Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Meet A Writer Wednesday Presents...

... Fiona McGier


1. Tell me about your book Prophecy of the Undead and where you got your inspiration for it?

I've always enjoyed when my muse sends me dreams that become novels. I dreamed about the heroine, a black neurobiologist who was researching to find the chemical that enhances intelligence in the human brain. In that dream she found it, then became a target. Somehow the Mayan prediction of the end of time in 2012 was involved. I started to write it and got writer's block after the 2nd chapter so I put it down. About 6 months later I had another dream in which a tall, white-haired pale man told me I was having trouble with it because I was giving her the wrong hero...it had to be him. Then he smiled and showed me vampire fangs.  I told him I don't write vampire romance because there's nothing new to say. He told me to research the Mayans. When I woke up I did just that. Every ritual they had involved blood-letting. Curious, but if their gods were vampires, totally understandable. The rest of the book almost wrote itself, and the sequel will be out in February 2013...provided the Mayans were wrong about the end of the 13th Baktun in the Long-Count calendar, as being December 21, 2012.

2. What was the first thing you wrote? 

I've always written stories in my head, but once I began to actually write them, I submitted some stories to so many publishers I was thinking of papering my bathroom with the rejection notices. Then a cousin of my husband's suggested to me that I write about someone "our age". I told her I'd never been single at this age (I've been married to my true love for almost 30 years now). But after some time had passed, I had a dream about a woman who was divorced and convinced she had no time for romance. Then a man enters her world through a business connection, and suddenly everything is different...at least on the one weekend a month her kids are with their father. I let my imagination run wild and there are lots of erotic scenes in the book. Never Too Old For the Game of Love was the first book I had published.  

3. How does your family feel about you being a writer/author? 

My husband reads all of my books before I send them in. He especially likes the erotic scenes and offers to help me re-create them for inspiration! My 4 kids are college-aged and older. One of my sons has read a couple of my books and since he's the voracious reader in the family, when he told me that I have "a literary style and write tasteful sex scenes," I took it as high praise. My daughter has told me she's uncomfortable reading my "porn", but her roommates have read the copies of my books that I gave her to share. They are my facebook fans. My husband's sisters and mother say I should write "something they would enjoy".  Which means no sex, I guess. But I tell them that's what my muse inspires me with, so that's what I write. Besides, my late Mom used to devour romance novels by the bagful and would drop-kick a book across the room and curse the author if there was no sex in the book. I try to write what she would have enjoyed, had dementia not taken her away before I got published.

4. Have you ever had a dream that to you would make a great book or short story? 

See number 1. Not only was this current book the product of a dream, but two of my other books were the direct result of some hot dreams. I love REM-sleep! The Reluctant Bride was from a dream I woke up from, panting from running away, and the rest of the plot poured into my head while I was lying in bed.  Two For Tuesday was from a dream I had of the beginning of the relationship, then I had to build the rest of the story around the images. I have tiny slips of paper all over my desk that my laptop is on, and those are often ideas that came to me in dreams. When I need a new book to work on, I re-read them and let the ideas flow. I'm working on fleshing out another dream as my current WIP.

5. If one day you are world famous what would you entitle your auto-biography? And would you tell the whole truth? 

It would be called "You Can't Do That!" which is what I used to get told often. I was a boring, intellectual child who grew into a rebellious teenager. I went wild with the freedom when I got to college, and spent some time sampling what various men had to offer. I got my first tattoo when the only women to get them were hookers and Cher. I got an English degree because I loved the classwork and the reading and writing, but my parents tried unsuccessfully to discourage me because they told me it was a "useless degree". There were right if you consider how little value the working world puts on being able to think analytically and express your thoughts clearly on paper or in speaking. They pay lip service to valuing that, then hire people who have MBAs but who can't spell more than their own names without help. I met my husband at a party and that alone is a great anecdote, along with how he asked me to marry him. Our kids think both stories are hilarious, all the more so because they are true. 
Yes, I'd tell the whole truth because it's a funny story. I'm still enjoying the ride, though the working multiple jobs to help with the bills is not so fun. A full-time job with decent pay would be preferable, but after all, I got an English degree so what did I expect?

6. What was the last book you read? 

I have to give a shout-out to the author! The book was called Static and it was written by L.A.Witt. It is so original that I laughed at some scenes, I cried at others, and I've been thinking and talking about it ever since. I truly enjoyed it, and I'm jealous because I wish I wrote it!  It's a contemporary sci-fi romance that asks you to consider what it is about another person that you fall in love with. Telling you anymore would ruin the experience. Trust me, it's worth it!

