Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Author interview with Fionne Foxxe Farraday

This week I’m interviewing the wonderful Fionne Foxxe Farraday, a truly inspirational lady who has one of the best reasons for writing fiction I've ever heard! She writes Science fiction/ romance novels and has 2 books to her name so far. The first was traditionally published in 2022, her second novel, indie published, was released this year, so let’s meet her. 

‘I'm a pulmonary/ critical care doc. I was on medical leave in Spring 2020 for a mini-stroke and came back to the throes of the first wave of Covid. We were losing entire families. We did not have the tools that we needed. I was coming home angry, depressed, and frustrated. I started writing as a coping mechanism and to give us the happy endings we were not seeing in real life. 

The first book Kairn is a love letter to my ICU nurses who (knowing they were probably going to lose their patients) spent 12 hour shifts at bedsides and were the only support systems patients had, as families were not allowed to visit.’ 

OMG! How awful. Dealing with a mini-stroke and then returning to the hell of Covid? What an amazing lady 😍 How is her health now?

'I’m very lucky. I didn’t have any long term sequelae. As long as I take my medications religiously, the problematic area is expected to remain stable. Fingers (and toes) crossed.'

I'm crossing mine too! It's a relief to hear she considered herself 'lucky' but what about her nurses? Is work back to normal or has Covid left longer-term issues?

'I think there is a new “normal.” Sadly, Covid is with us for the foreseeable future. We did lose a lot of nurses because of burn out / PTSD. 

ICU nurses are a different breed. By necessity, a lot of the Covid ward nurses were also. The first 18 months or so of the Covid pandemic were so horrific — beyond anything we could have imagined. I think it left all of those who experienced it with a stark sense of our own mortality — and a fierce determination to treasure every precious moment of life. Nothing is guaranteed to any of us.'

Sadly that's all too true, but I do find myself in awe of Fionne and her team. The nurses sound amazing – how did they react when they learnt she had written her novel for them?

'The ICU nurses are indeed amazing. They defy description in mere words. They are superheroes.' (Hear, hear!) 'A lot of them were bemused at the thought of being included in a scifi alien romance. They were tickled that some of the main characters worked in healthcare — even more because they were based in the ICU. 

The character of Mikka / Emily is a composite of some of my favourite ICU nurses (who are also hands down some of the finest care givers I have had the honour to know). It gave them something to laugh about - and tease me over. I think the books brought us an even deeper sense of camaraderie and friendship.'

Aw, how wonderful! Can she give us a tweetable for us to share (tweet here):

'I’ve been living in the MOTA world for 3 yrs. My characters are now good friends. I write because they have poignant & powerful stories to share. Across universes, they find the 1 imperfect soul perfect for them. YES… I believe in happy endings.'

Knowing what a busy life she leads, does she have a daily writing routine? 

'I usually write at night after work and on weekends. I try to write a minimum of 500 words. If I write less, I don’t badger myself about it. If I write more, then it’s just a bonus.'
I think that's a pretty impressive goal, considering how hectic her working life must be. What does she enjoy the most about writing?
'Creating a believable world. MOTA is a series… so “cameo” appearances by prior couples in subsequent books. It’s just so uplifting to see how their Bond has deepened — and how their Family is growing.'
And what does she find the hardest?  
'I have a very hard time with names. And editing is like performing surgery on a Family member (they are the children of my mind).'
This makes me laugh, what a great simile! How does she write characters very different from herself?  
'I try to put myself in their headspace, to imagine how they would react: emotionally and physically. Sometimes it’s a very different viewpoint, particularly as I have alien and human couples. My aliens have very little understanding of what we would see as boundaries.'
That does sound challenging! So let's turn to Darzik: Mates of the Alliance. This is Fionne's second book in the series, following Kairn, and she has more written in the series which are not yet released. Can she give us a synopsis?
'Once the victim of a vicious attack, she’s learned that the best justice is a life well-lived - and full of love. She’s a survivor—NOT a victim.

Quietly supportive, Darzik’s been patiently waiting. Little does he know, but she’s done waiting. She’s going to reclaim her.. their life.  He won’t know what hit him!'
And a tweet for you to share (tweet here):
'He is: Committed. Devoted. Faithful. Utterly hers
She is: survivor, not victim. She’s ready to LIVE

Fall in love. Discover the Alliance. Read Darzik
Share the joy. Tell your friends.'
This sounds my sort of story! What was the hardest scene to write and why? 

