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?
Thanks for having me, Fiona! I’m happy to be here. My name is Melanie MacGillivray, I write as MJ Summers. My age? Yikes. 42 for a few more weeks, but I feel like I’m 84. 😉
Fiona: Where are you from?
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m a mom of three crazy kids. I have a son who is 12 and twin girls who are 8. It’s busy around here. I used to work as a Chartered Mediator in my former life and it was there that I learned what’s beyond the things people say (very helpful for a writer to know).
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I just put out my first ever romantic comedy, The Royal Treatment! It’s the first in a trilogy and so far, the reviews have been amazing.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing four years ago, just to see if I could actually finish an entire novel. Weird, right?
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Hmm, hopefully sometime next week.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had read a few romance books at the time and thought, “I wonder if I could do that?”
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The Royal Treatment (A Crown Jewels Romance) is the title of my latest book. It’s the logical title because it’s about an anti-royal blogger who moves into the palace for two months to see what the life of the royal family is really like.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I used to write in third person past, but this series is in first person, present tense. The challenge is in not telling, but showing what’s happening.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
This book is completely fictional except that the main character, Tessa, has all kinds of embarrassing things happen to her, which is a lot like me. Generally, I’m really good at making a fool of myself. Good thing I don’t really care! LOL.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I travel only into my imagination. 😊
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Steven Novak of Novak Illustrations designed these covers. I absolutely love them and he was a joy to work with.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The book is really meant to be a fun escape, but if I had to say there is a message, it’s about not judging each other so much, especially until you’ve had a chance to walk a mile in someone else’s glass slippers.
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 really love Kelly Collins. She’s a terrific writer and her stories just flow. I’m hoping someday to be as good at imagery as she is.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I would have to say my writing friends. I’ve developed a few really close relationships with other writers. We share marketing info, help each other plot, and keep each other going when one of us wants to give up. It’s wonderful.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do. It’s what I want to do for the rest of my days.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Always. There are always things I would change, but I try not to think about them. I try let it go and move on because if I didn’t, I’d still be rewriting my first novel.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned that when I get stuck in the middle of my book, it’s really a lot to do with my own discomfort with conflict. I want everything to go well for my characters all the time so they can be happy, but that makes for a dull story! I have to learn to be comfortable letting them struggle and make bad choices, because that’s what makes a story rich and interesting.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’d say I’d like some unknown actors to be cast as Tessa and Arthur. Giving somebody their big break would be absolutely incredible.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Just keep writing. Block out all the noise and self-doubt and keep going. Don’t worry about the changing market or all the millions of other things you can’t control. Just write.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Please leave reviews. They’re the best gift you can give a writer and the best way to support his/her career. (And they only take a minute!)
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Redeeming Ryker by Kelly Collins. Told you I love her work 😉
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Dick and Jane when I was four-years-old. That was the first time the words actually made sense.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My kids. Every day. Sometimes at the same time.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
It’s hard to choose just one person. I’d love to go back in time and meet Nelson Mandela. I’ve always been a huge admirer of his grace and compassion.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Reading, watching movies with my family, going for long walks in the woods near my house. I love to cook but I hate cleaning up after.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
These days, I love Game of Thrones, VEEP, Silicon Valley, Last Man on Earth, Catastrophe, and Better Caul Saul. I also love anything by Baz Luhrmann and really well-done romantic comedies.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Indian food, blue, too many types of music to mention. I always have something playing in the background while I write or cook.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Here lies Melanie. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. She thanks you for making her laugh and sharing her life with her. Now, don’t just stand here, go have some fun.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I sure do! Thanks for asking. My website is www.mjsummersbooks.com. All my updates can be found there, or people can sign up for my newsletter there as well.
MJ Summers currently resides in Edmonton, Canada, with her husband, three young children, and their goofy dog. When she’s not writing romance novels, she loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. MJ also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken ‘from above’. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something. More like just staying until they turn the lights off.
MJ is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as the International Women’s Writing Guild.
MJ would love to hear from you! She does her best to respond to all inquiries and emails personally. If you would like her to attend a book club meeting via Skype please contact her to book a date.
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/MJ-Summers/e/B00GHQY5S4
The Royal Treatment Retailer Links
This has been a treat! Thanks so much, Fiona.