What a great way for me to start off the New Year by interviewing one of my fantastic critique partners. If you haven’t read any of Olivia Starke’s stories, head to Cobblestone Press right now. She’s a great writer, wonderful CP and she’s got some goodies for two lucky readers. (US residents only). Just leave a comment and Olivia will pick winners at random. If you want to check out her Web site and learn more about her work visit www.AuthorOliviaStarke.com. Olivia also blogs at http://RomancingThePenToday.blogspot.com
Susan Palmquist (SP)-How long have you been a writer?
Olivia Starke (OS)-I can’t honestly say it seems I’ve always had a story going on in my head. When I was a little girl I was always a reader, but I loved to draw more than write. It seems I began to switch right around puberty, not sure why. I guess I felt I could get out more adolescent angst via prose. I still love to draw, but writing is still the best way for me to get my art across to people.
SP-Can you remember the first story you wrote?
OS-My first novel was written when I was in seventh grade, a love story between a Pegasus and a Unicorn. Even then I had the feisty independent heroine (my Pegasus) and a big strong alpha hero (my Unicorn.) Someday I plan on rewriting the work and seeing if I can get it published—or if nothing else write and illustrate it for my niece.
SP-You write sexy paranormal stories, any reason why you chose that genre?
OS-Because I am a huge science geek, that’s the best reason I can think of. I love science and I guess it’s my way of being able to manipulate and distort natural laws that I’ve always been fascinated by.
SP-Are you planning on writing in any other genre in the next year or so?
OS-I love reading historical romance, so I’ve toyed with plots with a wild west theme.
SP-What are you working on right now?
OS-I just sub’ed a shorty, fingers crossed on it. A collaboration between myself and two other author friends. It’s not an anthology, but a series we started. We’ll see where it goes.
SP-You’re a volunteer with an animal charity…how did that come about and what do you do there?
OS-I haven’t had a chance to work with the charity in a while, unfortunately time hasn’t permitted. I basically screened potential dog adopters for their suitability, and if they passed I’d try to match them with the best dog available. I ran across an ad on Craigslist looking for volunteers.
SP-You have pets of your own; can you tell us about them?
OS-Oh geez, do we have a couple of hours? lol I am up to seven cats, three dogs, and four horses, most of who are rescues. My latest additions are two stray kitties I rescued out behind the retail store I manage. Their mama had them back there this summer and it took me six months to be able to catch them. I have sucker written across my forehead.
SP-Any writing tips you’ve been given that you’d like to share with us?
OS-I’ve heard again and again, be a plotter, but no I was a stubborn pantser. Well guess what? Plotting does work! I have a system where I write a rough draft, then I sit down and do an outline of all events, brainstorm on new ones, from beginning to end. This not only helps when I hit walls while writing, it also helps when you sit down to write the dreaded synopsis. You have all your events right there on the outline that need to go in it.
SP-How about some of your own?
OS-See above, do an outline! Really, you won’t be sorry. I also came up with my own little mantra for when writing that first draft: Thou shalt not be too critical of thy first draft. Thou will persevere through awkward sentence structure and grammatical errors until all is down on thy paper. In the end first drafts are terrible, really they are. And they should be, it’s all about throwing it down in print, so don’t be hard on yourself.
Also, I recommend finding good critique partners. No matter how careful you are in your writing, someone else will always find the weaknesses that need to be corrected.
SP-Do you write everyday and what’s the writing process like for you?
OS-I try really hard to do something on a WIP everyday, but I also know how my creative process works. I can’t force it, if I do I get angry and frustrated and I won’t touch it again for weeks. And the writing process? When it’s good it’s amazing, and when it’s bad, it’s terrible. I guess it’s like that with everyone.