Tuesday 5 February 2019

Interview: Skye McNeil

hearts-abroad, skye-mcneil, book

With just over a week to go until Valentine's Day, what better opportunity could there be to chat with a romance author? Skye McNeil is the author of wonderful romance novel Hearts Abroad, and she's kindly agreed to stop by the blog for a chat about her writing life.

Firstly, please could you introduce yourself?
Hello! I’m Skye McNeil and I’ve been obsessed with books since I was a child. I write part-part and work full-time as a paralegal at a law firm. Criminal law is my favourite. Right now, I write romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and thrillers. I also dabble with historical romance now and again. When I’m not writing, I hang out with my amazing daughter and our pets. I also like to binge-watch shows and try my hand at photography.
How did you first become interested in writing?
I’ve always had a colourful imagination. Being the third out of four children, I spent a lot of time alone, simply playing outside or by myself. Back then, I’d create stories and make-believe worlds. As I grew, so did my love of reading and storytelling. I wrote my first full-length novel at seventeen years old, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I truly considered writing something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Tell me about Hearts Abroad.
I have a secret obsession with men with accents. It can’t be helped. I also adore travelling when I can manage it. Hearts Abroad encompasses both of those. I have an eight-year-old daughter and I wanted to write a story where I could use children to also help guide the story. Hearts Abroad is about a playwright who takes a summer off to be a nanny for an English single dad. You can imagine, there is plenty of fun, sass, and love all around, but I won’t give too much away.
Why did you decide to write in the romance genre?
I love love. Whenever I read, I like to have an element of romance. It doesn’t always need to be the main genre, but I crave the angst that romance includes. Writing romance is natural for me. I tend to create the ideal man for the main female character and go from there. Falling in love usually only happens for a person once or twice in life. When you read (and write), you have the opportunity to fall in love as many times as you like.
Why do you think it’s important for romances to have a happily ever after?
Having a Happily Ever After is a must for me. I’ve read many books where it hasn’t happened and it’s depressing. Life is already tough and romance books shouldn’t be. A HEA gives the reader hope for their future. Plus, we all like to see the couple end up together.
skye-mcneil, author

What’s your writing process?
My writing process usually consists of jotting down minor details about a story or character and expanding on that. I use a notepad and pen for my first draft. It helps me connect with my characters more for some reason. Once a scene grips me, I write it all out no matter where I’m at or the time. If I don’t, the scene replays in my head until I do.
Tell me about your journey to getting published.
Getting published is one of the most difficult things for a writer. It isn’t easy. I have a very full Rejection folder in my email to prove it. I think not getting published right away forced me to really focus on my work and make it the best I could. Thankfully, one publisher took a chance on me in 2015 and three more have followed suit since then.
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
I think the hardest thing about writing is saying goodbye to characters. I literally create their lives and loves then must say goodbye once their story has ended. Sometimes, it makes writing The End impossible since I don’t want them to go away. Of course, editing isn’t my favourite part either, but I doubt many writers like that.
What do you love most about writing?
What I love most about writing is leaving my life for a little while and diving into a new one. There’s just something special about escaping real life for a little ‘me’ time. The connections with readers and writers around the world are also what I love about the writing process.
Which authors inspire you?
I don’t have just one author who has inspired me, but a handful. To name a few, Kat Martin, Diana Gabaldon, J.K. Rowling, and Jane Austen. I can’t pinpoint just one or two authors because each one inspires me in different ways. The constant is that they all had plenty of rejections before finally becoming powerhouses. I’d love to someday be among one of those ladies who fought for their works and succeeded despite rejections.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
A few tips for aspiring writers would include, finding a friend or fellow writer to read your work and critique it before you begin the publishing process. That being said, another tip would be to take their constructive criticism with grace. It isn’t fun to be on the receiving end of it, but it will make you a better writer and help you grow a thick skin because you’ll need one.
What are you currently working on?
Right now, I’m writing book three in my Mobster Files series, book three in the Atlas series, and book three in the Collegiate Peaks series. All of which, I hope to have submitted to publishers before summer 2019.
What are you reading at the moment?
At the moment, I’m beta reading a fabulous YA novel by Josh Langlois. I am also re-reading my Mobster Files books to make sure I have all my details perfected as I write book three.
What’s your all-time favourite book?
Oh goodness, deciding my all-time favourite book is torture to a reader. I don’t think it’s possible for me, so I’ll give you my top two: A Little of Chantelle Rose by Cristina Hodgson and Deep Blue by Kat Martin.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My ambitions for my writing career are to be a writer full-time. I would absolutely love to rent out a cute little office space on the fourth floor of some building and write all day long. Obviously, the ultimate goal is to be somewhat famous, have my books turned into movies, and hang out with Jimmy Fallon on weekends, but those are dreams and we have to have those too.
Hearts Abroad is available to buy now. For more about Skye and her writing, check out her website or find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Will you be picking up Hearts Abroad for Valentine's Day? Let me know in the comments below!