Author Interview: R.M. Olson

R.M. Olson is the author of the Ungovernable series. She promises she hasn’t done all the things she writes about. Honest.  Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Author Ruth OlsenMy name is R.M. Olson. I’m a Canadian, a lawyer, an author, and the mother of four kiddos. I love to travel, and I admit, I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie–I’ve jumped off the highest bungee jump in the world, trekked across mountains in pouring summer storms, gone cage diving with great white sharks, and maybe most frightening of all, taken all four of my kids on a three-day backcountry camping trip all by myself. I’m an unrepentant bookworm, and always have been. I love corny jokes, campfires, and hot tea, preferably all together. Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I’ll never get tired of the sight and smell of leaves the colour of sunshine against a grey autumn sky.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I think my first completed work was when I was about six. I’d heard my parents talking about Shakespeare’s tragedies and decided it couldn’t be that difficult. And it wasn’t. I killed off my MC and his entire family and all his friends in the course of about three pages. Not sure even the Bard beat that record.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Only about five years ago, honestly. Although I’ve been writing my whole life, that was when I first started taking it seriously–working intentionally on my craft, querying, and putting in a sustained daily effort to writing.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Well, I write fairly quickly, so my current WIP changes on a regular basis. But I can tell you a bit about my series. I’m currently finishing up a space opera science fiction series that follows the adventures of a motley group of ex-cons and their mysterious leader. It’s called The Ungovernable, and it’s a sort of Ocean’s Eleven meets Firefly, with all my favourite tropes–laser guns, smugglers, explosions, heists, jailbreaks, deep-space casinos, carnivorous plants, political intrigue, and most of all, a fumbling, ridiculous, and ultimately loveable found-family crew.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’m a sucker for clever heists, and for sprawling space adventures, enemies-to-friends, groups of clever misfits who love each other in spite of their quirks or even because of them, and lots of action. I’d just finished watching Ocean’s Eight yet again and I thought, why not do something like that, but in space? And so The Ungovernable was born.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My style tends to be fairly fast-paced–lots of action, snappy dialogue, never too long between something exciting happening, but ultimately character-focused. There’s usually romance, but it’s usually slow-burn. One of my beta readers left a comment once that sums up my style pretty well, I think. She commented, “I was expecting sexytimes, and instead I got a near death experience!” And that basically says everything there is to say about how I write.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Ha ha, it wasn’t easy. I spent a lot of time consulting with friends about it. But ultimately, the series title, The Ungovernable, is the name of the crew’s ship, and the title of each book is based off a hacker/computer term, since hacking plays a big part in the plots. The titles of the released and upcoming books are Zero Day Threat, Jailbreak, Time Bomb, Insider Threat, Blacklist, Trojan Horse, Blue Team, Attack Path, and Threat Agent. You get a point for each of the terms you can identify without looking them up!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Honestly, as much as these books are all about the action, their real message is friendship–about learning to love people for who they are, and learning to be loved for who you are. About the kind of friendship that means they see you at your ugliest, and your weakest, and your stupidest and most awkward–and they love you anyways.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Well–there’s a lot of me in Jez. I’m also ADHD and bi, and I certainly had a lot of the same feelings of alienation and not fitting in as she has throughout the series because of those things. And I, too, have managed to stumble into a group of friends who I could count on at any time and for anything. And the world itself is based in large part on places I’ve traveled–a year or so before I started this series, I traveled across Siberia on the Trans-Siberian railway, and I fell in love with the mix of cultures and the complex history of that area of the world. A lot of that found its way into the world I created for these books.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I’ve always loved Terry Pratchett. I love his ability to make you think while making you laugh, and to portray the ugliness in the world while still believing that people are basically good. I love Neil Geiman and Harper Lee for much the same reason. And while I only wish I could compare my writing to any of theirs, I hope that at least I can manage, in my own awkward way, to convey a similar message.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Hmmm. That’s a tough one. If I had to pick, I think I’d go back to Sir Terry. There is so much about his writing that I’ve loved and studied, and he deeply inspires the way I write and the things I chose to write about to this day.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

