Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie. Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
CC: I am Cybill Cain, and I am 42.
Fiona: Where are you from?
CC: Virginia, USA
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
CC: I have a background in managing Business Intelligence, data networks, and integration of telecom platforms. I was recently downsized, and took the chance to pursue my dream of writing.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
CC: My fourth steamy romance in The Chimera Club Stories debuted today (11/30). It’s a Christmas love story about two people who almost met a year ago, but missed each other, and the impact life has had on them in the meantime. James was in a car accident, and is hidden himself away from the world. Della is chef working to make a name for herself in the elite gourmet world of NYC, but has been blocked by a jealous professional rival. A man who works for James arranges for Della to cook for James during the month of December, and they get another chance at getting to know each other, and finding love.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
CC: When I was 13, and because it is the only thing I have ever truly wanted to do. I took some breaks, and did many other things, but this is my joy and my hope.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
CC: In high school, when I wrote for the school paper, the yearbook, and my local hometown newspaper.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
CC: I had been an ardent member of fandom for several years, and wanted to create something of my own that inspired passion in readers, and that they could enjoy reading.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
CC: The story will tell you the title, or the title will tell you the story. It can go either way. Sometimes it changes in the process, but for me the two are inextricably tied together.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
CC: I think I do have a specific style, and I hope that it is uniquely mine. I think I created it by absorbing all the things I liked about my favourite authors and distilling it down to what moved me as a reader. I got a review this morning that called Delicious a “turbo-charged” story. I giggled when I read that, because I could see myself in a shiny heart covered race car with a big chimera on the hood, and my foot pressed to the floor. I like a story that moves, and uses every word to bring the reader deeper in the tale. I am not a fan of filler scenes that do nothing but add pages. I need value in my lines. I need them to have meaning.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
CC: For me, if I dive into a story, I need a touchstone at the bottom to push off and come up for air. I think that comes from using something that I know. Is it all real? No, it’s fiction, but I think that writers are blessed and cursed to be stuck in refighting old battles, and healing old scars by creating a different outcome to things that have shaped us in the best and worst ways. It has to be real to me, in some sense, or I will never be able to make it real for the reader.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
CC: I use past experiences traveling or dreams of where I would like to go someday to inform my stories. In a perfect life I would travel to where I was writing about, and just live there until I was done with that part of the story.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
CC: As of now, I do my own cover work. Some members of my readers group, The Chimera Club, provide input on what works and what doesn’t. I enjoy the visual side of artistry almost as much as the written.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
CC: No especially, but if they do, I would love that.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favourite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
CC: Most recently, I have been captivated by Sandra McDonald, and her sci-fi short story, Seven Sexy Cowboy Robots. It was surreal, and amazing in ways I never expected.
My all-time favourite writer is Neil Gaiman. His prose is magical, and his mind is where I would choose to spend eternity if anyone ever came along and said where would you like to go next?
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
CC: My Queen Beta Kathy W. She is always there to tell me what works and what doesn’t, and she is a constant cheerleader for whatever fool thing I want to attempt.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
CC: Yes, very much so. It takes time and dedication, but the potential is there.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
CC: I would have written more about James and Della, because there is so much story there, and it was so hard to leave them and move on the next Chimera story. I think we will see them again. 🙂
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
CC: Yes! The Chimera world is more intricate and complex that I ever dreamed it would be. I found threads that tie the first book into this one, and set the stage for future books that left me amazed and giddy. At the same time, these stories are standalone romances that focus on the couple they are about. You don’t have to read them in any particular order to enjoy the love story, but there is a bigger picture, a mystery for those who enjoy that kind of thing.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
CC: Charlie Hunnam is James Draven in my mind, and Della is Anita Ekberg from La Dolce Vita. I know that bends time and space, but the question was who would I want :).
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
CC: Be honest. Be real. If you don’t feel what you are writing the reader won’t either. The real life experiences you have had that mark you, bad and good, are the strikes to the forge of your storytelling heart. Embrace them, spin them, and bleed out on every page you write, and be absolutely fearless.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
CC: I’m just getting started. Come join me. It’s going to be a ride that you won’t forget!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
CC: I am still working my way through Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology and The Best Science Fiction of the Year. I don’t have as much time for reading as I would like these days.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
CC: The Secret Garden.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
CC: Absurd things make me laugh, like MPFC, and I cry over those moments where you can see clearly the true nobility of the human spirit. It’s not always in the grand gestures, sometimes it’s as simple as seeing someone give their last dollar to someone who needs it more in the moment. Sometimes, it’s something as simple as a smile from someone who meets your eyes in a crowd and even though you don’t know them, you know in that instant they are united with you in the experience. Someone broken seemingly beyond repair and bleeding out quietly will decimate me.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
CC: There is a list of famous people I would love to meet, but not as a fan. In my mind there is bar or a diner where I can sit down beside them and talk about life, the universe and everything, and never acknowledge who they are to me, or the world. I want a real conversation, and not a gushing distraction from truly knowing them. People on that list? Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Alexander Skarsgard, Luc Besson, Robin McKinley, Joss Whedon
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
CC: Photography and watercolours
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
CC: Currently, The Punisher, Preacher, Lucifer, Longmire are my favorite TV shows. Movies, I just watched Radius and was blown away, Residue was incredible if you like films that make you think. I watch based on my mood, but my attention is held by a good story, being told well, no matter the genre.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
CC: Italian, aubergine, alternative/electronic
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
CC: It wouldn’t matter, a job is a job. It’s not what I want to do, so the particulars would be that it pays and keeps me from living under a bridge.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
CC: “I loved being lifted.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Find out more about Cybill Cain and the Chimera Club Stories:
Thank you, Fiona for letting me share with you today. Reach out to me anytime! Cybill Cain