From a farmer’s market to a flower garden, second up wants to do the interview amidst her homegrown French lavender, Johnny Jump-Ups, sweet alyssum, nemesia, and yarrow. Plants I’ve never seen before, but there are several more that she loves, too. Makes her feel magical just saying their names. Before I get caught up in a flowery spell, let’s talk:
1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
My name is Laura Oliva. I doubt I’m the most fascinating person in my city, but given I’m an urban fantasy writer, I think people expect me to be. Really, I’m just trying to live up to the hype.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
I sing. Not terribly. This has been known to shock people familiar with my speaking voice.
3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rock star?
I didn’t have a dependable enough liver to make it as a rock star. I also get bored notoriously quickly, so writing was really the only career I could survive doing long-term. By the time I finish one book, I get to start another!
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
Karen Marie Moning or Stacia Kane (I love their Fever series and Downside Ghosts series, respectively). I think I’d be too wired to actually eat anything; I’d just stare at them and giggle nervously, occasionally babbling about how much I love their work. It would be weird, uncomfortable, and totally epic.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?
I describe food quite vividly in my books. If you’re starving on a deserted island, you could eat vicariously through my characters.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
I’ve written nine books now, and I still have NO idea what my “process” is.
As near as I can figure, it involves a lot of tedious work. I keep lots of lists- names, places, words I find interesting. I plot obsessively, but usually end up tweaking significant portions of my outline once the actual writing commences. I research just as obsessively, often about things I have no idea whether or not I’ll ever use.
Even the most coherent, well-thought-out process only exists for one purpose: to support the actual writing. It never matters how prepared I think I am: some days, writing is a joy. Still others it can be downright excruciating.
In the end, you just have to do what it takes to get shit done.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
I’m not going to say “follow your muse”, because the Muse is a fickle bitch. Also, if you’re going to be serious about writing, it’s not enough to “follow” anything. In the words of Hemingway, you have to go after your story with a club. Plant your butt in your chair and your fingers on your keyboard, and write. If you do that consistently, you’ll develop your own process along the way.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
I’ll try anything once, just don’t tell me what’s in it.
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
At this point, I couldn’t stop writing if I tried! I’m currently working on a companion novella for The Devil’s Disease. It’s called Thicker Than Water, and takes place in New Orleans. After that, it’s on to the next Shades Below standalone novel: If You Were My Vampire.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
Definitely check out my website: http://ljkolivabooks.com. You can also sign up for my no-spam email newsletter (http://eepurl.com/xRJuD). I’ll send you notices about releases, as well as exclusive content related to the books and characters of Shades Below. See you in your inbox!
The Devil’s Disease
Genre: urban fantasy
Date of Publication: March 31, 2016
Word Count: 93,338
Cover Artist: Amy Mateyka
In the city by the Bay, things are about to get bloody…
Psychic medium Lena Alan always sticks to what she knows, and what she knows are dead people. When her brother Cyrus agrees to look into a troubling incident for local vampire Seneca Lynch, Lena finds herself in unfamiliar territory.
One thing is clear: she needs a detective, and there’s only one she trusts.
Private investigator Jesper MacMillian is ready to get back to business. Between his duties as leader of the city’s Romani community and the stack of unfinished paperwork on his desk, he doesn’t have time to think about ghosts, witches, or Lena Alan. After nearly a month of no contact, he’s starting to think she’s forgotten about him…until she waltzes through his office door and hands him a new case.
Still reeling from his last encounter with the subversive world, MacMillian is tempted to turn it down. But this is Lena, and he can’t bring himself to tell her no. He soon finds himself drawn even deeper into the shadows, into a part of the demimonde where folklore is real and nightmares are born.
This time, there are more than just ghosts walking the streets of San Francisco.
There are monsters, too.
About the Author:
L.J.K Oliva is the devil-may-care alter-ego of noir romance novelist Laura Oliva. She likes her whiskey strong, her chocolate dark, and her steak bloody. L.J.K. likes monsters… and knows the darkest ones don’t live in closets.
