Twenty Questions with Olivia Gaines
- What weather inspires you the most, in terms of bringing out your literary best?
I love rainy days. A rainy day, a cup of coffee and good books inspires me to relax my mind and enjoy the flow of words. Being a great reader makes and author a great writer, although I don’t read books in my own genre. I love romantic suspense and thrillers because the writing it tight, succinct and multi-layered. I want that in my works and I try to incorporate those elements into my romance novels to give the stories more depth.
- How do you think concepts such as Kindle, and e-books have changed the present or future of reading?
Kindle helps as well as harms the state of reading. There are so many authors giving away free books that readers expect authors to price their books low or to give them away. No on can expect an architect or a construction team to erect a building and not be paid for it. Another issue is that with so many free books, readers Kindles are loaded to capacity with book they may never get to, leaving a year of hard writing and work to be stuck in between a book about a woman’s relationship with a T-Rex next to a book you wrote with blood sweat, wine and tears.
- Do you encourage your children to read?
Of course. I grew up living in the public library and read just about everything I could get my hands on. When I had my son, and being a military family, one of the first things we would locate in any new town was the library. Living in Los Angeles, there were so many things to do on any given day or at any given time, but my son learned to love taking the metro from North Hollywood to downtown the LA Public Library. I would turn it into an adventure where we would have a scavenger hunt for art or specific books. He learned to value and love the library. Reading, not so much.
- Do you have a library at home?
Well, duh. I have so many books that my husband had to create shelves above the room to house them all. I have collections of signed books, an African American collection and a literature collection as well. I have so many books, that my husband put me on a book diet. I refuse to let him see my iPad. My Kindle library is nearly maxed out as well.
- Do you think the charm of public libraries has toned down much in the last decade?
Quiet the opposite. Millennials are far more financially savvy than we ever were. They are flocking to libraries to check out books, eBooks, stream movies and more. People forget how well stocked libraries are as well as being a great place to write.
- Do you blog?
I blog about everything from movies, books, television shows and more. I love to look at what the director is trying to tell us visually in the story as wella s what we can physically see. I call my Blog, I was just thinking… you can find it here at https://readingwatchingreviewing.com/2018/01/
- How active are you on social media? And how do you think it affects the way you write?
I am very active on social media and use it as a platform to stay connected with my readers and to keep my fingers on the pulse of what is going on in the world. It doesn’t impact my writing unless I see something which would add the story line, however, that is very rare.
- Is there a particular kind of attire you like to write in?
Comfortable. I have a pair of PJ pants with a huge hole in them that my husband threatens to throw away every time he sees them. Those are my get shit done pants. When I have those on, I am in beast mode and getting it done.
- Do any of your family members make occasional cameos in your books?
That is a great question. I do not put family members in my story because I don’t want to be sued. I do use the first names of my nephews as main characters though. I think it is cool to pay tribute to the hard working family men that they have become.
- Do you enjoy discussing upcoming ideas with your partner? If yes, how much do you value their inputs?
My husband’s input is invaluable, especially when writing the male character’s point of view. If I am uncertain about a line or a block of dialogue, I read it to him. He will give me a yay or nay, and offer suggestions. I can’t do what I do without him.
- What are your views on modern erotica? Have they completely dehumanized the idea, or is it better?
This is a sore spot for me. I am an old school romantic. Yes, there are times when man sees woman and they go for it, allowing the basics of nature to take its course. However, getting in on in the first chapter of the book? No, thanks. None for me. Another thing which pinks my cheeks are the ways in which the alpha men talk to these women and I am sitting there thinking, this poor woman who wrote this, has no concept of how it feels to be loved by a good man. It’s rude, if you ask me to be introduced to the woman’s sexual appetites or her body parts before you know her name.
I’m no prude. I’m all About letting your freak flag fly, but you can’t expect in the midst of the #metoo movement, for men to respect women if they are also reading these books on erotica written by women, and not expect them to believe, this is how you want to be treated.
If a man tells me he is going to beat up my pussy, I’m calling the ASPCA on him. I don’t like the idea of harming small furry creatures in fiction or otherwise.
- How often do you aim to send a specific message through your book and get 100% success?
My message in every book is patience. Love is not a chemical formula that when a man and woman get together is going to be this perfect hot sex scene. It doesn’t happen in real life, so it can’t happen in my book. However, if you take your time, understand the common goal and vision for your relationship, then both parties are invested in the growth of the relationship. That is my message.
- Did you have a lot of differences with your editors in the beginning while you were still becoming used to getting your work edited?
Good Lord yes. I love to play with words, using tongue in cheek metaphors, analogies, and sometimes Southern colloquialisms. I had to find an editor who understood my speaking rhythms who could also understand my writing rhythm.
- What is your motivation for writing more?
