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: Multiple award winner and Amazon best-seller under a different pen name, Olivette Devaux is the author behind the Disorderly Elements series. In her Olivette Devaux incarnation, she writes hot, adventure plot driven romance, both LGBT and “straight.” Her books are available mobi, ePub, paper, and audio. Her fictional fight scenes are informed by decades of martial arts training.
Thanks so much, Olivette, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
Olivette Devaux: My first published work was an article on the state of martial arts in the Czech Republic, which I wrote for the Black Belt Magazine in the late 1990’s. I got paid $75 for training with a karate dojo in Prague which adopted me for the duration of my business trip, and even asked me to teach. Which is a lot harder doing in my native Czech. I realized I simply didn’t know many of the art-specific terms, but we made it work anyway!
Fiction-wise, my first short story, Wild Horses,” appeared in the Animal Magnetism Anthology published by Mugen Press in August, 2012. I’ve developed the short story into its own Wild Horses series, which I republished under my current pen name, Olivette Devaux.
In fact, I am rebranding all of my books under Olivette Devaux regardless of genre. It makes housekeeping a lot tidier and lets me focus on writing new stories!
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
OD: My genre has been evolving. I started out writing fanfiction (Bleach, anyone?) and tried to stagger along this bifurcated path, where Kate Pavelle wrote anything but romance, and Olivette Devaux wrote mostly-LGBT romance. Now, it’s Olivette Devaux all the time and all the way! This means strong genre brandings and clear blurbs so that my readers know what they are getting into.
Aside from LGBT fiction with a broad range of romantic investment, I write urban fantasy, science fiction, recent history, and crime suspense. I also write what I liked to call “weird stories.” They are speculative in nature with their often-uncomfortable, or unexpected, twists. Some have been published by the Pulphouse Fiction Magazine.
I write into the dark. That is, I never outline. With my initial concept in mind, I lay down a strong setting and see who shows up. For longer works, I tend to have plot milestones, but I don’t feel obliged to stick to them if the story has taken a different turn.
JSC: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
OD: Oh, that depends. Romance is easier, because we all know the rules. There has to be a HEA or HFA, no killed dogs, and so on. So a romance can be a fairly quick effort (4 weeks?), whereas a science fiction takes a lot longer. I find myself researching as I go along, and sometimes I backtrack and revise my details on the spot from the first chapter onward to make sure physics is not “optional.”
Also, I find it hard to write a short science fiction story. The communications of certain concepts, or the world-building, generally needs a bit more elbow room. I’ve been chipping at a sci-fi series for two years now and haven’t published a thing, although the original short story did receive a Honorable Mention from the Writers of the Future contest. So maybe there is hope for it still.
JSC: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
OF: Pay less attention to what other people are doing, and severely limit social media exposure. I.e., have fun writing and don’t let others distract you!
JSC: Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
OD: When I still tried to juggle two pen names, I felt the obligation to treat them equally. This meant an immense level of pressure to write non-romance stories, which had me choking at the bat. Now that I write all my stories under one name, that pressure is off and I write whatever I feel like at the time. It’s the best way, for me, to keep writing sustainable over the long-term, and hopefully till the end of my life
JSC: What’s the funniest or creepiest thing you’ve come across while researching for one of your stories?
OD: When the pandemic began, my daughter and I were looking through the OfferUp resale app for something, and we came across a “Luxury Casket, gently used.”
So we contacted the seller, separately, asking the kinds of questions a vampire would want to now. “Is it comfortable?” “Ventilated?” “Does light leak into it?”
The seller was a good sport about it, and I wrote a story about a cash-strapped Millenial vampire who wanted only “ethical blood.” (Kind of like organic baby kale for mortal Millenials.) It got published in an “Obsessions” anthology, edited my Mark Leslie. It’s suitable for Halloween and has some good, creepy fiction in it! The stand-alone version will be coming soon.
JSC: How did you choose the topic for “Buzz”?
The last book I published was “Buzz,” 4th in the Happy Hour Inn series. All these meet-cute, feel-good gay romance books are located in Las Vegas and feature people who live there full time. The topic began when, isolating from the world, I started learning some cool image manipulation techniques. I created a whole bunch of book covers, each one features a cute guy and a drink. “Buzz” revolves around a coffee shop. In every single book, with the pandemic buzzing in the background, I made sure that all of my heroes were well set, with jobs that wouldn’t disappear, in nice digs, and so on.
It all takes place in 2019, so there are no masks and such. It’s when people wanted to storm Area 51, as you might recall.
Well, Area 51 is under the benign supervision of Sam, whose two hearts beat for his assignment on Earth and who hopes his second cell phone never rings to order him away. He is unlucky in love, but he seems to match-make quite nicely.
These were my feel-good books for when the days seemed dark, and when I needed to escape to a happy place.
I am sharing the first one, “Syrrah,” for you here as a gift.
Bookfunnel link: https://buy.bookfunnel.com/k6k4bhqgk4
JSC: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
OD: When I was growing up on Prague, Czechoslovakia, I wanted to be an Apache warrior. Once we defected and came to America, I was told that in America, I could be whatever I wanted.
Fantastic, I thought. I did declare that I’d travel to the Apache reservation on Rio Pecos after high school and buy myself a horse and a six-shooter, and get adopted into the tribe. My parents nixed that and sent me to college instead, so… here I am.
JSC: What was the first book that made you cry?
OD: “Vinnetou,” by Karl May. This 1880’s classic is still huge in Europe. It features an adventurous bromance between an Apache chief and a German prospector, who becomes his blood brother. In retrospect, a lot was written between the lines.
JSC: What are you working on now, and what’s coming out next? Tell us about it!
OD: I’m wrapping up “Forest Head.” It features a relationship between a mushroom-foraging YouTuber, and a hockey player recovering from an injury. The preorder link will be live this week, but I can share the cover with you now. It’s a stand-alone – for now.
And now for Olivette’s forthcoming book (up for preorder later this week).
Game’s afoot in the woods… where lonely hearts are pulled between love and duty.
Chasten Frasier: naturalist, a YouTube influencer…and a closet nudist.
Sharing his wood lore for a living, but harangued by his ex and ditched by his family, the woods are more than work for him. They’re his only solace.
And as for his private nature worship video? Nobody will see that. Like, ever.
Gregor Ivansky: father-driven hockey player, a relationship virgin… and deeply in the closet. When a car accident pauses Gregor’s hockey career he seeks out nature to mend his soul and body. The hunt for mushrooms draws them together. Time spent in the woods brings them closer. He loves Chasten’s public videos, and is trilled when his favorite YouTuber agrees to meet him in the flesh and be his mushroom-hunting guide.
The hunt for mushrooms draws them together. Time spent in the woods brings them closer.
But can a chance arrangement like theirs withstand work and family pressures? In the age-old war between love and duty, can Chasten and Gregor stand together as equals?
FOREST HEAD is a stand-alone romance in the Heron Creek world. No toxic mushrooms were consumed while researching this book.