The first three covers were designed by Jesh Studios. He’s a fantastic artist, and was able to put down on paper what I had in my head for these characters. I loved every one of his covers, but because of unforeseen circumstances, he was unable to complete the covers after book three. I switched to KDS Cover Concepts, because I was looking for someone who could work in a similar style, and I’ve absolutely loved her work. I’d highly recommend her.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just keep writing–don’t let rejection discourage you. It’s part of the process, and it forces you to improve. I thought I’d be ready to publish when I wrote my first book. But looking back, I’m so glad that book wasn’t published. My writing has improved and deepened so much since then. I have several manuscripts and short stories that I submitted to agents and publications that were rejected over and over. But each time I re-wrote them, or wrote something new, I got a little bit better. And as much as it was frustrating at the time, that was when I really started to hone my craft–when people stopped praising me and were honest enough to tell me I needed to improve.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

First, a heart-felt thank you for reading. I’d be a writer no matter what, but I couldn’t be an author without you. So thank you for letting me live my dream. And I hope that somehow, my crazy crew of misfits has brightened your day, made a rough week a little better, or maybe showed you that you don’t need to change who you are in order to be loved. You just need to find your people. And they’re out there, whoever you are–even if you’re an irritating ADHD ex-smuggler pilot with a penchant for getting into trouble. ❤

The UngovernableR.M. Olson
Calgary Alberta, Canada

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The Ungovernable

Cover Artist: Jesh Art Studio ( https://jeshartstudio.com/)

All my books are only available on Amazon. Here’s a link in the US store to the series page:

And here are universal links for the four books that are currently released (although I can update this again before the interview goes live, as there will likely be another one or two out by then.)
Zero Day Threat
https://www.bklnk.com/B088C4FYPN
Jailbreak
https://www.bklnk.com/B0883Z4L3W
Time Bomb
https://www.bklnk.com/B088F6756J
Insider Threat
https://www.bklnk.com/B08F76MC75

THE CURATES BROTHER a Regency Historical Novelette by Wendy Van Camp

The Curate's Brother by Wendy Van Camp

The Curate’s Brother: A Jane Austen Variation of Persuasion
by Wendy Van Camp

Available on Amazon

A Regency Historical based on the characters and settings from Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion. It can serve as a stand-alone or a prequel to Austen’s book.

It is the summer of 1806 in Somerset, England.

EDWARD WENTWORTH, a young curate, is surprised by the arrival of his brother, Commander Frederick Wentworth, the “hero of San Domingo”, who is on shore leave from his battles in the Napoleonic wars and has come to spend time with the only family he has in England.

All the good Commander wants to do is flirt and dance with the ladies until he is called back to sea, but when his flirting extends to SALLY MARSHALL, an outgoing beauty that Edward always disdained as “a child”, the curate becomes aware that his opinion of Sally is sorely outdated. Meanwhile, Frederick becomes drawn to shy wallflower ANNE ELLIOT. She is the daughter of a baronet and above his station, but Frederick pays no heed to his brother’s warnings that class may prevent their union.

At the end of summer, a letter and package arrive that will change everything for the two brothers. Which will prevail? The bold action of the commander or the quiet manners of the curate?

