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?
I’m Meredith Spies and I’m *SIGH * 42.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m originally from the Houston area (a smallish place called Spring, just north of Houston) but I live in Northern California at the moment.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I grew up in the Houston area before going to college at LSU for my undergrad degree in anthropology with a minor in French. After moving back to Texas and working as a teacher for several years, I transitioned into other things (mostly being a massage therapist and birth doula). During that time, I also started writing. I’d always loved writing and toyed with the idea of “doing it for real” but it wasn’t until my mid-to-late twenties I started actually trying to get work published. My first story “out there” was a short one for an e-zine (Yes, I’m “e-zine years old” lol) and after that I got stories in a few anthologies and was lucky enough to have my first book picked up by Drollerie Press, which sadly closed it’s doors several years ago. I took a long break while dealing with some health stuff then grad school in my early 30s, and having a baby and MORE health stuff lol but I always missed “really writing” and not just poking at a few words and lines. After a really bad experience with a now-defunct publisher, I had a “eff this” moment and started looking into independent and self publishing. I jumped in with both feet and didn’t look back.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Hmmm. LOL I always have news going on but I guess most relevant to this here and now, I am working on a new series that will start coming out in March/early April, a MM paranormal romance that has it’s roots in a short story that just came out in the Stocking Stuffers anthology, Jingle My Bells. It’s been so exciting working with an awesome editor and an amazing cover designer. It’s given my writing and confidence as a writer a real boost!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always loved writing. Some of my earliest samples are from kindergarten, tucked away in my baby book by my mom! I know every writer says “oh, I’ve ALWAYS been writing!” but I really do feel it’s true. Even when I wasn’t being published or pursuing publication, I was writing even if it was just for myself. I’ve always been an avid reader and loved stories, and that motivated me to start writing down my own.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Sometimes I still don’t consider myself one! I have a big time “thing” with imposter syndrome, which everyone gets now and then. But I think if I had to pick one moment and say “yes, this made it official,” it’d be that short story in Byzantium e-zine. I got paid a small sum for it and had my name on it and it was heady as anything, and made me feel real and official.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
A greeting card. I was teaching belly dance in a small shop’s class room back in Spring and the shop carried a wide variety of witchy and New Age items, including a selection of greeting cards with pictures of faeries and magical creatures. One of them had this amazing image of a tall, red-haired fairy prince and my brain just went “Hey. Write this guy’s story.” And it slowly morphed into the Unseelie books about Cadfael the fairy prince and his human lover Alfhild who are involved in a war between the Seelie and Unseelie courts.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
When I wrote the first few lines of the story, I knew the main character was a prince of the Unseelie Horde and calling the book Unseelie just felt right, with the way it not only described the fairies but also the nature of the battles they fought.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I keep trying to be a plotter but I’m a pantser. Is there a combination of the two because I think I’m that! I start with an idea of how I want the story to go, at least the main beats, but other than that it’s kind of a free fall until I hit the end. Then I go back and self-edit it into some semblance of order and start on re-writes and beta feedback and on and on until it’s finally beaten into submission-to-the-editor form. I write mostly paranormal romance and urban fantasy. For me, the most challenging parts are the world building and making sure I keep impeccable track of what the “rules” of the worlds are, and where they overlap with the real world. In stories where there’s more than one magical world butting against each other, I have to make sure to keep track of those “rules” they have about one another, how those magics interact or done, etc. In the series I’m working on right now (Bedeviled, book one is The Devil You Know coming out very early spring 2020), there’s all sorts of magical communities trying to work together to form a united front to make themselves known to the human world after centuries of being hidden in plain sight. The most difficult part of this element has been making the histories of these groups and how they interweave, how each groups sees things a bit differently from the other in terms of a shared history and where those histories diverge. I have a LOT of notecards going on!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In my recent work, not much is based on someone I know or real events since so much of it is magic but it’s set in Houston, my home town (or close enough to it!) and there’s a lot of my own interpretation of Houston and how I experienced it woven in with the characters’ experiences and down to where they live and what those specific blocks were like when I was last home. There are some things, even in paranormal and fantasy books full of fantastical beings and experiences, that translate from reality, like family dynamics or interpersonal relationships. Even faeries/witches/merpeople/demons/cryptids have complicated and complex personal lives!
