My Interview with Fiona Mcvie
Name: Chris Turnbull
Where are you from: Yorkshire, England
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc
I am always on the go, be it work or personal life.
I work full time at York University which I love, and spend plenty of time writing stories that are normally set in the past.
I have been married to my partner for nearly three years and we recently got a Jack Russell pup named Olly.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
After the release of my first book earlier this year I am in full swing for the next one. I am enjoying diving into something completely different and enjoying being taken on the journey.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have been writing for many years, usually small scribbles that would often be tossed away. It was not until 2013 that I decided to take a story more seriously and develop it more than just a few chapters.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably at the beginning of this year when my first book was coming up to its release date; I had always enjoyed writing, but would never consider it anything more than just a hobby.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
In summer 2013 I bought an old military coat in an antique shop in Alston, Cumbria.
This spired me to write the book The Vintage Coat, which is a time travel story set in Alston during the present day, and WWII.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Although I love to have a general plan for my stories, I also like to let the story lead me. I always know what general direction I want the story to take, but the surprise of what can happen in the story I find a thrill, and it keeps me wanting to write more so even I can find out what is going to happen. I think if I can keep myself excited about the story, then hopefully readers will feel the same.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I did not want to call the book The Military Coat, more for personal preference. The shop in Alston was called The Vintage & Antique Emporium, and the word Vintage felt appropriate for the title.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I find that all my writing centers around Love, in some degree or another. With The Vintage Coat, our main character Joe does find love in 1943, and due to his hardships in the present day finds himself spending more time in the past. I wanted Joe to show people that despite it being important to be loved, it is also important to love and respect yourself.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
The book is set in Alston, and also features Carlisle, Nenthead and Garrigill.
All these places are real, and all places described such as Hospitals, Inns, Train stations etc. Are all based on real places.
People and events that happen in the book are all fictional.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The only similarity to real life is the finding of the coat.
I happened to come across it accidentally in real life, and I wanted my character to have a similar experience. I did not want him to be simply handed the coat by another person.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
As a kid I used to love the R.L.Stine series Goosebumps. Then as I got a little older I became a huge Harry Potter fan.
Now my reading lists are varied, I like books that give some adventure, I like books that make me feel as though I have gone away and learnt something from them.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am between books at the moment, but have recently purchased another book by Helen Dunmore that I am very much looking forward to starting.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I love to be recommended an author, and have had the pleasure of reading some great books in the past 12 months.
Regina- The Monster Inside by DM Singh was a highlight, and I am awaiting the second book this coming autumn.
Also a short story called One Breath by Rose English was such a delight to read, and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am currently working on a number of stories at the moment, but the one that is more developed is a dark story set in the fishing town of Whitby, Yorkshire. I have really enjoyed this story and can’t wait to let it loose.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I am proud to be a part of the Follow This Publishing family.
If it was not for Pete and Dawn taking me under their wings, I truly believe that The Vintage Coat would never have seen the light of day.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
For me writing is a hobby that I enjoy. I work full time at the university and love it, so I have no immediate plans to quit and become a full time writer. I have been lucky in the fact that so many people have said such nice things about my book, and have asked when I am doing another. This spurs me on to do more writing, and I am a firm believer in allowing fate to take me along for the journey…and see where I end up.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I am the kind of person that would pick away at my book if aloud to. After its release I did think things like ‘Oh I should of done this…etc.’ but I soon realized that I could go on and on. One day I decided to step back and let the book be; I am proud of it and I need to move onto the next thing.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
In my early teens we were set a school project to write a short story. Unfortunately mine was longer than intended and I took off from there.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
At present this is the blurb for the Whitby book I am working on (it may change).
The Story Locals Didn’t Want You To Hear…
Less than 3 years after the release of Dracula the Novel, Whitby is tormented by a diehard fan who sees Dracula as his role model; and it isn’t long before women are being murdered, and the residences of Whitby are scared to leave their homes.
When a young lady from London, who has travelled to Whitby with her new Husband, is targeted, it is a race against time to catch this cloaked monster before he kills again.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
For me it’s all about time.
I am in full time employment and try to structure my writing around this. Saying that I also don’t want to be stuck behind the computer for the remainder of the night or all weekend. So it’s about planning my writing and relax time and trying to find the right balance.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I am going to have to be a little cliché here and say JK Rowling. The Harry Potters shaped my childhood and I am in awe of Jo’s creative mind and the amazing fictional world she created.
One of my other all-time favorite books is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I love the old English he uses, and reading this makes me feel like I have fallen back into old London.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I recently traveled back to Alston, Cumbria for a book signing event for The Vintage Coat. Other than that I have so far stayed within Yorkshire for other events.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The Vintage Coat cover was designed by the lovely Lori at Wicked Book Covers in America.
I sent Lori numerous pictures on my coat so she could get an idea of what it looked like. Lori then came up with a design that centers around one of the pictures, and I was overwhelmed with the finished result.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
With the book being largely set in 1943 I needed to ensure that everything was factually correct. I was researching everything from clothing, music, and what people ate for their breakfasts. I really enjoyed the researching, but it was very time consuming.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learnt a lot about life in WWII, and how families were torn apart. I learnt how people survived on minimal supplies. I also learnt a lot about Alston and the surrounding areas, and was so pleased to return recently for the book signing.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Enjoy it. Do it for yourself, because in the end you need to be happy with what you produce. I would never release something unless I was 100% happy, and would encourage people to do the same. Also get it professionally edited….it really makes a massive difference.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just – Thank you.
I never intended to release The Vintage Coat, and the sales and kind reviews I have received have blown me away. Reading such great reviews is what keeps a writer thirsty for more, and it has certainly encouraged me to release more books in the future.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
When I was very young I was bought a book called Buster, it is about a little dog that was abandoned on Christmas Eve. It is a children’s book and it has the most beautiful artwork inside. To this day I still own the book and occasionally look at it.
I recently looked up this book and it now goes by the title: The Dog Who Found Christmas
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh at most things, sometimes even at the wrong time. I have a great sense of humor and love nothing more than laughing.
The worst thing to make me cry is sad films, usually about animals. The worse one being Marley and Me. I whaled so loud the neighbors were concerned.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I would love to meet Sir David Attenborough, I could listen to his voice all day as he recollected his most exciting adventures to me over a cup of tea.
I would also strangely love to go back to the Tudor period and attend a dinner party thrown by Queen Elizabeth I.
I am also I huge Queen/Freddie Mercury fan, so a night on the town with him would have been a great experience.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Chris is not here…he is having fun somewhere. So piss off and do the same.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love to travel and have been luck to make my ultimate dream of visi
ting Australia come true. I am getting ready to go to Italy in September and then I am sure I will be planning the next adventure.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love watching the golden oldies – Are you being served / Keeping up appearances / The Golden Girls.
I like nice short episodes that make me laugh, don’t take too long, but at the same time watch a handful if I have the time.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food – anything Italian – though I am not a seafood fan.
Colors – I love lots of colors, but green, blues and purples are always top.
Music – I listen to almost anything, I love being able to sing along (badly) to something. I especially like 70s music and can often be found in record shops looking at old vinyl’s.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
A couple of years ago I took up music lessons on the keyboard (I couldn’t fit a piano in my house then). I really enjoyed it, but since moving house and having to leave the teacher I have struggled to get back into it.