Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Interview with author Fiona Dodwell

Today, my guest is author Fiona Dodwell.

1)    Tell me a little about your book.
The Banishing is a dark story about one woman's struggle to survive. My central character, Melissa, finds herself fighting for her marriage – and her soul – in a supernatural struggle against evil.

2)    What gave you the idea for this particular story?
Honestly? I don't quite know. Sometimes, as a writer, ideas fall into our lap, and it is our job to unlock these ideas. I had this tiny seed of an idea, about a woman fighting alone against a darkness, an evil, and it grew naturally as I began putting this idea to paper.

3)    Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I am a part-time writer, at this time in my life it has to be this way. I always allow myself that time, though, to put everything aside and to throw myself into my writing. Working has never hindered my writing, in fact, at times, my experiences in life have helped inspire it.

4)    When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I have a very clear, distinct memory of being in the classroom. I was about ten years old, and my teacher asked me what I wanted to do when I was older. I answered, 'I want to be an author.' My love of books has been with me for as long as I can remember, and I knew from an early age that books would take a centrol role in my life.

5)    What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I hope readers will be scared! I love writing dark fiction because I love scaring, unsettling, unnerving people. That aside, I hope readers will be able to get lost in the world I have built, enjoy that escapisim that a good book brings. If I can do that, I'll be happy.

6)    Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
Anything dark. I love horror, paranormal, all of those. I think it is simply because I grew up on a diet horror movies and ghost stories. It's what I enjoy and now I love creating that for myself.

7)    What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Like everything in life, writing can be hard. There are times when you feel more inspired to write than others – and that is when you need to dedicate yourself, remain focused. There are also times when you write something you love but know in your heart you have to re-write it, delete it, change it. Always trying to be aware of what you're doing and being able to be 'honest' with yourself when something isn't working.

8)    Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me abouit it.
Really, there is no character and no storyline in my novel that resembles real life. And when you read it, you'll be glad!

9)    How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Very different, to be honest. I like to create characters outside of myself, try to enjoy being in the mind of somebody entirely different. That's part of the fun for me, to get to explore the mentatily of other minds.

10)    What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
I had to research domestic violence, hauntings, posession. Many of the things I touch upon in The Banishing were already things I'd exposed myself to before – not because of my writing, but because they were subjects I was interested in.

11)    Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
I had to write scenes that were violent and upsetting. Sometimes it bothers me, but if it is necessary to the scene and to the story, I will go with it.  In The Banishing, the violence was a neccessary aspect of the story, but I tried to be careful about the way in which I included it.

12)    What about your book makes it special?
I just love my main character, Melissa. Throughout the story, the reader is able to follow her journey from fear, self-doubt, to strength and confidence. One woman against the world, it feels like at certain points, and it's wonderul seeing how she weaves her way through the darkness she faces.

13)    What is your marketing plan?
I will be busy in March with the release of my book. It is released on the 1st March 2011.
I will be taking part in some book signings, working with the local paper for ads and interview sessions and some online promotion too. Anything can change, plans are sometimes being made up until the last minute – so keep your eyes out!

14)    Where can people learn more about you and your work?
My web site address is here: http://fionasfiction.wordpress.com
I would love people to visit. I have some short stories available as well as more information on my novel and upcoming releases.

15)    Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
I think you have to have a passion for what you want to do. I know that when I began writing dark, paranormal fiction, I had already exposed myself for years to the dark fiction of other writers. You have to read it, believe it. If that passion is there, it will translate. You have to see what works, understand what scares you. Sometimes it's not always the obvious things. When you explore the dark side of human nature and human fears, you are more likely to bring something unsettling into your stories.

Excerpt from The Banishing

Melissa Sanderson watched as the small pool of thick, dark blood spread across the white tiled floor and wondered, not for the first time, if she should end it all. If she should end everything. She leaned forward, still on her hands and knees, and began scrubbing at the blood with the damp cloth she found behind the bathroom sink.
    She had already locked the bathroom door in case he returned - which he often did - so that she could keep him away. Keep him out. The cloth smeared the blood into an arc around her, like an inverted rainbow of red, and she tried to ignore the urge to vomit as she wrung the wet cloth over the sink and watched the blood trickle down the drain.
    Her stomach tightened and she leaned forward, heaving over the toilet bowl. Nothing came up; her stomach was empty. She hadn’t eaten since the night before. She gagged, her stomach lurching and contracting in angry spasms.
    A sharp knock at the bathroom door, and she wrestled herself slowly to her feet. Unsteady, shaking, she leaned back against the sink and waited.
    “Hurry up in there. I need to get ready for work.” His voice was as hard as iron, unmoveable, unshakable. She wanted to open the door and hit him, hurt him, but that idea was laughable. She wasn’t capable of that, no matter what he did to her, no matter how he treated her.
    “I’ll be five minutes. I’ve just got to get cleaned up.”
    She heard the footsteps of her husband dissolve down the hallway and back into their bedroom. How has it come to this, she asked herself? She turned around, stared into the large mirror on the wall beside her and she recoiled at the face staring back at her from inside the glass world. It was barely recognisable. Her bottom lip was bruised, swollen and spilt from where he had just hit her. A thick line of congealed blood clung to the bottom of her mouth, drying, clotting. He was getting out of control, she knew, her eyes scanning the face in front of her.


  1. Thanks for having me over here, Penny :)

    If people are interested, the e-book version is now available on Amazon and Damnation Books.
    Paperback to follow next week.

  2. Fiona, my pleasure. Thanks for the update.