Today, I’m welcoming Fiona Morgan to Books and Wine Gums. Fiona’s début novel called Free and is published by Pegasus Publishers under their Vanguard Press Imprint.
Hi Fiona, tell us a little about your writing to date.
I started writing my first novel, Free, purely to see if I could. I had wanted a hobby and a challenge in my life so, as I had always thought about starting to write a book but never got round to it, I decided that if I didn’t do it, it would never be done. I did it and, amazingly got published. Since then I have went on and written a second book, and now in the middle of book number three.
With Free I wanted to write about places I knew and felt comfortable with, so I picked Glasgow as that is the main city closest to where I live. I wanted to break the myth with Glasgow and domestic violence that it was only the breadline, heavy drinking families that domestic abuse occurred in, so I picked a suave, young, and self made millionaire to show that the ‘upper class’ or ‘elite’ of our society can be just as guilty of this atrocity.
Through both of my books, and the one half written I make sure I have a strong female character. I want to show that even if things are bad, or even like hell on earth, things can get better. Plus the world can always use more strong females.
Where does your inspiration for your novels come from?
The theme for Free came from brainstorming and wanting to squash some myths, and to show that people can break cycles and not become another statistic. I take inspiration from life, from people around me, and I always make sure I have little items from my life incorporated into the story. My dad gave me a love of cars so I write many cars into my story lines, the makes and models of some of them are ones that we have had in the family. I started writing Free not long after my Nana died, so in her memory I added in small items from her house. Through talking to friends and watching films I sometimes have a spark of an idea and run with it from there.
How do you go about researching the grittier elements of your novel?
I have a very patient friend in the police force who answers my questions with invaluable information. When asking some of the more violent questions I do remind him it’s for book research purposes, just to be on the safe side! I am very lucky to have such a wealth of knowledge at the end of my phone and doesn’t mind meeting for coffee, and honestly I would struggle with research if it wasn’t for them. I also use google, probably frowned upon, but I use all avenues open to me. I speak to people who have knowledge of whatever subject matter I’m researching at that moment and again I’m very lucky to know people involved in the court system amongst other places. I use my husband to research some of the movements in scenes. I ask him to act out (with me) some parts so I can get the logistics of body movements, where limbs etc would be and how the body would react, or fall or even stay pinned down. He doesn’t always like doing the grittier scenes when he has advise how the antagonist would hurt the victim, but I get my way in the end and the research commences. If anyone saw us they would probably run far away!
Personal writing choice: Pen or Keyboard?
Pen. I chose to write my first novel in pen so I could say I had literally written a book, but when it came to writing the second I tried to use the computer from the off, but felt the story stuttered. When I use pen and paper the words and story flow easier for me, granted not all the time, that would be too much to ask for. I take my manuscript to my day job with me so I can write before I start and at break times, which I couldn’t do if I was writing straight onto the computer.
When do you know a novel is complete?
I have ideas jotted down of what I want to happen in the story as it continues I and work my way through them, letting the story unfold under my pen to join them up, then after the culmination of the legal system, I start on the characters lives in the aftermath. I have an idea of how I want to leave them, so the ending does mostly come freely to me as long as it a happy ending.
What is the best part of being an author?
For me the best part is getting to tell a story. I love making stories up, and to get them into a published novel, read by others, and then for them to enjoy my story has been the most amazing and surreal feeling ever. One of my best achievements, and thee best feeling, has came from introducing my dad to the world of books and reading. He never read. Not even the newspaper fully, but he promised to read my first published book and he was hooked! He is now a massive Lee Child fan and always has a book on the go. Miracles do happen!
And the worst?
I try not to think of any of the processes of writing as bad, but there are certainly areas that provoke different feelings from me. The most time consuming and sometimes soul sucking, is transferring my writing onto the computer, which I use as my first edit. I try to keep up with it as I write, especially if I’m feeling a bit stuck, it can be a good reminder of what’s happened in the story to that point. I think the most anxious, nail biting part is waiting to hear if my publisher and readers enjoy my work. The hardest part for me is the blowing my own trumpet! The ‘look at me and the amazing thing I have done!’ promotion and asking for reviews. I’m not one for self promotion, but working hard to remedy this. Though I find all of these areas of being an author difficult in their own way I do them and try to convince myself that I enjoy them as I love being an author.
Who are your writing heroes?
John Grisham is the author who kick started my love of reading in high school. I read and re-read The Client for my Higher English class and loved every book he wrote for a long time. I fell away from his writing, feeling it got a bit samey, but got back into him after a few years, but he will always be a writing hero for starting me off on my reading journey.
Martina Cole is one of my writing heroes as she has produced so many gritty stories with strong characters and strong female characters. She can bring tenderness and gangsters together in an amazing way.
My favourite author just now is Stewart McBride. His sense of humour in the most gruesome of scenes is a talent. The Logan McRae series gave me renewed vigour for reading and the way he writes characters and their personalities brings them to life. I can’t wait to see where he takes all the characters next.
If you had to be stranded on a desert island with three fictional characters, who would you choose, and why?
This question gave me days of thinking, picking a character then dismissing them. I whittled it down to the three then changed them, again, until I annoyed myself enough to stick with my final choices. So here they are.
Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird and Go set a Watchman by Harper Lee. She sticks to her guns and what she believes in even if it means going against ‘the norm’, knowing right from wrong. She is a strong and loveable female with a fantastic sense of humour. The debates and conversations we would have would be deep and thorough and the mischief that would happen would be hilarious.
Next would be Inspector John Rebus, from the Inspector Rebus novels by Ian Rankin. I would love to sit for hours sharing a pint or two with Rebus picking his brains and listening to his stories about the cases he’d worked on. His gruffness adds to his charm and would add so much to the way, I think, he would tell the stories.
And my last one is James Bond 007 by Ian Fleming. More stories to listen to. (The Official Secrets Act obviously wouldn’t come into it!) He would bring loads of the gadgets from Q for us to trial and, well, he’s a dream man with his sharp suited, suave, and worldly ways. (A girl can dream).
Indeed! What’s next?
I am so excited to say that my next novel is due out early 2018, titled What’s Mine. It’s another standalone thriller romance novel based in modern time Glasgow. This one deals with jealousy, abduction and if a relationship can survive it all. I am plodding through writing number three with the help of everyone around me again and having sparks of ideas for number four. My dream, and I will achieve it, is to be able to be an author full time. I want to have innumerable books published and live the dream of being an international best selling author, until then I will keep writing and believing in the dream.
Thanks very much, Fiona!
Fiona lives in the small town of Airdrie near Glasgow with her husband, Liam, and their two daughters, Erin and Sian.
She works as a deafblind guide/communicator and a British Sign Language facilitator, learning British Sign Language after the birth of her second daughter.
Biography and Author Image taken from: https://pegasuspublishers.com/books/fiona-morgan/free