Chatting with Avery Olive
Let me introduce you to Avery Olive and her book A STIFF KISS:
Who knew kissing a corpse would change everything?
Death always hits Xylia Morana too close to home, but she likes it that way. She hangs out with the terminally ill, attends random funerals, and every so often, when the weather is right, she sleeps in open graves.
But after Landon Phoenix, the high school hottie, dies in Xylia’s arms, she sneaks into the morgue to say goodbye. How could she know stealing a kiss from his corpse would wake him up?
With Landon returned to the living and suddenly interested in Xylia, life has new meaning. But what Xylia doesn’t realize is that by kissing Landon back to life, she’s thrown Life and Death off balance. The underworld demands a body, and it might just have to be Xylia’s this time.
Me: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Avery: A few years ago I’d broken my leg, I was on bed-rest with instructions not to do ANY walking, unless with the aid of crutches. I was pretty much stuck in Mr. Olive’s lazy boy chair, and I read. A lot. Eventually I realized that what I was writing was good, and thought maybe I could create my own novel. It’d be cheaper to write a book of my own, than continue to buy books to read. Quickly, I realized I enjoyed it.
Me: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Avery: I don’t really have a schedule, so to speak. I’m a stay at home mom, so I write when I can. I do find that I stay up way to late, because that’s when I can get some peace and quiet. I try to write a bit every night, though.
Me: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Avery: Oh, wow, this is a tough one. I always write start to finish. I know some writers can skip ahead, or start in the middle, work their way to the end and move to the beginning, or start at the end and work backwards, filling in the blanks. I have to write in order, and if I get stuck, I’m stuck until I can figure out how to move forward, whereas most would just skip the hard part and come back to it later. And I can’t work on more than one thing at one. I write a novel start to finish, or if I get too stuck I have to trunk it. But I can’t flip back and forth between novels. I can’t even do that when reading books. I guess I have a once track mind J
Me: When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Avery: I wrote my first novel in 2009 and I was 24 years old.
Me: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Avery: I love to decorate cakes. I do it on the side for friends and family for a little extra cash. I also read about a book a week (if not more) and in the summer I like to camp and travel a bit.
Me: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
Avery: It might just be my worst writing quality, I’m a pantser. This makes for an interesting story, since I usually only have a few things to work with in my head, and I let the characters do the rest. It’s also why I get stuck. Since I haven’t put a lot of thought into the storyline itself, when I get to a hard part, since I don’t have anything plotted out, I’m stuck until I can come up with direction.
I do, once I get the first initial idea, work out character descriptions and traits, that’s it. And mostly because that needs to be sorted out right away. I can’t very well be half way through a novel and forget what colour eyes my MC has, or what their trademark style is.
Me: How many trunked books (if any) did you have before Publishing A Stiff Kiss?
Avery: I have two completed novels in my trunk, the first one I ever wrote, which I still love, but it needs a bit of an overhaul. And the second I got the first draft done, sent it to my critique buddy. Once I got it back I realized there was way too many things wrong with it, way too many things that needed to be fixed. I set it aside and moved on. One day I might have to pull it out, and work through edits. I’m sure there is a great story underneath that just needs to be pulled forward.
I then have three other novels that are all stuck around the 25K mark. That’s 25K is my problem area. If I can make it past I can finish the novel, but it seems, that’s where I tend to have the most problem, so a few novels never made it passed that mark. One of them I think about often, always trying to figure out how to move forward, and what should happen next.
I only allow myself a certain amount of stuck time. If I can’t manage to push through after about a month, it needs to get set aside and something new needs to be started. I’ve got a million idea’s and they all need a chance to be written.
Me: What’s something you learned from the publishing process that surprised you?
Avery: How little I actually new. I had polished my novel to the best of my ability, sent it to several beta’s and critique partners and continued to polish it with their help. I thought the novel was in pretty good shape, and it was. My editor was impressed with how smooth the novel flowed, that there wasn’t any gaping plot holes, but, BUT my grammar was atrocious. It still is, and I continue to learn ever day and am getting better.