I like to eat and have power on in my house so I can enjoy Netflix. In my head, I have a million stories. If only I have enough time to write them all, but there has a to be a pace. The readers need time to hunger for your next book. Yes, there are super readers who will read a book a day, but I need time to cultivate my relationships with my characters. I can’t do that just by writing blindly.
- Have you received any awards for your literary works?
Yes. I have been blessed to be a two-time Georgia Author of the Year nominee. I won the 2015 Swirl Award for Best Contemporary Romance for Thursdays in Savannah and the 2017 IRAE Award for Best Contemporary Romance for Wyoming Nights.
- Are you friends with other writers?
We have this thing called the Tuesday Sushi Club, where me, Hildie McQueen and J.D. Monroe meet twice a month to share, bitch, whine and talk about this love affair we have with words. Recently, we did a four days intensive writing retreat and it was wonderful.
Last year, I was on the road and had the opportunity to meet several writers whom I love and admire. Having friends who do this for a living makes sense to me, because there are some conversations that can only be had with a fellow traveler, walking the same path.
- How do you see writing? As a hobby or a passion?
Both, honestly. I am a journalist by trade and have been writing since I was nine years old. I have a passion for words and I turned my hobby into a career. I truly feel blessed that I am finally able to do the one thing I’ve always wanted to do – write beautiful stories.
- Can you tell us about your current projects?
Currently, I am tweaking the latest installment in my Modern Mail Order Bride Series, On A Rainy Night in Georgia. This one is part of a trilogy on the Neary Brothers. Unlike my other stories in this series, these brothers are all employed by the federal government.
- When can the readers expect your next book in print?
On A Rainy Night in Georgia will be available on February 13th though all online retailers in print and eBook.
- Are you working on something new at the moment?
Here is an excerpt from On A Rainy Night in Georgia. Enjoy.
It had been three days since he’d left her in the raggedy termite-eaten shack. Three soggy, wet days later, the fire was waning, but the rain was not. The last lonely embers sat in the fireplace beginning a slow death of the last log of dry fire wood. If she didn’t move soon, it would also be her fate. I am not going to die here. My life is not forfeit.
The chain around her ankle was loose now that she’d lost a great deal of weight in the past month. A coldness seeped into her bones from the minimal heat generated by the last log of firewood warmth. As well as being skimpy on wood and coal, her captor didn’t feed her very much. The little food he did leave for her dining pleasure in her estimation, wasn’t fit for a dog to eat. The scraps were all she had to sustain her body and she rationed as much as she could, as often as she could. Most days she didn’t want to eat the constant diet of French fries, high sodium and fatty foods, however, she was eating for two. Her captor had tried to better her meal choices once he saw the changes in her body. The bastard hadn’t been back in four days, and it had been raining for three.
The constant downpour for three days straight did not appear to be letting up. The leaky roof dripped rain onto the cold wooden floor which held craters of cracks and crevices allowing in varying insects and on one cold night, a black snake which came in from the rain to warm itself by the fire. The snake didn’t stay long. The shack was too cold for it. She too was cold. Naked. Cold. Scared. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, for the second time in eleven months, fear of her pending death in a shack in the butt crack of a mountain in Georgia sat beside her like a silent friend.
A pain shot low and deep across her belly.
“No, no, no,” she wailed as another pain hit her, crumpling her body. An involuntary moisture seeped from her body causing another wave of dread. Dirt-covered hands reached between her legs to feel where the pressure was building. In the low light of the shack, in her hand, she saw the yellow mucus.
The mucus plug has come out.
This was about to happen.
This is happening.
I will not die.
My life is not forfeit.
“Father, hear my prayer,” she said softly, setting to work to free herself.
The handful of yellow mucus she rubbed around the chain on her ankle, adding enough lubricant, with some effort, to wiggle the chain off her leg. Free. I am free. She stood, trying to get her legs under her, grateful, that when she’d been alone, meticulous exercise routines were enacted to maintain her muscle tone, just in case this day ever came.
She was naked as a new born babe, but her newborn was not going to arrive in that cold prison where he’d kept her. On a hook on the wall hung an old, weathered rain slicker. Grabbing the fabric, she shook it hard, attempting to free it of any guests which may have taken up residence in the material. Pulling it over her head, she yanked the unlocked rear door open, stepping barefoot onto the splintered back porch. Grateful the arrogant prick didn’t bother to lock the door because he never thought she’d get free, she stepped off the porch and made her way around the house.
The rain hit her in the face like so many of her bad decisions which, thus far, had led her to this fate. My life is not forfeit. Cold fingers touched her belly, gripping it low as she set out at a steady pace, running down the hill on the driven pathway. Uncertain of where she was running. Not knowing where she was going. Not really caring. All she knew was that she had to get away.
Branches slapped her in the face as she ran through the dense foliage of the woods where the driven path came to a muddy end in a deep red clay pool. She lost her footage, slipping, protecting her belly by landing on her side, her face in the dirt, her skin soaked. Turning, scrambling, struggling to get back on her feet, the aggressive rain washed the dirt from her face, but the hood kept her head dry. The pain in her feet was all but ignored since they had gone numb some time ago; she got back up and continued to run downhill. Downhill meant a road should be coming up soon. The pains in her belly were intensifying, signaling she was almost out of time.
