Author Fiona Skye is a fantasy author who shares a home with her husband, two kids, three cats, a betta fish, and a Border Collie. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.
My name is Fiona Skye. I’m originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, but I’m presently living in Tucson, AZ. I’ve been writing since I was twelve years old, but only within the past five years or so have I turned my attention to fiction. Before that, I was editor-in-chief for a weekly newspaper, as well as a staff writer for a monthly magazine. I’m also a freelance fiction editor and burgeoning cover artist.
When and why did you begin writing?
I was about twelve or so, and I’d always loved playing make-believe with my friends. I’d make up stories for us to act out—big, epic battles between elves and dwarfs and orcs (my father was a big Tolkien fan and first read The Hobbit to me when I was about seven), or we’d pretend we were flying to Neverland with Peter and Wendy, or we were stray dogs living in the forest, waiting for some nice family to adopt us. Anyway, there was a band in the 1980s called White Lion, and they had this song called The Lady Of The Valley. Something about it really got my imagination going, but instead of just playacting, I sat down and wrote my first short story. I gave it to my writing teacher and she helped me edit and develop it. I was hooked instantly. I filled the next four years with furiously-scribbled stories in about a thousand notebooks, then I applied for my school newspaper. I promptly forgot about fiction and focused solely on nonfiction for the almost the next twenty years.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Honestly, it was probably when my first article was published in my college newspaper. Before that, it was more like a hobby or a cathartic exercise or something I did for a grade. But seeing my name in print and getting feedback from readers told me that maybe I was a writer and not just a dabbler.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
I actually have three current books. One is an alternate history love story about a 21st- century woman from Los Angeles who somehow winds up in 8th-century England. She falls in with a bunch of Danes and has to figure out to survive and get back to her own time. It’s called Bones and Ravens, and it’ll probably be a stand-alone novel.
The second of my WIPs is a mash-up of urban fantasy and sci-fi. It’s about a woman who is suffering from amnesia. She’s an assassin for the local vampire clan, and as she’s doing jobs for these vampires, she slowly uncovers a conspiracy involving the US military and a corrupt scientist. I’m writing it as a serial novel. I’m planning two “season” of five episodes each. Ideally, I’d like to release the first season, which I’m calling Silent Whisper, over a period of 5-6 weeks, so that means I’ve got to write and edit the entire thing before I can release it.
The last book I’m working on is the first in a cozy mystery series about the editor of a small weekly newspaper in a mountain village in Colorado. It’s called Bury The Lede. It’s set at Christmas time, so I have almost an entire year to write it and get it ready for publication.
What inspired you to write this book?
Bones And Ravens is inspired by the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and the Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell and by the Netflix show “The Last Kingdom”, which is based on Cornwell’s books. Plus I’ve been getting more into Old Norse myth and language as I’ve been exploring my Norwegian ancestry more.
Silent Whisper is inspired by a TV show from the early 2000s, called “Dark Angel”. It explores the same themes as my book, namely genetic manipulation and military training to create the perfect super soldier.
Bury The Lede came about because I love reading cozy mysteries, so I thought I’d try to write one myself.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
Bones and Ravens came about because the love interest is nicknamed Hrafenkell, which means “raven’s helmet”, because he has very dark, glossy hair that reminds people of ravens’ wings. The Bones part comes from an actual historical figure, Guthrum the Unlucky, who wore one of his mother’s rib bones tied into his hair.
Silent Whisper is so-called because the main character is named Whisper, whose past is silent. I know, it’s a little on the nose, but I’m really, really bad with titles.
Bury The Lede is from an old newspaper term for starting an article with details of secondary importance while postponing more important facts. Plus it has “bury” in it and that means someone’s gonna die.
What authors have most influenced your life? If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor?
Diana Gabaldon and Jim Butcher are my two writing gods. Gabaldon has taught me so much about humanizing my characters and to really love research. Butcher has taught me how to play the long game—how to sprinkle early books in a series with facts that seem to be throw-aways but which show themselves to be major plot points as the series continues.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
I designed this cover, which is the only one I have finalized for the three WIPs I’ve mentioned above. I selected this illustrator because I’m cheap! 🙂