MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR J.D. OLIVA
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
J.D. Oliva. I write mostly in crime/horror but I want to branch out in to Urban Fantasy
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I’ll talk about Hawk Hallow.
My brother and I were talking about ideas for new stories and he had the idea of a group of kids trapped in a commercial haunted house with a band of killers. I liked it but thought that a supernatural bend would help make the story less slasher, more entraining to work on. I originally had the idea to use a family of vampires but I had trouble sticking the landing. I liked the characters I came up with, but for some reason the story just wasn’t clicking. I walked away from it for a year and then revisited it and asked, “if they aren’t vampires, what are they?” That’s when the phrase “demonic, redneck djinn” hit me. After that everything just fell into place.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I love horror. Ever since I was a little kid, horror stuff just appealed to me. When I was little I used to hang out near the horror section at the video store. I was too scared to actually look at those videos, but there was a forbidden danger in those movies that made them appealing. As I grew, I came to really love the genre.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
It was awesome, I went to a bunch of haunted houses!
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I spend most of the day with my two-year-old. My wife has a normal 9-5 (actually 7-3) job, so I’m on daddy duty most days. When she gets off work, I go to wrestling practice (I’m a high school wrestling coach). After that I write from about 8:30-midnight every night. I’m a freelance videographer so most of my “normal” work days are during weekends. If I do have a freelance job, I’ll take my son to his grandparents in the morning, but the rest of the day pretty much plays out the same.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I do, I’m working a series called VisionQuest:Apex. The three book series will be out in 2019.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
I don’t go out of my way to make overly clever names. When I think of a character the name usually just springs to mind. Names have to feel right, not necessarily cool. At least to me.
Where do your ideas come from?
All kinds of places. When I’m driving or at there gym, I’ll get some inspiration, usually cause I’m lost in thought.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Kind of. I’m still learning and by no means an expert in anything.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Dealing with imposter syndrome. Worrying if I’m good enough. That kind of stuff.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
Being a videographer, book trailers is something I’m very interested in. I think with my base work skills, creating a book trailer is something I can do. I’m going to relaunch an older book in the fall and plan on experimenting with a book trailer then.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Being a dad.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Being creative and having an outlet to get these thoughts out of my head.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
As a former college athlete, I try not to do the whole goal sheet thing, because I obsess over the steps and not the actual work. If I set a ten year goal, I’ll make myself miserable trying to live up to it. I know me. If it becomes obsession, I’ll burn out. I just want to be able to pay my mortgage with my writing. That’s the goal.
Have you always liked to write?
Ever since I could remember.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Write. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way to get it done.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I own a video production company as a regular job and I coach high school wrestling. I do the things that I love.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do. I think that you have to see bad reviews for what they are. Sometimes people jus don’t dig what you’re doing and that’s okay. If someone doesn’t like your stuff, you just have to move on. But, if you read a review and in your heart you know that they’re right, you have to take that and learn from it. That’s part of the athlete mentality. You’re always in a constant state of improvement. You can’t get better if you don’t put something out there.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
I don’t particularly enjoy marketing. I’m learning and getting better at it, but I’m more passionate about creating than selling.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on my VisionQuest series and a comic called Gaijin.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Not yet! Lol. It needs some editing.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
I’m never going to be the kind of writer that is able to stay in one genre or medium. It might cost me business but I’ve accepted that. I write what interests me. If it feels like homework, then I’m not enjoying what I’m doing. I might as well work in retail if that’s the case.
Where did your love of books come from?
Childhood. I fell in love with comics and books as kid and it’s been there ever since.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Stephen King, Joe Hill, Brad Meltzer, Grant Morrison. Those are the guys who’s stuff I’ll stop what I’m doing to read.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
I have two dogs and I love them both. I would never choose between them. I feel the same way about my characters. They all have their purposes and I enjoy writing them all while I’m working on them. But there isn’t one where I’m just like, “this one is the best.”
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Depends on the day. Like any job, there’s days where everything clicks and days when nothing is there. I love the process but it is a process.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
My brain moves faster than my hands. I miss words sometimes when I get into a flow and when I go back and read my work, sometimes my brain fills in the blanks so I miss my mistakes. I always keep my copy editor on her toes.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I write what feels right to me. When I try to serve masters, my work tends to be bad.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have a lot of friends that are writers. I love talking story and writing with them. Rich Douek, a comic writer out of New Jersey, is a good friend and we often read each other’s stuff. Just talking and having others read my work, helps me get better.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
“Why The Hell Would You Read This?”
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Q: Why is amateur wrestling the greatest sport in recorded history?
A: Because it’s awesome!
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Find me on Twitter @JD_Oliva or on facebook.com/JDOlivaWriter
Here is a link to read HAWK HALLOW for free.
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️