Salty Tales is the first anthology by Stormy Island Publishing and has recently released. Olivia not only publishes stories for other authors, but is a published author herself. Her full bio can be found on The Seller Spotlight page. Grab a margarita and sit a spell for this chat!
MWS: Hello Olivia, how are you today?
OL: I’m great! Happy to finally see some sunshine after all this snow. Thanks for having me!
MWS: I am so done with inconsistent weather, lol. Tell me about being a mom and running your own business. Do you find it hard to find the time to write?
OL: It really is. Honestly, I let it slip far more often than I should. After a day chasing children and juggling my various businesses, I tend to just collapse on the couch and be a vegetable when I should be writing. On the upside, I get a lot of reading done!
MWS: Lol! A small silver lining! What is a typical day like for you?
OL: I run a daycare from my home, so I’m up with kids at 6am.
My last kiddos leave around 6pm, so then I need to do the usual afternoon chores – dinner, getting my son’s school things together for the next day, picking up, etc. By around 9 I usually have a couple hours of free time, if I’m not falling into bed myself. This is when I finally have time to work on my writing (or read!)
MWS: I'm exhausted for you now, whew! What is your favorite genre to write and read?
OL: Fantasy! I love the freedom fantasy gives you, to create new worlds, new races, new threats, new solutions. I think it’s the best genre to read or write.
MWS: Is there a genre, in your opinion, that's just overly done?
OL: Well, personally I can never get into sci-fi. But I think that is more of a personal dislike than the genre itself being done. I definitely believe there are elements within particular genres that are done; the love triangle in romance, for example, has been done to death.
But I think the thing that keeps genres alive and well is just the sheer vastness of creative opportunity. Any one genre can generate a story that goes in an infinite number of ways. I guess what I'm trying to say in my long winded way, is that the problem doesn't lie in the genres but in the way popular stories tend to set a trend with writers, where similar stories seem to follow.
It can make it feel, after awhile, like the genre has been done to death.
MWS: In your opinion, what books or authors do you suggest have a solid writing style?
OL: Well, everyone will connect to different authors based on their own style preferences. Personally, I LOVE Lauren DeStefano's writing style. If I could magically siphen anyone's writing powers, it would be hers. Her imagery, to me, is so vivid and beautiful, and sometimes just really poetic. I've read the entirety of her 'Chemical Garden' series and 'The Internment Chronicles' and even as I finished book after book, I couldn't get over how much I loved her wordcrafting. She's a really underrated author in my opinion!
MWS: I have not yet heard of her, I am definitely going to check her out! Would you suggest authors join writing groups for extra support?
OL: I think it can depend a LOT on the group, but overall I really do think it helps! Some groups are just a breeding ground for trolls and grammar nazis,
but if you find the right group, you could really build an amazing network for yourself. After joining Writing Bad as an admin, I've seen firsthand how big of a difference that support makes. I think the "it takes a village" concept fits writing just as well as raising children. Certainly, you could write a book without knowing any other writers, and edit, publish, and market it yourself. But how much easier would it be with an entire community of supportive people at your back, giving advice, help, and encouragement?
MWS: Tell me about the short stories you've had published of your own. Do you have a favorite that you've written?
OL: All of my stories tend to (of course!) be in the fantasy genre. I have a couple about fairies, one about a mermaid, a couple paranormal-ish stories, and my latest one involved witches and a mini-dragon.
I think my favorite story thus far was the story that is being published this month in ‘Getting Lucky’ – it’s a charity anthology published by R&R Publishing. It’s about a young girl, Eilis, whose sister lures her into a fairy ring, where she makes a deal with a fairy to take Eilis to the fairy realm so she can steal her life. I wrote the entire story in one sitting and honestly, I was nowhere near finished when I ended the story! I am now plotting it out further and intend to keep working on it and see where it goes.
MWS: Let's talk about SIP. What gave you the idea to start a publishing company?
OL: Publishing is something I’ve been interested in since college. When I graduated with my MA in English/Creative Writing, I planned to move to a big city and go down the publishing route, if possible. However, life happens, and things don’t always go to plan (sort of like our stories when those pesky characters take over!) I ended up getting married and having my son, then went into teaching instead. I knew that I still wanted to go into publishing though, so, after a lot of brainstorming and self-doubts, SIP was born.