7. What’s your favourite thing to do on a Sunday? 

Since I work multiple jobs, the only day I've told them I can't work is Sunday. That gives me one day a week to sleep in late and spend with my family or writing/blogging. Or both.  My husband wakes up at his usual work time and reads the paper while I sleep. Then he comes in to wake me with a cup of coffee (perfect amount of milk and sugar, just the right temp to drink), and we have some "us" time while the kids who are still at home are still asleep. Then we either make a brunch together, or go out to eat. The rest of the day can be spent together, or we can both catch up on the chores we've neglected all week. Then we watch Dr. Who at night before bedtime. We used to watch the show while we were dating, because I'd spend Sunday nights at his apartment. So it's a tradition we still enjoy.

8. You find a genies lamp and are granted three wishes. What would you wish for? (note you cannot wish for more wishes, it’s cheating. ;) 

1-My first wish would be that every baby born has to have at least one person who thinks the sun rises when the baby wakes up every morning. Every person deserves to feel that important to someone on a visceral level.  My Mom did that for me, and I did the same for my 4 kids. That's the best way to start off in life, thinking that you can accomplish whatever because you are loved.
2-My second wish would be for everyone in the world to get a major dose of tolerance. We need to learn that our differences should be celebrated, not fought over. Men and women are different, but that's a good thing, not a reason for one sex to institute draconian rules to control the other.  Different countries, religions, cultural traditions...these are all things we should enjoy sharing with each other, to allow for all of us to experience the panoply of life that is humanity.
3-My third wish would be the personal one: for all 4 of my kids to meet someone with whom they can have a same passionate love affair, yet close friendship and respect also, like their father and I have. I'd like to know that each of them is happy with their life partner.
 
9. What was the last movie you went to see? 

Loopers with Joseph Gordon Leavit. He's become ubiquitous in sci-fi movies and rightly so. He's become much sexier as he grew older, so he's no longer the dweeb he was on Third Rock From the Sun. He was in Inception and Batman. And he's good in all of them. Loopers has him playing a younger version of Bruce Willis, and at one point they are sitting across the table from each other and he makes you believe in the scene. He's that good. Obviously my husband and I are huge sci-fi nerds. But then we named our first son "Kyle" because that was the name of the hero in the first Terminator movie, which we saw as soon as it was out! 

10. Star Trek or Star Wars? 

Star Trek, of course! I've been a Trekkie since I was a little girl and the original show was on network TV.  I was disappointed when it was cancelled. I cried during the scene showing off the Enterprise when the first movie was finally made and I saw it in the theater. I have loved all of the incarnations, TNG (The Next Generation with Captain Picard), Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. But not the short-lived one attempting to give the back-story...bleah.
I've seen all of the movies and the one with the Borg queen has to be one of my favorite movies of all time...along with the 4th movie, which is the whale one. To me the characters interact so realistically that you believe not only in the world Roddenberry built, but for a time you can accept his belief that humanity will improve as we move out into space. I'm not usually as optimistic as him, but I like to hope he might be right. Knowing that a tiny bit of his ashes is even now flying through space is comforting...like he's still up there and finally seeing the space he liked to explore. But don't ask me about the most recent movie that "re-imagined" the Star Trek world. To me that's fan-fiction of the worst kind, that twists the old stories all around to suit someone else's agenda. I didn't see it, but my boys did, and one of my sons jumped up when the credits were rolling to wave his fist at the screen and swear at the director for his blasphemy. No reason for me to see it or anything else made by him.

______________________________________________




Keisha is a neurobiology researcher determined to discover the secret to intelligence to save humanity from itself. What she learns leads her to realize a bigger threat comes from beyond the stars. Yuri is a Russian vampire whose long-dead feelings respond to the scientist whose brain he admires but whose curves he can't resist. Will his love reach the places in her heart that she has ignored for so long? And can they defeat the prophecy of the undead to find happiness sharing eternity?

 Excerpt:


     "Does this mean that when I feed on people I will be killing them? Can I use animals instead?"
     Yuri shook his head, "Animals can be used in extreme emergencies, but not on a regular basis. Whatever we are, whatever it is that lives inside of our blood, prefers human blood. I don't know why...that's one of the things I was hoping you would find out for me."
     "I don't know how I'm going to research anything anymore. If Dan knew about the plot to kill me, then he's in on it," she looked away and appeared to be concentrating deeply. "In fact, since he's one of the only ones who knew what I had found, he probably knows about what I discovered about my work also. In fact, that may be part of why he was so friendly with me to begin with. Shit! I thought I was just using him for sex, but apparently he was pumping me for information all along."
     At Yuri's startled choke she looked at his face and realized he was chuckling again. He shrugged.  "Sorry...but that's not all he was pumping you for."
     Keisha stuck her tongue out at him, "Ha, ha. Okay, pun unintentional, but acknowledged."
     "Keisha, if you don't mind my asking, what had you discovered that made you suddenly so disposable?"
     She shifted around on his lap, "Of course I don't mind your asking. You can put me down now. I think I'm done having a panic attack."
     He smiled at her, "Are you sure? I kind of like holding you on my lap."
     Keisha started as she felt a part of him twitch against her thigh. She looked closely at his face, "We can still have sex? I thought that wasn't possible anymore."
     Yuri laughed out loud. "What would be the point of eternal life if you had to give up having sex? Like I said, the longer you are a vampire, the more you discover about what you can still do. Whatever makes us alive wants us to be happy or it can't be alive within us," he shrugged again. "Besides, haven't you read any vampire erotica lately? We're all the rage these days."

