Monday Mortals: Vanessa Finaughty


I'm delighted to have the lovely Vanessa Finaughty with me today. 
Hi Vanessa! Can you tell us a little about your latest book.
My latest book is a fantasy short story anthology called Sorcery & Subterfuge. The anthology contains all my favourite fantasy elements, like dragons, magic, elves and, of course, the ryokin from my Legends of Origin series. Some of the stories were written on commission for Oxford RSA (though I retain all rights other than educational). Those stories are Prince of Runeguard, The Enemy Crown and Ryokin Master.

What inspired you to write it?
Some of the stories were commissioned by Oxford, but all were inspired by my love of anything fantasy, because I believe that many of the things we consider to be fantasy are merely another form of reality we've yet to fully grasp. Such as magic - there are people out there who can move things with their minds (telekinetic) and those who can see into the future (psychic); these things could easily be called magic and, in fact, appear in many fantasy works.

Is it part of a series?
Sorcery & Subterfuge isn't, no, though the stories that involve the ryokin from my Legends of Origin series are sneak peeks into future characters in the series. These stories can be considered an introduction to those series characters, before they met Liam MacAskill, my series MC.

If your latest book was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
I haven't really thought about Sword & Sorcery being turned into a movie, to be honest. When it comes to movies, I see Legends of Origin as a TV series; as a movie, the series is likely to end up as three-part, three-hour movies. As for the main character in the series, Liam MacAskill, I haven't actually found an actor I think fits the role perfectly, but Darren Criss comes close. I could easily see Josh Hutcherson playing Arthean, the series' other MC.

What made you want to become an author?
I've always loved reading. My mom reads a lot, so that's possibly where I obtained my first love of books. Ever since I could read, I wanted to wow and entertain people the way I was wowed and entertained by authors like Enid Blyton, CS Lewis and Willard Price. Of course, once you start writing, the ideas never stop (for me, at least), so I can end up feeling rather psychotic when unable to write for long periods of time. It's part of me now, part of who I am, and I'm not me if I'm not writing.

Name one of your all-time favourite book covers?
That's a hard one. I don't usually remember covers as well as I remember the stories themselves (the same way I'm terrible at remembering faces). One cover I really love is TC Southwell's cover for The Queen's Blade II, Sacrifice.

Name one book that made you think 'wow'? Why did it have such an effect on you?
Almost every Dean Koontz book! Seriously, though, if I have to pick just one book, it would be Catherine Webb's Mirror Dreams. It was the first of her books I'd read, and I think she was only 14 years old when she wrote it - considering the easy humour, smooth flow and excellent plot, along with her young age, I think that's pretty impressive!

Who, or what, inspires you?
The short answer is: life, the universe and everything. Inspiration is all around us, seen and unseen; it's just for us to open our minds to it. I'm lucky, because I never have to sit and think about what to write - my stories pop into my head, starting with just one scene, and they take off from there with a life of their own.

Where is your favourite place to write?
I don't use my laptop as much as I should, considering the freedom it gives me to write wherever I want, so I usually write in my office at the desktop PC. I'm also not fond of driving when it isn't necessary (probably due to an accident in 1995 in which we were hit by a drunk driver and our car ended up a write-off), so I'm happy to write at home at my desk; it's all the same to me, as long as I'm comfortable and my back is properly supported.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Panic Room - although I'm not sure if the movie was based on the book or the other way around.

Who is your favourite author (s) and why?
John Connolly, Dean Koontz and Terry Brooks. I enjoy all these authors for their smooth writing styles and enhanced imaginations, and because their characters are ones I'm easily able to relate to. I also like that Connolly and Koontz include random humour where you least expect it.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
HP Lovecraft, because he's really the Father of Horror, in my opinion, when it comes to original horror. As far as I know, he was the first to ever invent creatures that no one else was writing about, in a time where all horror books and movies contained the usual ghosts, werewolves or vampires. Nowadays, of course, everyone is inventing creatures (which is good, because it prevents readers from being bored, since almost all plots are now done to death too), but back in his time that must have been quite a step to take. I'd love to delve deeper into his mind. The other would be John Connolly - a few years ago, I had the honour of interviewing him over a cup of coffee, and he kept me in fits of laughter for at least half of the interview. His fame hasn't gone to his head; he's down to earth and a really lovely person with similar views of life to mine, all of which makes him not only easy to talk to, but interesting too.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I've recently become addicted to bunnylicks (frozen flavoured 'ice sticks').

Tell us something interesting about the area where you live.
I live in Cape Town, which I think is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, with the most diverse plant life. I've heard it said that just the Table Mountain National Park alone boasts more plant species than the whole of New Zealand and the British Isles. Then there's the Cape Floral Region, which has been described by the World Heritage Committee as having 'outstanding universal significance to humanity' and 'one of the riches areas for plants in the world'. Those are just two areas...
WOW... it sounds AMAZING, Vanessa! 

Links to your website / facebook / twitter / youtube, etc:
My website (a forum for all writers)


  1. I am most comfortable with my PC too. Sorry to hear about your wreck. Glad to hear you're all right. Best of luck on the book.

    1. I'm glad too, thanks :) Thanks a mill; I appreciate it!

  2. Thanks for the interview, Suzy; it was great fun!

    Cape Town really is amazing, yes :)

  3. Interesting interview! I'm from the Cape as well, so I know what Vanessa is talking about - beauty and masses of different plants. Congrats to Vanessa on getting commissioned work from Oxford RSA.

    1. I have the sudden urge to go hiking.

      Thanks, Meg. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview :)

      I also noticed (well, a friend noticed, actually *blushes*) that I renamed my book from Sorcery and Subterfuge to Sword and Sorcery in one place in the interview... Well, at least I was on topic... *whistles*

  4. Thanks for stopping by everyone!
    Vanessa, you're welcome any time :D x

  5. I'm pleased to meet Vanessa. I love Dean Koontz and Panic Room is an awesome movie.

    1. Thank you for reading :) I wrote an article a few years ago about bad horror movies, and Panic Room was the one example I gave of a good horror movie that puts the others to shame. I love that edge-of-seat, white-knuckle tension!


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