Name Lisa Olsen
Where are you from? The Pacific Northwest
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I am a writer, wife and mother of two currently living in the Pacific Northwest. I am a complete TV addict (have to have it on at all times, even when I’m writing). I also enjoy online RPG’s, singing, reading, cooking… lots more I can’t think of at the moment.
The supernatural has long been my favorite to write and read. Werewolves, vampires, witchcraft, ghosts, things that go bump in the night; these are a few of my favorite things to write about. Not sparkly beings with phenomenal cosmic power that are always the smartest, bravest, prettiest Mary Sue to walk the planet, but real people who just happen to have this little quirk…
I’ve just published my 20th book, Kiss the Witch Goodbye. I’m currently working on Trust Me Me When the Sun Goes Down (Forged Bloodlines #8) in my vampire series.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
July is a crazy busy month for me. I’m part of a PNR boxed set (Tall, Dark and Supernatural) with six other authors that just came out on July 3rd. I have the sequel to Pretty Witches All in a Row – Kiss the Witch Goodbye, coming out on July 17th and I’m part of another multi-author set through StoryBundle (featuring The Company of Shadows and Moonsong) also coming out mid July.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’d written for years, editing and re-editing, but never finished anything until someone told me about NaNoWriMo in 2009. It’s a challenge to write 50K words in one month. I wrote nearly 100K that month and ended up with my first completed novel, Moonsong. After I figured out how to bypass my inner editor on the first draft it was like flipping a switch and I started writing book after book.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I finished my first book in 2009. I didn’t consider myself a professional writer until I published in 2011.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had a week to plan it before NaNoWriMo began. I literally flipped a coin to decide between vampires and werewolves, and werewolves won out. I wanted to explore what it would be like for a girl to find out she had a heritage of werewolves in her family that she didn’t know about, and how she’d interact with her new found family since she wasn’t raised to know they existed.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I guess I’m best at creating memorable, quirky characters and snappy dialogue. I don’t spend a lot of time on overblown descriptions and I don’t throw in a lot of sex for sex’s sake (if that makes sense).
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I make out a huge list and whittle them away until I narrow it down to something I like. For Kiss the Witch Goodbye, I knew I wanted something with Witch in the title and so I started there.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
As odd as this sounds, I try to keep my books as realistic as possible. Despite the fact that they’re paranormal and we’re talking about vampires, witches, ghosts, werewolves, fallen angels and such, I try to make them as believable as possible. Nobody has phenomenal cosmic power and you can’t make magic happen by wiggling your nose. My characters are very real to me, so I try to flesh them out as people, and more than just their abilities.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There’s a part of me in all of my characters – like I share a lot of the same geeky interests with Anja from Forged Bloodlines, and I had an estranged father like Mercy from The Fallen series, or I dig guys with tattoos like Cady does, but I try not to base too many characters directly on people I know. I have set my books for the most part in Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle – places I’ve spent time in, and that helps to set the stage. Mostly I borrow from my likes and experiences to help form the characters themselves, and then throw them into crazy, paranormal circumstances.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles had a pretty big influence on me, sparking an interest in the paranormal. Dean Koontz and Stephen King fostered my love of the weird and scary. I also grew up reading Lawrence Sanders, which started my love of crime procedurals. There are too many to list individual books.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I hear quite a bit about this Morgan Parker fella. I think he’s a genius at marketing and he puts an addictive compound into his writing that leaves you craving more. That must be why we’re all clamoring for his next installment, right? Seriously though, I’ve enjoyed his books and the different perspective on romance. I love that he’s brave enough to take chances in his writing and his sense of humor.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’ve just finished my 20th book, Kiss the Witch Goodbye and I’m starting on Trust Me When the Sun Goes Down, book 8 in my Forged Bloodlines series.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
There’s no way I could keep up the pace I’m at without my editing team. Beckie Pimentel particularly has taught me so much as my editor.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, this is my full time gig and I support my family with my writing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, it came out the way I wanted it to. There’s not much I would change about the storylines in any of them.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It started with Role Playing Games online. I’d make up characters and write with others. But it started to get frustrating, and I’d want to make the storyline go one way and it would derail and go in another. That’s when I started writing stories of my own.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s a bit from Kiss the Witch Goodbye. Sergeant Nick Gibson’s just a wee bit jealous over Annalie’s ex – rock star Jax May.
