– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m not on a blogtour, but doing my own interview with Shea Oliver, author from The Betrayal of Ka, to promote his book.
About the Author :
Shea Oliver is an indie author, wayward photographer, father of two, a fanatic solo hiker, teardrop trailer enthusiast, and an overly energetic couch potato. He can often be found wandering alone, lost in thought, and surrounded by nature. A longtime Colorado resident, he is passionate about conservation, wildlife, and human rights.
You can find more about Shea, including links to social media, on his website at SheaOliver.com.
Title: The Betrayal of Ka (The Transprophetics, Book 1)
Author: Shea R. Oliver
Genre: Science Fiction / Fantasy
Published: 2015, 2019
Length: 97,000 Words / 265 pages
As the spaceship secretly lands on Earth, Ka’s mission is clear–find and kill Transprophetics. His shipmates think of him as a killer. On his home planet of Koranth, he is considered a murderer. Haunted in his dreams by the boy whose life he stole, Ka struggles to define who he really is.
A girl in a temple in Thailand. A boy kidnapped in Mexico. Both can do the impossible. Both can move objects with their minds. These two Transprophetics pose grave risks to the Donovackia Corporation as it plans its invasion of Earth.
With a blade in his hand, Ka’s decision to kill, or not, will reverberate across the galaxy.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I started writing my first novel in college. I wanted to create the next Dirk Pitt, as I was a huge fan of Clive Cussler. My best friend even bought me a N.U.M.A. t-shirt a few years ago. I wear it proudly and get very excited when people know what N.U.M.A. is – Dirk Pitt’s employer. As it often does, life got underway, and the idea of writing fiction became one of those things that I’d get to “someday.” It wasn’t until I hit a rough patch in life that I returned to writing fiction.
I’d gone through a divorce and was spending a chunk of time hiking in the Colorado Rockies trying to figure out who I was and what to do with my life. Sitting alone on a mountain peak one day, I found myself thinking back to that novel that I started in college. I realized that becoming an author could either be something that I’d wished I’d done or something that I did. The next day, I stared at a blank screen and then began pounding away.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I recently found my very favorite book from when I was a very young boy, A Pony Called Lightning. I loved anything about animals. Around middle school age, I discovered JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, and Piers Anthony. Their fantasy worlds ignited my love of reading. While we lived in a city, we didn’t live near a library. On weekends, I’d often get on my bike with a pocket full of change and ride around looking for garage sales. Back then, I rarely spent more than 10 cents per book. My favorite finds were Clive Cussler and James Clavel.
My interest now shifts between genre fiction (sci-fi/adventure/horror) and then to non-fiction, especially books written from a non-western perspective. Currently, I’m working through works from Steven King, Hugh Howey, Brian Lumley, and Orson Scott Card. A few weeks ago, I gave my oldest son a copy of one of my favorite non-fiction books, Turning the Mind Into an Ally by Mipham Rinpoche Sakyong. I also really enjoy reading about the Dalai Lama and his writings.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
That’s a tough question because there are so many. Since many current authors do share advice, I think I’d probably go into the past and sit down for coffee with Charles Dickens.
I’d love to understand more about how he balanced being creative and socially insightful while being a masterful businessman in the world of writing. Considering his brilliant use of serialized fiction, I’ve wondered what he would think of the Internet-enabled world in which authors live now. Would he try to publish via traditional means, or would he embrace platforms like Medium and Wattpad? Or do it all? Considering his progressive views of the world (at his time), I’d love to chat about how he sees our world and how he might approach putting social commentary into creative writing today.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
It would have to be Bram Stoker’s Dracula. When we meet him, he’s already got the castle, minions, and wealth. I want to hear the back story – how and when he became a vampire. I love the vampire culture that’s grown since that novel was written, but like so many others, I’d love to meet the original Dracula.
Even as a little boy, I wanted to be a vampire. We’ve built all these narratives about how and why he drinks blood and takes the lives of others. Is it like so many things in that the real answer is simple, but because we don’t understand, we make it complicated. Like so many supernatural characters, we’ve created a multitude of variations. I’d love to be the one that has the first conversation with the “real prince of darkness.” And yes, we’d skip the tea and drink the blood of virgins served in elegant crystal wine glasses.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Spreadsheets. I have to be tracking my total word count against my goals. For me, it’s motivational to watch the graph of what I want to accomplish versus what I actually am accomplishing. Currently, my habits are to set weekly goals, work to beat them by mid-week and watch the line rise above the overall goalline. Of course, that doesn’t always work out as I plan.
I also need silence and hot liquids. I read these threads on social media about the music that people play when writing. I need quiet, white noise, or nature. I get too easily distracted if anything else is going on around me. Coffee is consumed until mid-afternoon when herbal teas take over. I’ll be petitioning for the inventors of thermal mugs and electric mug warmers to be given sainthood.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
The whole concept of ideation is fascinating. Most of my ideas come from random daydreaming and letting my subconscious freely process. It’s probably impossible not to be influenced by the people surrounding your life, and those experiences and emotions that you live. I certainly carry traits or quirks about other people into my writing, along with elements of my own experience. I started my first book thinking about my sons, and two of the primary characters in the series are boys who have some similarities to my sons.
For me, one of the best ways to get ideas flowing is to crawl into the skin of my characters and try to imagine myself in their world. Then I do something that enables my subconscious to go to work. Often, I’ll go hiking by myself. I’ll find myself thinking about a story, and then I try to let the rhythmic cadence of hiking guide what’s happening in the story. It probably sounds weird, but it’s rather like mediating. I’ll go for miles without realizing the distance or time that has passed. Then I’ll find a comfortable place to sit, pull out my smartphone, and start making notes.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m flying by the seat of my pants most of the time. Because I like writing from multiple P.O.V.s, I do some plotting for other characters as I write for one character. It often feels more natural to stay with one character, but often elements of the plot must happen with other characters.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
As cliche as it sounds, write, and then write some more. That’s the most important thing. The second most important thing is, don’t get hung up by “professional advice.” For almost anything in writing, and in life in general, some expert will say this is how it’s done, another expert will give absolutely contrary advice, and dozens more will fall on the spectrum in-between. Work on being comfortable in your own skin, which often comes from doing what feels uncomfortable for a while, and then write some more.
What are your future plans as an author?
I am planning on becoming a full-time author/nomad when my youngest son is settled in college in a few years. I’ll be selling and/or storing most my processions and likely living in a travel trailer of some sort. I’ve done a little travel writing and intend to do more.
I will continue The Transprophetic series and do more science fiction but also branch out into more horror stories. Recently, I’ve been writing short horror stories, and I’m really enjoying diving into a more twisted, dark reality.
Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
I’d like to share a passage that comes somewhat from personal experience. The main character, Ka, finds his life completely out of his control and begins spiraling downward. As someone who has struggled with a few rounds of severe depression, my experience guided how I described what he was feeling.
“He could almost visualize the emotions that were working to overwhelm him. It was like standing alone in a dimly lit forest. The black mist of self-hatred, mixed with depression and anxiety, moved of its own accord through the trees, coming for him, trying to find its way to surround him. Each direction that he moved to avoid the blackness, allowed it to get closer, until finally, it overtook him, pushing itself into his lungs to stifle his breathing, blinding and burning his eyes, and wrapping him in a panic and pain that he simply couldn’t escape.”
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Shea Oliver.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!