'Emily/ Mikka’s  prologue which is the aftermath of the attack. I wanted to show the brutality of what happened to her... and the incredible support she received from her Family. I wanted to do her justice and treat it with the sensitivity she deserved. I also wanted to show the impact that her attack had on her entire Family.'
That's very powerful. Did she need to complete any research? 

'I had to do research for  an ecological disaster. Also, these alien Mates absolutely panic at the thought of labor/ intimacy in pregnancy. Darzik and Kairn treat their human Mates like fine-spun crystal — much to their Mates’ dismay. Probably every day or so I went back, whenever I had another question.'

Having whet our appetites, can she give us an extract?
'Glancing up, she saw understanding, patience,& acceptance in his waiting gaze. A smile trembled on her lips. I’ve let fear control me long enough. No more. I won’t be a victim. This is my life. I’m taking it back.'
I'm already cheering for her! What readers does she think would enjoy her work?

'If you like Avatar, Shape of Water, or Ruby Dixon… you’ll love Mates of the Alliance.
My characters are fiercely monogamous. The aliens are battle-weary veterans of a generations-long war. In their human Mates, they find the peace, joy, & acceptance that they never dreamed could be theirs. As for the humans, this gives them the safety (I know… not a “sexy” word) to develop incredible unconditional trust in the immutability of their Bond — and the freedom to explore their relationship without reservations.'

This sounds very marketable but it's one thing to write the book, quite another to find out what the audience thinks. Does she read reviews of her books?  
'I do read reviews. If they rate one of my books as less than 4 star, I want to know why. Most of the lower ratings actually DON’T have reviews so I have no idea what they didn’t like about the books and characters.'
You can imagine how frustrating that must be! I know I've mentioned this before but please do leave reviews for authors and let them know what you think - they need our help! If you're not sure what to do, please read my pinned post here
Back to Fionne, what's been the best money she's spent as a writer?  
'I went to Dragon Con last year. It was an epiphany to see how much of an impact these fictional characters can have.'
Oohh, what did people say, and how did it make her feel?
'Two specific encounters come to mind:

I had gone to DragonCon in 2022 for the first time - before my book was even printed. Some young women had taken the sample booklet to read. They came by the booth for DragonCon 2023 to tell me how much they had enjoyed it - and Kairn. They made my week.

And, even better, someone reached out to me on IG to tell me how much she liked the premise. Through hours of long chats about books, authors, and a shared love of animals, Aurora is now one of my dearest friends. I never imagined making  such a deep friendship on social media - and it arose over a love of books. She also mentioned that she liked that there wasn't much of a physical description of Daria - so that the reader could imagine herself... the girl next door... her best friend as Daria.

The feedback leaves me speechless.   I have spent nearly four years in this world. These characters are real to me and have become dear Friends and Family. It makes me feel like one of my kids just won an unexpected award.'

Aw, I love this! As I've never been, can she tell us more about Dragoncon?
'I went over Labor Day weekend and was one of a group of authors in a booth. I got to learn about each author and their books. So many amazing writers and intricate irresistible worlds:  C L Wilson, Sheila English, TA White, FT Lukens, DL Wainwright, Elissa Wilds, and Peter Sartucci.  

DragonCon, it truly is an incredible experience. There is a tangible energy in the air. The costumes are truly spectacular — you don’t know where to look first! It is such a rush to be around so many people who love scifi, fantasy. 
I got to meet many authors, so many book  (of all kinds) lovers, and make a slew of new friends. It is truly a unique and powerful experience, and one I hope to do EVERY year. I would recommend a Con to anyone fascinated by scifi fantasy.'

It sounds so much fun! I'll have to see if they do them in the UK too. Fionne has 9 unpublished manuscripts at the moment (wow!) but I'd heard another rumour, which she happily confirmed:
'Yes, Kairn has also been converted into a screen play. The screenwriters are phenomenal and we were very lucky. Kairn’s screenplay placed in Los Angeles Film Awards, Nature Without Borders, and Rome Film Awards.'

Oh my goodness, that's amazing 🎉🥳🎉Did she envisage her work being in film and did she have much input in the process?
'I never imagined the Mates as film. My screenwriters have been great. I'm very lucky. I've actually been given a lot of input. The heart of Kairn is the resonance and devotion of their Bond.'
Outstanding! I ended by asking if there was anything Fionne would like to add?
'I hope that my books will be a passport to an immersive and mesmerizing world. While a powerful love story lies at their heart, these stories have underlying themes of Friendship, Family, Stewardship of the Earth, and Unity (beneath superficial differences, we have so very much in common).'
And I can't think of anything better! Fionne is such an inspirational lady and I hope you enjoyed learning more about her. If you'd like to find out more about her work, please use her links below:

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