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.
Thanks so much, Lisa, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
Lisa Oliver: My first MM PNR story was The Reluctant Wolf, the first book in the Cloverleah Pack series. Originally, when I wrote it, I imagined a cute little series of five books, sharing the adventure of five gay wolves who didn’t realize at first, they could have true mates. In this first book Kane, the alpha of the little group gets an overwhelming reaction when he goes into the local diner for a late lunch – and it had nothing to do with the beef stew. The final book in this now fifteen book series, is the one I am here promoting today – it’s been a long six years.
JSC: What do you do when you get writer’s block?
LO: Writer’s block to me is when I have not listened to my characters and have tried to force the plot one way when they clearly want me to go in another direction. When that happens, I have to go back and start reading from page one, until I find the scene where the story stops flowing – then I have to use the dreaded delete key and I delete everything from that point onward. I usually find I have no problems taking up the story again once I’ve done that.
JSC: What do you do if you get a brilliant idea at a bad time?
LO: Stop what I am doing and write it down lol. I have a shocking memory, and if I don’t write down an idea when it comes to me, then it is often lost forever.
JSC: Do your books spring to life from a character first or an idea?
LO: Always the characters – I guess you could say my books are character driven. Before I start writing any of my books, I always source character pictures first – looking for men who will “speak” to me. Then I start writing.
JSC: Name the book you like most among all you’ve written and tell us why.
LO: Is it wrong to be a fan of all my own stories lol? I do enjoy all my characters for different reasons, but if I had to choose one, I would say BBQ, Bikes and Bears, because Clive was an amazing character (and human).
JSC: Tell us something we don’t know about your heroes. What makes them tick?
LO: In this latest book, Wesley has suffered for most of his life because he never felt he was human enough, nor wolf shifter enough to fit in with either of those societies. He’s spent a life trying to find somewhere where he could be accepted, but after he gets taken, and realizes what the pack are thinking of him, he has to re-evaluate the important things in life.
JSC: What was the hardest part of writing this book?
LO: I cried when I finished this book. As I mentioned earlier, The Cloverleah pack was my first ever series, the start of my fiction writing career. Wesley’s story felt like the end of an era, and I had to resist adding in little plot ideas that would stimulate another book. It was really difficult, but hopefully I succeeded. Fifteen books in a series is quite enough, especially when I have so many other series and stories I want to write.
JSC: What inspired you to write this particular story? What were the challenges in bringing it to life?
LO: Well, following on from my answer above, one of the biggest problems with this story was that Wesley, the main character, had done something horrible about two books before. Of course, it wasn’t actually Wesley but showing the motivations and mindset of someone who’s not necessarily “good” can be quite challenging. But my readers really wanted Wesley to have an HEA, so I gave him one in the end.
JSC: What other artistic pursuits (it any) do you indulge in apart from writing?
LO: I love fluid art painting – taking a bunch of colors and dumping them on canvases is just one of the ways I have fun with art. I also recently bought myself a 3D sublimation printer, so I could make a lot of my swag items, and I have been enjoying putting some of my original graphics onto mugs, and plates and even mouse pads and puzzles.
JSC: What fantasy realm would you choose to live in and why?
LO: Cloverleah – I’d definitely want to live in the Cloverleah pack. It is a sleepy wee town, with really friendly people, and I’d give anything to lounge by Nereus’s pool and enjoy the scenery on a fine hot summer day.
Thank you so much for having me here today Scott. It’s been so much fun.
And now for Lisa’s latest book: Home Is Where the Heart Is:
All Cloverleah Pack Enforcer Wesley (Wes) wanted the night he went out, was to have a few drinks, maybe find some company, and try and forget his worries and insecurities for few hours. The drinks flowed and he found the company; a gorgeous man with a mysterious scent, who seemed to completely understand the anger, shame, and jealousy Wes was hiding from his pack mates. Unfortunately, Wesley didn’t understand how badly he’d been conned until he woke up the next morning alone in a cave.
Fast forward months later and Wes discovered the wards that had have held him captive from day one had suddenly disappeared. Not one to dither when a chance to escape presented itself, Wesley set off, sometimes on two feet and sometimes on four… looking for a way out of a barren realm that held nothing but red sand and black rocks.
Cass enjoyed being a demon from a large family. The Underworld was good to him; he had a job, a house and he didn’t lack for company. Unfortunately, his carefree attitude tended to get him into trouble at times and when his brother Myka insisted on him paying back a “favor” he’d incurred through a badly placed bet, Cass had no choice but to agree. It sounded simple enough. Meet with the snobby and reclusive members of the Cloverleah Pack, find out about a missing wolf, and then search for that wolf in the Underworld. Cass figured he could be home in time for his mama’s Sunday dinner.
