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! I’m Helen Buckley, and I’m 34.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m originally from Hounslow in London, but now I live in Bedfordshire
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m married with a little boy who was born in March 2019. Although I went to one of the worst-performing schools in my area I’m proud to have a degree in journalism and contemporary history, and a masters degree too. I’ve spent my entire professional career working for charities, including almost four years in Honduras, central America.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My debut novel Star in the Shadows has just been published by Austin Macauley. It’s so exciting! Reviews have been brilliant and I am so pleased that people are enjoying something I wrote. I have written my second novel and I am currently working on my third.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have always loved reading and often thought I would be an author, but I only ever wrote poetry and never truly believed I could write a novel. In 2018, after experiencing a few years of infertility, I was feeling really low and I started writing Star in the Shadows as an escape from those feelings. I completed the novel in five months and then got pregnant on our first cycle of IVF!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think when I finished the first novel and started writing my second, In from the cold. Then I realised that I had so many ideas to build on, and writing was what I wanted to do.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I have always been fascinated by behindthescenes of fame and rags to riches stories. Star in the Shadows is about a teen runaway who becomes a popstar and the family that she loved and left behind, so it tackles those themes, with drama, grit and heart.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It was so tough! I really struggled. In the end I wrote down key words from the story and themes, and played around with various combinations, then sent them to a panel of my target readers to get them to vote on which one they liked best. I truly agonised over it though.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’d say my style is light, easy to read, and descriptive. I write in third person, often with several points of view from different characters. I enjoy using flashbacks to reveal hidden secrets and surprise twists. I think the most challenging thing is to create realistic characters to identify with and root for, with understandable motivations and reactions to their circumstances.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The book is very much a story that doesn’t reflect much of my own life. There are pieces of me in there though – names of people I know, nods to drinks I like, and a few Honduran characters reflecting some of the people I met when I lived in Central America. The main character Kiara struggles with anxiety and this is also something I have dealt with, although her traumas aren’t ones I have experienced myself.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Only in my mind! I’d love to go “on location” as part of the research but having a small baby means that’s pretty impossible. Fortunately the internet helps to fill in the gaps if I can’t go somewhere I need to write about.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publisher Austin Macauley
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Lots of people think that fame and fortune can be an antidote to life’s problems, but Star in the Shadows explores how someone can still be haunted by their past even if they have made it to the giddy heights of fame.
There’s also a nod to the Me Too movement in the music industry, and how vulnerable young women can be taken advantage of.
The other important theme is the nature of family, and how love can be more important than blood when it comes to deciding who truly is our family.
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’m really into Maggie O’Farrell at the moment. I love her astute observations about family life and characters.
Nicola May is an author that has really grabbed my interest recently, I’m so impressed by her self-publishing success!
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My best friend Helen has always encouraged me and read drafts. She has been my number one cheerleader from the beginning.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I don’t necessarily see it as an income stream, as it’s so competitive out there, but I do see it as a life -long passion and hopefully something I can make into a career, even if the earnings are low.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’m never satisfied so absolutely yes, I would change things and keep on changing them until someone told me to stop!
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
For Star in the Shadows I did a lot of research around overcoming trauma and addiction, particularly high-functioning alcoholics. I learnt a lot from the research.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Kiara is a character with fiery red hair so it would have to be a young actress that’s a natural red-head with an aptitude for singing. I don’t know any who fit the bill!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Feel the fear and do it anyway. Don’t let fear stop you from taking every opportunity that comes your way.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Just thank you if you decide to read or have read Star in the Shadows. I appreciate you!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Instructions for a heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No I have no idea what it was!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Soppy adverts on TV, anything to do with babies or children or kittens, and the film Titanic – even when the opening music starts I want to weep!
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
My gran. She died in the fifties and it would be amazing to actually meet her.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I play the flute and love music. Although all my free time outside of looking after the baby goes on writing, marketing, and editing my novels at the moment, so there isn’t much time for anything else.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m still a sucker for Friends – I could have it on all day. I love comedies, both British and American, such as Veep, the Office, Brooklyn 99, and Arrested Development.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
A bowl of pasta is always my go-to food. I love music – pop music, classical, golden oldies, love songs, country music – it often inspires me and helps me to write too.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Try to escape!
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my son and husband.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I’m not sure I want one. I’d like my ashes to be made into diamonds!
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website is www.buckleybooks.org and Star in the Shadows can be found on Amazon in both e-book and paperback versions: