Author Olivia Boler

writing is fun
January 9th, 2013

The Next Big Thing

Happy 2013! This post is a chain self-interview about my next book project. I’ve read the blog chain started on She Writes a few months ago. My author pal Dina Santorelli tapped me to take part, and I want to thank her for thinking of me. In return, I’ve asked my writer friends Siobhan Fallon and Roger Colby to post their own interviews next week, so be sure to check out their answers.

  1. What is your working title of your book (or story)?
    I have a few irons in the fire including a short story collection, an upmarket women’s fiction novel, and a sequel to The Flower Bowl Spell. I’ll talk about that even though it’s in the crappy first draft stage. The working title is The Flower Bowl Ghost.
  2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
    The idea comes from my first book about Memphis Zhang, The Flower Bowl Spell. She’s an intriguing character, and there were some unanswered questions in the first book. I think it’ll be fun to find out what happens next.
  3. What genre does your book fall under?
    Good question! I guess it falls under urban fantasy, although I’m not really sure. It’s too plot-driven to be magic realism, I suppose.
  4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
    A fun thought. I think Memphis could be played by Olivia Munn. Bradley Cooper could be Cooper! (Kismet!) Harry Shum, Jr. would be fantastic as Tyson.
  5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
    A young, powerful San Francisco witch discovers her dark side—and likes it.
  6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
    Self-published.
  7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
    Um, too long? But I was able to get it all out with the help of NaNoWriMo last November.
  8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
    A Discovery of Witches, the Sookie Stackhouse series.
  9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
    My fount of inspiration bubbled up from my Wiccan research. I wanted to get to know that culture beyond what I had seen in TV shows and books. Then I decided to write my own fictional account of a Wiccan. It seemed fun, and it was!
  10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
    I published The Flower Bowl Spell almost a year ago as an e-book and then later as a paperback. To celebrate the upcoming first anniversary, I’m planning a giveaway. Stay tuned!
August 20th, 2012

The Saddle

Today is the first day of school for my oldest, and my youngest is off with his grandma, and I’m back in the saddle. Or am I?

I’ve cleared my freelance docket and have a quiet moment. I could be writing. I could be revising. Instead, I’m getting to the little things that need to be done, but really, could wait until a bit later…bills, prescription refills, digital photo organizing, updating the blog. It’s all important of course, and my butt is in the chair, yet it’s not really a Butt in Chair (BiC) do-the-damn-work moment. It’s an ahem, ahem, throat-clearing one.

And that’s OK. Those are allowed. Take my upcoming reading at Phoenix Books in San Francisco a week from today (that would be Monday, August 27, 2012, if you want precision). I need to figure out an excerpt that’s appropriate. As author Dina Santorelli pointed out in a recent post, you want something that’s exciting, but doesn’t give too much away. and that’s not always the novel’s opening.

So, I’m in the saddle, yes. Not quite at a trot. More of a slow amble.  I know it’s not New Year’s, but it’s the beginning of the School Year, and I’m making a resolution! I resolve to put my writing at the top of the To Do List everyday, and not beat myself up if it doesn’t quite happen.

Giddy-up.

July 22nd, 2012

Bewitching Blog Tour Update

There’s been a scheduling change to the last few days of my Bewitching Blog Tour, so I thought I’d just let you all know. Here is the rest of the schedule as of today:

July 22 Guest blog and review
A Chick Who Reads
http://achickwhoreads.blogspot.com

July 22 Guest blog and review
Black Hippie Chick’s Take on Books & The World
Http://blackhippiechick.wordpress.com

July 23 Interview
Mary’s Garden
http://marysbooksblogger.blogspot.com/

July 25 Interview
Books, Books The Magical Fruit
http://booksbooksthemagicalfruit.blogspot.com

July 30 Review
Books, Books, and More Books
http://dream-reader-dreamer2229.blogspot.com/

Thanks, and please pass this on to friends and family who might be interested. I’m not sure how effective this has been as far as new sales go. There’s definitely been a lot of ebooks given away, and positive reviews but not many (any?) new sales. Is that over-sharing? If you’ve done a book blog tour, has it helped your books’ sales?

June 2nd, 2012

Debut Author Dina Santorelli

My relationship with author Dina Santorelli is a shining example of the ways online social network can be awesome. I “met” Dina—though we’ve never been in the same room together and actually haven’t heard each others voices—through author Siobhan Fallon. I’ve become a huge fan of Dina’s blog, and I’m actually in the middle of reading her debut novel, the thriller Baby Grand. My Kindle has been glued to my hands in fact, but I pried it away for a few moments in order to post this interview.

Title of book, publisher, pub date: Baby Grand (Stonesong, May 23, 2012)

Dina Santorelli

Author bio: Dina Santorelli is a freelance writer/editor who has worked for many print and online publications, such as Newsday, First for Women, and CNNMoney.com. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her blog. Baby Grand, her first novel, is available on Amazon.

Give us your elevator pitch—What is this book about? In Albany, New York, the governor’s infant daughter disappears without a trace from her crib at the Executive Mansion. Hours later, newly divorced and down-and-out writer Jamie Carter is abducted from the streets of Manhattan. Jamie is whisked upstate, where she is forced by her captor, Don Bailino, an ex-war hero/successful businessman, to care for the kidnapped child in a plot to delay the execution of mobster Gino Cataldi – the sixth man to be put to death in six years by hardliner Governor Phillip Grand. What prevails is a modern-day thriller about family ties, loyalty, murder, betrayal, and love that’s told in deftly interweaving narratives that follow the police investigation of the missing Baby Grand, the bad guys who take her, and the woman who finds the strength to protect her.

