Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Lisa Oliver. Lisa Oliver lives in the wilds of New Zealand, sharing her home with her two Rotty dogs, Zeus and Hades. They can often be found, sleeping around her office chair as she taps out the stories she loves. With over sixty paranormal MM (and MMM) titles to her name so far, she shows no signs of slowing down.
When Lisa is not writing, she is usually reading with a cup of tea always at hand. Her grown children and grandchildren sometimes try and pry her away from the computer and have found that the best way to do it is to promise her chocolate. Lisa will do anything for chocolate.
Lisa loves to hear from her readers and other writers (I really do, lol). You can catch up with her on any of the social media links below.
Thanks so much, Lisa, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
Lisa Oliver: I have a very casual style of writing – I write the way I talk, so when I am writing a story, I imagine it’s like I’m telling that story to a friend, complete with voices.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
LO: My first MM Paranormal fiction story was The Reluctant Wolf, which was book one in the Cloverleah Pack series. I have admit, looking back on it now, I cringe about it. I loved the storyline and my characters, but I didn’t understand the importance of editing back then, so there were so many mistakes in it. Being British born, living in New Zealand and writing stories set in the States meant I got a lot of words wrong, but my readers have come to love my “quirks” over time. But the love, acceptance and passion between fated mates Kane and Shawn, set the theme for my later stories and I’ve never deviated from that.
JSC: How long do you write each day?
LO: I am really fortunate in that I’m a full-time author. Most days I am on my computer at around nine or ten o’clock in the morning. I go through emails, do promotional work, and then I write through until my pups start annoying me for dinner around seven at night. I try to get around three thousand words done a day, although my absolute minimum is one thousand. I love helping other authors with their work, so it’s not always possible to focus on my stories the whole day.
JSC: How did you choose the topic for Illuminate?
LO: One of my lovely readers in my private group sent me a gif showing a person rubbing over a tattoo and becoming that animal. I am a huge fan of tattoos and I started thinking about what if they had an additional use – what if they could be used as indicators for magic… and so Illuminate was born.
JSC: Who did your cover, and what was the design process like?
LO: I do all my own covers and promotional graphics. One of the hardest parts in doing the covers is finding a cover model picture that best fits one of my main characters. I use inspirational pictures of my characters to help with my story – it is the first thing I look for when I start a new book. But often those images are copywritten and so can’t be used on the covers, so I have to find pictures I can buy to use. My covers are very simple – I use Photoshop and I still have a lot to learn about that program, but I like their simple clean looks and using the white plain fonts to make the title information stand out in thumbnails.
JSC: What inspired you to write this particular story? What were the challenges in bringing it to life?
LO: The theme of all my books is about being accepted for who you are. Stefan has never been accepted – he’s small in stature, pretty to look at, and yet extremely powerful as an anchor. He made a mistake during his earlier years, in trusting the wrong person, so trusting in Lucifer is really difficult for him, and yet trust is vitally important when an anchor and a magic user work together. The challenge for me as an author, was to show Stefan’s journey from distrust to fully trusting in a way that sounded plausible and not rushed. It didn’t help that Lucifer’s character was arrogant, he didn’t want to work with a non-family anchor, and he didn’t trust Stefan not to drool all over him. Yeah, he was that guy. So, it was challenging allowing these characters to be true to themselves and yet still come together.
JSC: What pets are currently on your keyboard, and what are their names? Pictures?
LO: My pets do not fit on my keyboard, or even my desk. I have two large and extremely spoiled Rottweilers, named Hades and Zeus after two of my characters in the Gods Made Me Do It series. Hades loves to spend his day sleeping under my desk (he doesn’t fit) and Zeus curls up behind my office chair which makes trying to get out from my desk to make a cup of tea really difficult sometimes.
JSC: What was the first book that made you cry?
LO: That I’ve written? LOL. All of them make me cry in one scene or another. Even though I write Fated Mates stories, the journey from lust to love is never a smooth one, even for people the Fates deem perfect for each other. And yes, when I’m writing those scenes, I am crying at my keyboard. My pets wonder what on earth is wrong with me, so then I have to cuddle them and I feel better. Then I flex my fingers and turn the situation around for my lovely characters and end the book with a smile.
JSC: What other artistic pursuits (it any) do you indulge in apart from writing?
LO: My readers know that I’ve taken up art again – nothing fancy, but I found out about acrylic pouring art a while ago (thank you YouTube) and now I splash paint around in my spare time just to see what will happen. I recently extended my love of color to resin art as well and now have far more resin molds than could be considered healthy.
JSC: What food(s) fuel your writing?
LO: Chocolate. Really, is there anything else worth eating. Chocolates, chocolate drinks, chocolate cakes, chocolate biscuits – yep, chocolate. If I could I wouldn’t eat anything else.
And now for Lisa’s new book: Illuminate:
Stefan de Marco was looking for a position… again. Being a high scoring magical anchor was only useful in his world when he had someone to partner with. His slender body and elfin looks meant he was usually only chosen to anchor people who believed his duties should extend well past working hours, and that wasn’t something Stefan was interested in. Taking a chance on a pleasant man he met at the Magic Council job board one day, Stefan finds himself in the upmarket side of town, but as he listened to a gruff voice in an adjoining room, he had a horrible feeling he was making another mistake… or was he?
