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?
Shane K Morton and I am timeless. Ok maybe not that timeless. I’m 49. I hate admitting that. It feels like the end of something right now instead of the beginning of something new. 49 sucks. Come to think of it all of the ages that end in a 9 do. But I guess I look forward to 50?
Fiona: Where are you from?
I am from Kentucky originally. But I lived in NYC for quite some time before moving to Los Angeles where I now reside.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am married to an amazing man. We’ve been together nineteen years! I have a sweet 17-year-old pup named, Slayer (named for Buffy not the hairband). I went to Murray State University and studied theatre, music and dance. Before moving to LA, I was a musical theatre actor and I have performed in all 50 states.
I come from a large southern family. Felt large to me anyway. I have two brothers, a sister and a bunch of nephews and nieces. My siblings were quite a bit older than me (I was an OMG baby) and my nephews were more like brothers than anything else. We are a close family, always have been, even if we don’t agree on everything.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I launched a new series in October that I have been planning for quite some time. The Point Pleasant Holiday Series, burst from my brain in a fit of annoyance at the Hallmark movie channel. As a gay man, I know that representation is incredibly important in the books we read, the films and TV shows we watch, and the art we see and hear. I LOVED watching all of the holiday films on the Hallmark channel,but I never saw anyone in their films that loved like me. (No gay people) So, I decided to write my own. Sometimes we must decide if we’re just gonna keep griping or are we going to do something about it. So, I created a book series!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always written since I was a kid. I used to write short stories, I guess what you would call fanfiction now, based on the Terry Brooks,Shannara novels. Elves and dwarves fighting for the light against the darkness. They were silly. I found one of them in a box I had stored recently. It was hilarious! I wrote plays for a while and even had a couple produced.
But the reason I write now was I had an artistic void that wasn’t being fulfilled. I spent over a decade acting and singing on stage professionally,and after moving to LA, I took a 9-5 job (Still in the arts). I continued acting every now and then, but there was an artistic need that was not being met. Some friends of mine knew that I wrote, mainly screenplays at the time, and invited me to join them in their writers’ group. They decided to do NANOWRIMO and I haven’t stopped writing since. That was in 2012, I believe.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my first play got produced, I considered myself a playwright. That was in 1998. But I didn’t consider myself a novelist until I released my second book and realized that I wasn’t going to stop. I didn’t want to stop. I had things I wanted to say and writing novels was giving me that opportunity and fulfilment.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
That group of writer friends who decided to do NANOWRIMO. I thought why not. I had never written a full-length novel before. I loved it! It was based on an event that actually happened to me when I was in college. That was the nugget that I began writing. It quickly took on a life of its own and became a paranormal gay romance about drag queen detectives! I did NOT see that coming!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
HA! My husband came up with it. He comes up with a lot of my titles. He’s actually a really fantastic writer, whose been writing books his entire life. I think he’s brilliant. He writes YA books. He’s a schoolteacher and those are the kind of books that he enjoys writing. Books that will teach a lesson for the youth.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write how I speak! 100%! I am a pop culture junky and it creeps into my writing style a lot. I also write from nuggets of truth about being a gay man. Sometimes that’s messy and awkward and not full of HEA’s.
Truth really pulls at me and I have to think about the market and who buys my books and how they fit in with what is out there.
I don’t believe in HEA’s. That don’t exist in the real world. I am more interested in what happens after the HEA. Those books are written under a different pen name,Sean Azinsalt. I love writing dark novels.
Shane- writes HEA because that is what the romance genre wants to read. And I can admit. it’s what I want to read too when I read romance. But it’s also a little frustrating at times and I have to decide where I want this book to fit. Does it belong to the HEA or do I want to go further with it? I find myself choosing the HEA most of the time. I’m a softie and want the characters to be happy!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The Point Pleasant Series is small bits of things that happened to me, little nuggets of life that I have seen or experienced. Those books are based on the romance tropes used by Hallmark.
But Off Campus Housing, Private Waterloos and Year of The Cock are all very much based on me and things that I experienced. They are fictionalized but I am definitely in them and there are autobiographical moments.
As an actor, I have always been an avid people watcher. The way people relate to each other and their environment, the way they hold themselves, their hand movements, and expressions have always interested me in developing characters. So, a lot of what I see in the world comes out in my books.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I don’t. But I do fall into a google hole that threatens to steal all of my free time. Most of my books take place in or round my small town in Kentucky, Los Angeles, or NYC, all places I have lived and know well. For the Point Pleasant Books, I never say what state the town is in, intentionally. But I have based it on a small town in the mountains of Colorado. I used to travel up there quite a bit to spend time at my friend’s cabin. It’s gorgeous!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Lex Valentine designed all of the Point Pleasant covers. Emmy Ellis and Natasha Snow have each made a cover or two for me. My first 3 books have covers that I designed and have original photography from model friends I know. (I am planning on having new covers made for 2 of them.)
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Which one? I think the book that is the most me, the most autobiographical, is the one book that does not fit into the MM Romance genre. Private Waterloos is about a southern family with a gay son, who are each trying to move past events that have made them stagnant in their lives. I wanted people to know that it is okay to fail,as long as you can somehow pull yourself up out of the muck and learn to move on. Surviving and growing from our own personal traumas is a theme in my first four books.
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 read a lot of YA. I am a sucker for a great coming of age story and I am obsessed with Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. It is truly a work of art and everyone should read it. He really hit a stream of truth with that book and I think it’s incredibly important to the LGBT genre.
In the gay romance genre I love the work of BL Morticia/Michael Mandrake, Abigail Kade, Drea Roman, Michelle Frost and Daryl Banner. But there are a ton of authors whose books I love. Jacki James, Lucy Lennox, I mean come on! I read a lot!
