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 Fiona. Thank you having me on your blog. My name is Tammy S Petersen and I’m 33 years young.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in a beautiful rural town named Atherton, in Far North Queensland, Australia.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I was born and raised in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa until the age of 17, at which point my family and I moved to Queensland, Australia.
I completed my last two years of high school in Australia, and attended James Cook University inCairns. I was actually meant to attend JCU in Townsville, but I met my now husband while I was bartending at a local bar in Atherton. He will tell you I was the one whohooked him, but really it was the other way around. Oh, and before I forget, I attained a Bachelor of Social Science with majors in Criminology and Sociology.
I count myself very fortunate to have been blessed with a wonderful and cheeky husband, and two beautiful babies. My kids range from 4 to 2, and keep me on my toes. We are an adventurous family, with time spent camping and exploring Far North Queensland.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I released my debut novel and the first book in the Evanee Sheperd Series, Moribund, in March 2019. Presently, I am working on edits for the second book, Exitus. I hope to release Exitus towards the end of the year.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing fiction in 2015 after the birth of my first child. I had planned on returning to university to complete a degree in education when I fell pregnant with my son. I had never considered writing for creative purposesuntil a colleague at work told me I should turn my weird and whacky dreams into books. I had up until that point only ever writtenbusiness plans and statements for my clients.
I needed something to keep my mind occupied whilst at home on maternity leave, so I undertook a creative writing course. I started Moribund roughly 6-8 months after completing my creative writing course.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The day I completed the first draft of Moribund. I needed that first draft as proof to myself that I was actually a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Moribund is the pleasant result of one of my crazy nightmares. I’d been suffering muscle spasms in my middle back on and off,and one night it became the star in my crazier dreams. I quiteliterally felt my characters pain and fear as she ran for her life. The dream wouldn’t leave my mind for the next couple of days, and I became curious and driven to know more about this girl in my dream and what happened to her. From there Evanee took over, and her life story unfolded before my eyes.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Moribund was the word of the day on a program I was using to look up synonyms online. The definition stuck out to me, and I felt it was perfect considering my character was in fact in a state of death.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My style of writing is definitely narrative. With any style of writing there are difficulties, but I’d have to say I am constantly aware of ‘am I telling or showing the reader?’. I strive to draw the reader in so that they experience each emotion my character is experiencing. I want my reader’s heart to accelerate during the action scenes and twists and turns.
In terms of my genre, paranormal romance, I would say I struggle with the romance side of things. I’m always second guessing whether what I’ve written sounds cheesy or contrived.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My book is wholly fiction; however, the majority of the proceduresused during autopsiesand handover of the bodies, are based on current procedures implemented by the Queensland Government and Coroners’ office. I have taken some liberties with the timeframes between receiving the bodies and performing autopsies;otherwise, I have tried to stay true to the laws Australian forensic pathologists adhere to.
The towns and cities in the book are based on actual towns and cities in Far North Queensland; however, I have changed the names so that any violent scenes are not associated with the actual town or city.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I travelled to Cairns after my initial manuscript was completed, in order to interview the lead forensic pathologist at the Cairns Base Hospital. Here I was shown around certain areas of the morgue, and given a presentation on how the morgue operated and implements used. It was fascinating and an incredible experience. For the most part though, the settings and bushland are based on my surroundings, or places I have travelled to previously.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Moribund’s cover was designed by the delightful and talented Amanda Pillar of Smoking Hot Covers.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Moribund is, in many ways, about one woman’s journey to recovery after staring into that darkness that is depression.I wanted to examine the notion that depression and anxiety are not the same for everyone. Each person experiences it differently;however, it is important for each individual to notice their own signs of when they are headed for the darkness. If they miss those signs, that’s okay, it’s then about reaching out and undertaking the journey to heal oneself to a point they are happy with.
I want readers be inspired to reach out and seek the help they want or need. Moribund and Exitus both highlight the idea that it is okay to need help, and to ask for it.
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?