What makes this book amazing? This is a toughie. Ask my agent: I have trouble tooting my own horn. I was trained as a journalist, so I’m accustomed to being invisible. Maybe the best thing to do is offer my latest five-star rating in place of my own estimation: “BABY GRAND is a winner! Dina Santorelli’s debut novel is a wonderfully written page turner. I couldn’t put it down — This is the kind of book that keeps you reading until you can’t keep your eyes open any longer… and the first thing you grab when you wake up! The characters are well developed and the story is gripping and well-paced. This one is destined to be a blockbuster! A fabulous start!” I almost burst into tears when I read that. I’m so, so grateful that the book is being so well-received.

Who will want to read your book, and does it fit into a particular genre? It’s a thriller, for sure, but there are relationship, crime, and political aspects to the novel as well. I wrote it to appeal to a both a male and female audience. So if you’re interested in a fun, fast-paced read, this book is for you. (So much for having trouble tooting my own horn…)

Who are your writing influences and why? Michael Crichton. Tom Wolfe. Tom Clancy. John Grisham. David Baldacci. James Patterson. I’m totally hooked on the Dragon Tattoo trilogy—The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is next on my reading list. I am drawn to edge-of-your-seat stories. Thrill rides. And I always wanted to write one. Always thought I could. It’s so gratifying to finally publish a thriller—to have others enjoy it as well is more than I could have asked for.

BabyGrandcover

If you’re self-published, what made you decide to take that path? Ah, why did I self-publish? I actually wrote a blog post about this. In short, after securing an agent in January 2010, finishing Baby Grand in August of that year and editing a few times, we started sending the manuscript out to publishers last spring. By the end of the year, we had heard “no” from about 10 editors. I totally expected this. As a freelance journalist, I know that rejection is part of the writing business. What I didn’t expect was how antsy and frustrated I would feel. Although I’ve known for years that traditional publishing would be a long, arduous road, and I thought I was willing to wait it out, the explosive growth of self-publishing became very difficult to ignore. I started to question what exactly I was waiting for.

In the end, I think finding a publisher is a matter of finding someone who loves your book as much as you do, as much as your agent does. I believed that person was out there. Still do. But the question I had to ask myself was: Am I willing to wait? And the answer for me, and this book, was no.

The minute I made the decision to self-publish in January of this year, I felt as if an enormous weight had been lifted from my shoulders. One of my former professors said to me when I told her of my decision: “A wise, brave choice”—exactly the kinds of choices I have been making, or at least have tried to make, throughout my professional career. As I told my agent, “Let’s just do it!”

What’s the best thing about publishing? The people. I’ve been a writer for more than 20 years, and along the way I’ve met such incredibly smart and generous individuals, many of whom have become good friends.

What’s the hardest thing about publishing? Without a doubt, marketing. Trying to get noticed in a sea of traditionally published and self-published titles. You’re not a needle in a haystack. You’re a needle somewhere on the planet. Google Earth would have trouble finding you.

What are you working on now and when will readers be able to get their hands on it? I’m currently finishing up my second novel, a stand-alone thriller, tentatively titled, In the Red. I hope to have it done by the end of the summer. Then I’ll be writing the sequel to Baby Grand.

Any secrets of success you’d like to share with our reading audience? Just be yourself and trust yourself. For me, it all comes down to what FEELS right. And that’s the path I usually choose. That little voice inside hasn’t let me down yet.

Anything else you’d like to add—words of wisdom? If you want to be a writer—I mean, really want to be a writer—you should never give up, never call it quits, never take no for an answer. Believe in yourself and your abilities. My husband—my wonderfully level-headed, pragmatic husband—likes to say, “Dina, be serious, you can believe and believe and believe, but the truth is that not everyone is going to become a successful novelist.” My answer to that? Well, somebody will. And who’s to say that somebody won’t be me? Or you?

April 9th, 2012

Ten Minutes or a Page a Day

For the first time in longer than I’d care to admit, I just worked on my sequel to The Flower Bowl Spell. I have Dina Santorelli to thank for that, because she wrote an inspiring post on her Making Baby Grand blog yesterday, about writing for just 10 minutes, even if you don’t feel like it. If you’re lucky, you might actually continue to write for longer than 10 minutes, so inspired will you be by whatever words start to pour out from your imagination onto the computer screen (or paper). So, I admit, I stopped very soon after 10 minutes, but we’re taking baby steps here, right? And I checked my word count: 398. Okay, it’s no NANOWRIMO, 1,666, but it’s something. It’s a page, and there are some writers whose goal is a page a day. (In one year, you’ll have 365. Or, in a Leap Year such as 2012 is, 366.) Perhaps tomorrow, I’ll keep going, even after the timer goes off.

To read Dina’s awesome post, click here.

 

February 7th, 2012

Olivia’s author interview with Dina Santorelli

Blogger Dina Santorelli, who is a fellow freelance writer working on a novel, posted her interview with me this morning on her blog, Making ‘Baby Grand,’ the Novel. I have been following this series of author interviews as well as Dina’s weekly writing tips, which I think are just so helpful. You can read my interview by clicking here. Cheers!

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