About Olivia Andem:
My interest and research in history and genealogy is a life-long quest. I’ve always written small pieces and poetry. For a few years, the highlight of Christmas was writing a Christmas poem and illustrating it myself. However, for the last fifteen years I have been writing historical fiction, joining writing groups and honing my craft. I love detail and I believe that is essential in bringing the past to life. The embers on the hearth, the sound of satin slippers on the parquet floor…these are the kind of sensory details I like to read about. I assume other readers feel the same way. My three books, two published and one upcoming, are sweet romances but that does not mean they are lacking in drama. Courtship is the essence of the first two titles. English and American history are my interests, along with genealogy research. Speaking to small groups in Southern California about Courtship in the Jane Austen era has been very rewarding. In the future I hope to meet readers of my upcoming release, Ashes of Waterloo.
What inspires you to write?
Every historical drama I’ve ever seen or read seems to have left a spark or two in my memory…those sparks combine and recombine in endless ways as I write. I always try to invent a character that is as original as possible. Human nature in all of its conflicting emotions and imperfections are just part of the charm of reading historical fiction…or any fiction, for that matter. Still, the historical period involved dictates circumstances and manners. Jane Austen was a contemporary author in her time; there were many injustices and harsh realities.Mrs. Bennett’s dilemma in Pride and Prejudice is understandable. What a poor marriage can bring is shown in Mansfield Park. Life is not always satin cloaks and dancing slippers…while I love both, it is the tears behind the fan or the shock of being rebuffed that brings me closer to the story, wanting to know more.
Tell us about your writing process.
I concentrate on the main character or particular place at the outset. This leads me to ideas for goals, obstacles and other details. Sometimes I have an idea that is like a trail of cookie crumbs that must be followed. As to technical things, I have been using Word but I recently obtained Scrivener and hope to be able to use it in the future. There are many free resources for technique available online and so there is lots to learn; I try to learn something new every day.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
When I must bring a character to an emotional shock or travail, I try to be sensitive to how the character has been formed to that point. Can’t all of a sudden make someone mean for no reason, for instance. In my latest book, Ashes of Waterloo (June 2015), the main character was about to be abandoned. At first I was just going to let that happen. Then I had the strangest feeling. No, she was saying in my head, this isn’t fair! So, I had to let her protest what was happening to her, to complain and resist! Might I say, this is a more powerful scene than it otherwise would have been. So, I’d say, look for those moments in your story but be true to the character you have created. If it’s necessary for her to be jealous, then give a good reason. Half-way isn’t good enough. That’s my new mental memo!
What advice would you give other writers?
The old adage, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, is the essence of writing fiction…except that the shoes are ones you have invented and described. I like to read about normal people doing extraordinary things when they must to survive or win the game. If it’s set in an historical period, then I’m all in! Walking into a castle’s library that I created is a thrill. Having a reader call you on the phone to say, I love your book!, is the best thing in the world. I wish it happened every day, of course, but it propels me forward. Writing is lonely work and sometimes you feel defeated. Is this good enough? That is a normal reaction, I have learned.
When you feel proud to hold the book in your hand, or read it on your device, it makes it all worth while.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
This is definitely an individual choice. After a disappointing first experience, I wanted to see my book in print, control the issues and production. However, there is no denying this requires wearing a lot of hats. I can’t say that I’m good at all of them. Writing a novel can be 12-hours a day for months…that doesn’t leave a lot of time to do all of the promotional work required. Yes,I am constantly researching the various aspects of publishing and social media subjects as things are very liquid. Research. If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Common sense has never been as valuable as it is now!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I am constantly researching the various aspects of publishing and social media subjects as things are very liquid. There is a trend currently to shorter and shorter books/ebooks. Quite frankly, you can’t develop a good story with a decent subplot in these short formats. Movies & TV are the great influence; many screenplays are thinly populated and depend on characterization to carry the day rather than dialogue of more than two sentences. I used to go to the library and bring home the thickest novels I could find…why? Because it took a long time to read them and I could get lost in the story. It was great. Could it be that is why many are binge-watching TV series?
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Fiction: Historical: Regency: Sweet Romance: Victorian West
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
Link To Olivia Andem Page On Amazon
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.