Time, is the other thing. There’s a lot that goes into a novel to get it into publication and each steps takes time. I thought having gone with a small company it would be a lightning fast process (and in retrospect it was) but each step needs to be taken seriously, worked through, and you can’t rush it. A novel is ready when it’s ready.
Me: How long does it typically take you to write a novel, start to finish?
Avery: 3 months is about my average. And that’s including stuck breaks. If I got over my aversion to plotting, and wrote as if it were my nine to five job (if that was even a possibility) I could probably have a novel finished in a month (first draft). It then takes me about 3 months to edit. Which in part is my taking things slow, and waiting on other people J Beta’s and Critique partners are awesome, however they are helping out of the goodness of their heart and it takes time to read and worth through someone else’s work. And I tend to worry. I never think it’s ready, and will continue to pick at it until finally I get to the point where enough is enough.
Me: How did you come up with the idea for A Stiff Kiss?
Avery: This is a tough one. A few things came into play with A Stiff Kiss. I didn’t even think of it as a reverse sleeping beauty until someone had mentioned it to me, but I’m sure in the back of my mind that was part of the thinking.
Someone told me a story, which gave me idea for one of the characters, and I know how cliché, but a dream filled in the blanks.
Me: What are you working on now?
Avery: Now this is super top secret information, if I tell you I’d have to kill you… Oh wait, that’s a lie. I’m actually working on two things (I know a bit of a contradiction to what I said above) I completed a manuscript a few months back, and I’m working on the sequel while I continue to polish the first. When I went to start something new, the sequel and the characters were what came begging me to continue their story, so I caved and thought, what the hell! Maybe I can sell both scripts at the same time J
Me: Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?
Avery: Read. I think reading really helps with writing. You can learn a few tricks, and seeing how a sentence is laid out, really helps when learning how to structure your own sentences.
I also think a good community of other aspiring writers, and published ones help. I’m a huge fan of the Absolute Write Forums. I went there to learn as much as I could about the industry, found my very first beta’s and critique partners (who, some of them are still with me today) and made a few, what I am sure, without a doubt will be lifelong friendships. There are others out there learning as you are, so why not banned together and help each other out.
Lastly figure out what you want, and what you want to come of your writing. These days there are so many ways to get published, and some will work for you as a writer better than others. I don’t think there is a right and wrong way to get your book into the hands of readers. I think it’s all personal preference.
More about the author: Avery Olive is proudly Canadian. She is married and has one child. When she’s not helping raise her very energetic and inquisitive son, she can be found working on her latest novel–where she devilishly adds U’s into every word she can. When she is looking for a break Avery enjoys cake decorating, losing herself in a good book, or heading out to the lake to go camping.
The release of Avery’s first novel proves to her it won’t be the last. As long as her family continues to be supportive, she can find the time, and people want to read, Avery vows to keep on writing.
Check out her next blog tour stops:
Sunday March 18th – Dan Wright , Monday March 19th – Mindy, Tuesday March 20th – Hildie McQueen, Wednesday March 21st – Jenn Nixon, Thursday March 22nd – here, Friday March 23rd – Avery’s Book Nook, Saturday March 24th – Clare Marshall, Sunday March 25th – Read 2 Review , Monday March 26th – Megan, Tuesday March 27th – Zahida, Wednesday March 28th – Tawania, Thursday March 29th – Jaime-Kristal , Friday March 30th – Cindy Young-Turner and Saturday March 31th – Steven Whibley
Now, it’s your turn to share A STIFF KISS: post a funny/sad/gritty/dark story about a stiff kiss you experienced to have a chance on winning A Stiff Kiss Coaster (pictured) and a signed bookmark and a collector card.
And don’t forget about the A Stiff Kiss Ultimate Prize Package that will run for the duration of the tour. For more details, click here.
Hope you enjoyed it!