Author Interview: Olivia H. Leitner

(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Olivia was written by Olivia H. Leitner.)

Walking through the corridors of this 12th century palace, Kelly took in her surroundings. It had been a long time since she visited Jerusalem in year 1178 when King Baldwin IV was king, but this was the location her interviewee had requested because she had read Kelly’s own books and wanted to visit this place. Kelly wondered if she could stop by the king’s study to visit with him, but at this hour of the day, he was likely in the High Court seeing to matters of the court. Maybe another time.

A portal opened beside Kelly, and she looked and smiled at her friend, Olivia H. Leitner. She motioned for Olivia to pass through the portal. “It’s perfectly safe, I assure you.” Once Olivia came through and the portal vanished, Kelly smiled. “Been a while since we’ve chatted, so it’s good to see you again. Here is Jerusalem during King Baldwin IV’s reign.” She gestured to their surroundings. “I hope it’s what you expected.”

Olivia held up a finger. “Firstly.” She embraced Kelly in a hug and then stepped back with a grin. “Okay, now we can talk.” Her eyes scanned their surroundings. “I’m pretty sure I climbed this building in Assassin’s Creed, but it’s much prettier here.”

Kelly laughed. “Yeah, I missed you too. Been a while.” Then they began walking, taking in their surroundings. “Okay, so…it’s really odd interviewing someone I know so well. However, my readers don’t know you, so I need to ask questions so that they may get to know you. Firstly, and I always ask this question, what are you doing these days other than writing?”

Olivia nodded, tugging as the collar of her maroon jacket. Jacket. In Jerusalem. Why had she thought that was a good idea? “Wellll, right now I’m recovering from mono, such not all that much, but normally I like to make music videos, learn and teach Tae Kwon Do,  procrastinate with video games when I’m supposed to be writing…” She chuckled. “I unfortunately do not have a job right now, but I’m working on that. As soon as I don’t have mono.”

“Sorry to hear you’ve been sick although I can totally relate. I still have a cough from being sick myself.” Kelly nodded, glad she had finally recovered as well. She gestured for them to take a turn to the right, which lead into the courtyard garden. “So…tell me, does Tae Kwon Do help you write fight scenes?”

“Yeah, you got sick around the same time as me, I think.” Olivia shrugged her jacket off as the sunlight hit them and tied it around her waist instead. “And, oh about Tae Kwon Do, unbelievably. Gives me a lot of respect for people who don’t have a background with martial art who still write fight scenes well. I mean, they probably do research, but it must be hard. At the same time, though, sometimes I have to remind myself that the readers aren’t going to know as much as me, or that not every character I have that fights is going to have my style of martial arts. It’s a balance, I’d say.”

“Everything’s a balance.” Kelly nodded, leading them to a fountain that was shaded at this time of day. The shadow and water offered cool relief from the heat. “So, when did you first begin writing? What got you interested in writing?”

Olivia tilted her head, thinking back. “You know, when I thirteen was the first time I tried to really write, but I recently found picture I drew when I was little that have stories written on them. Not to mention the Storybook Weaver program I had on my System 9 computer. I went crazy with that thing. But really, the first real writing was when I was thirteen. I remember that I wanted to read a particular fanfic, but it didn’t exist. So I wrote instead. Now that fanfic is still going and I have over 200k on it. And that’s after re-writing the first ten chapters four times.”

“That’s amazing.” Kelly smiled at Olivia then sat down near the fountain and ran her fingers through the cool water. It felt nice. She pondered for a moment then focused on Olivia once more. “So you said you’re writing fan fiction, but do you have work of your own you’re hoping to publish one day? Or do you want to discuss your fan fiction? Either is fine with me.” She smiled as she withdrew her hand from the water. It had been a while since Kelly had read any fan fiction. She should change that if she ever had the time to read anything. Nevertheless, she focused on Olivia, intent on hearing what she had to say.

