Ladies, Gentleman, & Sharks (Penny Reid Fans),
Allow me to present my funniest Wine Time yet! I had the chance to ply author assistant Fiona Fischer with lots of wine (see picture on left) and get her to answer questions about her love of all things nerdy, her most embarrassing work stories, and of course, what it’s like to be the assistant for USA Today best selling romance author Penny Reid.
Hold on to your wine glasses, it’s about to get weird.
Just the way I like it.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background!
Am I supposed to drink wine as I answer these? No? Too late. I was born and raised in Florida (pass no judgment) I have two older brothers who I attribute my “coolness” factor to. They got me into Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Calculus, computers etc. I attended college about 30 minutes from home. (10/10 would recommend if you want your laundry done and home cooked meals from your mother) My degree is in cello performance and I recently moved to Southern California!
Do you do anything creative? If so, what? (Just wait for the epicness, folks)
I play cello and sing. I started on violin at age 4, and switched to cello at age 8. My oldest brother played violin and piano, and my other brother played viola and guitar. My mother sang as well, and my grandmother played flute! I’m the only one who continued to play through college and still plays today. I started singing when I was around 3 and haven’t stopped since. Music is a big part of my life and every time I try to move away from it, I get sucked back in!
I’ve played with Michael Buble, Josh Groban, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
I also enjoy wine tasting, surfing, and sleeping but these seemed significantly less creative. Oh and camping, I really enjoy the outdoors.
Um, can we just take a moment and talk about how FIONA HAS PLAYED WITH JOSH “MY HUSBAND” GROBAN?! Do you all know the story about how I touched his left elbow once? Well, I did. And he was wearing a very breathable fabric. Excuse me, I need to fangirl for a few moments…
Here’s a picture of the moment after I touched him.
Ignore the fact he’s running away from me and just move on to the next question.
How did you land your current position with Penny Reid? Have you worked for other authors in the past?
I get asked this question a lot, and it was definitely just being at the right place at the right time. Someone in my family worked with Penny’s husband and I was about to graduate college unsure of my future and losing my will to live. My family member mentioned me to her husband, they scheduled an interview and apparently I marketed myself well enough for her to hire me. I got extremely lucky. The best part was I was late to the interview because when I got in my Jeep there was a cat in my car. I had to open all the doors and scare it out, I don’t know if she actually believed that, BUT IT IS TRUE.
What’s the best part of your job?
So first of all the best part of my job is that it doesn’t feel like a job. I get to interact with all these wonderful women from all different parts of the world on a daily basis. I like that I get to be myself all the time!! Which probably wouldn’t be acceptable at other places of employment…
The best part of my job, hands down, is having Penny as a boss. She’s my boss but we are kind of like comrades on the S.S. Penny Reid. She laughs at my jokes, tells me I’m weird and bakes me scones. Also we share memes a lot.
Here’s an anecdote: She’s not the best at using her phone and I sent her this weird gif of a ketchup bottle robot squirting ketchup all over the table and she never responded.
I remember thinking that it was probably too soon to unleash my weirdness on her and she was probably regretting giving me her phone number. She really is an exceptional individual, I love her for taking me under her wing and believing in me. This is getting gushy. I tolerate her, OKAY.
What kind of work do you do as an author assistant/what is your typical day like? Does it involve travel?
When I first started, I had never worked for an author or anyone really. So at first it was Penny introducing me to the online world she was involved in and I read her books and learned about the characters. I moved to the other side of the country so now my day is a bit different. I’m usually organizing things for the next release, doing research for promotions and signings, booking hotel rooms, booking flights, and making graphics. We typically have meetings twice a week on the phone and are always emailing, texting, sending carrier pigeons, etc. I love getting to travel for signings and meeting all her fans. Signings are a crazy experience, I didn’t even know that author signings existed until I started working for her.
Do you get to meet other authors you love? Any trouble controlling your “inner fangirl?”
So I’m a bit late to this romance world I won’t lie. I typically read fantasy and sci-fi. However I’ve met April White and Elizabeth Hunter (both AWESOME) and I think I would freak out if I met LH Cosway because we have e-mailed and things like that but I know so much about her and have never met her. AND SHE HAS THAT ACCENT! Also I would freak if I met J.K. Rowling.
Do you have any words of wisdom for authors searching for assistants or people searching to become author assistants?
I think the reason Penny and I work so well together is because we are similar. We have similar senses of humor and ideas. I think an author needs to find someone who they work well with, and someone who understands their brand, vision, and goals. If I was going to give advice to someone who wanted to be an author assistant I would suggest you be extremely organized, find an author that you work well with, and don’t be afraid to annoy the author with reminders of things they have to do. (I’m still working on that last one…)
What books are in your To Be Read pile? Who are some of your favorite authors?
So I really enjoy epic fantasy and memoirs. My TBR pile is kind of weird right now but since it’s sitting next to my bed I will tell you.
- Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
- Two Thousand Minnows by Sandra Vaughn
- Tempting Fate by April White
- Killer Queen by LH Cosway
- Confessions of a Reformed Tom Cat by Daisy Prescott
I AM SERIOUSLY BEHIND ON MY READING OKAY?!?!
My favorite authors are J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien, David Sedaris, and Isabel Allende. OH and Penny Reid. 😉
Wine or beer? Hockey or soccer?
I like both… but Wine?! I live in California come on! Hockey, I used to hate that fighting was allowed. Then I went to a game and was cheering on the fight. I will watch the World Cup and that’s about it…
Share with us your funniest/best/most embarrassing story as an author assistant!
WOW. This is hard to imagine because I usually block embarrassing stories from my memory. Honestly this is my embarrassing moment. So all of my websites auto login to Penny Reid things, I.E her amazon account. I forget that when I open amazon it is her accounts and that links I open up in Amazon get put under product recommendations. Sorry about the ingrown hair serum under “products you may enjoy” Penny and husband… also for the barrel of lube my boyfriend was showing me to be funny… and the giant inflatable penis I was going to get for a friend’s pool party. LE SIGH. I’ve since started using two browsers, one for Penny things, and one for JUST FIONA things to avoid this.
My other favorite story is when she made me put on “ear muffs” so she could tell her husband he had too many computers things after he complained that she had 3 staplers. I’m glad she saved my virgin ears from hearing anything, you know it got real ugly (NOT. They are relationship GOALS people).
OH and the first time I met her she was wearing a dress that looked like an owl (literal owl dress, not owl printed dress) and she says “oh let me change, this is what I wear when I travel so people won’t talk to me” and It was at that moment I knew we were meant for each other. ❤
Fiona, it was a pleasure having you on Nights of Passion! I feel we’re destined to be friends after this interview…(not too creepy, right?)
And, if you’re looking for funny, weird romance with smart women, make sure to check out Penny Reid and become part of the Sharks of Awesome (Jawsome?) fanclub.
It’s Fun Fact time! October 1st is known for:
National Vegetarian Day!
Happy day to our veggie and animal lovin’ friends.
Wishing You Laughter & Good Books,
Bold. Bewitching. Breathtaking.
Author of Hunting Witch Hazel featured in Falling Hard (A New Adult Anthology).