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?
Hello, I write as T.M. Caruana and am closing in on my forties. Yikes!
I started writing low fantasy in my Science Series where part of the quest took place on Earth and part in a fantasy world. Taking part in two anthologies with multiple authors I also enjoyed writing paranormal romance in my Prophesied Sorcerer Series. Before I established what type of author I would become I also dabbled in Dystopian Fantasy and Urban Fantasy, however I have now concluded that it is Epic Fantasy I enjoy the most.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from a little town called Gävle in Sweden. It is a city near the sea with about 100,000 inhabitants. Growing up I thoroughly enjoyed the four seasons this city offers with snowy winters, mild springs, green summers and leafy autumns. Internationally I think Gävle is most known for our Christmas Ram made of straw which is erected every first of advent…and that normally burns before Christmas Eve. It’s become a bit of an (illegal) gimmick and I know even betting companies take bets on what date the ram will burn.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I now live in Gibraltar, have earned an MBA and am a member of the ACCA.I’m a person who likes doing too much rather than too little. Apart from consuming too much coffee and chocolate I also enjoy writing complex stories frommy vivid imagination, manifesting in new worlds and versatile characters. I Have always been a free spirit at heart, my dream has always been to write fantasy novels in which to escape to. There are so many things to do in the world that I try to avoid doing the same things twice. I rarely watch a film I have seen before, visit a place I have been to before or go for an outing that I have experienced before.
Your life is your dream
-if you can dream it, you can live it-.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I have been outlining a massive epic fantasy series during 2019 and will continue with world building and character building in 2020 too. I hope to be able to start writing the three-book series + prequel this Summer 2020. I can only reveal that readers who like The Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and The Wizard’s First Rule will possibly like the series.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As a girl I had a half an hour walk to school where I loved to imagine different stories to make the walk pass more quickly. I found the stories were influenced by Walt Disney classics, where I enjoyed heroic journeys either as a princess or a kick-ass heroine. I had quite a rough childhood and hence this was my way of escaping the everyday miseries into a world of my own. I suppose old habits die hard. To this day I enjoy the limitless boundaries that the fantasy and sci-fi genre offer.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s a hard question. I have always wanted to write, but I suppose that at the point when I saw my book published on Amazon, that’s when I knew there was no turning back.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My debut book Symmetry started out as a diary not meant for publication. I knew I loved writing and making up stories but never had the self-confidence to even consider the thought of becoming a professional author. When self-publishing books took off in 2010 I started to consider that I too could try it out – as a hobby of course… I started to adjust my diary, which contained my teenage thoughts about the ‘purpose of life’ into a story, but soon realized the entire work would need to start from a blank sheet. The story still debates what in life is happiness, what is important and what are simply material possessions or desires, but subtly woven into a quest adventure where The Creator of Mass battles the ideology out with The Creator of Souls’ grandson.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For Symmetry, I thought of the title because I wanted to play on the idea that there are two ways of living. In my book there are two families; one that can create mass and the other that can create souls. To prove which way of living; as a soul or in body, is best, there is a balance to all things created. There are two sides to each coin; good and evil. The protagonist is a Supersymetric force and hence her name, Susy. But I don’t want to spoil the story two much as Susy can’t recall who she is when the books begin, commencing with her waking up in CERN.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I choose my style of writing depending on the genre and plot. If I’m writing a paranormal romance, I feel it is nice to write it in first person as it feels more intimate, but when I write Epic Quests I stick to third person. As I like long stories of epic nature, I find it hard to remember all the small details that need to join up since I constantly become interrupted with daily life activities. I find myself sometimes writing the same thing in different places, which I have to adjust on my first read-through.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I write about romantic adventures and quests with dragons, magic and bloody swords so I have to say that not much of it is from experiences. Although, references to some places on Earth could be from fact or experience. I hope my humour and personality shows in my writing and I suppose this is a way of me sharing a part of my life with the reader.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I have travelled some in my youth and I wish I had more time to travel now. With two small children that is hard and I often resort to using online maps and facts. They are almost as good as the real deal nowadays.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I work with TizianaRuiu. She’s a fantastic cover artist who is both talented and great to work with. She always has time for me even though she has been so busy helping to produce some of the graphics for the play Cats in London lately. I’m so proud of her! I’m also working with a lovely editor who I would warmly recommend.
Her name is Sally Dixon and has her company isWriteaid.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There will always be a message in my books, even if it is only to make people think about different angles on life. Love and kindness are often the underlying message, but also bravery and righteousness. In the Science Series the reader is taken though the seven physical sins, the seven mental sins, the seven spiritual sins and the seven deadly sins, which are all to teach us lessons about life. There needs to be a balance of good and evil in the same way as there is a balance within nature, in the circle of life.
