for me (OK I got chucked out because I failed my exams twice!) A few months later, I started work for a high street bank and I’ve been there ever since. Currently I’m a team manager in the bank’s mortgage centre. Family life is busy with everyone coming and going about their daily lives. I really need a clock like Mrs Weasley in Harry Potter to keep track of everyone!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My latest news is that I published my new novel on 6 December. Shattered Hearts is book 4 in my Silver Lake series and has already earned 5*s on Amazon. Happy days!
I also write a weekly blog and an ad hoc music blog. This coming weekend my music blog will be getting some TLC as I’m travelling to Nottingham and Manchester to attend two rock concerts then back to Glasgow for a third on the Tuesday.
My weekly blog will also be seeing the next instalment in my Silently Watching vampire series this week.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Oh, good question! I’ve always written. As a little girl I was always writing stories and plays. As a teenager I wrote what was probably my first book length story as a means to escape from the school bullies. I would find a quiet corner of the school (usually somewhere you weren’t mean to be) to curl up and write in peace during the lunch break. After school, in my late teens, I tried my hand unsuccessfully at writing short stories then marriage and children came along and my writing took a back seat for many years. I started writing poems while I waited on my daughter coming out of her dance class and had a few of them published. Then in 2013, after a period of self-reflection, I decided to try my hand at writing a story. I bought a new notebook and some pens, sat down on my doorstep in the evening sun and began to write. That story grew to become Stronger Within, book 1 in the Silver Lake series. I’ve not stopped since.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably the first time I held the paperback proof of my debut novel Stronger Within in my hands. Seeing my name in print on the cover of a “real” book was surreal. It was a dream come true moment.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I guess the need to achieve something by myself for myself. The central characters had lived in my imagination for many years and that night I sat down in the sun (8 May 2013), the creative planets aligned for me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The titles of each of the books in the Silver Lake series are titles of songs written for the band by my “hero” Jake Power. My standalone rock themed novel Ellen is a spin off from the series. I decided to name it after the central character so that if in future I write further spin offs I have a formula for the name.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Oh, good question! I write from the heart. I aim to create believable characters but I also like slightly flawed characters too. I write all my books, short stories and blogs longhand before I type them up. If I want to experiment with a different style or genre, I’ll use my blog. There’s a whole section of it dedicated to short fiction in varying genres.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I hope all the storylines are realistic and that the characters feel “real”. There are some shared experiences in there but, on the whole, they are entirely fictitious. I did follow the advice given to me many, many years ago by my high school English teacher. He advised me to write about topics I was passionate about and places that I loved. I’m passionate about music and Rehoboth Beach where the Silver Lake series is set is one of my favourite places on earth.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No but I’d love to travel to Rehoboth Beach every time I needed a bit of inspiration. The internet is a wonder tool. I love Google maps and street view and webcams are a Godsend!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did. I had assistance in creating the first cover from a fellow indie author but the photo used is one I took. The others I designed myself with a little hand holding from my “photoshop fairy godmother”. The Celtic dragon was designed for me as a gift from a close friend. I love it to bits!!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not specifically. I try to capture relationships and wanted to portray rock stars as real people with real lives and not just the “guy on stage every night”.
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?
Oh, tough question!!! I loved Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. I also love Holly Martin’s books. As for my long-standing favourites…. oh, that answer varies depending on mood. I love Paolo Coelho and John Irving and Barbara Erskine and Kate Mosse…. oh, I could go on and on…. I guess the common theme in all of these is that they have characters who are a little different or quirky.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I couldn’t name just one as I have five wonderful friends, my Infamous Five, who are my alpha readers. Each of them has motivated and encouraged and supported me in their own unique way. Then there are my two beta readers, my cavalry. Every book needs their seal of approval.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I see it as a dream come true. From a financial perspective I’m a long way away from making it a viable career but I think of it more as pursuing the dream. Who knows, one day my work might land in the right lap at the right time and the dream job becomes the career job. Time will tell.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I can always see bits I’d change. There’s nothing like hitting Submit or Publish for you to see a section you would improve on!
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Every day is a school day. Whether you learn from topics you research or just learn a little more about yourself.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Hmmm…maybe Charlie Hunnam but his eyes are the wrong colour. I guess there are always contact lens!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write, write and write some more. If you feel you’re in a rut or stuck, pause then go and write something entirely different. Believe in yourself.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I’ll share my biggest fear as a writer with you – I am terrified of letting people read what I write. That’s a fear that goes back to childhood. I started my blog as a way of trying to overcome the fear. I challenged myself to write one blog post every week …. five years later I’m still rising to that challenge and have grown a little less scared about hitting Publish.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Harper Maze’s debut novel, Life After. It’s a coming of age LGBT romance that is being sold to raise money for charity. Check it out! Great read.
My To Read list is growing longer and longer……
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I don’t recall the first children’s picture book I read but I do remember reading Alice In Wonderland when I was six. It was an edition that my mum had won as a prize in school and stubborn soul that I am, I read it and proved her wrong.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Just about anything! I cry easily at films, song lyrics and books. I have quite a dark sense of humour.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’ve always had a fascination with the Emperor Caligula. I love I Claudius both as a book and a tv series. In school I studied Latin and wrote my sixth-year dissertation on Caligula. I think dinner with him could be an interesting experience.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Photography is probably the main one. I love taking photos and use largely my own photos in support of my music blogs.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love Game of Thrones and Sons of Anarchy. I’ve also a huge soft spot for The Walton’s
Fiona: Favourite foods, colours, music?
Food would have to be pizza; colour is purple and I love my rock music. My favourite musician is Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge and I actually run two online fan pages in support of him.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Eek!!!! I’d be a photographer.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
At the beach with the people close to my heart.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I’ve never been asked that before! Hmm…. that might require some thought but my first thought is “Life’s better at the beach”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes, and the links are below:
Amazon authors page USA https://www.amazon.com/Coral-McCallum/e/B00VYU1SZ6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Any freebies and competitions or events will be shared via my FB author page. I’m hoping to run a book giveaway before Christmas. Watch this space!
Silver Lake Series:
Stronger Within USA – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M
Impossible Depths USA – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K
Bonded Souls USA- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71
Shattered Hearts USA- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM