Author Gloria Oliver interview

I was so excited to go to Fencon last month. I was stupid nervous but so glad I went as I had fun and met some interesting people saw some great things and am all gung ho about my next con whenever or where ever that may be.

I met Gloria there and left her with my business card suggesting she email about being on the blog and yay for me she emailed. I felt so fancy and dorky all at once handing out business cards lol I’ll work on being much smoother next time. Till then Gloria Oliver for you all to enjoy!

What is something about you that most people don’t know? –

English is actually my second language. Born in Puerto Rico, Spanish is what I grew up with. English was something we took in school as a mandatory elective. The fact I went to private school through second grade gave me better schooling in English than most. And once we moved to Ohio, it was all English all the time. 😛

How do you like to spend your free time? –

Free time? What’s free time? 😛 I sneak in books and manga (Japanese comics) to read whenever I can. Hubby and I enjoy movies and TV together. He’s quite unhappy if we don’t make our Friday Movie Theater night. J We also both love computer games. We’re currently playing Star Wars The Old Republic MMO together whenever we have a few hours free on the weekend.

What are you reading now? –

Currently I am reading Cat in a White Tie and Tails: A Midnight Louie Mystery by Carole Nelson Douglas. I’d seen Carole speak at ConDFW many years ago and fell in love with her Midnight Louie series as well as her Irene Adler books. Midnight Louie is a noir detective in modern Las Vegas – and a feline. But he doesn’t let that stop him, he think it gives him an edge. The series is a lot of fun. It has a great cast of characters – feline and human. Her Irene Adler series is based on the world of Sherlock Holmes. Loads of fun!

Some favorite books and authors –

Favorite books and authors switch around a lot – one of the cool things about reading as much as I do. Currently my favorite authors include, but are not limited to: Terry Pratchett (I discovered him late, but have been catching up!), Carole Nelson Douglas, Rachel Caine, Martha Wells, A Lee Martinez, Barbara Hambly, Stephen King, and Tanya Huff. (Not necessarily in that order. :))

What is your work space and writing routine like? –

At home we have a room we call the “library”.  It’s there that I have a corner desk with my PC, and where most of the editing, the marketing, and the social media efforts happen. The writing, however, normally occurs at work. I get there early and use my work computer until it’s time to start. I also write through part of my lunch hour. Every once in a while I get lucky and can sneak some words in during work hours if it’s a very slow day.

You go to a lot of cons, do you find that the face to face interaction with readers is better or do you simply prefer it to social media interaction? –

Since I am not well known, getting the opportunity to participate in panels or have tables at conventions has been totally invaluable in getting the word out. I love interacting face to face, and have made many friends because of it. I also hate pushing sales on people, so I am more than happy to chat, regardless of whether those who stop by are even interested in any of my books. It’s just fun being able to make connections. Do I prefer it to social media? Not especially. I do a bunch of both. But I do think in some ways connecting with others is slightly easier in person.

Do you have an interesting con experience you could share? –

A few years ago, during ArmadilloCon, I was finally able to fulfill a wish I’d had with me for over twenty years.

Back in the day, before I knew there were conventions or that people could actually meet authors, I’d been in love with Barbara Hambly’s Those Who Hunt The Night. Because I came from a Spanish speaking background, I was in love with the vampire Ysidro’s name, especially because I knew how to say it in Spanish. I’d always thought it would be a thrill to be able to read the name out loud to her how it’d been meant to be said. Never in my wildest dreams had I thought I would ever have an opportunity to do so, however. And then years and years later she was a guest at ArmadilloCon! I didn’t have a copy of the book with me, but a friend had found one in the dealers’ room and bought it for her to sign. So after oh so very long, I asked if I could read the name to her. It was a major geek moment for me. And totally embarrassing, as I could tell she’d had it done before, but too many of the people and other authors around me wanted to hear it, so I barged on anyway. A lot of squeezing ensued. (Why, yes, authors are fans too! And can get just as silly. Lol) Luckily, I’ve held my inner fan girl in check better with other authors I’ve enjoyed reading as well and kept the embarrassing situations to a minimum. 🙂

You write a lot of fantasy is this simply a love of the genre or a way to escape the daily grind. Perhaps both? –

Fantasy was my first love for reads and that’s the main reason I started writing in that genre. Writing of any kind is an escape to me, and reading even more so, so that didn’t really figure into it. And while writing fantasy is one of my favorite things to do, my short stories have run the gauntlet in the speculative fiction field – from a little horror, to humor, hard science fiction, and more.

