Author: Olivia Wilde
Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest Olivia Wilde author of The Dawn of Silva.
Good day Olivia and thanks for participating in our interview
Please tell our readers a little bit about your personal and professional background.
My childhood was a
dream. I was raised on a farm in Central Washington, on an Indian
Reservation. My dad was a beekeeper and my mom was a stay at home
mom, I have a brother, a sister and four foster brothers. My mom and
dad took in 'problem teenagers' who were not such problems, mostly
misunderstood. We had lots of animals to take care of and lots of
chores to do. I started riding horses when I was about 2 or so and
then started showing them. Farm life gave me the greatest lessons -
discipline, hard work, selfless love, nurturing, joy and loss. Unfortunately animals don't live as long as we do and even though I
know that, losing them is always hard.
At 14 I started modeling and
acting and after high school I moved to Seattle to be closer to my
work. I joined the theatre group and took as many acting, directing,
makeup and stage classes as I possibly could. After a difficult
breakup with fiance number 1, I moved to Boston, gave up acting, and
started working in financial services. That profession continued for
the next 20 years while I moved from Boston, to Washington, then
Oregon and Utah.
Writing has always been an important avenue of expression for me and my creative brain. The only professional writing I did during those years was for research and training projects. In 1993, after fiance breakup number 3, I started pouring my heart out, attempting to mend some serious pain and disappointment. The characters in my writing started to come alive and redirected my writing to a fiction novel.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My Mom was a believer that you say what you mean and don't say anything you can't take back. So whenever I would get hurt or upset about something she would have me write it down and if it was really painful, I would burn it and watch the smoke rise. I would visualize the anger dissipating so it couldn't hurt anyone. When I was about 7 or 8 I started writing poetry and songs, but I was very shy. Whenever someone would hear me sing or see one of my poems, I would get embarrassed and stop writing. It took me years to get over my fear of an audience. Like so many others, it took the most embarrassing speech to get it through my head that I could never top that feeling again.
How did you decide you were ready to write The Dawn of Silva?
It wasn't a conscious decision to write a novel. It resembled the scenario, 'the cart before the horse'. I needed to express myself – get the pain out of me and try to heal my heart. I had recently moved from Boston back to Central Washington after the failed engagement. At that point I was already conditioned to write the pain and heartache out of me. So I started writing, but because of the colorful characters in my life – they had a mind of there own and started creating a fantastical adventure and I enjoyed the ride.
What was your creative process like in writing The Dawn of Silva? What happened before sitting down to write the book? Was it improvisational or did you have a set plan?
Well, it was so long ago, like I said earlier, I wrote this in 1993-94. I remembered deciding to buy a computer so that I could start writing. I never thought it would become anything. But after reading some passages to my mother and getting her feedback, I kept going and let the characters create. I remember thinking that if I was as strong as I wanted to be, like my grandmother, my aunt, and my mother, I wouldn't be sitting at a computer healing my pain. I would find a cabin in the woods and take all my critters with me and create the most beautiful place I could think of and make my dreams happen. After I had the first chapters done and at my mother's encouragement, I sent it to several agents in New York. One said they wanted it, so I finished it and sent it off. But it came back in the mail several weeks later 'undeliverable'.
How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
They say you are a
result of your experiences and I find that to be true. We were so
busy as kids. We had chores, horse shows, dance, homework and only
got to watch TV for an hour. We had to find enjoyment in everything
we did, otherwise, it would have seemed unending and too much like
work. My mother would wake us up with the softest voice and a back
rub. Even if we fell back to sleep 5 times, she came to us the same
way every morning. In the winter when we had to haul water to the
horses before school, she would have put our school clothes in the
oven to warm them for us.
My sister taught me one of the greatest lessons. One of my foster brothers got a puppy. He often kicked her. One day my sister, who was only about 9 at the time, had enough. She looked him in the eye and said “You don't deserve to have her. She is mine now!” And she took the puppy away. She and like so many other strong women in my life showed me how beautiful it is to be strong. So many memories like that in a persons early life mold them into who they are. I was always the communicator, the sensitive one, the one would would break up the playground fights. I was taught to stand up for what I believed in, protect those I love, turn the other cheek, and don't say anything I can't take back. My acting and theatre classes also have greatly colored my writing and my writing style. Method acting takes you beat by beat through a characters' thought process. That was great fun to do with these characters.
How much of “you” is in The Dawn of Silva? As a follow up, were any of the characters based on people you know?
The definition of 'you' would be a fantastical representation of what I would be if I were perfect. If I looked like the most beautiful woman in the world, who was also the strongest and kindest, then 'you' would mean I am in the whole book and the whole book is me. This novel was a complete fantasy allowing me to accomplish things I am not capable of. The characters are all composites of people I've known during my lifetime. Some events are real. Most of the animals were real.
Did you learn anything
from writing your book and what was it?
The most fun I had writing this was pretending to be the characters and think like the characters and let them do what they wanted with complete trust. I learned that if I choose great personalities that have an abundance of heart and are filled with fantastic imperfections and great strength, they write the book for you.
What do you believe makes a good romance novel?
One that is non-repetitive and explores the depth in people. One that tells it like it is and lets you in so you can experience the complexity in normal everyday life or through a great or grave experience.
Would you say that the publication of your first novel, The Dawn of Silva is the culmination of a life long dream?
Well, yes if it is successful, meaning it sells and people like it or get something out of it.
Can you tell us how you found representation for your book? Did you pitch it to an agent, or query publishers who would most likely publish this type of book? Any rejections? Did you self-publish?
Due to life events as posted on my website, I decided I didn't have time to find an agent. I chose to self publish this first novel as fast as possible. My second book in the series will be pitched to several agents in October.
Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us? (We would love to hear all about them!)
Yes, the Silva series will be at least 3 novels. I started the second in 1994 after I thought the first was going to be published. Once the series is finished, I will write 'Sleepless Since Seattle' which will be based on true events. I also write childrens' books under a different pen name. I didn't want a mom to get confused and buy a steamy love story for a child. My grandfather was a published author and has about 6 or 7 books that I would like to publish, so I will also be working on those.
Where can our readers find out more about you and your book?
Actually, Norm, there isn't anywhere else that would have more information than what you've extracted out of me during this interview.
Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?
Yes, a portion of the royalty will go to my brother-in-law's GBM treatment. I would like people to know that if they choose to buy any of my books, they will be helping someone very dear to a lot of people. There is information about his life and story on my website at www.oliviawildebooks.com.
Thanks once again and good luck with The Dawn of Silva