Interview with Fiona
By Lesley James, Jun 4 2014 09:45AM
What is the most important thing about being a writer?
Writing is a release, the ability to lose myself in my own world. I have love affairs with all the characters I create and I want to share that passion with other people. If my writing brightens someone’s day or helps them through a difficult time then that’s fantastic.
Where do your ideas comes from / Where do you get your inspiration from?
Ideas never come from any one place. Everywhere I go, everyone I meet and the experiences I have fuse together and give me ideas for a plot or character. I once visited an antique shop and saw a beautiful antique dining chair. That evening when I was writing an erotic scene, the chair appeared in my mind, exactly as I’d seen it in the shop, just this time I tied my male lead character to it.
Do you base any characters on real life people? If so who?
My characters are works of fiction. However, like most authors, my characters will always share personality traits and circumstances with me and people I know, albeit exaggerated or distorted of course.
How do you cope if you get a bad review?
I cry. No seriously no-one likes to receive a bad review. But I think you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Books are totally subjective and what one person lovesanother may hate, especially when you are writing something different. I try to take on board everyone’s comments, good or bad and if they have a valid point I try to learn from it for my next book.
I don’t take criticism too seriously; after all Fifty Shades of Grey received some really negative comments and look how many millions bought that!
How do you choose your characters names?
That’s a tricky one. Some names are based on relatives or friends, whereas others just pop into my head as I build the character’s profile. Their age, sex, nationality, background and personality all come into play. Sometimes I look back at which baby names were popular for the year my characters were born. When I find the right name I just know it, and the characters come to life.
For Blueprint I wanted the main characters’ names to pay homage to my love of Pride & Prejudice. Edward’s surname became FitzWilliam (after Darcy’s surname) and Lizzy was named after Elizabeth Bennett.
Occupational hazards about being a writer?
Writing can take over your life to the point that it’s all you can think about and want to do. Sometimes you need to remind yourself that it’s just fantasy and reality is waiting to be lived when you turn off the laptop. I dream about my books and my characters; they are as real to me as a friend and I miss them when I’ve finished a book.
Which book has been the hardest to write?
Initially I found writing Edward’s book a challenge – getting inside the male psyche. So I read lots of men’s ‘top shelf’ magazines, studied research papers as well as speaking openly to male friends about their attitudes towards relationships and sex. Once I found Edward’s voice the story flew and I thoroughly enjoyed becoming an alpha-male.
Any hints as to what lies ahead for your characters?
Oooh that would be telling! What I can tell you is that the next books pick up the story six months after the first ones end and things aren’t as you’d expect. I’ve introduced minor characters in the first books which will play a large part in the sequels, so look for the clues as you read….I feel like Miss Marple!
For me it’s the minor character of Jack Fellows. He is a kindly, gentle old soul and the grandfather I never knew.
Has to be Steve Brookman. I actually want to punch him in the face for what he puts Lizzy through!
Which character would you like to meet in real life?
That’s easy; Edward of course. What woman wouldn’t!?
What book or film character would you say you were most like?
I’d like to paint myself as a feisty Elizabeth Bennett but in reality I’m probably also mixed up with Adrian Mole and Bridget Jones.
What makes you laugh?
Watching Gogglebox. I love the immediacy and honesty of the reactions of the viewers, which often mirror my own.
Interview question you want to answer but no one has ever asked?
How do you feel about your $10 million book and movie deal? (I can dream).
Your favourite authors?
The first book I bought myself was Sue Townsend’s Secret Diary of Arian Mole in 1984, so Sue will always hold a special place in my heart. I love the way Lesley Pearce twists and turns her plots and always pre-order all her books. I’m also a big admirer of David Nicholls.
What genres of books do you read? / Favourite book right now?
I read a variety of books, as long as they have a good strong plot and believable characters, I’m hooked. I usually have two or three books on the go at the same time: an autobiography (currently Miranda Hart’s Is It Just Me?), a Chick-Lit (currently Lesley Pearce, Forgive Me) and something a bit different (currently loving Skippy Dies by Paul Murray). Strangely I don’t read a lot of traditional erotica. I suppose I need a break from all that thrusting & panting occasionally!
Dr Seuss’ The Cat in The Hat, but also classic fairytales. I blame my mom for my unrealistic expectations in men. Prince Charming always turned up to rescue the princess in my bedtime stories (and I was 15 at the time!).
Did you ever dream you would become an author?
I suppose this question comes down to the difference between being a writer and becoming an author and whether it feels any different being in the public domain now.
For me it never felt like a dream, I’ve always been a writer, scribbled and sketched, making up my own imaginary worlds. The only difference is now other people can share in my make-believe. Writing is just something I’ve always done and it’s as much a part of me, so it’s like asking ‘did I ever dream I’d be a woman?’
How much have you told your daughter about your stories? What does she think about having an author as a mum?
My daughter is 15 now and is a total bookworm herself. She is aware that I’ve been writing a ‘saucy’ romance book for the past eighteen months. Obviously I’ve not shared the explicit sex scenes with her but I have discussed the plot with her and read her some of the dialogue between the male and female lead characters. She loves it and is very proud, hoping that one day we will see my books for sale in Waterstones (her favorite store). She also wants me to write a YA fantasy book based on a fictional character we’ve created called Fin.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Married to Colin Firth, three dress sizes smaller and attending the premier of Blueprint The Movie!
