An Interview with Fiona Robyn

I love author blogs. It’s so interesting to read about what other writers go through in their process. It’s also a great way to find new books to read. If I hadn’t stumbled across Fiona Robyn’s blog, I might have missed out on reading The Letters and missed the chance to connect with a fellow writer. That would have been a shame.

As part of her blog tour, Fiona stopped by to answer some questions.

1. I love your main character in The Letters. She’s really not a people person, but she’s a very likable character. How did she come to you? In writing the book, did she evolve much from your initial ideas of her?

I’m glad you thought so, Allie – not everyone has liked Violet, and I can understand that! My characters seem to appear in a vague, shadowy way – I think Violet first appeared as a lean, brusque woman in leggings and a long flapping cardigan. I do get to know them gradually – both before I start writing, by wondering what kind of music they might like or how they lost their virginity, and then during the writing process by watching what happens to them and how they respond. It’s as if she already exists somewhere, fully formed, and it’s my job to uncover her character piece by piece.

2. How long have you been writing?

I wrote my first poem at the age of twenty, and started writing novels about five years ago. I’ve been a professional reader for many more years!

3. What is your writing space like?

I have a very tiny office attached to the bedroom – I can touch both walls if I stretch out my arms. I’m a minimalist and I try to keep it as empty as possible – empty rooms help me to keep my head clear. I have a snowglobe with a cat inside, a candle holder, pens and paper, and not much else.

4. Do you have any rituals associated with writing time?

I light my tea-light when I start, and blow it out when I’m finished and I’m allowed to check my email!

5. Where were you when you found out your first book had sold?

I was in bed with my lap-top – terrible habit! I couldn’t quite believe it and had to read Anna’s email about thirty times. I had known about Snowbooks for some time – I’d been attracted to their site and their philosophy – so I was over the moon.

6. Do you have any advice for writers who are just starting out?
Get plenty of support (from groups, colleagues, books etc.) – writing can be lonely and disheartening if you go it alone. See publication as a long term goal, and keep writing. Enjoy it if you can!

7. You have a new book coming out. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

The Blue Handbag is about Leonard, a 62 year old gardener who makes some odd discoveries about his wife after her death. Accompanied by Lily, his wife’s old school friend, he becomes a reluctant detective and tries to get to the bottom of her secrets. There are a lot of plants, a bit of Johnny Cash, and a smidgeon of Leonard’s dodgy sense of humour.

Thanks, Fiona!


  1. Nice interview. The Blue Handbag sounds very interesting.

  2. Who is the person on the front cover of the book? She looks very lovely.
    And yes, it is interesting to learn how writers go about it. I always think writers must be “super people”, different in some way to the likes of me because I know I could never write a book. So it is good to learn that they are not.

  3. How cool. I love hearing about other people’s writing processes.

  4. I love the idea of all the background details about Violet that we never get to know but that impact on what we do see of her. That seems so real, so life-like, we never know everything about a person we meet, just the bits they show us or the bits we deduce from reading between the lines.

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