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I’d love to but I haven’t been able to do any working trips yet. That’s one of the dreams!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Previously, when I was with an indie publisher (Drollerie) they had an in-house design team. The books I’ve released since going on my own, I’ve worked with Sinfully Sweet designs for a few covers and ended up doing my own cover for Bump in the Night and for the Stocking Stuffers anthology, an artist/designer was contracted by the editor, but recently I have started working with Amai Designs and I love, love, love what they have done with the cover for The Devil You Know as well as the promo art. I’d love to keep working with them for future books, beyond the Bedeviled series.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Honestly, at least in part it’s that family is something you make not just something that you’re born into, and that relationships can be hard but they are worth it in the end. And also don’t trust a cryptid to make your tea. They just can’t do it right.
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 can’t pick just one favorite, I have so many! Sticking just with modern authors Lois McMaster Bujold, Jim Butcher, Kate Hawthorne, EM Denning, EM Lindsey, Eden Findley, Noah Steele, E. Davies, May Archer, K.M. Neuhold, Nora Phoenix, Lucy Lennox, Leta Blake, Sloane Kennedy, Alice Winters… I have a literal list as long as my arm. All of them have amazing works and are so unique that there’s really no comparing them.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My best friend!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Definitely. Some people are able to achieve more success at it than others for one reason or another, but it is definitely a career. For some of us it’s a second or third career on top of others already in progress but it’s for sure a career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’d be a lot more brutal in my self-edits way earlier. It would’ve saved a LOT of rewriting and reworking.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I’m worse at time management than previously believed, and working with the right team is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Oooooh… I have no idea! Maybe for Simon…Ezra Miller or Ben Whishaw. For Ellery… That’s harder! I’ll say Tom Hiddleston.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
A piece of advice I was given YEARS ago: a first draft is better than no draft.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thanks for being wonderful!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m in the throes of holiday reading while it’s still holiday-time! Mr. Frosty Pants by Leta Blake is on deck and I’m eyeballing K.M. Neuhold’s latest for my next read.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Oooooh no, it was so long ago! But I remember reading almost all the time, as far back as before kindergarten. I always had a book with me—the dinner table, the car, in bed, and everywhere in between.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Depends. Things that make me laugh are usually silly, snarky, or goofy things. I just laughed so hard I cried last night when my kid and I were making up new words to holiday songs, but I also laughed and very dry British comedies later. So it’s a wide array of things! Cry… usually thinking about people I love who’ve passed on, or when my stress levels redline I’ll cry.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
A few ancestors of mine I’ve heard about, I’d love to meet. Some just to ask wtf they were thinking and others because they sound really amazing.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Other than reading, lol? Cooking, handicrafts, and when I have the space for it growing flowers.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I watch The Walking Dead (and have a running chat thread with friends while it’s on so we can all talk about it while we watch), Schitt’s Creek (SO bummed it’s ending but it’s SO good), and things like Good Omens—miniseries type stuff. I also catch reruns of old shows I like. I tend to pop in on Netflix and Amazon Prime a lot.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Foods: vegetarian! And spicy! Colors: PURPLE! And green, too!
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Catch up on my sleeping and reading! Travel with my family if I’m able.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Freaking out! But if not that, spending it all with my kid and making sure they know how much I love them. And maybe mildly insinuating I’m going to haunt the place if they don’t pick up after themselves when I’m gone.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“Look behind you…” Or really my name and maybe something nice from my loved ones. I mean, if I can’t convince them to taxidermy me and prop me in the corner to scare people at home.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I’m working on getting my website up and going but in the meantime, people can visit my facebook pages or twitter. I also have a page on Amazon (but honestly that blog isn’t updated as much as I’d like!)
Amazon Authors page USA https://www.amazon.com/Meredith-Spies/e/B01LZ8OS4A?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1577360975&sr=1-2