Lucifer Fireborn never claimed to be a nice person. Working as the Lead Steward for the Magic Council, it was his job to track down criminal magic users and bring them to justice. Finding out that Darwin, his younger brother and long-term anchor, had gone and allowed himself to be claimed by his magical mate was the sort of annoying distraction he didn’t need. Especially when he receives word Technic, a criminal he has been tracking for three years has surfaced in Cairo. Darwin recommends Stefan as a suitable anchor, but in Lucifer’s head the man is too young, too pretty and would prove too much of a distraction.
Shootings, fires, and kidnapping are all in a day’s work for someone like Lucifer, but when sparks of a different kind start igniting between Lucifer and his new anchor, he feels the Fates have an agenda of their own. Can Lucifer and Stefan find the bad guy and win the day, or will Technic have the last laugh after all.
TRIGGER WARNING: Please check the Author’s Note in the “Look Inside” option for the trigger warning for this story.
This is a Male-Male fated mates romance story with a guaranteed HEA, just like all of my stories. It contains a spot of violence, some bad language, and graphic scenes of an intimate nature and is suitable for adults only.
“No. I won’t have him. I don’t even want to see him. Damn it, Darwin, I want you to keep doing it, no one else.”
Stefan wasn’t eavesdropping on purpose. It’s just the voice on the other side of the office door was exceptionally loud. Whether he was meant to hear or not, the outcome was the same. He’d heard and his heart sank.
Letting out a quiet sigh, Stefan bent to pick up his bag when he heard another voice say, “You’ve got no choice, Lucy. You know the council rules. I’m mated now. I can’t anchor for you and my mate, and now we’ve claimed each other, it’s impossible for my mate to have any other anchor but me. It’s the way things are Lucy – you’ll just have to accept it.”
Stefan recognized the second speaker. It was the man who’d called him in for the interview in the first place. One would assume he should have cleared it with his boss first. And then something else clicked – Lucy? That’s the gruffest sounding Lucy I’ve ever heard. Now, Stefan was intrigued, and he settled back in his chair. He’d undoubtedly be kicked out soon enough, but he hadn’t had any entertainment in a while and the chair was comfortable enough.
“I told you to stop calling me that.” The first voice sounded even gruffer now. “There isn’t a better anchor than you and you know it. Do you want me working for someone second-rate? Why the hell did you have to claim your mate anyway? Things were working fine as they were. You anchored for me during working hours…”
“Which was all the hours under the sun and beyond when it came to working with you,” Darwin raised his voice. “Six months I waited for you to get your act together. Six months of barely seeing Monty awake. I got the silent treatment from him every time you called telling me we had another case and I had to leave him. Well, no more. What’s done is done and I’m not sorry. Brother or not, I deserved better from you, and Monty deserved better from me.”
“I refuse to work with anyone non-family.” Lucy was sounding peeved now and Stefan muffled a giggle. It sounded like Lucy had a major attitude problem and was used to getting his own way.
“You don’t have a choice.” In contrast, Darwin was sounding pleased with himself. “I found you a good replacement. His scores are off the charts. He can handle seven different types of magic…”
Stefan winked at Garrick who was sitting on his shoulder, pleased he was being stuck up for.
“What does he look like then? How old is he?”
What’s that got anything to do with anything? Stefan looked down. His shirt was clean and pressed and while his trousers were showing signs of wear, they still held a crease. His green and gold waistcoat was old – made for him by his mother many years before, but not a thread hung from it. I’m clean and tidy. What more does he want?
It seemed Darwin wondered that too. “I’m not asking you to date him. He’d be your anchor. His looks have nothing to do with how well he can do his job.”
“I bet he’s young – still moony eyed and power hungry, I suppose.” Stefan could almost hear Lucy’s teeth grinding. But then Lucy’s next words shocked him to the core. “You know what these young ones are like. They see me, feel my power, and start drooling. They’re useless in the field, too busy flirting and just getting in my way. Why do you think I insist on working with family members only?”
What a cheek! Stefan wasn’t sure he wanted the job anymore. The money he’d been offered would have put a roof over his head, and a hot meal would have been nice. But no. Anyone who had their head so far up their ass they believed everyone would fall over it… Stefan didn’t need that shit in his life. He’d been there, done that, and paid a really steep price for his stupidity.
Gathering his bag for real this time, and yes, Stefan knew how pathetic it was that all his worldly goods fit in one large carpet bag, he patted Garrick’s feathers. “Come on, old boy. We know when we’re not wanted.”
Garrick cawed his assent, his feathers ruffling as he settled more securely. Stefan glanced back as the office door opened, and Darwin poked his head out. “You’re leaving? Please don’t go.”
“I’m sure your friend Lucy pitched his voice purposefully loud enough so I could hear just how badly he doesn’t want me as an anchor.” Stefan raised his voice as well. “He should count himself lucky someone with my skills happened to be free at the moment and was willing to work on short notice. But heaven forbid, I might catch sight of him and fall into a drooling mess at his feet. Honestly, I have better things to do.”