Author Interview: Rick Graham

Author Rick Graham has just the right amount of madness to attempt to build an expansive science fiction universe, but enough stubbornness to stick with it when it gets tough. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author Rick GrahamHey everyone! I’m R. E. Graham, but you can call me Rick. From being a husband, father of 2 (with another arriving in December 2020), full-time small business owner, and more, there is no shortage of plates to keep spinning. Yet, I wouldn’t trade it for all the money in the world.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have wanted to be an author for a very long time. However, I lacked the confidence to even attempt it over ten years ago. Finally, I got the courage to take a chance and give it a shot. There were some bumpy roads for a while, but I now get to work on something that is a dream for so many others. One of the best things about being an author is to give life to the stories that are burning within me to be told.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Honestly, I didn’t consider myself a writer until somewhere around my third novel’s release. By then I had written some not-so-great non-fiction books (my first attempts into writing), short stories, and then three novels. For whatever reason, I still didn’t think of myself as an author, not deep down. It sounds strange in a way, but it took a while for me to catch on.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I am building a vast SciFi brand with many stories still to be told. Honestly, I’m already moving on to the fourth in a series within the Revelations Universe, but my last release was “Revelations: Spectre”. It is a revenge story about an ex-bounty hunter who was the deadliest warrior in the ‘verse. One day he suddenly leaves it all behind and just wants to live a normal life. However, after a tragic incident (no spoilers!) he comes out of retirement to get his revenge. I describe the main character, Gideon Adama, as John Wick mixed with Boba Fett. There is a lot of fast-paced action, but there is also a great deal of universe building seeded here and there. While this story is a stand-alone novel, it fits within the larger context of Revelations.

What inspired you to write this book?

I was in the middle of my Kingdom of Sand series and was feeling a bit burned out creatively. After getting some serious inspiration, a story began to form in my head without much effort. I was so excited about it I just had to tell it. Currently, it is one of my best sellers, so I am very glad I followed my instinct on that one.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I do. When I am working on a project I am focused on telling it in such a way that the reader has enough detail of what’s around them, but what matters most are the characters. I want the story to flow well between action and dialogue, with the intention that each of the characters feels like a real person.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

It isn’t as glamorous as some of my other projects, it just went off of the name of the nickname of the main character.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Spectre is connected to the Revelations Universe as a whole. It shows one perspective in a sea of others. Each with their own desires, aspirations, fears, pain, and more. Some elements are hinted at, to add threads that will be connected later on.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

The process for my novel covers is probably a bit different than most other authors. I hire an illustrator to create an original illustration making sure that it is designed in such a way that it can be used for a book cover. My wife then takes the image and creates the book cover. We chose this process so that I would have clean artwork that I could use in other ways such as social media posts, promotional images, or other options down the road.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Absolutely. Both of these points are both easy to say but extremely tough to follow. The first is that you need to take small steps. Don’t try and write a novel if you’ve never written anything before. I would instead recommend that you invest the time in writing a short story. This allows you to go through many of the same steps that a novel will, just on a much smaller and easier to achieve scale. Completing a short story will give you confidence to try a larger project, and then another, until you’re ready to tackle a full-sized novel.

The second piece of advice I would say is that you should be careful not to compare your works to those who are huge successes. They got to where they are from a multitude of factors. What matters here and now is that you write. Marketing, building your reader community, email lists, and all of that comes once you have a book to sell. Focus on first things first.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Revelations is just getting started! Currently we are sitting at five novels, with another on the way soon. More are lined up behind that, not counting additional releases for our table-top game, Revelations: Skirmish, and so much more. There is no shortage of Revelations content to come.

Spectre Book CoverR. E. Graham
Seminole, Florida

FACEBOOK
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Revelations: Spectre

Cover Artist: Ozaakhmad

AMAZON

THE PLANETS a scifaiku poetry collection by Wendy Van Camp

The Planets: a scifaiku poetry collection

THE PLANETS: a scifaiku poetry collection
written and illustrated by Wendy Van Camp

The planets have fascinated humanity since the dawn of time. We’ve looked up into the heavens and wondered what these wandering stars are and why they are different from their more stationary cousins. In modern times, humans have sent probes to all the planets in our solar system, sending back tantalizing views from faraway worlds. The planets are woven into our culture and history. They are signposts of our journey ahead.

This collection of 108 science fiction haiku poems (scifaiku) will take you on a journey of exploration showcasing tiny moments of wonder with each of the planets of our solar system.

THE PLANETS: a scifaiku poetry collection is nominated for the 2020 Elgin Award for best speculative poetry book of the year.

AMAZON

Author Interviews * Book Reviews * Essays * Writer's Links * Scifaiku

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