MWS: Do you plan on more calls for submissions soon?
OL: Yes! Salty Tales was such a smooth run, we are gearing up to announce our next anthology on St. Patrick’s Day. We are really excited about this one!
MWS: Tell me about Salty Tales and what can readers expect when reading it?
OL: Salty Tales is such a crazy, eclectic mix. Not to be cliché, but there truly is a story in there for everyone! There are a few fantastic fantasy stories, a couple suspenseful tales, the feel-good love stories that everyone loves (whether they admit it or not!) and so much more. I’m so pleased with the stories that were submitted and chosen – we had a very talented group of writers to work with. You can expect to want to read it all in one sitting! Don’t start this one at bedtime!
MWS: You have a story in it also, what is it about?
OL: I do, it’s called Alive Again. It’s about a young girl who drowns, then wakes up to find the sea has claimed her as its own and transformed her. It’s a story about hasty decisions, consequences, and how even bleak times can create new opportunities for happiness.
MWS: What have you learned about writing since starting your publishing company?
OL: I’d say I’ve learned a lot about publishing since creating SIP… it’s really not as scary as it seems! As far as writing, I suppose I would say that I’ve learned that I really enjoy seeing each writer’s individual writing styles. I had never paid much attention to it before, but each person really puts their own stamp on their stories, and it’s helped me see more clearly what my own style is.
MWS: As of today what is your favorite book or series so far and what do you love about it?
OL: Oh gosh. I cannot rave madly enough about the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas.
I just finished reading it and I’m in that mourning period you go through after you read a really good book, where everything reminds you of it and you just want there to be ONE more book in the series so you aren’t done yet! Haha. I love everything about it – it has witches, fae, wyverns, demons, healers, giant spiders, and all those awesome things I love about fantasy! And over the series, the storyline goes in a hundred unexpected ways, and things later in the series tie back into things you’ve completely forgotten from the earlier books. It’s just a really well thought out and well written story. I fully plan to re-read it – after I read her next series! Haha.
MWS: So that writers can better prepared themselves, what is something that makes you cringe when reading a submission or books that you have come across?
OL: I mean, there’s the obvious answer – typos. I cannot stress enough to get a friend or a fellow writer to look over your work! I know that the occasional one will slip through, but it shouldn’t be something that is peppered throughout the story/book.
Another thing that makes me cringe would just be when a writer doesn’t make you work for anything – they give you every single detail about every single scene. I’m guilty of this myself and have to make a point to go back and edit some things out. I like a little creative license as I read. Let me work for it a little! That said, I also hate it when a storyline is left completely open to interpretation. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is – I’m picky!
MWS: As a writer, what have you learned that you think others could benefit from?
OL: I’m still growing as a writer myself, so I’m not really sure what I could suggest that hasn’t been suggested before. I think my biggest piece of advice is to read. Read amazing books that really get you hyped about a story.
Study them as you read. See how they describe things, how their characters grow and change. Go back and dig out the areas where they foreshadow things to come. Examine how they subtly hint at those things without giving away what’s coming later. Trace their storylines if there’s more than one – see how they all tie together to create one seamless bigger story. You won’t do things exactly how they do because everyone’s style is different, but the important thing is to learn everything you can from someone who is successful at it, then sculpt and change it to fit you and your writing style.
MWS: What would you like to see happen in the next five years?
OL: After publishing several short stories in various anthologies, I think I've finally started finding my voice as a writer. I'm in the research and planning stages of my first for-publication novel, and I'm hoping to finish that, and publish, within the next year or two. Ideally, I'd love to be a full-time writer in the next five years, as any writer would! But I just don't think that's in the cards quite yet, haha. Maybe in the ten year plan! Mostly, I just want to keep writing and keep experiencing things. Keep learning. Work on my voice and style, one day at a time.
MWS: Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to seeing more anthologies from SIP!
OL: Thank you!
*Check out Olivia's link on the front page of this website, and if you are an author you can apply for an interview on the same page! (The Seller Spotlight!)
~Happy reading, even if you aren't reading me.~