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Bewitching Blog Tours Excerpts: The Devil’s Disease
The Wayfare Hotel for Restless Spirits was every bit as spooky as he remembered.
MacMillian wedged his dark green Plymouth Fury into a spot alongside The Panhandle, and stared across the street at the vast old Victorian. Was it him, or had it expanded since he’d last been here? That was impossible, of course. Even so, he could have sworn several of the turrets were new.
Lena waited until he had hoisted himself from the car, then started across the street. MacMillian headed after her with a wince. He should have known better than to sit for so long. Now he was paying for it. Lena glanced behind her. He schooled his face to a neutral expression. Judging by the way her eyebrows drew together, she wasn’t fooled.
She didn’t mention it, merely metered her steps to match his as though it were the most natural thing in the world. They climbed the steep front steps together, crossed the stoop to the massive front door.
Lena turned to him. “Before we go inside, there’s something you should know.”
MacMillian shifted his weight to his cane. “All right.”
She twisted the strap of her purse. “You’re going to meet someone. He’s…not like anyone you’ve seen before.”
MacMillian snorted. “Since I’ve known you, I’ve met ghosts, witches, a knight, and a librarian for God. So unless you’re telling me vampires and werewolves are real too…” He trailed off at the look on her face. “They’re not. Are they?”
Lena shifted. “It’s a little more complicated than—”
He held up a hand. “Please. Yes or no.”
Lena continued hurriedly. “But technically, lycanthropy is a disease. Therians have complete control over their shifts, and are no danger to humans. Anyway, that’s not what this is about.”
MacMillian felt light-headed. “So, a vampire.”
At that moment, the door to the house swung inward. MacMillian jerked his eyes from Lena’s face. A tall, athletic-looking man with disheveled blond hair and a sardonic expression leaned against the door frame.
“I find ‘vampire’ rather a loaded word, don’t you?” The man crossed his arms over his broad chest. His black leather jacket creaked. “I prefer the term ‘sangretarian.'”
MacMillian looked to Lena.
She cleared her throat. “Jesper MacMillian, meet Seneca Lynch.”
By the looks of things, the rest of the party was winding down. People poured into the front garden, everyone from fishnet-clad goths to silk-swathed Victorian ladies. MacMillian moved off the path to let one motley group pass.
He shook his head. “Bet you anything half those people are going to work in an office tomorrow.”
Lynch stood beside him and watched as still more people emerged from the house. “I need to tell you something. Kasey Chaplin, the young lady Lena communicated with; there’s something about her you should know.”
MacMillian looked at him. “What is it?”
Lynch’s eyes locked on a raven-haired woman in a corset. “She was a black swan.”
MacMillian blinked. “You mean like Stella?”
A smirk dusted Lynch’s lips. “I’ve met very few people like Stella.” His face grew serious. “I knew Ms. Chaplin. She was part of my circle. She’d been here for blood drives. She was actually a very lovely girl.”
MacMillian snorted. “A lovely girl who hung out with vampires.” He remembered himself too late, winced. “Sorry.”
“Say what you will about us, Mr. MacMillian, but every human you saw tonight was here of their own free will.” Lynch watched the people still trickling past. “They seek us out. They flock to us in droves. Do you know why?”
MacMillian didn’t speak.
“Because we give them something.” Lynch turned back to him. “They give us their blood, and in return, we give them a place to belong. We give them an identity. You’d be surprised how many humans have never had either of those before.”
MacMillian shook his head. “I’m sorry, but I don’t see people with an identity. I see people playing dress-up, so desperate to belong they’ll believe anything you tell them.” He tightened his jaw. “They have no clue what’s really going on.”
“And now you do.” Lynch shifted. “You may be right. It is in our best interests to facilitate certain…fantasies. But really, isn’t that what identity is? The stories we tell others, the names we call ourselves?”
MacMillian didn’t have an answer to that. He gripped his cane a little tighter. “And what about you? What do you call yourself, Lynch?”
Lynch smiled into the darkness. “Why, my dear detective. I am a monster.”