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 mostly like reading Paranormal Romance or Epic Fantasy and have read three fantastic books of late; Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind, Vengeance of Hope by P.J. Berman and The Mute Prince by P.E. YoungLibby. I like their books because of the way they show the details in the book instead of telling them. The author’s seem to have excellent imaginations and talents for delivering their plots in intriguing ways.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’m busy at the moment setting up a bookkeeping firm so I have only considered the books as a hobby for now, but I expect it to be my new career when I retire. I took a year out from work to write full-time but noticed that it wasn’t an advantage. I normally consider my plots for a long time during the times I walk to work and hence had time to develop them. When I had time to sit down the words used to fly down onto the screen and I felt very productive. When I was home full-time, I just became stressed sitting in the sofa thinking and not actually putting anything down. I need both jobs to balance my working life.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My latest book was the final instalment, The Sorcerer from the South, in the Prophesied Sorcerer Series. I think it turned out as I wanted, although it wasn’t as I had expected. I replotted the final twist in the last minute and was very happy with the result. Thinking back on it, I don’t believe there is anything I would change.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I can’t say I learned something from the book, no, but when writing the entire series I was involved in the multiple author box set and in those projects I learned a lot of things.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
If my book Symmetry was made into a film, I would choose Hayden Panettiereto play Susy, as she has that stubborn but kind way about her. Noah is serious, proud and strong and perhaps best suited for this role would beChris Hemsworth. Tarus is definitely a character for the dark and mysterious James Theo and Leo is a cool man with a good wit and would best be played by Orlando Bloom. What a dream film that would be, right!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Learning how to use graphics software to make images for advertisements saves a lot of money as half of your writing career is about being present on social media. YouTube has great tutorials for everything. Other than the normal common writing advice, I would say, just have fun! You choose to be a writer because you like it, so don’t let the business side of it get you down.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
If you like reading Epic Fantasy and are curious about my projects for 2020, you are welcome to subscribe to my newsletter where I will announce my progress. I normally send out once, but sometimes twice a month and there are normally giveaways or other free books included.
When subscribing you will receive an e-copy of Symmetry for free.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I have just started reading Demons and Deception by Katerina Martinez and it is off to a very intriguing start. She is one of the authors who I enjoy due to her vivid imagination.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Yes, it was from the Norwegian author Margit Sandemo. I don’t think the title has been translated to English. The Swedish title was LiljegårdensHemlighet and literally I think it would translate to The Secret of the Lilly Garden. It was a fantastic book about a girl who returnedthe house where she grew up in after many years and met four brothers who were her next-door neighbours. She received a note one day which stated the four different intentions of the brothers; one of them wanted to kill her.
I have found inspiration from this book and used a similar scenario in the second instalment in the Science Series,Chromosomica.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
When my daughter tells me what she ponders about, it is normally something that makes me laugh; like when she was adamant that we should go to McDonalds and when I asked her why, she said it was because she wanted a baby in the family. I had to ask her how she figured that these two linked, and she thought you got pregnant by eating a lot of chips, because grandpa had a big tummy and he eat a lot of chips. Or, when she panicked watching Aladdin because Jafar was sending him to the End of the Earth, and when he was rolling in the snow and my daughter was almost crying, I had to save the situation by saying that it was just the place where grandma lived in Sweden. To which she relaxed, sitting down in the sofa as if that was very logical.
I don’t cry much, but I suppose I get sad when anyone in my family or my friends are hurting. I get frustrated when I don’t achieve the targets I have set myself. When my daughter and I watched Frozen 2 and she sobbed, I was close too.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
There are many people I would like to meet. Imagine having a tea party with Queen Elisabeth II. I’d love to be invited for dinner to the Skarsgård family to talk about all their films and successes. An interview with Will Smith wouldn’t be too bad either.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I don’t have much time for hobbies when working, being a mother of two and writing. I like travelling and BBQ gatherings with friends.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love to watch superhero films such as the Avengers, X-men, Wonder Woman, Thor, Superman, Aquaman, Spiderman, Iron Man, Ant Man, The Guardians of the Galaxy, and the list goes on. I also enjoyed The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Game of Thrones and of course Harry Potter. If I wouldn’t be able to answer a film in the Fantasy genre I would have to say I enjoyed watching Alias with Jennifer Garner where she works as a double agent and is always on the thin line of being detected and killed.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I like a variety of foods and to try new things, so a Wok Buffet suits me perfectly. They have a lot of choice. When I go home to Sweden I always get a Plankstek, which is a piece of meat oven baked on a wooden plank, surrounded by mash potatoes and bearnaise sauce. Baby pink, is without a doubt my favourite colour. It is a romantic soft colour and reminds me of summer and love. In music I have my one and only favourite Ed Sheeran. ‘I see fire’ is one of the favourite songs on my top ten list.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would continue working in accounting and try to grow my business even more, using the promoting skills I have learned in my writing career.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I would have to give a boring answer such as ensuring all the legal documents were put in order so that my family don’t have any problems accessing my bank accounts, getting insurance payouts etc. I would probably record videos for my children that they could watch when they get older. In 1994 I went through a similar experience almost losing my mother to cancer, so I try never to take life for granted.
If you would ask me what I would do if I got lots of money to spend in 24 hours as I wished, I would probably go somewhere where I could see the stars with a large telescope and then I would take my husband to a Michelin quality restaurant.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I don’t think I want a head stone. They are very expensive and if you get an allocated grave it will cost my children to maintain it. I’m practical like that and not so sentimental. When I’m dead, I’m dead. In a hundred years all the memories of me will be gone and the only thing that will be passed on are my stories on Amazon!
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes, I have a website as well as a few other social media accounts. You can find them by clicking on the link below:
Don’t forget to check out my YouTube Channel where I host my book reviews of other authors.
Also check out my Book Giveaway group on Facebook.
For new authors, reviews are important. Make an author happy and review the books you read!
Amazon Authors Page USA https://www.amazon.com/T-M-Caruana/e/B00J4J216E?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1577183198&sr=1-1