“How come it never came up before that your ex is a famous rock star?”
“I haven’t heard you talking about your high school girlfriends either.”
“Touché, but none of my exes are on TV.”
“Except that one girl in the movie about the piranha-snake thing.”
“Oh right, Piranhaconda. I almost forgot about Tanya. It happens when you live in L.A.,” he shrugged. “Hey, is it just me or are you not Ruby’s favorite person?”
“Oh, so now you’re going to question me?”
The level of indignation didn’t seem to jibe with what he’d asked and Nick stared at her blankly. “Ah… is that a trick question? I did ask one.”
“You’ve been asking more than your share all night.”
“I wasn’t aware there was a quota.”
“It almost sounded like you were interrogating him.”
It was closer to the truth than he wanted to admit to, but to him he’d let Jax off easy. “I can’t help it, I’m a cop.”
“You don’t have to be all the time.” There was disappointment there, and Nick felt a stab of guilt for crapping on her reunion.
“I’m not all the time.” He leaned in for a kiss, relieved when she flowed into his arms. Even though she hadn’t required him to grovel for forgiveness, or maybe because of it, he offered an apology. “I’m sorry, I’ll try to go easier on the next old friend of yours who may or may not be the first guy you slept with, I promise.”
She pulled back to get a better look at him. “Is that what this is about? You’re jealous of Jackson?”
He considered telling her it was more than petty jealousy behind all those questions, but decided to let the green eyed monster take all the credit. “What can I say? No guy likes to see his girl smiling in the arms of a blast from the past when that blast pulls in a cool mil for a night’s work as a sexy rock god.”
“I happen to think you’re sexy,” she smiled, leaning up to buss her lips against his.
“Yeah? ’Cause I could pick up some eyeliner…”
Her smile dimpled wider. “Only if you want me to keel over with laughter.”
“Whatever gets you to stay the night.” Capturing her lips with his, he deepened the kiss, loving the way she opened to him. Lost in the feel of her in his arms, her silky hair brushing against the tops of his hands at her waist, he forgot about murders and suspects, his thoughts turning to other important matters.
Not for the first time he wondered where they were headed, if she felt the same way about him that he felt about her. They’d never felt the need to define it before, but with this guy in town wanting to pick up where they left off… Nick decided to do a little probing.
Without letting her go, he brought the kiss to a close, resting his cheek against hers. “You know, if you want to see Jax again, I mean without me, I would understand.”
“Who said I wanted to see him again without you?”
“It’s pretty obvious he’s no fan of mine.”
“Whose fault is that?”
He probably deserved that. “Granted, I did go a tad overboard on the questions, but it’s clear he wants to rekindle something with you.”
“Well, it doesn’t matter what he wants. I never said I wanted to rekindle anything. It was just fun to catch up on old times and let Veronica meet them.”
Nick wished he could see her face, but he kept her close. “I’m just saying I’d understand is all. We’ve never really talked about being exclusive before. If you wanted to see other guys…”
“Are you saying you want to see other women?”
“No…” His arms tightened around her reflexively. “I’m saying we’ve never actually talked about what this is, you and me.”
“I dislike labels, you know that.”
How was he supposed to take that? What if he said the L-word and she squeezed his hand and said that was nice? What if she didn’t want to define it because she wasn’t sure how she felt about him? What if he ended up pushing her away by holding on so tightly? As the last thought popped into his mind, he loosened his hold on her, finally pulling back to look into her eyes.
“Seriously though, do you think I should get some leather pants?” he quipped, and Annaliese took pity on his fragile ego.
“Would it make you feel better if I screamed your name and threw my panties at you?”
“I’m thinking the screaming my name would be after the panties come off, but you do what feels natural.” Nick edged her away from the door in the direction of the stairs. “Wanna sleep over? You can bunk in my room.”
“What about Veronica?”
“I don’t think she’ll fit. Besides, father daughter snuggles are not what I had in mind for tonight.”
“What did you have in mind, Detective?” she asked archly, stepping up on the stair which brought her chest to his eye level.
