British author Fiona Robyn was first introduced to me on Book Blogs where she was posting about her new novel, Thaw. She contacted me shortly thereafter about participating in her Blogsplash (something I’d never heard of before) for Thaw and I thought it was a great idea, not to mention a bit of ingenious marketing, and I wanted to participate when she launched the debut of Thaw online in blog format on March 1st, 2010.
After Fiona made her introduction, I joined her blogs – all four of them! Fortunately two of them consist of very short posts, which make for quick, but enjoyable reading. Her daily blog is at a small stone and her blog about being a writer is at Planting Words. Her main site is at www.fionarobyn.com. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fiona, welcome to my blog! I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to interview you and I thank you for joining me here.
Christine: Please tell us about your books. I believe you have written three novels, a book of poetry, and a non-fiction book.
Fiona: The non-fiction book is called ‘A Year of Questions: How to slow down and fall in love with life’ so I don’t have to tell you any more about that one! My poetry collection is called ‘Living Things’, and my novels are ‘The Letters’ (Violet receives a series of mysterious letters dated 1960 from a mother and baby home), ‘The Blue Handbag’ (gardener Leonard becomes a reluctant detective) and ‘Thaw’ (Ruth decides whether or not to carry on living).
Christine: What were your major inspirations for each novel?
Fiona: My novels always begin with my main characters, who ‘turn up in my head.’ As I get to know them, they tell me their stories.
Christine: What compels you to write?
Fiona: I write for many reasons. It helps me to pay attention, and it is also very satisfying to put the right words into the right order. I write my novels in order to tell my characters’ stories.
Christine: What is the thing you love most about the writing process?
Fiona: It’s nice when I’m finished. ; ) But the best bit is when readers enjoy my books, and tell me so.
Christine: Have you self-published all of your books?
Fiona: No – a lovely publisher called Snowbooks published my three novels.
Christine: Tell me about Snowbooks.
Fiona: Snowbooks are a small publisher in the UK with a very good reputation in the industry.
Christine: What do you enjoy and dislike about self-marketing?
Fiona: I love meeting new people from all over the world, and making new friends, and selling books! I choose the things I want to do, and so there’s nothing I don’t like…
Christine: Do you have any self-marketing tips for other DIY authors or aspiring writers?
Fiona: I find it helpful to do only the things I enjoy doing anyway (e.g. blogging about the things that interest me) and then selling more books becomes a bonus rather than a necessity. I’d also advise people to be as authentic as they can.
Christine: Why did you decide to publish Thaw online?
Fiona: It was an experiment – I hope that I’ll find new readers, and that maybe some of them will want to find out what happens and buy the book before the three months are up. We’ll see.
Christine: Where did you discover the concept of a blogsplash and can you explain it?
Fiona: I wanted to let as many people as possible know about the project at the beginning, so fellow bloggers helped me out by publishing the first entry on the same day as me.
Christine: How successful has the blogsplash been so far for Thaw?
Fiona: Good – there are currently 170 members of the Facebook group, and the blog has had 2500 hits since Monday.
Christine: I really enjoy you’re a small stone blog because I am a poet and I love what you are able to create with so few words. How long have you been writing poetry?
Fiona: Since I was 20.
Christine: How would you describe your particular style as a poet?
Fiona: I’m not sure! Accurate observation is important to me.
Christine: I noticed that one of your top 10 favourite novels is ‘And the Ass saw the Angel’ by Nick Cave. I love to read fiction written by famous songwriters. Can you tell me about the book and why it’s one of your top 10?
Fiona: I wrote that list a long time ago, but it is a very good book – full of darkness and wonderful luscious language. I tend to like American writers more than British ones, so this is an exception.
Christine: [Nick Cave is Australian.] What do you love to do besides writing?
Fiona: I’m loving salsa at the moment! I’ve become addicted, and go to classes twice a week.
Christine: That sounds like fun! What are your goals for your writing for this year and for the future?
Fiona: I’m having a break as I’ve just finished my fourth novel – I’ll start the next in September. Maybe some poems will arrive in the gap…
Christine: I read on your website that you are “currently growing potatoes, learning Russian and investigating Zen thought.” Do you care to elaborate on how those endeavors are evolving? What have you learned?
Fiona: My potatoes are coming along nicely! I’m still struggling with Russian – I love the sound of the language, and aim to be able to read Russian classics in the original. One day… And I’m still reading a lot about Buddhism – it’s been very helpful to me in various ways.
Thank you again Fiona for spending time with me and my blog readers. It was a pleasure to talk to you and to get to know you better and I’m really looking forward to reading all of your books!