Please welcome Jana Oliver,an author who knows about self-publishing, small press publishing and beyond. She is a member of Georgia Romance Writers. I'm amazed at some of the things she has done. Read to find out what she has to say about Paris Hilton and sex videos. (Kidding about the videos.)



What was your first published book and with whom?
My very first book was self-published in 2001, back in the days before doing-it-yourself was even remotely considered kosher. I never submitted it to a publisher or an agent, but formed an itsy tiny publishing house with my husband and printed the book. Was it the best book in the world? No. It certainly wasn’t the worst as it was a finalist for a Daphne du Maurier Award. Out of the exercise I learned a lot about distribution, marketing, how to obtain reviews, etc. The learning curve was steep. A lot of what I gained from self-publishing serves me well now that I’m traditionally published.

What themes go through your books?

Oh, lots! I don’t like clunking my readers over the head, so I weave them into my characters’ lives. I like to examine personal obsession, what makes a person continue to fight for or against some cause when it looks like he or she has already lost the battle. I’ve examined the role of intrusive government in our lives, our responsibility to our fellow humans, and how love is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. Besides telling a good story, I want to get my readers thinking, which in turn makes me have to do some mental gymnastics.

How did you write with kids and deadlines?

No kids. Unless, of course, you count the Furry Tyrant (cat). But I only have one of those so she’s easily mollified with a bit of scratching behind an ear. Deadlines don’t bother me too much. I came from the advertising world where deadlines were never set with much resemblance to reality. Need ad copy for an entire fifty page catalog in the next week? No problem! So working on a book at a slow and measured pace doesn’t seem so ugly.

How many books have you published?

Six now, if you count the first three self-published ones. The last three are the Time Rovers Series and are published by Dragon Moon Press, which is an imprint of Hades Publications, the largest independent science fiction and fantasy publishing house in Canada.

Other jobs you've had?
I’ve had about every job except running for Vice President. I spent a decade as a registered nurse and then quit that field about time the insurance companies moved in. I’ve been a DJ, I’ve written advertising copy for the World Largest Retailer (and others) and I’ve been a travel agent, which comes in very handy for my globe hopping. I started writing a decade ago and this seems to be the one career I truly can enjoy until it’s time to shuffle off this mortal coil. The voices in my head aren’t going to let me do anything else it seems.

What are you writing now?

Since my latest Time Rovers Book (MADMAN’S DANCE) is out in a couple of weeks, I’ve turned my attention to a dark paranormal romance/urban fantasy (one of a pair) that I want to send to my agent. The manuscript is done, just needs a final tweak. The story is set in contemporary L.A. and features a witch who can talk to the dead. Where that was rather new when I started this book about five years ago, now it seems almost everyone talks to the dead. Still, I like the story which pairs a Wiccan with a Catholic private investigator. Both of them are having trouble accepting their God (or Goddess) given gifts. It’s very sweet love story with some scary bad creatures.

What would you write if you could do write anything you wanted to write?

Exactly what I’m doing. I do have one book that I need to “grow” into, a story about a woman killed by a pro killer, but the murder is pinned on the local crazy guy. It’s based on a real case so I have to do a LOT of thinking on that one before I put fingers to keyboard. I want that book to just knock everyone’s socks off and that’s why I need to grow as a writer before that story is put on paper.
Who knows, if I can pull it off then maybe I can be invited to one of Paris Hilton’s infamous parties. Talk about “book fodder”.


Jana Oliver
Madman’s Dance (Time Rovers – Book 3)
October 30, 2008
Dragon Moon Press
www.janaoliver.com

15 comments

  1. Arkansas Cyndi // October 16, 2008 at 9:43 AM  

    Enjoyed the interview. I love the idea of a witch who talks to the dead. I wonder sometimes about writing something and then finding out the public has moved on to reading another "hot" genre, but seriously, paranormal has been around forever, so I'm thinking you're safe.

    BTW- I'm another RN who escaped the medical world. I think there are quite a few of us!

  2. Jana Oliver // October 16, 2008 at 11:11 AM  

    Thanks! I kept trying to change the heroine to something else, but she wouldn't let me. Guess I'd best trust her judgment.

