Name: Olivia Norem
Book(s) Title: His Viking Bride
Genre(s): Historical Romance
Million dollar question, are you working on another book?
No, J.D., I am not working on another book. I am working on eleven other books. While I consider myself a multi-genre author, romance is remains closest to my heart. And be kind here, as the following are all working titles [laughs].
Two erotica romances, Wicked Wicked Days and Wicked Wicked Wilderness are in final editing. A romantic suspense trilogy, Bishop’s Pawn, Bishop’s Peril and Bishop’s Prize are in first draft mode. Curse of the Highland Talisman and Highland’s Ghost, both time travel romances, are in progress. Volumes two and three of the western fiction Brothers In Justice Series, Outlaw and Redemption are in first draft. I also have two works of fiction, Angel’s Assassin and Aftermath of Five almost completed.
Thrown in the mix are a few more romance and short stories as well. Wow! Hearing myself rattle off this list, it appears as if I’d better get back to work. [laughs]
Do you still write? If so, what does your typical day look like?
I’ve always been a workaholic, ever since my corporate days, and being a full-time author is no exception. My typical workday begins around eight in the morning with strong, black coffee, the laptop and my imagination.
I usually review what I’ve written the night before and then just go for it. I work on whatever novel I’m closest to completing, but sometimes other characters vie for attention, so it is typical I’ll have two or three books open at once.
I spend a few hours a day replying to emails, phone calls, connecting with people online and updating social media (I freaking love Twitter). I go to the beach almost every day with friends, family, or solo, as the ocean keeps me centered. Somewhere in there I eat, maybe enjoy a cigar, have a nap and then write again until dawn. I’ve found the hours between 11pm and 5am are my prime time for creativity. Also, there are no witnesses to how much port one consumes at that time of day [winks].
Pen or type writer or computer?
The computer is my main tool. Though my desk is littered with sticky notes, ideas jotted down on the backs of envelopes and discarded receipts, I always take my “Little Book of Big Ideas” notebook with me to the beach. It was a very thoughtful gift from my husband, who said I needed a place to aggregate my ideas that could withstand salt air and sand.
I have to be alone when I write and need perfect silence. It’s not often I’ll put on background music, but when I do, I have found Mozart stimulates prose, and Enigma provokes the words for heavy sex scenes.
What is/are your book(s) about?
His Viking Bride is my homage to The Taming of the Shrew. I was watching the Taylor/Burton film one afternoon and was reminded how much I loved this movie. Sparks flying between the characters, the plummet through the roof scene into the downy wool, an unwanted marriage… Good stuff with superb romantic tension.
I reread the play in between doing some research on Vikings, a culture I find fascinating. His Viking Bride just came together. The core of the story is Aestrid, our Viking princess who is kidnapped by Veleif, our rival Viking prince, and suffers mistaken identity. When it becomes known who she is, the village elders trick her into marrying Veleif, the man she despises.
Determined to make the best of her circumstances, Aestrid improves life among Veleif’s people, yet continues to battle wits and skills with her unwanted husband. Eventually, J.D., Veleif wins her heart, and even more surprising, Aestrid wins his.
Does your book have a lesson? Moral?
Love conquers all [winks].
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Hijack? Now that’s funny. My characters always hijack a scene. I can begin with the best intentions, but these folks have a mind of their own. They always take me somewhere else, often with obstinate protest and a great show of stubborn, crossed arms. No matter how many times I outline a plot, I end up tossing it aside with a scoff and a shake of my head. I really should know better. The characters know what they’re doing; many times I feel as if I’m just the observant scribe.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day? (PG-13 please :) ONE OF MY FAVORITE QUESTIONS TO ASK.
What a fun question!
I would spend the day with Veleif, the Viking hero from His Viking Bride. Veleif has a hellacious sense of humor, and is a hard-drinking, rough and tumble male. In the ensuing banter of sarcastic wit and battle of one-upmanship, the drinking contest would naturally follow.
He would demonstrate the proper way to quaff copious amounts of ale from a drinking horn, and I would introduce him to Google maps. (Hello? Greenland!) Of course never ones to miss the opportunity of general debauchery in the company of a female, Petruchio from The Taming of the Shrew and Hawk from Beyond the Highland Mist would stroll in.
I would negate all their advice on the best methods to pursue a woman, and we’d settle our contentions with honor – a drunken axe-throwing contest. While I’ve wisely avoided handling sharp objects in conjunction with alcohol, I’ve never been able to withdraw from a challenge. Afterward, the boys could deploy their skills with medieval bandages, and I would illustrate the benefits of antibiotic topical cream. As we mused the contest over a fine cigar, I’m thinking earning a scar or two might well be worth the experience.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
All of my characters, even the supporting characters in my books, are a combination of people both real and imagined. Being in Florida, I have access to all kinds of “characters.” [Ha!]
I begin with the core qualities of the character. Are they inherently good? Evil? How did they become who they are? What shaped them? From there I build a profile and visualize a physical description and mannerisms. I go into detail such as what food they would eat. How do they dress? What perfume/cologne would they wear? How do their opinions differ from mine?
Since our life experiences shape us, I am always talking to people and listening to their stories. Oftentimes, I form anecdotes for my character’s lives based on some distortion of the truth. This method provides fertile ground for me as an author. How many times have you been involved in a conversation and said to yourself, ‘I couldn’t make this up if I tried.’
Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?
His Viking Bride pushes the boundaries of traditional, historic romance. There are elements of death, violence, graphic sex, and all around humor. I took a different approach to the protagonists becoming too “touchy-feely” because, after all, they are Vikings.
Where can we find you online?
I have a website, www.olivianorem.com and I’m on all the usual social channels as well.
My Instagram account illustrates things I like: travel, cigars, classic cars and random funny things, as well as my books.
I’m hooked on Twitter @olivianorem and use it daily. There is an honesty and connectivity on Twitter I find refreshing.
I have book trailers on my YouTube channel, and am also on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t use Facebook as much as I should, but try to update at least weekly. If you want to see storyboards for a few of my books, including His Viking Bride, you can check out my page on Pinterest.
Do you do book tours?
My bags are packed, J.D. My passport is current. Where are we going? Will alcohol and air-conditioning be available? Seriously, when my books release in hard cover and paperback (around January, 2018), we’ll be scheduling some book tours. Stay tuned, because you’ve been designated to cover the bar tab!
If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction who would you write about?
Basil Fawlty. I would love to write his biography. You know he’s living under an assumed name and retired to Barcelona, right?
How did you get to be so witty, funny, and good looking? (This obviously was a question that I was asked.)
I learned everything from you, J.D. You are not only my coach and my mentor, but you, Sir, are a brilliant writer. Getting to know you this afternoon, and in such an intimate setting, has been… dare I say [clears throat] one of the highlights of my life. You are the standard to which I will compare all other men with your intelligence, charm and devastating good looks. Today, with you, has been an experience I will take to my grave.
Amazon Author Page Link: www.amazon.com/author/olivianorem
Twitter Handle: @olivianorem
Facebook Page Link: www.facebook.com/olivianorem