Finding Wes wasn’t the problem, but Wesley had stumbled onto a situation of his own he couldn’t leave. What was worse, was when Cass was forced to tell Wesley about why no one from his pack had been looking for him before, Wes knew he had no way of ever going back to the life he had. The fact that Cass and Wesley were fated mates was hard to celebrate as Wes tried to cope with the loss of his pack status and the implications of his current situation.
Meanwhile, the men from Cloverleah were coming to terms with some home truths of their own. The thought of having to see Wesley again, and actually apologize for thinking he’d sunk so low as to try and destroy a mating, was too hard for some pack members to face. This in turn causes issues between those who struggled and those who believed in the bonds of a pack. Serious soul searching was needed if the men were ever going to understand that the only powers worth trusting was unconditional love and acceptance.
Cloverleah Pack House
“We need a demon,” Vassago said, ignoring his mate’s glare. “Thanatos can’t sense where Wesley’s been taken and can only confirm he’s not dead. He’s not on the Fae, Djinn, or Elven realms. The only place left is the Underworld, and I’m not silly enough to disturb Hades on his honeymoon. Don’t let your prejudices against a species cloud your judgment.”
It was a warm sunny afternoon, and the men from Cloverleah had gathered around Nereus’s pool, enjoying a grilled lunch. But, as often happened when they all got together, the talk soon turned to the missing Wesley. Shawn, as shifter guardian, took Wesley’s abduction personally, especially seeing as no one in the pack had realized it had happened, and everyone had condemned Wesley after he’d used zombie dust to seduce Cathair. Now a feeling of guilt tinged the efforts of the whole pack to find a man who’d apparently disappeared.
“You just want an excuse to see Myka again,” Adair grumbled, even as he stroked Vassago’s hair. “I hate it when you go down to the Underworld on your own.”
“I’m not letting you near Myka’s mother.” Vassago smiled. “She’ll spin you around and eat you up for breakfast, then go looking for seconds.” He looked around at the others; even baby Ollie seemed to know there were serious discussions going on and was playing quietly beside Luke’s chair. Raff’s dogs were snoring in the sunlight, although Killer seemed to sleep with one eye open, watching what Ollie was doing.
“As you know, I have spoken to our seers about this,” Cathair said, his blond hair catching the sun and making him look as though he had a halo. “They can’t ‘see’ Wesley as such, but they agree about the demon.”
“I swear they talk in riddles,” Marius said, frowning. “He bears gifts for all to cherish and must be found to ensure the continuation of the pack. What kind of nonsense is that?”
“Seer talk,” Vassago laughed as he leaned into Adair’s shoulder. “Our seer was just as non-forthcoming. They agree about the demon, too. They can’t tell where Wesley is, only that it’s important that he’s found.”
“Not to be a downer on this, but I thought most of the important paranormals were already in this pack.” Thomas was making a sandwich for his mate Ivan. “I knew Wesley the best out of all of us, since he’s been here. I didn’t realize he’d changed or been swapped out for a golem or whatever and yeah, I’m going to live with that guilt for the next hundred years, or more. But when you come down to it, Wesley was a half-breed wolf who had serious self-confidence issues because of his human heritage.”
“His half-human side caused him problems and made him feel he was less than the rest of us and that is what the dark ones capitalized on,” Shawn said quietly, his voice full of enough authority to get the others to listen. “That doesn’t mean his life is any less important than the rest of us. He came willingly when Diablo called for volunteers to work as enforcers to protect this pack. He found a home here, and if he was unhappy, then he kept it to himself. I can’t believe any of us, regardless of the positions we hold in the paranormal world, would consider ourselves that important, we can’t help someone we used to call friend, who we trusted to protect our backs.”
Shame blanketed the pack members, only Ollie seemingly oblivious.
“I think some of those feelings might be my fault,” Marius said quietly, squeezing his mate’s hand. “There is a part of me… shit.” He stared up at the clear blue sky. “This is so hard to say…”
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.
Official Author page: https://www.facebook.com/LisaOliverManloveAuthor/
My new private teaser group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/540361549650663/
My MeWe Group: http://mewe.com/join/lisa_olivers_paranormal_pack
And Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisa_oliver_author/
My blog: http://www.supernaturalsmut.com
Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org