Fiona McVie from Glasgow, Scotland reached out via international virtual reality on Glasgow, Scotland Book Interview
and asked for an interview about The Unholy. I was struck by one of the questions pertaining to family life. What touched me was how my mind lit on my granddaughter, Zoey! She has learned to watercolor. What a delight it is to see her in action. Only two years old and filled with the joy of a new discovery, eyes bright and heart twittering with excitement. I felt joy in giving this book interview as I hope you will if you can take some time and give it a read.
Where are you from? New Mexico
A little about yourself, your education, family life etc...
I am a husband of 40 years to a wonderful artist and art historian, Kate. We share the joy of four adult children, two writers and two artists, and a wild creature of creativity, our granddaughter – Zoey. I am a Ph.D. in clinical psychology specializing in adult psychotherapy for individuals in emotional and spiritual crisis, a therapist and writer whose writing has been both in non-fiction (psychology and spirituality) and fiction – thrillers, the first of which is The Unholy, a novel that explores the dark side of religion and the human struggle for spiritual freedom.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest news is that my next psychological thriller, Goddess of the Wild Thing, is completed and ready for release in about six months with my publisher, Sunstone Press. It’s a thriller about love and whether bad love is better than no love – a woman’s struggle to find herself and her discovery that love is a wild thing!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I always wanted to be a psychologist and writer since I was sixteen years old. I read Freud, Jung, and William James along with H.P. Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood, and Arthur Machen. They were the old men that set loose a passion for the human psyche and creativity in the realm of therapy and writing.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It really began when I was sixteen. I saw an image of myself in my mind as a writer. It’s never left and I hope it never will. It’s a good and replenishing thing.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first thriller was The Unholy. My wife, Kate, inspired me to bring my experiences in treating survivors of religious trauma into a story. Out popped The Unholy.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I feel that the old gothic writers like Blackwood and Lovecraft and Machen are guiding lights for me along with Hemmingway and Carver. I like things to be as lean and into the story as possible, to move along, tell the tale, and paint the picture of what can happen when things go wrong and how to set about dealing with it.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Ahhh….religious trauma is The Unholy. It gets to the heart of things that violate the soul, human integrity and conscience. The title hit the mark of the darkness that the young medicine woman suffered and had to go up against and deal with in a way decisive and shocking.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The message is – the dark side of religion kills. It’s about the soul being snuffed out and fear and despair setting in so deep a person feels there’s no way out. The dark side of religion kills, as The Unholy dramatizes, and it’s how the young medicine woman in the story dealt with it that’s totally riveting.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Oh – The Unholy dramatizes real experiences of real people whose identities are obscured to protect their privacy, a novel about so many people that it is about no one person because it is about everyone at some time or another in life when religion has been questioned and the face of the dark side of religion jumped out front and center.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Like I said, it’s the novels of Lovecraft, Machen, Blackwood along with Hemmingway, Carver, and Castanaeda, with his workings of natural magic in the everyday world, that set my pen afire on the page.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
The new indie authors that I have read such as Tamara Ferguson, Jeff Jackson, Alice Montalvo, Rayna Noire, Nuzo Onoh, David W. Wright, and Sean Platt are stimulating reads. All these folks are great writers, tell a good story, and clear out your head.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
An entity that supported me – well that’s tough – gotta’ say there’s nothing that comes to mind in terms of anything outside of my own sense of self and my intimate relationships.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Oh…writing is a calling. It comes from deep inside. And, if it’s there you got to follow through and write out the words, tell the story, and speak your mind.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope – The Unholy hits the dark side of religion hard. It’s riled people up. That’s what a novel is supposed to be – a new idea, a novel thought, that provokes and sets the wheels of imagination turning.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Harris Channing did the cover along with my publisher Sunstone Press. I described the actual place of the Devil’s Throne and they did a bang up job of making the image into a surreal book cover.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you feel the urge, do the words. There’s something in you or you wouldn’t feel it in the first place. Do what you have to do and don’t look back.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
When you pick up the story of The Unholy, have a blanket close, wrap up, and get ready for a thrilling read and a wild ride!
Glasgow, Scotland Book Interview