When Olivia finally got a break from her final exams, she let me pester her with questions. Let's see what she has to say about zombies, reading, and writing.
1. It’s the zombie apocalypse and writers have got to stick together to survive. Pick 3 authors to be on your zombie apocalypse killing team and tell us why you’d choose them.
Olivia says: I don't know if it's because I'm particularly pessimistic, but I would not for a second assume I'd have any chance of surviving any kind of apocalypse. So instead of assembling a fighting team of authors, I'd pick the ones I'd like to spend my final moments with. Morbid, sure, but if I was about to die, being surrounded by my favorite authors might soften the blow. Only being able to choose three is tough, but I'd narrow it down to J.K. Rowling, Laurie Halse Anderson and John Green (can you tell I'm into YA fiction?)
Meredith says: Great picks to die with, lol. I love YA fiction too! Also, LHA lives near me. She frequents our local indie bookstore but I haven't worked up the courage to make an appearance.
2. If Stephen King and J. K. Rowling were drowning in a river, who would you save first? And now you have to tell us why.
Olivia says: J.K. Rowling. I wouldn't even think twice. Even putting aside the legendary Harry Potter series, I would unquestioningly save her over King. Rowling's life story is so inspiring. I remember watching a documentary on her when I was 14 and thinking "woah, if she can overcome what she did and go on to make literary history, what's stopping me?"
Meredith says: When I get down, I pull up articles on JKR's ascension to literary awesomeness. It makes me feel better, strangely enough.
3. We authors are voracious readers. My TBR list is approximately 8 miles long. What are you currently reading?
Olivia says: I have an awful attention span. So I tend to read two books at a time, a chapter of one book, a chapter of the other, repeat. Right now I'm reading a dual biography on Reagan and Kennedy by Scott Farris (because I'm an American Studies/History major/ giant nerd). I'm also flipping through a collection of Walt Whitman poems. I love Walt Whitman for many reasons, but especially because he's a perfect combination of history and poetic genius.
Meredith says: I read tend to read 2-3 books at a time. Glad I'm not the only one :)
4. What is the one book that you could read a million times and never get bored with?
Olivia says: Catcher in the Rye. Hands down. I feel such a personal connection to that book. The first time I read it, it was for school, so naturally I had to hate it. But the following year I had the inexplicable need to go back and reread it. And it changed my life.
Meredith says: Yay! Another rereader!
5. Last year my favorite read was The Martian by Andy Weir. What was your best read of 2014?
Olivia says: I read All Quiet on the Western Front for the first time last year. I don't even know how to explain what that book did for me. I judge books on their ability to make me feel, and All Quiet on the Western Front went above and beyond in that department. I actually have a word document on my computer with dozens of quotes from it and they all give me chills.
6. This year my favorite read has been The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. What’s the best book you’ve read so far in 2015?
Olivia says: I had a really tough spring semester, so I've been slacking when it comes to reading. I plan to change that over the summer though.
Meredith says: Let's go girl! We're nearing the 7th month of the year. But seriously, when I was in college I rarely had the time to read for pleasure.
7. I have writing spots all over my house: my desk, my couch, the patio, and my bed. Where’s your favorite spot to write?
Olivia says: I do the majority of my writing in bed. But admittedly that's more laziness than genuine preference.
Meredith says: I love writing in bed. No judgement here.
8. We’re supposed to love all of our children equally, but there are some scenes I’ve written that really stick out in my mind. Tell us your favorite scene from your book NEVERLAND.
Olivia says: Oddly enough, there's not one chapter that sticks out to me... but I do like the dream chapter towards the end because I'm able to tie in my favorite Walt Whitman poem, "O Captain! my Captain!" It's kind of cool because I used an excerpt of the same poem earlier, so it comes full circle. It's almost as if the two excerpts serve as book-ends, enclosing around a bunch of unanswered questions. And to be completely honest I didn't necessarily plan it work out like that, so when I realized how it came together I was thrilled.
Meredith says: Cool!
9. Sometimes a little too much of myself slips into my characters. Which one of your characters most resembles you?
Olivia says: My main character, Hayley, is a big fan of dry sarcasm, which I am most definitely guilty of using.
10. I’ve always got tunes rocking while I’m writing. Tell us five songs that are on your playlist.
Olivia says: My mind runs wild when I listen to music, almost as if I'm writing separate stories to fit particular songs. For that reason, I have to write in silence. Lame, I know, but it's my only chance of being remotely productive. That way, I'm more inclined to fill the empty spaces with my own ideas.
Meredith says: Not lame. I know plenty of other authors who have to write in complete silence.
11. If you could tell an aspiring author one tiny tidbit of information, what would you say?
Olivia says: Don't let time make you feel small. The pressure to write at a certain speed will only mess with your head. Recently I met a bunch of authors who told me their average novel takes them a month. Neverland took me two years. And as impatient as I am, I know that if I were to try to rush the story, it would hurt the overall book. No deadline is worth losing your voice.
Meredith says: Wow, a month. The fastest I ever wrote a book was in 2 weeks but that was just a rough draft. I like King's suggestion that a book should take a season to write. But I tend to follow my own deadlines.
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(This is Olivia)