    Publishing is cyclical. I figure if I get a "meh" on a manuscript today, I'll toss it under the bed and in a few years it'll be hot again.

    There are a lot of us former nurses out there. Who better to be authors? We manage deadlines, organize our work, communicate well with others and know that unless something is fibrillating or hemorrhaging, it's not a big deal.

    We've dealt with patients and their families during the best and worst times of their lives. That gives us a lot of insight into the human psyche. Excellent "research" for an author, IMHO.

  3. Mary Marvella // October 16, 2008 at 1:53 PM  

    Glad you could be with us today, Jana. I liked your responses when I read them. Of course I knew I would.

  4. Mary Ricksen // October 16, 2008 at 2:08 PM  

    I used to be a nurse so I know what you mean. I couldn't take watching people suffer so I went into management. But I know what you mean.

    Great interview!

  5. Toni V.S. // October 16, 2008 at 2:20 PM  

    Same here, NM and Cyndi--the reason I don't watch doctor TV shows. Loved the interview. I agrfee that the supernatural genre has been around in one form or another FOREVER--c/f my trivia blog--what's the oldest story in the English language? Beowulf. And if that ain't supernatural...what is? That says something right there...people will always want to be told about something that is beyond their ken.

  6. Beth Trissel // October 17, 2008 at 9:44 AM  

    Very interesting post, Jana. I enjoyed reading about your writing journey. You are a fascinating lady.

  7. Nightingale // October 17, 2008 at 1:49 PM  

    Every time I panic because someone just came out with an angel story, Mary and Toni bring me back to the reality of writing. I think the Wiccan and the Catholic sound intriguing.

  8. Scarlet Pumpernickel // October 17, 2008 at 7:25 PM  

    Jana, Great interview! Enjoyed the insight into your writing career. I know what you mean about people coming out with the very topic you're writing about. Think it comes for that "collective consciousness thingie," I just wish, they would skip the one I chose! Hehehe

    The Scarlet Pumpernickel

  9. Jana Oliver // October 17, 2008 at 7:36 PM  

    Mary R. said: "I used to be a nurse so I know what you mean. I couldn't take watching people suffer so I went into management."

    Clearly you are a much nicer person that some of the managers I worked for. I had a few corkers. A lot of my corporate experiences went into the series, both the good and the bad. Can you imagine being a time traveler and worrying about whether the company you work for is going to go bankrupt and orphan you in lord knows when just so they don't have pony up the severance pay? Shudder.

    Oh yeah, those years in corporate America were great book fodder (grin).

  10. Jana Oliver // October 17, 2008 at 7:46 PM  

    I can't watch doctor shows or read medical thrillers. They bring back too many memories. Let's be honest -- writing is more fun. Characters can bleed all over the place I don't have to clean it up!

    Beowulf -- I skipped the movie. The idea of Ms. Jolie as Grendel's mum just didn't do it for me. I had the "joy" of reading Beowulf in the original Old English during college. Hey, I was young. I was foolish. But it was cool!

    So should I swallow my prejudice and get the movie from Netflix or just skip it altogether?

  11. Mary Marvella // October 17, 2008 at 8:07 PM  

    I also had problems seeing Jolie as Grendel's mama. I ever read the book about Grendel as the hero years ago. My students liked the gore of Beowulf!

  12. Pamela Varnado // October 17, 2008 at 11:13 PM  

    Great interview. I can't wait to meet you at a Paris Hilton party.

    I agree with Arkansas Cyndi. Paranormal has been around forever. It's like a pair of well worn denim jeans. Neither will ever go out of fashion.

  13. Jana Oliver // October 18, 2008 at 5:52 PM  

    "Great interview. I can't wait to meet you at a Paris Hilton party."

    I'll be the one in the corner busily scratching notes on a napkin and muttering, "Oh man, there's so much here it'll have to be a series!"

  14. Mary Marvella // October 18, 2008 at 9:46 PM  

    A writer is always on the job.

  15. Joanne // October 19, 2008 at 9:18 AM  

    Great interview, Jana. Thanks so much for joining the Pink Fuzzies today.