Hello, Bookworms! I am so thrilled about the author featured in today’s post; an incredible writer, beautiful woman and absolute queen, Olivia Darling. We initially met on bookstagram almost two years ago…perhaps..(my memory is so bad, guys), and she’s shared her entire writing journey online, up until her first book, Fear the Flames coming out THIS fall!
Erin : Tell us about the writing process for your upcoming book? And how did your work on this book change you?
Liv : My writing process started out as writing whenever I had inspiration, or free time. But it soon transformed into writing every day and setting aside days to write as my world and story started coming together. I would write during zoom classes when I was still in university, on road trips, sometimes I pull up my notes-app in the shower. It kind of consumes my life, but I love it! Working on Fear the Flames changed my life for the better. It enabled me to escape this world and dive into a world completely within my power. I started writing Fear the Flames during my 3rd year of university when quarantine began. Imagining myself in a fictional world was the only thing that got me through staying home for months at a time. Eventually, after my millionth daydream, I decided to start writing them all down and began chapter planning.
Erin : Did you immediately decide you wanted to self-publish? What made you decide to go with self-publishing versus traditional publishing? Did you face any challenges?
Liv : It was always my goal to self-publish! I highly respect the traditional publishing route, but I want to jump start my career rather than query and go through all the steps traditional publishing entails. There’s definitely challenges to the process, especially as a debut author who has never navigated the process before. But I love helping people as much as I can, and I’ll be compiling a list of tips after I complete my own process and can fully form my opinions on everything!
Erin : Does one of the main characters from Fear the Flames hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
Liv : Absolutely. Elowen, Cayden, Saskia, Finnian, and Ryder will always hold a special place in my heart, no matter how many series I write. They’re obviously fictional, but they felt like my friends when I felt isolated from the world. I think I’ll always be partial to Elowen because she’s my main girl, and everything I strive to be, but I love all of my core five characters with all my heart.
Erin : Did you design your own cover? How important do you think cover design is to a potential reader? (i am unfortunately a 100% judge by the cover type reader)
Liv : I did! I worked with my close friend, Sarah Lee, to bring my dream cover to life. We had multiple facetime sessions to nail down my vision. I think covers are extremely important because it’s usually the first thing that catches a reader’s eye when they’re browsing a bookstore.
Erin : Have you always felt driven to write? Are there particular authors or books that you find inspiring?
Liv : Being an author has always been my dream, so it wasn’t hard to motivate myself to write. I’ve been writing my entire life, and studied it in university, but Fear the Flames is the first thing I’ve written for publication. It took me years of writing to be comfortable and confident enough to publish. I’ve always admired J.R.R Tolkien’s world building. Lord of the Rings were the books/movies that started my love of fantasy.
Erin : Describe your writing space.
Liv : An open space with a lot of windows and a whiteboard for me to draw landmarks and refer back to them as I write. I can pretty much write anywhere, but I’m partial to a room that overlooks mountains. I wouldn’t say I have a specific space that I need to write in. Sometimes I love writing on the go, like on trains or in a café. Changing up my environment has always proven to be very beneficial for me.
Erin : We met from being on bookstagram; how has the marketing process for Fear the Flames changed due to your platform?
Liv : My platform definitely makes it easier for me to market Fear the Flames, but I believe I’ve stayed consistent in my marketing strategy. I cosplay, compile video clips, quote reveals, and different things like that. I’ll always be appreciative towards the bookstagram community for receiving Fear the Flames so well. My favorite thing to do is cosplay as Elowen Atarah because cosplaying as my main character was my attempt at a new marketing strategy!
Erin : Do you have any advice for writers looking to self-publish?
Liv : Don’t listen to people that look down on you for self-publishing. I’ve encountered some people that have a negative view of self-publishing, but you shouldn’t let someone’s opinion dictate your dreams. Writing and completing a book is a huge accomplishment and you should never let anyone take that away from you!
Erin : Since I’m always curious, any plans for future books?
Liv : Yes! Fear the Flames is a series, right now I’m anticipating between four or five books, possibly more depending on my imagination. I have a feeling I’m going to have a hard time letting these characters go. The second book will feature Cayden’s POV since I always love having a second POV in books. I kept Fear the Flames entirely Elowen’s POV because I wanted to introduce the world and story through her eyes, but I’m excited to further develop the story through a second POV now that the world and characters have a solid base.
Erin : And here’s a final fun question, can you share a link to a recipe you love?
Liv : I love baking! I’m attaching my favorite chocolate chip banana bread recipe. https://butternutbakeryblog.com/chocolate-chip-banana-bread/
Princess. Prisoner. Runaway. Queen.
Elowen Atarah, Princess of Imirath, came into the world like a firestorm made flesh. A princess with a link to five dragons should have been a blessing to her kingdom, but her blessing became her curse. The little girl in shackles became a knife wielding woman with a thirst for retaliation.
Now, Queen of Aestilian, a secret kingdom she forged through strength and survival, Elowen needs a way to feed her rising population. She never thought she would have the force to take on Imirath, but when the snarky Commander Cayden Veles of Vareveth, her father’s enemy kingdom, offers her a deal she’s been dreaming of for years, how can she not take it? Even if he ignites her temper like no other, nothing unites two begrudging allies more than a common enemy.
The pair of them, along with three accomplices, will navigate their partnership, politics, and attempt to pull off the greatest heist their world has ever known. Five people, all united through revenge, will have to transcend the odds stacked against them and infiltrate “The Impenetrable Castle” if they want to reap their rewards before someone reaps their souls. Putting aside their differences to accomplish a common goal because everyone knows…vengeance is a promise signed in blood.
Olivia split her time growing up between New York and Manchester, VT. She developed a passion for writing from a very young age- always scribbling poems onto napkins and short stories into her school notebooks. She graduated from Pace University and attained a degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Lord of the Rings were her favorite movies growing up and formed her fantasy obsession. Being an author and living a life filled with words and magic has always been her dream.