Nick’s eyes dipped before returning to her luscious mouth, the curve of her lips beckoning to him sweetly. “That’s Sergeant to you, missy, and don’t you forget it.”
“Whatever,” she breathed, before his mouth closed over hers again.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Sticking to one idea when inspiration strikes in another direction.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t really have one favorite authors. I like Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris, Dean Koontz, Julie Garwood, David Eddings… I could go on. I take different things from each of them.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t have to travel at all, but I have enjoyed visiting some of the places in them.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My husband designs all of my covers for me. He has his own cover design business, Robot Brain Design.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
It’s hard to get through the middle when your excitement for the project has started to fade and the ending is still so far away. Nothing to do but keep plugging away and before you know it, you’re done.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to know about dead bodies.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Absolutely! The first thing is simple, you’ve heard it a zillion times before – writers write. If you want to take this beyond a hobby status into a career, you have to treat it like a second job. That means writing every day if you have to, in order to keep from losing momentum. Sure it’s easier to come home from work and zone out in front of the TV, but if you spend a couple of hours on your WIP, you can manage 2000 words per day. That’s an 80k first draft in only 40 days!
Second, resist the urge to go back and edit your work until the first draft is completed. This is what killed me until I found NaNoWriMo and was forced to keep going in order to meet that 50k per month quota. I’d go back over and over again, convinced it needed to be perfect when the reality is, you can always go back and fix it later, but you can’t fix what you never write. So get that first draft done before you let yourself worry over how good it is. In fact, give yourself permission to suck for the first draft entirely.
Along this line I will tag parts I know I need to stop and go look up later like *insert color of Lexi’s car here* or *look up types of short daggers here* so I don’t lose momentum by stopping to look up something I’ve forgotten or need to research. Then at the end I just search under the word “insert” and find all the bits I need to fix. I also keep a list of things I know I’m going to want to go back and fix later as I go along. Like – I’ll decide a character shouldn’t have said or done something earlier or it’ll mess up something later. Instead of going back I’ll note it and keep going like it’s already fixed. Saves a ton of time.
Also, you’re going to want to have the sucker edited. I don’t care who you are and how fantastic you are with the language, you’ll want a few other pairs of eyes on your baby before it goes live. One to help with flow, grammar and technical stuff and at least two others to proofread and spot your mistakes. I can’t tell you how many errors slip through even the most diligent of readers – you just need multiple eyes on any project to catch them. This doesn’t have to get super spendy. There are plenty of other writers out there who are willing to trade or barter if you don’t have the cash to pony up and there are tons of readers who jump at the chance to give your book a read for errors for the chance to be named in the acknowledgements alone.
Lastly, you’ve got to be prolific. I know it’s hard when you’re still working the dreaded day job, but if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. There are a ton of time sucks out there on facebook and twitter and everything else you have to do to build your platform and stay visible but the best investment of your time is to simply keep writing. Then when people discover you, they have something else to buy instead of forgetting about you and moving on to the next new author. It’ll take time, but as long as you keep writing and producing good, quality works, you’ll get there.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love to hear from you guys! Fan mail from the website, messages on Facebook, reviews on Amazon and fanfiction.net – I can’t tell you how much it gives me a boost to hear you’re out there sharing in my characters’ lives and cheering them on. It makes me want to keep writing until they pry my cold dead hands from the keyboard. Thank you so much for all your love and support!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Not really, but my first memory of reading is the newspaper from my father’s lap when I was about 3.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy singing, reading, and cooking. I made my husband a pretty kickass jedi costume from scratch once.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love anything with a supernatural flare, Sleepy Hollow, The Witches of East End, Buffy, Supernatural, Dr. Who, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, and I also enjoy crime procedurals like Castle, NCIS and Justified. I love superhero movies, particularly Captain America and the Avengers.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Enchiladas, pizza, kung pao chicken, anything savory and spicy and of course, chocolate. My favorite color is blue, but I’m also fond of purple. My music tastes are very eclectic, ranging from classical and jazz, to Marilyn Manson and Seether and 80’s new wave along the way.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’d probably still be working in my soul sucking job in the insurance industry.