Katie Oliver loves romantic comedies, characters who "meet cute," Richard Curtis films, and Prosecco (not necessarily in that order). She currently resides in South Florida with her husband, two parakeets, and a dog.
Katie’s been writing since she was eight, and has a box crammed with (mostly unfinished) novels to prove it. With her sons grown and gone, she decided to get serious and write more (and hopefully, better) stories. She even finishes most of them.
Can you tell readers one thing about yourself that we can't find online?
I have a MASSIVE crush on James Norton. I’ll blame it on War and Peace.
What's your latest bookish news?
I’m happy to say that The Trouble With Emma, the second book in the “Jane Austen Factor” series, is out 29th February, followed by Who Needs Mr Willoughby? on 24 March. After that, I’ll be working on a new – and completely different – writing project.
Can you give us a sneak peak into what you're currently writing or soon to be released? A clue about a character featured, excerpt maybe?
Certainly! My next book is a departure in that it’s set in America. It features an Irish-American heroine named Shauna, who’s back home after graduating from university (temporarily, she swears) and working in the family sports bar until she lands a proper job. After a recent breakup with her long-time boyfriend, she’s understandably wary when she meets Declan, a sexy Irish soccer player.
She’s serving beer and loaded fries; he’s serving more pick-up lines than the walkup window at the local burger joint. But he’s also the best looking guy she’s ever met. And he’s determined to convince her to go out with him.
Can she resist his charming onslaught? Erm, no…
Your book covers are always captivating, who designs them?
Aren’t they gorgeous? I love the covers the team at Harlequin/Carina UK designed for the Dating Mr Darcy/ Marrying Mr Darcy series. I still remember how excited I was to see my very first book cover for Prada and Prejudice. It was a writer’s dream realised – beautiful colors and design, and it made my journey to becoming an author real, and incredibly special.
The “Jane Austen Factor” books feature updates of vintage pop art, and I’m thrilled with the positive responses they’ve received. The bright colors and graphic designs really stand out, and in a very eye-catching way!
Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
I get inspired everywhere and anywhere. It might happen when I’m on a walk, or watching television, or reading a magazine or newspaper article. A big source of inspiration for the first two Austen Factor books, funnily enough, was the “Father Brown” television program. I imagined Mark Williams (Father Brown) as a retired country vicar and widowed father to three grown daughters - all of whom he loves dearly – who wants to enjoy his retirement and is more than ready to see them married off.
What are top 3 favourite classic books and why?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a book I’ve read many times. I identified with Jane – she isn’t the typical gothic heroine in search of a husband; she’s intelligent, and principled, and deeply passionate about the things that matter to her. She’s a loyal friend, compassionate but unafraid to speak out against those who’ve wronged others.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo is that most wonderful of things – a classic that’s also impossible to put down. The suffering that Jean Valjean endures after stealing a loaf of bread, his relentless pursuit by Inspector Javert, all of it set against the violent, colorful backdrop of the French Revolution – it was (and still is) a nineteenth century page-turner!
Le Père Goriot by Honore de Balzac is the heartbreaking story of a wealthy merchant, Goriot, now elderly and poor and living in a rundown boardinghouse in Paris, whose life-long devotion to his selfish daughters is not returned. Balzac captures a wide range of human behavior at its best and worst.
Who are your favourite authors to read?
I’ll read anything by Marian Keyes. The Mystery of Mercy Close is an amazing, entertaining, thoughtful story, and Watermelon is one of my very favorite books.
No one can make me spit out my coffee laughing like P. G. Wodehouse. All of his books and characters – Jeeves and Wooster being the most famous – get into the most hilarious scrapes and misadventures.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Follow your passion in whatever you decide to write. Don’t try to shoehorn your story to fit whatever’s in vogue with publishers at the moment; chances are, whatever’s hot today – whether it’s a mash-up of classics and gore or Fifty Shades of whatever - will glut the market in six months or a year. Be bold. Be different. Write what you truly want to write, what you burn to write, and that passion will come through on the page.
And that’s what will help you find a publisher.
Quote/Motto: The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun. – P.G. Wodehouse
Song: Lovesong, by The Cure
Film: Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen
This has been one of favourite interviews especially Katie Oliver's advice for aspiring authors.
What do you think of the Q&A? Have you read any of the authors books? Do you like the covers?