I bumped in to Fiona while she was marathon training, wearing her new trainers, through the upper valley of the Clyde in Lanarkshire.
Sadly, I found Fiona was feeling a little disgruntled when I stopped to help her pull her left trainer from a rather malodorous cow-pat but after a good clean up, we could continue with the interview.
So, as is the theme of my chinwags, I started with a really easy question for Fiona.
1. Who was the first person to propose the uncertainty principle, which is vital to quantum mechanics and what are your thoughts on the subject?
My thoughts are, I really need to ask my 17 year-old son this, but he's out
unfortunately! He's never here when I need him.
Hmm... I feel this is a 'cop-out' answer Fiona and slightly disappointing considering it's an easy question to answer.
2. Could you tell us something about yourself that we may not already
My favourite cities are London, Paris, New York, Barcelona and San Sebastian. I'm a city person really, even though I am surrounded by fields where I live!
Hmm... I gathered that by your response to the cow-pat incident Fiona.
Yes - I steal lots from real life. Not consciously, but when I'm writing a scene and need some quirky or funny detail to make it seem real - rather than just generic 'chaotic mum stuff' - I often rack my brains for things that have happened in my family.
I wrote my first novel completely at night, but from then on I've juggled
freelance writing for magazines with writing novels. I work a normal five day week, plus weekends too if I need to. I have to say, it became a lot easier when all three were at school. But you learn to make the most of any quiet moments.
Hmm... I suspect that you don't get many of those 'quiet moments'.
5. Is your novel writing spontaneous or well planned out?
A mix of both: I plan all the time, writing schedules and goals and synopses for myself, but these often go awry. This just gives me something to aim for really. Writing is more fun when the plans do go awry, and hopefully, it makes a plot less predictable.
Girls can now find anything they want to know online, which is great is some ways - information is there, and easily accessed. But it's not always reliable and the sheer volume of info can be overwhelming. As teen magazines have gone into decline, I think teenagers are missing out in no longer having that trusted 'voice' to turn to. Like you, I adored magazines as a teen. I was obsessed with them!
I like Vogue for a shot of glamour and other-worldliness. I enjoy Sainsbury's magazine for the food, and Psychologies for a bit of 'inner life' stuff. But I don't read many mags these days. Some feel really repetitive and uninspired.
Really boring accounts stuff, things for dinner tonight, calls I need to make, a party venue to book, novels I want to read, an idea for a Father's day present... I have tons of lists on my phone, all categorised. I've moved on from notebooks to phone lists - so much tidier, I find!
Hmm... yes, I wondered what was stuck to the bottom of your soggy trainer, as you went past the phone, so I picked it up. Is it your to-do list Fiona?
My husband Jimmy and I had had our twin boys, who were toddlers then. I was working part time, freelancing for magazines, but wasn't really enjoying or 'using' London anymore. I still loved it, but we were living in a tiny, cave-like house, and had a back yard the size of a cereal box. We'd sort of had enough. But leaving was awful, even though it made sense. I felt I was leaving my younger self.
I'm not sure. I adore Jack, our collie cross, and hopefully he will live to a grand old age. But by that time our kids will all have flown the nest (unless they all come bouncing back, expecting their pants to be ironed at the age of 39... cripes, I hope not!). And by then I'd love me and Jimmy to be able to go away and travel at the drop of a hat. I'd only have another dog if we had a fairly home-based life.
Beware... the kids will return again and again and again and again and...
Especially when you're cooking Sunday morning bacon rolls.
Well, I hope my books get better and better - with each one, I try to improve, and the feedback for Take Mum Out has been fantastic. I don't want to get stuck in a rut either. I'd like to try something different - still in the romantic comedy vein, but something that gives people a bit of a jolt! I have a few ideas brewing.
12. Are you looking forward to grandparent-hood in the future and could there possibly be a book about it?
I'd love that, but as my twin boys are 17, and daughter is 14, I'd like to think that is way down the line... but yes, it'll be lovely. Granny-lit might be worth a go!
13. As you enjoy running, have you done or ever considered doing the London Marathon?
I have applied for 2015 actually, but won't find out until October whether I have a place. I'd like to run for the Alzheimer's Society.
Well I think you'll be safe from cow-pats in the heart of London, Fiona.
It's really just doodling these days. I used to take sketchbooks and pens and paints on holiday when we used to go to rural Brittany, but I haven't drawn for ages. I think I'm a bit rubbish actually especially as one of my sons is a fantastic painter.
Well Fiona, National Doodle Day is on the 6th February 2015, so why not get your pencils out and have a scribble before the run in April. Looks like a busy 2015 for you.
15. What did you read as a child?
I was mad on Enid Blyton and also loved a sci-fi novel called Z for Zachariah, which is odd as I'd never read sci-fi now.
I've just read two memoirs, Lynn Barber's and Mark Ellen's - both brilliant - and am now dipping into my collection of David Sedaris books, hilarious essays which I go back to now and again.
Nothing terribly much at the moment. Our dripping shower. The stain on our bedroom ceiling. My geriatric laptop. Guess I'm pretty content!
Hmm... how old is your laptop, I wonder.
As for the dripping shower Fiona, it could potentially cause a water shortage throughout Lanarkshire, so here's something for you...
I wanted to go to art school and applied but didn't get a place. I thought I'd like to be an illustrator but realise now that I'm not nearly good enough. Luckily, I got job on Jackie magazine straight after leaving school at 17.
I love a chilled glass of white wine in the sunshine, or a G&T.
20. Would you like to own a deserted island or a town and why?
No - I think the responsibility of looking after the flora and fauna, or the deserted buildings, would freak me out. Though a little cottage in Cornwall or France would be lovely.
'Aren't you going to wear a coat?' No, I'm joking. It's just, that's probably the phrase I have uttered more than any other during my 17 years of being a mum.
Hmm... I know what you mean; they just don't feel the cold do they?
22. Do you ever laugh at things you shouldn't?
Yes - usually in secret. Laughing at stressy parenting issues can take the heat and angst out of them.
Well Fiona, here is a really cool rapping song just for you...
Being able to make a living from getting ideas down and making some sense out of them, and having people respond to them in some way. Dreaming up plots is great fun.
I'd rent a flat in Paris with Jimmy and just enjoy living there and pretending to be a real Parisian. I'd still write, though. I don't really think of it as work.
25. What are your thoughts on lava lamps?
I bought one each for my kids - 3 lamps!! - and I have to say no one was terribly excited. Bit disappointing really. All three broke very quickly. I'd rather have one of those projector things that beams moving oily pictures onto the wall!
Hmm... you know Fiona, from your past experiences of lava lamps, there could be some mileage in a sequel to Lewis Carroll's classic. You could call it something like - 'Fiona Threw the Lava Lamps'.
Well that’s it. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me in this interview today. I wish you well for the future Fiona.
Thank you xx
You can find out more about Fiona on the Author Showcase here or visit her wonderful website at: http://fionagibson.com/