About Fiona


Fiona has always had stories in her head.  Characters intrude into her thoughts and insist on showing her scenes from their lives.  She discovered that when she ignores them, they start to yell louder; if she writes their stories and they can live in readers' heads as well, they usually leave her alone.  Only to be replaced by a new group of story-tellers.  Her head is usually a very crowded place, but she likes it that way.



Readers can find her at: www.fionamcgier.com, where the first page of her site is her blog. 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Meet A Writer Wednesday Presents...

... Barbara Winkes

 1.    Tell me about your book Autumn Leaves and where you got your inspiration for it?

 It’s the love story between two very different women. Rebecca, a married mother of two, has spent a great deal of her life in Autumn Leaves, a small, dreamy town. She becomes friends with her new neighbour Callie, a writer who has fled the big city life in order to finish her latest book. Rebecca’s world is turned upside down when she falls in love with Callie, not just in terms of her drastically changing self-image, but also the reactions of her family and friends.
I had an idea of a movie I’d love to see, and I simply sat down and wrote the story.

2.    Where do you gain your inspiration/ideas from in general?

 That differs greatly. This story had more of a theoretical approach--what happens if someone faces a challenge like this, a late coming-out? What changes in the way they see themselves, and in their environment? I go from there and let the characters tell me the story.
In other cases, it can start with a random image. A children’s lost glove on the side of the road together with the question “What happened here?” can be the beginning of a book.

3.    When did you first become interested in writing?

 Pretty much from the time I could write. As a child, I considered reading and writing powerful tools, and I couldn’t wait to be able to use them. The ability to disappear in a different world, or, as a writer, create it, has never lost its fascination.

4.    Was there ever a time when you nearly gave up on becoming an author? 

Writing was always important to me, but getting published was a dream for a long time. I don’t think I ever gave up on it--I just wanted to build a certain foundation first. I became a psychologist and trauma counsellor and worked part-time in a rehab clinic, meanwhile I was sharing some of my works in online communities.
I guess it takes a goal, a game plan, a plan B and a little luck.

5.    What advice would you give to someone still trying to become an author? 

Most of all, read and write, as much as you can fit into your everyday life. Try a daily or weekly word count, and get the story out. The internet is a great source for everything that comes after that. Online writers’ groups, chats and blogs can help with the next steps, getting feedback on your work, learning about the publishing process, etc.

6.    Who is your favourite character/s you’ve created? 

I’m pretty fond of Rebecca. She goes through an interesting and often tough process, even makes mistakes along the way, but she’s willing to question herself and learn.
There’s also Elena, a cop from a yet unpublished mystery set in a French-Canadian town who has an old case coming back to haunt her.

7.    If you could hang out with one of your characters, what would you do together?

 I think Callie would be fun to hang out with, because she’s a writer, too. We could swap ideas! I’m not so sure about hanging out with any of my mystery characters, because they tend to live a rather dangerous live and could easily drink me under the table.

8.    Is there anything you particularly like to write about? Is there anything you don’t? 

I like the archetypal strong female character, whether it’s in a romance or a mystery setting. I like drama with a touch of comic relief. Fight scenes, when necessary, are the most difficult for me. As for genre, I have learned that dystopian is not for me though I love reading it from time to time.

9.    What do you enjoy doing outside of writing? 

Reading, a handful of TV shows, photography (very amateurish), travelling…

10. As an author, who and what do you recommend reading? 

Read as much as you can, in your genre and others! It’s hard to pick just a few. I tend to go on reading binges sometimes, especially when there’s a subject to research. As for fiction, Tess Gerritsen, James Patterson, Val McDermid, J.M. Redmann, Stieg Larsson and Ken Follett are familiar names on my bookshelves. All of them have created unforgettable female characters, and that’s something I admire.

11. What was your favourite book as a child? 

I always liked mystery-type books where kids were hobby detectives, but to my chagrin, often the girls were told to stay home as soon as it got dangerous. At about eight years old, I discovered the Jill Graham mysteries about a teenage girl who solves a variety of “cases” pretty much on her own. I loved her.