“Hold on, Baby,” she said, breaking through the foliage into a clearing.
I made it to the road.
The heavy rain was blinding her since there were no trees on the road to slow its torrential downpour. The sliver of moonlight which lit her way in the night gave no indication of city lights, a nearby residence, or a direction in which to turn. Closing her eyes, she dropped to her knees.
“Father, order my steps,” she prayed.
Rising slowly, a pull to her left suggested she go in that direction. Hands clutched around her belly, which was moving, squirming, and ready to release its incubating inhabitant; she knew she would be in trouble if she didn’t find help soon. A pain shot low, forcing her to stop running. She leaned down, holding her knees, trying desperately to catch her breath. Then another pain hit her a few minutes later.
The contractions were growing closer and closer together.
If her water had broken, she didn’t know. Everything was wet. The poncho had holes in it, but her head stayed dry. That was important. A wet head could mean death before she even had a chance to meet her baby.
Move, Girl. You have to move.
She picked up her pace, running a bit further only to discover more sections of a washed-out road. The gap in it was too large for her to clamber over in her current state. As fast as the water was washing down the mountain, the last thing she needed was to be swept away in the downpour.
I can’t go back. I can’t go back.
Tears started to well in her eyes.
I can’t believe He brought me this far…to leave me here.
Wiping away her tears, she stood in the rain looking around and surveying her surroundings when she spotted a glimmer of hope. A blue mailbox. A neon blue, half rusted mail box which stuck out in the all the dark, wet nastiness of the night.
“Thank you, Father,” she said aloud.
A mailbox meant a residence. A residence meant potential safety. The mailbox was old, but not too rusted, which meant someone had been maintaining it. She turned towards the red dirt road which sat beside the mailbox. Gratitude shot up her leg at the dirt smoothness of the road versus gravel being used to stop the erosion of the driveway. The gate, which blocked the road, was fortunately unlocked as her cold, tired hands pushed at it, opening it just enough to get her body through the space.
She closed it back once inside.
Follow the road. Follow the road. A voice repeated in her head.
Picking up her pace, she knew time was almost up and she needed, no had to make it to that front door. Whoever was home would be in for a big surprise when they answered the knock. She prayed whoever was inside would be able to lend her a hand.
A sharp pain hit her again, buckling her knees.
My life is not forfeit.
My life is not forfeit.
She began to crawl.
She crawled until the pain subsided, then she was back on her feet. In her head she counted one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, four… continuing to run as best she could. She lumbered part of the way, cried the other part, until she rounded the bend coming up the hill. A small cabin sat as if it were looking down at her, encouraging her to continue to its safety, the two front windows appearing as oversized eyes staring down, encouraging her to come to them. To her joy, one of the eyes had a little something in it which moved as if it were pacing.
“Thank you, Father,” she said again.
Running as fast as she could move, the lactic acid burned in her legs and her feet had no feeling, but that figure in the window propelled her forward. She reached the front porch, gasping for air as another pain hit her low. She growled in pain. A small balled up fist tapped at the door.
She hit it harder, banging it with the remaining shards of energy she had left, creating the familiar rhythm of “Shave and a Hair Cut.”
Warm air hit her face as the door opened, revealing a cozy fire and the smell of fresh bread and something delicious to eat. Her mouth watered at the scents, but pressing matters were at hand.
“What in the hell?” the dark figured asked as she pushed her way past him. She moved in front of the fire, pulling the tattered poncho over head to reveal a dirty, scarred and nude pregnant body.
“Help me,” she said, dropping to her knees. “I have been kidnapped and held against my will by one of the Macklemore brothers. I don’t know which one, but the cops in these parts are lowdown bastards so don’t think of calling them for any aid. My contractions are two minutes apart. I escaped. I ran from wherever that shack is that he kept me locked in for the past…”
A contraction hit her again, forcing her body to fold over as she lay on her side. It took some effort, but she rolled over to lie on her back on the floor, her woman parts pulsing and pointing at him. The dark hair on a tiny head pushed out of the ever-stretching hole and the man had not moved.
“…ten maybe eleven months. Close the damned door! Stop staring at me and help me deliver this child!” she yelled at him.
He jumped, closing the door and running to her side.
“I need to boil some water,” he said, finally finding his voice.
“No, you need to come behind me, sit me up so I can push this child out of my baby maker,” she said with her hoarse voice.
The stranger moved behind her. The strong stench coming off her unwashed body could have been enough to gag a mule. Her hair was matted and filled with moving things which would infect everything in his home, but first thing was first. She was having a baby in the middle of his floor.
He held her upright as she bent her knees.
“On three, breathe then push…one, two, and three,” he said.