In the last couple of years some of the new novels I’ve been working on have strayed from the pure fantasy genre, too. Currently, I’m shopping around for a home for an urban fantasy called “Inner Demons”, and the work-in-progress is a science fiction novel. That’s the awesomeness of writing books, you don’t’ ever have to do just the same thing over and over.

Are you exclusive to this genre or do you plan to test the waters and try some others out? –

I’m always eager to try new things, or looking at something old and trying to reinvent it in a different way. Though all the novels I’ve gotten published so far have been solely in the fantasy genre, my short fiction has not. And several of those have ended in anthologies or online magazines. One of the most popular is called Windows and is about a menopausal window washer at an orbiting hotel – this one was pure science fiction. If anyone is interested in checking it out, you can find it at 4 Star Stories in the archive section. The current novel I’m working on is SF as well.

Can you tell me about your experience getting published? –

I’ve always tended to be extremely shy around people until I get to know them. I also hate to approach anyone if I have an agenda, makes me feel fishy. So when I had a couple of manuscripts that I was trying to shop around, I very much avoided this new concept for getting published – networking. But having the novels sit in slush piles for a year or more at a time really wasn’t getting me anywhere. And though I was able to get an agent for a while, they’d not been able to find a publisher for me and later had to close their doors after 9/11 as it presented too many problems for the agency since they were out of state.

Finally I had to face the fact that networking was the only solution out there that might speed things up. So, despite my horrible shyness, I went to a local literary con and got to hear stories and advice about the business from the mouth of published authors at panels there. Better yet, I was able to get names of authors to check out and a few publishing companies that were smaller than the Big Boys, but who were also looking into this new fandangled idea of ebooks. (Yes, it was quite a few years ago.) It was the first time I ever heard of Yard Dog Press and Zumaya Publications. But looking up their websites, I got their submission info, made the required query letters, sample chapters, etc. and sent them off. Yard Dog was closed to submissions, but ZP was looking for more manuscripts. I was amazed when they decided to sign two of the three submissions I’d sent based solely on the three required chapters. And from there a whole new world of work I needed to do opened up before me. 😛

For a new reader which of your books would you recommend they try and why that one? –

If I had to pick one, it would be In the Service of Samurai – a Japanese fantasy that is borderline young adult to adult. Mainly, I’d recommend it because it is unusual. How many novels out there deal with a fantasy Japan where undead samurai and ninja are real? And the medieval Japanese culture is so utterly fascinating and different, so it has a magic all its own.

What do you have in the works for readers ? –

Novel wise, I have two manuscripts currently sitting in the cue to get evaluated by a publisher for possible publication. “Jewel of the Gods” is a fantasy novel where a man gets changed into a woman and blackmailed to help solve a murder. The other is an urban fantasy called “Inner Demons” about a woman who was possessed by a demon for three months and comes back to find her life has been left in utter chaos. She’s not happy about this and wants her questions answered, the culprit found, and then give those involved a little payback.

Aside from that, I’ve been trying to add some free reads to the website here and there. Currently have two free short stories relating back to In the Service of Samurai and The Price of Mercy. Consider them ‘Thank you’ gifts for visitors to the site and for those who’ve read the novels and would like just a little more fun in the particular universes.

 

Thank you so much for letting me blabber to your readers. Much appreciated!

My thanks right back at you Gloria I totally want to read In The Service of the Samurai now.

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