Olivia sat next to Kelly, mimicking her actions. “Oh, you have no idea. I haven’t been able to really talk to you in so long. I definitely have original work. Fan fiction is fun, but it was just a gateway that lead me writing my own stuff. For the last few years, I’ve been working on series named Siren’s Call. It’s a massive undertaking because it keeps growing. Right now I have at least fifteen books planned for it and almost half of them outlined. It’s going a bit faster now that I have most of it in my head.”

“Fifteen books planned!!!” Kelly stared at her wide-eyed. “I mean, last time you talked to me it was like…ten or twelve books you had planned, but fifteen? Wow. And you say you’ve outlined them all? Pretty amazing.” She gave Olivia a grin. “This sounds like quite an intense story, so tell me all about it…if you can summarize it.”

“Yeaaaah, like I said, it keeps growing.” Olivia scratched the back of her neck. “Siren’s Call had started out as single book with completely different characters that it had now. And I have around half of them outline on the computer. Rest are still in my head. As for summarizing? Best I stay broad on that. Now, I do assume people are going to be a little wary of a serious that long, you know? Wondering how I’ll keep things fresh? Well, that comes down to the characters, I’d say. See, I have three primary races – at the start of the series, there’s more later – and two of them are immortal, and the other is not. Now, the books themselves span hundreds of years. Obviously, then, the mortal characters won’t be around for whole series. The cast is always changing, but some of the immortals stick around. Others go do something else for a while, and then they come back. Or some die. That can happen too.”

“But what’s the core conflict of the stories? The general theme?” Kelly furrowed her brows as she glanced at Olivia.

Olivia blinked. “Right. I totally just went past your last question. Oops. Sorry.” It was hard not to get excited an ramble on. “Hmm, I think I’ll just stick with the first book for now, since I can’t really summarize them all. The first book is a sci-fi/fantasy story set in the 1700s – since the world has loosely tied timeline to our world – and it focuses around a mortal prince who is the middle child of his royal family. His name is Alastair. Now, he finds out that his youngest brother is planning kill his way to the throne, but he ends up getting blamed for it and has to flee the kingdom with his personal bodyguard’s help.”

“Interesting.” Kelly nodded. “And you say there’s more with immortals and mortals, and it’s fifteen books long, and the mortals don’t survive throughout the entire series…sounds very complex. How did you ever get the idea for this series?” She cast Olivia a smile.

“It is very complex. If I hadn’t outlined half series, I might have forgotten it. And not all the immortal survive either.” Olive used her most evil grin. “And, well, I got the idea for the Siren race first, and I came up with the generic premise with a Siren being a body guard to the prince who had to flee the kingdom. You remember Lowel from our co-authored story?”

Kelly nodded. “Yes…” That was a long story, but she smiled at Olivia. “How does he fit in?”

“Well… he doesn’t anymore. He was supposed to be the prince. But… I don’t know, Alastair kind of butted in. And then I thought about this race I had in another story that I was never going to actually write. They were called Centress. And somehow, I ended up bringing them over into this story to. Since then it just kept escalating.”

Kelly chuckled. “Sounds chaotic but fun. I love how stories take on a life of their own.” She rose to her feet with a sigh. “Well, Olivia, unfortunately our time is up, which is quite a shame. We could just keep talking all day long, but I have other errands to run before my next interview.” She motioned for Olivia to follow her. “Keep me posted on the status of your series. You know I always want to know.” She smiled at her. “For now though, we need to go…unless you want to meet King Baldwin before you leave….” She winked.

“Agh, yeah, I noticed we were closing in on the hour. Flew by, didn’t it? Probably because I kept yanking. Well, it was a lot of fun!” Olivia hopped up from the fountain and followed Kelly. “And will do! Also, if anybody is interesting in my series I do have a page now that I am ridiculously excited about. Wait…” Olivia stopped. “Meet Baldwin? Aww, man, yes please!”

Kelly laughed. “C’mon, I’ll take you to see him.” And she led the way through the palace to find the king.

<~>~<~>~<~>

Olivia H. Leitner’s novel, Accusations (Book 1 in the Siren’s Call series) is not yet released and has no set publication date yet. However, you can follow her on Facebook to get inside look into the universe she is creating as well as any publication information.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OliviaHLeitner/

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