Recently I had the opportunity of asking Fiona McArthur a few questions in the lead up to her latest release Mothers’ Day. Many thanks to Fiona for taking time out to answer my questions and it was lovely to met you in person at my local library. MOTHERS’ DAY by Fiona McArthur is published by Penguin Random House Australia and is available now, RRP $32.99, buy it here. A big thank you to the Penguin team for sending me a review copy and you can find a link to my review at the end of the interview.
FM-Thank so much for asking me to join you today.
1. You developed Mothers’ Day from a short story you wrote in the past. Can you tell us a bit about how the story evolved from the original version?
FM- Like all my books I start with a first scene in my head – a video running of a first meet, a conversation, and a conflict.
In the first scene for the story, I imagined a very young mum, and her newly discovered father trying to attend together. Add a country midwife with strong views of normal birth and a closet obstetrician who’s used to dealing with lives at risk and you have conflict. There were a lot of laugh out loud moments as I wrote.
In MOTHER’S DAY, I knew Noni and Iain’s story, I wanted to explore Jacinta’s world more, see where she lived before she came to Burra, what her life was like, what it was like for her to have to deal with a new dad and being shifted out of her frame of reference. The same went for Aunt Win. She was the rock, why was she the rock, what about her happiness, and let’s look at the way these three women drew and supported each other. For Iain, well he had to move into the 21st Century and learn to deal with expanding his world. I loved these people and getting to know them more fully was a delight.
2. You are about to embark on your first book tour (lucky me my local library is a stop!), are you excited to meet some of your fans?
FM- I can’t wait. Libraries are fabulous. These are the people who read my books and write to me. I’m a people person and love meeting people, hearing their stories, listening to their take when they read my books, and hearing their dreams. We leave home on a Saturday and are back on Thursday for a road trip with three diverse authors, hearing their stories too, lots of travel and every day new readers. It will be huge fun.
3. How do you find time to fit writing in around all of your other commitments, especially your midwifery work?
FM- I write early in the morning, around 4am and 6am and it works for me. If I’m working that day – I leave before half past six – but I’ve done my writing. If I have a deadline and the book isn’t finished I write on days off. Sometimes I dash away for a few days for alone time and write all day.
4. Do you have any advice for any readers who aspire to be a writer, but don’t know where to start?
FM- I do. ☺ From Norah Roberts. ‘You can fix a bad page you can’t fix a blank one.’ Everyone has their own way of getting words down and books written. After needing to meet deadlines for twenty years, with work and five boys and now 7 grandchildren, as long as I write every day the book will get finished. I start with a first scene and write until I know the characters. Try for as little as 500 words and in 100 days you’ll have 50,000 words. In 200 days -100,000. Don’t wait for the urge to write, or the perfect words or sentence structure, just write until you get to the end. Then you can play with it.
5. Lastly, if you could only pick one book to read for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
FM- See that’s hard – if life was short I’d read something that would make me laugh. Like a Georgette Heyer regency romance like Devil’s Cub, or an early Jennifer Cruisie like Charlie All Night, and end with a smile on my face. If I was on a desert island and needed to pass lots of time, then it would have to be something longer, like Cross Stitch (which I’ve read four times) but I’d much prefer to write a series of novels until I went to sleep.
Where to buy a copy:
Head over here for my review and as always, happy reading x