Wow, I have so many authors who I admire and look up to. Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison and Jennifer Rardin are probably my top three. Their ability to draw the reader in so that they experience the characters journeyis what I admire the most. I love their imagination and how well thought out their series are.
Sally Thorne is one author I am following with a keen interest. Her recent 99 Percent Mine had me laughing and biting my nails the whole way through.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
During my creative writing course, I had a mentor who really encouraged me, and boosted my confidence. She was brilliant and insightful. I also cannot forget my initial beta readers who tested out my work and came back wanting more. They have really spurred me on, and kept me at my keyboard.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I view writing as both a career and a hobby. My husband fishes, goes coin detecting and digging for antique bottles, I sit down and write. It calms my mind and soothes my many emotions. It is addictive, as is the research that goes along with each novel. It keeps my mind occupied, and satisfies my need to constantly learn. As with any career, writing affords you the opportunity to move forward and upwards. There is always something new to be learned, and a new goal to work towards.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The initial structure. Having recently completed an editing course I learned some brilliant structural techniques that have really helped keep my second book on track.
I also think researching certain things before you begin your first draft can help cut short the editing process. For Exitus, it was far easier prepping and then writing the initial draft with the research already in my head. I have begun researching for the next series I am hoping to write, with the idea of being prepared when I sit down and write that first draft.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Books one and two in the Evanee Sheperd series have taken me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions during the creation process. I’ve cried and raged with Evanee. I’ve yelled at her for being so difficult. In the end I’ve learned that the emotions of the character can drain you as a writer, and that it’s okay to take a short break and walk away for a couple of days or a week, in order to heal.
I walked away from Exitus for three weeks. I was devastated after writing two specific chapters, and still cry reading. Evanee refused to come out of hiding, and so I focused on reading and plotting for my next series.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Wow, who would play Evanee. I’d like to think a rising star would take the role of Evanee. Someone who is a combination of Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Lawrence’s physique,with the acting ability of Charlize Theron and Melissa McCarthy combined.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Keep at it. Preserver, because the high and the joy you get after finishing each book is exhilarating.
Also, if you are struggling, please reach out to your fellow authors on social media. We are a caring community, always willing to give each other a helping hand.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I hope that Moribund inspires you to read — to imagine. For those writers still plugging away at their first draft, I hope Moribund spurs you on to finish your own book.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am in the midst of Sleep by C.L. Taylor
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Oh wow, that was a while ago. I believe it was Sweet Valley Twins.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Dry humour in books and movies. My kids being themselves, and of course my husband. Each of these also has the ability to make me cry as well. A little fun fact, if you get me laughing hard enough, I will start ugly crying.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
It would be the cast of Supernatural Cast. I have loved the series and the devotion the cast has shown towards the show and each other since I watched season one. Their drive to make mental illness a more talked about topic, is inspirational.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Reading, writing and watching movies. I have way too many books and DVDs. I also love camping and exploring new places.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m a huge Deadpool fan. It’s my go to when I need a laugh. I also can’t go past Supernatural, BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, Suites, Haven and Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch, yes please.) I have others, but those are what spring to mind.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Lasagne, hands down. My last meal on earth would be a massive batch of lasagne, salad and garlic bread. Shades of blue and green are my favourite colours. I’m loving teal and emerald at the moment.
I love the majority of music. I usually write and drive to heavy rock. The words and the heavy beat calm my mind and get my creative juices flowing. I’m weird, I know. Bands you’ll find on my phone are: Three Days Grace, The Amity Affliction, Smash into Pieces and Asking Alexandria.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d spend a lot of time reading and re-reading my favourite series. I’d also day dream — a lot. Mind you, there’d probably always be some story spinning around my head.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
That’s easy. With every member of my family. I’d spend my final hours with my husband and my babies.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She loved with all her heart.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My links to my Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram are on my website.
Readers can purchase Moribund in ebook format from Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Nobel, Kobo, Bibliotheca and Baker & Taylor.
Below are the buying links to Moribund.