Greetings dear readers!
Welcome to the third edition of The Reading Hour! Yet again at the beginning, we wish to thank all viewers and readers. You are truly incredible! We seem to have more and more visitors each time we post and this is a fantastic thing. There are hundreds and hundreds of wonderful books in the world and we need to encourage more people to start reading. A good book could be a perfect medicine for wars, anger or hate. After all, it’s harder to concentrate on the negative feeling if you are in the middle of fascinating book and you just can’t stop reading! So book readers of the world unite and let’s spread some love for the written word, shall we?
If you have missed previous edition, please click on the links below:
Interview with Helen Stringer:
Interview with Nathan P Butler:
Our guest for today is incredible Jana Oliver, a woman of extraordinary imagination and skills. We have been reading her books for years and when she agreed to be interviewed for our blog, it felt like winning a lottery. We are sure many of our regular visitors are familiar with her books, but if you hear her name for the first time, please pay attention. Jana is one of the most popular writers in YA (young adult) category and you will be hearing a lot about her in the future!
Her Time Rovers Series is published by Dragon Moon Press, a Canadian speculative fiction publisher, and in e-book form by Nevermore Press. The series has been nominated for fifteen awards and has won twelve, including ForeWord Magazine’s Editor’s Choice Book of the Year, the first time a science fiction novel has received that honor.
Her young adult series (The Demon Trappers) is published in the US by St. Martin’s Press (THE DEMON TRAPPER’S DAUGHTER, SOUL THIEF and FORGIVEN). The series has also been published in the UK, Germany, France, Poland, Russia, Turkey and Brazil.
Jana’s happiest when she’s researching outlandish urban legends, wandering around old cemeteries and dreaming up new stories. Her latest book, Briar Rose, a dark and twisty re-telling of Sleeping Beauty, is now available in the UK and Australia.
Vanadian Avenue had a real pleasure to exchange several emails with Jana in early January 2014 . Mrs Oliver is not only funny and easy to talk to, but also very kind. We hope that you are going to enjoy reading this interview, we definitely had so much fun asking the questions!
The Reading Hour – 15 (un)easy questions for Jana Oliver
Vanadian Avenue: At the beginning, can we ask for a short introduction for our readers. Who is Jana Oliver and how long have you been writing?
Jana Oliver: I am a multi-published author of young adult and adult fiction. I’ve been writing for sixteen years.
Vanadian Avenue: What motivates you to write? Do you have any method for avoiding writer’s blocks and retaining creativity?
Jana Oliver:I’m motivated to write because I have all these “voices” in my head and they need me to tell their stories.
I don’t usually have writer’s block because my deadlines don’t allow me that option. I do have moments where I’m not sure where the story is headed and that’s when I clean my cupboards or spend some time playing with my cat. That “downtime” often allows my brain to rethink the next scene and find the way forward.
Vanadian Avenue: What in your opinion constitutes a good book? What’s Jana’s recipe for success? Time Rovers trilogy (“Sojourn”, “Virtual Evil” and “Madman’s Dance”) has been nominated 15 times and won 12 awards. Have you ever imagined that this series would become so popular?
Jana Oliver: A good book is one that pulls the reader into a different world full of intriguing characters who need to do something to make things right. Be that a murder mystery where the bad guy has to be found before he kills again, or a fantasy novel where good and evil are at war. At the heart of the story are those characters. If you don’t feel for them, you won’t join them on their journey. That’s what makes a story you can’t put down. That’s what I aim for with every single book.
Frankly I’ve been surprised at how well my books have been received. I thought folks might like to read them, but WOW!
Vanadian Avenue: Many authors admit that while they are usually very happy with the final versions of their books, there is always something they would like to correct. If you could change anything in any of your books, what would that be?
Jana Oliver: Not really. That doesn’t mean I don’t wish I could have written a scene better, but the stories themselves I’m good with.
Vanadian Avenue: Denver Beck and Riley Blackthorne, the main characters from The Demon Trappers series are our definitive favorites. Which one of the characters you have created is your favorite one?
Jana Oliver: I’m very fond of Grand Master Angus Stewart. He’s just such a neat guy. He’s wise, but not in a pompous way. And he’s seriously bad-ass in battle. Gotta love a dude like that.
