I’d never heard of Olivia Gaines or her books before I was asked to do an interview with her. Olivia kindly sent me two of her books to read so I could at least kinda know here writing style and some of her characters. I thought that having a chat would probably be better than me sending her a list of basic questions to answer so this interview was conducted via Facebook Messaging 😀
D: I’ve only read two of your short books, so I know very little about you as an author. My first question would be how did you get into writing?
O: I am a journalist by trade. I started writing for my elementary school newsletter, my high school, college, the Army and went from there.
D: So how did you make the transition from writing newsletters to short novels?
O: I write long novels as well. I always aspired to be a novelist, but was afraid that writing a book would have too many characters, too many plot holes, and it would be terrible. I started to do a short story series on my blog, but opted instead to introduce a short story series for busy adults. I included everything a reader wanted in a story and took out the fluff.
D: Do you just write under Olivia Gaines or do you have a pen name as well?
O: Olivia Gaines is my pen name. When I first decided to “get out there,” I was still on the podium. I opted for the pen name because students love to Google their instructors. I was always afraid some smart Alec would come into the class, spouting off, “I read you book and I didn’t think it was very good.” And being human, I would probably respond, “well, I read your essay and neither was it.” Here is your F. In honesty, I also did it as a tribute to my late mother. It is her maiden name.
D: Ahhhh good thinking Batwoman 😀
Let’s talk characters… As I previously said, I’ve only read two of your short stories, ‘Being Mrs.Blakemore’ and ‘Shopping with Mrs.Blakemore’. Do your main characters stem purely from imagination or do they have characteristics of people you know or have observed?
O: My characters are a mixture of imagination and someone that impacted me along the way. In ‘Friends with Benefits’, Grayson Broche is that best friend that every woman has had in their lifetime, that we secretly craved was more than just a friend. I love to play with the idea of What if? I take a strong or static character and throw them into a scenario, then turn up the flames. The reader can relate to a flawed character who wants to improve. If the story allows them growth, we can see hope for ourselves to be better. Do you know what I am saying, we all want to better, but we want to know how to get there.
D: Yes, we all need some kind of guidance.
Are all your books wriiten for the same genre, or have you written for several different genres?
O: No, I write romance and literary fiction. Literary fiction is my passion, but it is hard to break into main stream fiction and build a fan base. I write romance because I am a hopeless romantic and I love a good story of two people finding each other. In the literary fiction, there is nothing graphic, but just a good story about people finding their way. In the end, it is what we all crave, someone who gets us, and makes life easier.
D: Do you have a favorite book from all the ones you have written? I know you love them all, but does one stand out more than the others?
O: One of my favorites is the ‘Basement of Mr. McGee’. It is kind of a Scooby Doo meet modern times about a misunderstood man who finds a friend in someone the town thinks is an idiot. In the end, both she and Mr. McGee, are the smartest ones around. My second favorite is Beneath the Well of Dawn. I laughed so hard when writing it, I knew others would find it funny as well. It is a fun story with a moral under pinning that is not preachy, but subtle. In all of my stories there is a moral dilemma, a geography lesson and a great meal that any one would want to learn to cook.
D: Have you got a book in the works right now?
O: ‘Thursdays in Savannah’ is my Summer Sizzler. It toys with the idea, what if you meet someone on the same day you get engaged. One hour would have made a difference in your life. She met him on a Thursday, and the following Thursday she invited him back over. Her name is Savannah.
***Olivia sent me an image of the cover of ‘Thursdays in Savannah’ which I will show after the Interview***
D: So Savannah faces a moral dilemma? One that would be quite difficult to figure out, I guess.
O: Yes, a major one. ‘I am engaged to be married in a year, but this man, this man…..this man……’
Are her preconceived notions about what she thinks is a good relationship valid? Along the way, she finds it hard to distinguish which man she is cheating on and which man she is cheating with, because we can love more than one person, we just love them in different ways.
D: They do say that you cannot help who you fall in love with. With you writing romance, do Soul Mates feature?
O: I have been married for 25 years and can not help but believe that there is a mate that will feed your soul. I think too often we as women find a dress or a pair of shoes we like and either starve ourselves to fit into the dress, or ruin our feet to wear shoes that aren’t tight for us. The same analogy can be applied to our romantic lives. Leave those shoes on the shelf and buy a bigger sized dress, because that one isn’t for you. After so many ill-fitting pairs of shoes and lopsided dresses, we are angry and don’t want to shop any more. However, if we go in open minded and find something that fits us comfortably, it is a whole different shopping experience.
D: I think a lot of women will be able to identify with that.
Ok, you said in each of your books there is a moral dilemma, a geography lesson and a great meal. Is that intentional?
O: Of course, it is. I write for adults who are busy. I don’t like reality shows because what I am seeing is are not my reality, however when I read a book, I want to be able to apply what I have read to my life. When I hit the last page, I want to be able to close the book and sigh, thinking, ‘wow, she learned a lot.’ Or ‘whoa, he really grew and challenge his belief system.’ Then I realize I am hungry, so what can I cook different tonight. Lol, In Friends with Benefits, I actually included the recipes.
D: With the Mr & Mrs Blakemore series, do you think you;ll give them their own full length novel rather than a short story?
O: No. The fun of those two is that each adventure you learn more about them as individuals, and I am going to show the development of the marriage as they move forward. The final short in the series will close it out and all the adventures will be in one book.
D: How many books do you intend to be in that series?
O: There will only be five, the last in the series to be published around Christmas 2014.
D: Will you be starting a new series, or will you be expanding on a previous book that readers enjoyed?
O: I must write the closing to the Marc and Nadine series (Two Nights in Vegas, A Few More Nights) the bibliophiles are on me for that one. Beneath the Well of Dawn has endless possibilities. I don’t know….I like the Holiday Ebook Series….I am looking forward to writing one of those.
D: So you’re going to be a busy little writer bee for the forseable future then 😀
O: From your fingers to God’s ears.
D: More like from your fingers, you are the writer after all 😀
So there ya have it, Olivia Gaines is going to be busy woman for the next while as she wraps up one series and expands on others. Keep an eye out for my reviews on the two books she sent me to read. I’ll post them here on my Blog 😀