Welcome to Dames of Dialogue, Olivia! Tell us about your latest book, Jaded Hearts, and share a little bit about what you’re working on now or what’s coming next.
Jaded Hearts is the first installment of The Jaded Hearts Club Series. Right now, I’m almost due to release book #2 in the series. There will be at least four books in total.
Oh, I love series. What is a typical writing day like for you?
When you’re writing, who’s in control, you or the characters?
Definitely the characters! For instance, I had my second book all mapped out, but as I am writing, the main character is going in a different direction. I think it’s great!
I love it when a character takes over. I just sit back and enjoy. Promotion is a big—and usually the most hated—part of being a writer. Can you share a little bit about how you promote?
I’m still trying to get the hang of this promoting thing down. Initially, my Facebook page and a few groups I belonged to was the extent of it. Now, I’m reaching out to bloggers, radio show hosts and reader based websites. I had no idea about any of this when I decided to write my book, so I’m on a severe learning curve.
It’s hard finding exactly what works. I’d much rather be writing than promoting. How long have you been writing?
Since I was very young. In my pre-teens I learned that I had a talent for telling stories and writing was just a fun creative outlet. As I got older, I began to journal my thoughts and that lead to poems.
Who or what has been the biggest influence in your writing career and why?
I think my love of reading was the biggest influence. My parents had hundreds of books on the shelf, so I dove right in. I read anything I could get my hands on. That drives my creativity.
Most authors are readers and we can’t deny its influence. What do you consider the single most satisfying aspect of being a writer?
When someone says they enjoy your work. It never gets old for me, and no matter how great I think my piece is, I’m still blown away when someone else likes it.
Oh, I agree. Who were your favorite authors as a child? Have they influenced your writing career in any way?
Dr. Seuss books were my favorite! I also loved the Grimm fairytales. I think this is reflected in my writing by either the humorous tone I impart or the slightly dark elements. I don’t skim the surface on anything, and it’s not planned, but there are usually layers to my stories.
I’ve been reading the Dr. Seuss books to my granddaughter and enjoy them just as much as she does. Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
Oh boy! Everywhere!
Love that answer. What are major themes or motifs in your work? Do your readers ever surprise you by seeing something else in your stories than you think you wrote?
I tend to write about relationships and feelings, and I’ve been asked about my background in psychology…. I don’t have a background in psych, other than it was my favorite elective!
It may sound creepy, but I would love to chat with Edgar Allan Poe.
First time we’ve gotten that answer! What is your strongest and/or your weakest area in the creative process?
My creativity and openness to new ideas is my strong point. Organization and focus is where I have to kick myself in the rear.
I used to be so much more organized. It’s now frustrating to me that I seem to have lost that ability. How many hours a day do you write, where, any specific circumstances help or hurt your process?
I can write for up to four hours or struggle through thirty minutes. My mood and energy level has a huge impact on how long and what I write about.
I’m the same. What are your thoughts on the standard writing advice, “write what you know”?
I think that’s boring!
Love that answer! How do you classify yourself as a writer? Fiction or non-fiction? Specific genre such as mystery, short story, paranormal or more general such as women’s fiction, Appalachian, etc.
I really hate classification. I’m writing about “romance” now, but that’s not all I write about. I love mysteries and suspense thrillers also and hope to write one in the future.
Another good answer. I agree. I tend to cross genres and don’t want to be put into one category. Besides “writer,” what else are you; what is your “day job”?
Mom, Mommy, The CEO of ‘That’s not fair’ and ‘How come I can’t’. Lol!
I remember those days. What is your VERB? (This is a big poster at a local mall)? If you had to choose ONE verb that describes you and you behavior or attitude, what would it be?
Laugh! I am very animated and a jokester (so I’ve been told) and tend to laugh, A LOT.
A fun person to be around, I’d bet. Any family influences? Memoirs in the making?
I’ve been throwing the idea around about a pseudo memoir, but there would be too many names to change!
LOL. Any teachers who influenced you…encouraged you or discouraged?
My third grade teacher was very influential because she was the first person to really notice my writing and encouraged me to pursue it. I wrote a short story about a little boy on a wagon trail, and she was so surprised by it that she had the principal post it in the school’s main hallway.
Did the classics have any effect on you in your formative years? (Shakespeare? Alice in Wonderland? Gulliver’s Travels?)
I was a huge Shakespeare fan and loved the classics, especially the English authors. I had the Alice in Wonderland record and I remember listening to it all the time.
Love Shakespeare but never could quite connect with the classics. Have you bought an e-reader? What is your overall impression of electronic publishing?
I have a Kindle Fire and I love it. It has re’kindled’ my reading habit because now I can get almost any book when I want it. I still love physical books, but I would never buy as many as I do eBooks. Electronic publishing has enabled writers, like me, to share our stories and lets the readers decide what’s good, not just publishers.
Yes, it’s opened up a whole new world to writers and readers. How do your characters “come” to you? Are they based loosely or closely on people you know?
I kind of build my story first, so then I have to build characters with personalities that would drive certain events.
Are you in a critique group? If so, how does it work and specifically how do the members help your writing?
I am part of a couple of writers groups. I think this keeps you sharp and broadens your scope when you share and see how other writers express the same idea differently.
Any good suggestions for overcoming writer’s block?
A glass of Pinot?
Great answer. Thanks for joining us today, Olivia. Fun interview!