Vanadian Avenue: Can you tell us more about “Briar Rose”? We heard it is a based on the popular Sleeping Beauty fairytale (but with a twist!)
Jana Oliver: “Briar Rose” is a twisty and dark version of Sleeping Beauty set in the South. It has vengeful Civil War ghosts, a nasty curse, clockwork wolves and a spunky heroine. I had a grand time writing that story.
Vanadian Avenue: Do you plan to write a sequel or is Briar Rose a stand-alone novel?
Jana Oliver: No sequel, it’s a standalone. That’s part of the reason it was so fun to write – I didn’t have to fret about what might be happening three books down the line.
Vanadian Avenue: Demon Trappers Series was set in Atlanta and Briar Rose is set in southeastern Georgia near Savannah. Do you find it easier to write about places you know from personal experience?
Jana Oliver: I like to visit the places where I set my books to get a feel for the area. I trudged around Atlanta to get it know it better (even though I live just outside the city). I did the same for the setting for “Briar Rose” and for my Time Rovers Books which were set in the East End of London. That personal knowledge helps make the writing easier.
Vanadian Avenue: We have to ask about the covers. They have always been visually stunning and beautifully designed. Who is responsible for them? Also, Elizabeth May, the girl featured on the covers for The Demon Trapper series, has just released her debut novel – “The Falconer”! Aren’t you afraid that the girl featured on the Briar Rose cover is going to become a writer as well? 🙂
Jana Oliver: LOL. That would be kinda cool – my cover models go on to become successful authors. I agree, the covers have been stunning and I credit my UK publishing house (Macmillan Children’s Books) for that. My editor (Ms. Rachel) has a great eye for a striking cover and their graphic artists are really talented. The result is a really pretty book.
Vanadian Avenue: It came as a bit of surprise for your readers, but recently you have published another book – “Tangled Souls”. You mentioned in a recent interview that it took you nearly 10 years to finish it.
Jana Oliver: “Tangled Souls” is an adult paranormal romance I wrote way back when. Over the years I’d fuss with it, then set it aside as other (paid) projects gained precedence. I finally decided to get it done and out there. I’m working on the companion book to it (the sister’s story, yet untitled) at the moment. It’s been in the works since 1998. Hopefully it’ll be published sometime this year.
Vanadian Avenue: Fantasy and paranormal elements play a big role in your books. However, your characters have to deal with everyday difficulties more often than with supernatural beings. Lack of prospects, family tragedies, economical crisis, unemployment – your vision of America is dark and scarily realistic!
Jana Oliver: One of the ways to have believable characters is to give them real problems. Even superheroes need personal issues, so my folks have financial concerns, dating dilemmas, big decisions to make. Sometimes they make the right decisions, sometimes not. Either way, they have to live with the consequences. I’m not fond of characters who seem to be able to handle everything thrown at them. That’s not the way it works. I want characters who screw up every now and then. Then I can relate to them. Big time.
Vanadian Avenue: Tell us about your future projects. What can we expect from you in 2014?
Jana Oliver: Besides that companion book I spoke of earlier, I’m looking forward to writing another YA novel or two. My editor and I are discussing that at present so I’m hoping to have some good news on that front very soon.
Vanadian Avenue: Famous last words – anything you’d like to tell your readers?
Jana Oliver: You guys rock. Thank you for reading my stories!
Vanadian Avenue: Thank you so much for answering our questions!
Jana Oliver: My pleasure. Thank you.
Useful links about Jana:
Official site: http://www.janaoliver.com
Official site for Demon Trapper series:
Official site for Time Rovers series: http://www.timerovers.com
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JanaOliver
Jana’s personal profile: https://www.facebook.com/jana.oliver.754
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/crazyauthorgirl
Jana Oliver is represented by Meredith Bernstein. Please contact her at:
Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency
2095 Broadway, Suite 505
New York, NY 10023
St. Martin’s Press (Publisher): http://us.macmillan.com/author/janaoliver
Malicia and Rita would like to thank Jana and her assistant, Chris Jasper for their help and assistance. You are truly wonderful! Thank you very, very much.
If you have any questions regarding Jana’s interview, her plans or books, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will try to answer all fan mail or pass any information to the author.
Have a lovely day!
Rita and Mal