Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Interview with Olivia Hardin, author of All For Family

When Olivia Hardin started having movie-like dreams in her teens, she had no choice but to begin putting them to paper. Before long, the writing bug had bitten her, and she knew she wanted to be a published author. Several rejections plus a little bit of life later, she was temporarily “cured” of the urge to write. That is, until she met a group of talented and fabulous writers who gave her the direction and encouragement she needed to get lost in the words again.

Olivia has attended three different universities over the years and toyed with majors in Computer Technology, English, History and Geology. Then one day she heard the term “road scholar,”' and she knew that was what she wanted to be. Now she “studies” anything and everything just for the joy of learning. She's also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and she’s sometimes accused of being artistic.

A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny and their puppy, Bonnie.

Connect with Olivia:

Author Interview

Can you tell us what your book is about?

All for Familyis a part of the Rawley Family Novels, a series of standalone contemporary romances. In this book we get to discover the love story of Meg and Jeremy Rawley. But more than that, we get to explore and experience a little bit of Meg’s journey to get past a difficult divorce and body image issues.

Why did you write your book?

I wrote it because the characters demanded it, of course! Hahaha. Seriously, all of my books are put to paper because the characters involved begin chattering in my head. What they say about writers hearing voices is so true.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

In Meg’s case, her story wasn’t just in my head, some of it was a part of me. The very same issues she faced about her weight and her feelings of being unlovable were the same ones I have experienced. This isn’t an autobiography, but I did inject my emotions into the situation of Meg’s story.

Jeremy is a stoic figure, aristocratic through and through. But he isn’t cold. No, Meg definitely gets his fire going and when the two of them become intimately involved… wow! It was so amazing to witness the way in which he opened her up to see how beautiful she truly is.

Many of the characters from the earlier Rawley Novels make an appearance in All for Family too which truly brings forth the sense of family I’ve tried to develop as a continuing thread through this series.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I’m a people watcher. I take little quirks, personality traits and experiences from the people I know around me. But if any of them are based on real people, I’d never admit it #thatsmystory.

Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?

I am wholeheartedly a pantster. I might have a general idea of points A, B and C, but mostly I just follow the characters along for the ride. Plotting hems me in and turns off the inspiration, so I’m much better when I don’t get too wrapped up in how I think the story should be and instead let the characters have their say.

Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Settings are important, but for me they haven’t played a major role. I don’t spend an inordinate amount of time on descriptions of settings or people for that matter. Mainly because, as a reader, I always tend to skip long sections of imagery. For me, I want just enough to let my imagination take over and so that’s what I do in my writing. I tell the reader generally about the manor house where the Rawley’s live, Meg’s landscaping work, etc. But for me, it's mostly about the people and what’s inside their heads.

Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

Oh my goodness, yes. It happens all the time, and especially when I’m already under a deadline. Usually I give myself permission for a short break and then I force myself to get back to it. By force, I mean I sometimes make myself push through a scene, even if it doesn’t feel right. I may have to delete some of it later, but sometimes a little force can get that blockage out of the way so that the good stuff will come to the surface.

What do you like the most about being an author?

Meeting readers, both online and in person. You’ll never know how much it means when someone contacts me about one of my books. Sometimes they used my books as an escape during a difficult time. Sometimes they just fall in love with the characters and want to hear more from them. And sometimes what I write truly touches them and then it becomes a real honor for me.

What is the most pivotal point of a writer’s life?

This probably isn’t fair, but either there isn’t one single point or I haven’t reached it yet. There is so much I love about this life that it fills my cup almost every day. Whether it’s a positive review, an exciting new story arc that comes to mind or the way some of my characters make me laugh or cry, it seems every day holds something pivotal.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

Just don’t give up. Even if no one ever bought another book from me, I think I’d keep writing. It’s a passion that drives me all the time. The stories and ideas are churning non-stop and I love every minute of it. And if you write like that and for that purpose, others will feel it in your words. It's easy to get discouraged in this market, but perseverance and determination are key.

About The Book 

TitleAll For Family (A Rawley Family Novel)
Author: Olivia Hardin
Publisher: Olivia Hardin
Publication Date: August 24, 2015
Format: Paperback / eBook / PDF
Pages: 200
Genre: Contemporary Romance

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Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Book Description:

Wedding bells will soon be ringing in the Rawley family, but gearing up for Van and Kay’s nuptials revives old insecurities for Kay’s sister-in-law Meg. When she learns that her ex-husband is asking for her from his hospital bed, Meg must confront the painful memories of her past.

Family is everything for Jeremy Rawley. Most important is the one he and Meg created together. But their beginning was tangled in memories he wishes his wife could forget for good. A call from her past brings them back to a place he thought they’d never have to be again.

Forgiveness may be the key, but the first step is finding the locked heart that needs it.

Book Excerpt: 

He watched her slide her feet back and forth against the carpet. “Whew … there’s a reason big girls shouldn’t wear heels.”
Jeremy finished his own drink and sat back down beside her, this time reaching down and taking her feet to pull them up into her lap. She made a face as if she would protest, but when he began circling his thumbs into the arches of her feet, she leaned back against the arm of the couch and moaned. “Oh, that’s nice. Do they teach that at earl school?”
As he massaged, she pointed her feet in a stretch, and her toes brushed a feather’s touch against his thighs. Damn, but the woman could get a reaction from him almost without warning. He continued rubbing, then slipped his fingers between her toes.
“Oh, no, no, no,” she squealed, jerking to try to pull away from him. “Ticklish.”
“I figured…” One corner of his mouth turned up in a grin. He tugged her feet back to his lap, and when he did, the skirt of her dress hitched up almost past her knees. She immediately took hold of the hem and tried to push it back down.
He encircled both her ankles with his hands and then slid them upward along her calves, kneading the muscles of each leg as he went along.
“Jeremy, you don’t have to …”
“Shh …”
Her eyes were open wide, so many emotions in their depths that it was hard to figure what she was feeling. Fear? Embarrassment? Excitement? He pushed one of her legs to the side until it slipped off the couch, then he scooted forward into the open space between her thighs. With one ankle still in his hand, he lifted it so that he could sweep his lips across the creamy smooth skin of her calf, working his way upward.
She was still holding her dress, doing her best to cover up, but the hypnosis of his stare had her. She never once looked away from him as he made his way higher. When he nipped his teeth to the tender spot at the crook of her knee she flinched, then sucked her lip into her mouth.
He was so desperate to kiss her that he almost rose up to smother her body with his and claim her mouth. But he didn’t. Instead he let go of her leg and then took her hands, loosening the tight hold she had on her hemline. The satiny material dropped, sliding down her thighs to bunch at her waist. Under she had on tight nude-colored shapewear, which she was clearly embarrassed about.
Gazing up at her, he brought one of her hands to his cheek. Her fingers stretched long, tentatively touching his lips. When he sucked two of them into his mouth, she moaned and closed her eyes.
“Jeremy, why are you doing this?” She snatched her hands away and to her lap where she once again tried to hide herself under folds of orange fabric.

“I want there to be a day when you won’t ask that question. Maybe it won’t be with me, but one day, you won’t have to wonder why a man would worship you and your body.”

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