I think I am drawn to the darker books more often than not. The ones that have a protagonist that isn’t squeakyclean. Those are the books that speak to me the most. However, I love a good romance series! OMG! Neve Wilder- Want me… I LOVED THAT BOOK! She is amazing.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My husband is the best support system ever. But I also have a group of college friends, my best friends, we are like brothers and sisters who are also wildly supportive of my writing. The being who is not so supportive of my writing is my pup, Slayer. She hates whenever I am not snuggled up against her.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do. I also have a day job. It feels sometimes that I am working 2 forty-hour jobs. I write at night in 4-5-hour blocks and on the weekends. My husband is very understanding!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I cut some additional chapters and part of me wishes they would have stayed in but they slowed the book down. I hate killing my darlings, but I always do. I try to save them, expand them and use them as a new short story for a giveaway, if it’s possible. Sometimes they just linger on my drive, begging me to revisit them.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned how grateful I was that I created a series bible. The names of places, character descriptions of all the supporting characters that appear from book to book were hard to remember in the moment. I was glad I had taken the time to write it all in one place. I also learned about European customs when dealing with royals. It’s fascinating. Watching The Crown also helped with A Very Merry Princemas.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
So for A Very Merry Princemas, my last book, I would want Darren Criss to play Prince Liam (I have a thing for him). For Dylan, I always pictured him as Matt Doyle (A Broadway actor). Whenever I write, I pin up pictures of the muse for that character. This isn’t Darren’s first time on my muse board!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write. It doesn’t matter when or how. Just do it. Schedules will always fall apart, and the best laid plans will go awry, and it is okay. Just write. Write because you have to, or want to, or need to. Don’t talk about it- Just do it.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I appreciate that they are on this journey with me. My readers group on Facebook (Shane’s Sweet and Salty) are really supportive and fun. I love to hear from the people who read what I write. I find their thoughts and perspective on my books truly helpful and sometimes it makes me see them in a different way. Readers are the reason we write. Books are meant to be read, or they are just words on a piece of paper, or on a computer screen with no meaning. So, thank you for choosing to spend that time with something that I created. It means a lot.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
To Have and To Hold by Abigail Kade. It’s deliciously dark!I love her voice.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book I can remember reading that had an impact on me was in second grade. They were an English series of books called The Secret Seven Mystery Series. I adored them! I should see if I could buy them…
The first book I read, well adult fiction, was when I was in middle school and that really impacted me. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley really turned me into a voracious reader. The story of King Arthur told from the perspective of the female characters was brilliant. It opened a doorway that I have never been able to close, and made me a fantasy and sci-fi fan.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I used to never cry, but I would laugh a lot. As I’ve gotten older, I seem to have tapped into that emotional side and now I cry at the drop of a hat. Really good film makes me cry. When I look at my husband and think about how much we love each other, I can tear up. I laugh all the time at anything and everything. I’m a pretty happy person. But when I think about how old my baby girl is, my pup, Slayer, it really hits me hard. When she gets ill, I lose my mind these days wondering if this is that moment. Thankfully its not come yet.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I had an Uncle named Junior (Yep that was his name) who died when he was sixteen years old, stabbed to death on a railroad track and no one knows why. It happened decades before I was born, but we look so much alike, it’s freaky. I would like to meet him. My release in March, Adorkable (an MM college mystery) is loosely based on that doppelganger effect I have experienced with him.
And of course, Prince Harry! LOL! He’s dreamy and I have a lot of questions!
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I go to film festivals, watch TV, perform cabaret, play with my puppy and read comic books. I used to collect them. Now, I read them digitally. I also see a ton of theatre! I may not really act anymore, but I still do one-man shows once or twice a year.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Buffy the vampire Slayer is my favourite show of all time. X-Files is a close second. Movies, I watch a lot of indie film, comic book movies, and period dramas. TV- I watch to escape from reality. Below Deck is a guilty pleasure and I can’t get enough of Rupaul’s Drag Race. These days, life is serious enough. I want my TV to be frivolous.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I LOVE FOOD! Mexican and Indian food are my favourites with sushi a close third. I am drawn to the shades of blue, in almost everything. The sky and ocean really make you pay attention to them. I have very eclectic tastes when it comes to music. Vampire Weekend is my favourite band right now. But I can’t stop myself from listening to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Led Zeppelin, and Joni Mitchell almost daily. I am also a huge musical theatre fan, of course. I write to film scores exclusively. Well… almost.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Travel the world. Sit on my couch with those I love and enjoy their company. I would adopt too many dogs, probably. But I would need to be doing something creative. Maybe I would start making films again. Maybe I would act and sing more.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my husband, wrapped in his arms with his sweet breath tickling my face and our pup snuggled close. They are it for me.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I hope to not have one. We have enough mausoleums for the dead. Lay me on a rock and let nature do what it does. Maybe I could be a bear snack.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I have a couple places that readers can follow me.
Facebook Readers Group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/shanessweetandsalty/
Links to my Novels
Something Borrowed Something Boo- mybook.to/gayhallmarkish
A Very Merry Princemas- mybook.to/Princemas
Cupid, Draw Back Your Beau- mybook.to/ValentinesGay
The Trouble With Off-Campus Housing- mybook.to/DragQueenDetectives
Year of The Cock- mybook.to/YearOfTheCock
Fault Lines- mybook.to/FaultLines
Private Waterloos- mybook.to/Waterloos
Dark Eros- mybook.to/DarkEros
It’s in My Blood- mybook.to/InMyBlood
Ginger in The City- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071GBMVFH
Ginger in The City- A Ginger Christmas- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082BK93J3
And We Call it Bella Notte- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06WP84RJ5