Failing that, I would love to be living in a glass-fronted house overlooking a beach in Cornwall, writing and sketching all-day, waking up and falling asleep to the sound of the sea, healthy and happy.
Anything else you would like to share?
A glass of wine and a box of chocolates. Actually scrap that, you have the wine and I’ll eat the chocolates!
Random questions –
Ian Somerhalder’s eyes: deep sea blue and ready to dive in to.
Nutella, Nuttella and Nutella (did I mention Nutella?)
Best / Most poignant childhood memory?
We never had any money as a family. My father could not work due to ill health and there were eight children in our blended family to feed and clothe. So except for school shoes, most of my outfits came from jumble sales. When I was 9 one of my older brothers started work and wanted to treat me for my birthday. We went into Birmingham to Rackhams (an exclusive department store at the time). I’d never been into a ‘posh’ shop with escalators and polite shop assistants before. I remember my tummy jumping with excitement as we entered the big glass and brass doors. I vividly remember the glamorous ladies behind the make-up counters and the smell of perfume. A mesmerizing array of brand new clothes was all lined up neatly on rails.After much debate I chose a pair of navy flared jeans (well it was the late 70’s). I went into a changing room and triedthem on, struggling to do up the never before used button and zipper. The mirrors glistened under the lights and I felt like a princess twizzling around admiring myself in the crisp denim.
I really wanted to wear them there and then, but eventually took them off for the assistant to wrap them in tissue and pop them into a store carrier bag. I proudly carried my trophy home and wore them for days, with the label still attached, until my mom prized them off me to wash. I kept the carrier bag neatly folded up under my bed for years.
Even though the jeans faded and eventually got thrown away, the memory of that shopping trip never did. I don’t think I ever told my brother how much those jeans meant to me. Sadly he passed away when I was 21, but I will always cherish that day and how special he made me feel.
Best ever purchase? Can be something big or small.
A rubber (to save confusion, these are erasers for my American friends) shaped like an ice-cream. I must tell you that I was 12 and on a camping holiday at Thorness Bay holiday village on the Isle of Wight with my family. I had built up an impressive rubber collection, as many girls did in the 80’s. I had rubbers in all shapes and sizes: biscuits, fruit, chocolate bars, coke cans and a random selection of smelly ones in tubes. I spotted the ice-cream rubber display in the site shop on the first day and needed oneimmediately. It smelt delicious and would top off my collection beautifully. I asked my dad if I could have it and was greeted with a typically grumpy ‘what do you need another rubber for?’ Every day I went into the shop and watched the stock of the ice-creams slowly diminish and my desire grew. On our last day we called into the shop and I lustfully stared at the last ice-cream whilst my dadreturned our Calor gas bottle. He must have taken pity onmy puppy-dog eyes, reached into his pocket and gave me the money I needed to buy it. I treasured the little white paper bag all the way home and proudly installed the ice-cream in its rightful place at the heart of my collection. I still have it to this day.
Best memory as an adult?
Taking my daughter to see the Take That Circus tour at the Ricoh Arena in 2009. She was just 10 at the time and it was the first pop concert she had seen. We had rubbish seats but that didn’t matter. As the music started her face was full of wonder. We sang and danced like idiots but didn’t care and when the final song ‘Rule The World’ played and the fireworks exploded high above the arena I could have cried with happiness and love for her. It was a magical warm summer evening and one I will always cherish.
Is there a person, alive or dead, you dream about meeting if you could?
I often dream about meeting Marti Pellow but those dreams are far too racy to put down here in words: they are both hot, hot, hot and wet, wet, wet (sorry for the pun).
I would love to meet Jane Morris (William Morris’s wife) and ask her about her secret relationship with Dante Gabrielle Rossetti. His portrait of her as ‘Proserpine’ features heavily in my book. It is a symbol of forbidden love and intense passion. I have always believed that if you look into the portrait’s eyes you can see Rossetti’s love and torment as clearly as if he would have written it in graffiti across the canvas.
BOOK REVIEW - 4 Stars
I cannot review these books separately because I read them both. What I will try to do is review them as if they were one book.
This author has created something quite unique. Her books can be read separately, by couples or by the same person. If read by a couple I believe they will allow both parties to read the same story, but from the perspectives they can relate to better. If read by an individual they will give different perspectives of the same story, giving a better understanding of the situations they don’t know about from reading the first book.
Lizzy is a strong character, a businesswoman with a very successful, profitable company. She is known for the good work she does. That good work brings her to the attention of Edward.
Edward is a strong character also, a businessman with an equally successful company. He is known for being opinionated, but fair with it. His extremely direct approach immediately rubs Lizzy up the wrong way.
I loved how straight talking Edward is in these books. He knows what he wants and he goes for it, regardless of who he rubs up the wrong way in the process. He has a strange way of doing things at times, and can appear to be two different people in the same body almost.
Lizzy has a past to deal with which is difficult as she keeps getting reminders of it. Can she leave that past behind and be what Edward wants her to be?
It is difficult to say too much about these stories without giving too much away. What I will say is that the storylines are hot, there is a good story throughout, and the ending! Well I honestly didn’t see the ending coming. It made me want to totally reread the story again to see exactly what I had missed! Be warned, you will be desperate to know more!
I can’t wait to see what this author comes up with next.