Olivia Rivers is a hybrid author of Young Adult fiction. Her works include the independently published “Tortured Elements” and “Duplicity” series, along with the traditionally published novel Tone Deaf (Skyhorse 2016.) She enjoys experimenting with new publishing technologies, and her online serials have received over 1,000,000 hits on Wattpad.com. When Olivia isn’t working as a writer, she’s a typical teen attending college in Northern California.
Thank you Olivia for taking out time for this interview.
When do you bless your heart for choosing the career of a writer?
Every time I hear from a reader, I'm grateful I chose this career. Writing is a lonely craft, and when I’m holed away working on a manuscript for hours a day, it’s easy to forget how lively and lovely the book community is. So when I have readers reach out and tell me they enjoyed my work, it’s a truly wonderful feeling!
When do you cuss your mind for choosing the career of a writer?
It’s usually around the time I hit the seventh draft of a manuscript and realize I still have revisions to apply. At that point, I start cursing myself for not pursuing an easier career, like engineering or astrophysics. (Just kidding… Kind of.)
What is the most important quality in a writer that literary agents seek?
I would say professionalism. Professional writers understand that publishing revolves around money and sales, just like any other industry. Yes, publishing professionals are passionate about art, but they also need to make money in order to survive. Being a professional writer means crafting high-quality books that can attract readers, and also acting in a business-like manner that will gain the respect of publishing houses.
What should be the most important quality in a literary agent that writers should seek?
Professionalism! I believe that writer-agent relationships should be mutually beneficial, and that both parties should be held to the same high standards. It's wonderful if an agent loves their clients' work, but that's not all that's necessary, in my opinion. Professional agents need to have a deep understanding of the publishing industry, have great contacts and relationships with editors, and know how to convince a publishing house that a manuscript is a good investment.
Do you outline your novels? Does your characters surprise you by dismissing the outline, kindly share one experience that stayed with you.
No, I don’t outline. Personally, outlining makes my writing feel too stiff and strained. Of course, not outlining means I spend more time revising, but I don’t mind this.
One of the most memorable times a character surprised me was when I drafted my novel In the Hope of Memories. The novel features four different points of view, and when I introduced the fourth point of view, I realized I had no idea whether the character was a boy or girl. The result was a genderless character named Sam, who remains one of my favorite characters I’ve ever written.
If you can save only one book in a burning library which book will you save?
REDWALL by Brian Jacques! I read that book probably twenty times when I was a kid, and it was the first book that made me interested in writing my own stories. It remains my favorite to this day.
If a movie trailer is made on your life, the trailer will look like…
It’d just be a bunch of shots of me traveling around to coffee shops in my hometown and typing on my laptop. While I love my job as a writer, I'll admit that the lives of my characters tend to be much more action-filled than my own!
Kirtida Gautam is a clinical psychologist and an author.
Follow her on Twitter @KirtidaGautam
Follow her on Twitter @KirtidaGautam