12. What’s your next project? What do you look forward to in the future? 

Alongside of promoting my book, there’ll be the next NaNoWriMo story. I wrote the sequel to “Autumn Leaves” in 2011, and after some other projects in between, I’ll do the third part this year. Next year will be a big travelling year as my wife and I are planning to go to Europe to visit family and friends in Germany.

13. What was the last book you read? 

Last To Die by Tess Gerritsen. The first time I picked up a novel in this series was in 2006. I went back to read all that came before and pre-ordered the new ones since then. I love characters that you want to shake and hug at the same time. Two smart, capable women working together makes it even better.

14. If you could be a superhero what kind of super powers would you have? 

That depends on the situation…After having seen The Avengers recently, I think super-strength would be the most helpful. Although, being able to make oneself invisible would be pretty cool.

15. If you were having a dinner party and could invite four guests, dead or alive, real or fictional, who would you have? 

As for fictional characters, some of my own? I also think the ladies of James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series would be fun to entertain.

16. If I came to your home and looked inside your refrigerator what would I find? 

Bread, milk, juice, vegetables…nothing so special. On certain days, you’d find chocolate in the drawer.

17. What’s your favourite thing to do on a Sunday? 

The weekly schedule has changed a lot since coming to Canada and moving in with my wife. Back in Germany, I always tried to squeeze in as much writing as possible on the weekend, now I write five days a week at least, and on Sundays, we try to take it easy, for example a lazy afternoon with a movie or a book or a walk in the park that’s two minutes from our front door.

18. What was the last movie you went to see? 

The Hunger Games. I’m usually picky when it comes to book adaptations, but I had read all of the series prior to seeing the movie, and I loved it.

19. Star Trek or Star Wars?

 Honestly, none of the above. I’ve always enjoyed contemporary fiction in the “real” world most, though I make exceptions under certain circumstances for dystopian, superheroes and maybe even the occasional vampire…Anything “space” is where I have the hardest time to relate to.

20. If you were offered a free ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go? 

Probably move up that previously mentioned trip. New York and San Francisco are also on the wishlist for the future.

_________________________________________________




Rebecca has everything she ever dreamed of in life: a family, a beautiful home and good friends. When Callie moves into the house across the street, Rebecca is quick to welcome the young writer into the tightly-knit community of Autumn Leaves. She has no idea that Callie will confront her with a truth about herself she might not be ready to face.
All Callie wanted was to flee the big city and finish her latest book in peace, but life in the small town comes with unexpected temptation and danger.
 
Excerpt:

“I’m not dating anyone at the moment,” Callie said. There was always a little teasing in her voice whenever that subject was broached. Today, Rebecca could deal with it. She’d had a very good Saturday morning that had indeed made up for holding the fort all alone for two weeks.

“Is it okay if I just bring myself or is it going to be awkward?”

“Oh no, of course not. I want you to meet David.”

“I know one thing about him already.”

“Really?”

“He’s got good taste in women.”

Rebecca shook her head, flattered rather than mortified. “Wouldn’t he just love to hear that. I’m sorry, I have to run. Come at seven—bring yourself. There’s gonna be food, wine, and a little small-town gossip.” She didn’t quite know why she kept doing this. Rebecca loved living in Autumn Leaves. It seemed like she had to say things like this as a preemptive strike. Not that Callie had complained about anything regarding her new home.

“That’s great. Thank you so much.”

“Come on. It’s just dinner.”

Callie had followed her outside on the porch, laying a hand on Rebecca’s arm as she spoke. “No, I mean, really thank you. In the days I’ve spent here, people have been okay to me. Polite. You were the only one making an effort.”

“I didn’t...”

“Yes, you did. I just want you to know I’m not taking it for granted.”

Rebecca was aware that at that moment, a lot of unspoken things hovered in the air between them, things that had nothing to do with Callie’s life choices or what Rebecca thought of them. There was more, but there was no time to go there now.

“David has to go back on the road on Wednesday. How about we talk more then, have a girls’ night out? Well,” she corrected herself, “girls’ afternoon out anyway. Can’t stay out late on a school night.”

Callie smiled gratefully. “I’d love that.” Rebecca wondered if a hug might be misunderstood in this situation. Unsure about it, she aborted the impulse, just smiled back at her young neighbor, and turned to leave.



About Barbara

Barbara Winkes is a psychologist/trauma counselor by training and a writer by choice who moved from a small town in Germany to Qu├ębec City where she lives with her wife. She writes romance with the focus on the ‘L’ in GLBT, sometimes crossing over into mystery.

Find out more on her blog “Word Affair” at barbarawinkes@blogspot.ca.