Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Getting to Know Olivia Wilde

In October I attended the Utah Romance Writers of America conference in Park City and signed next to Olivia Wilde, a talented author and a beautiful lady. I enjoyed visiting with her and her mother, who is also an awesome PR person for Olivia:-)
Olivia was kind enough to answer some questions, tell us about her book The Dawn of Silva, and help us to get to know her better.

About the Book
Filmmakers Alex and Shari run into more than a few snags in casting their new movie, Silva. Alex is obsessively determined that only the ethereal Ashlyn can portray the lead, and she cannot be found.

Shari leaves the hustle and bustle of New York City, and travels to the serene beauty of the Cascade Mountains, 3000 miles away - the search is on! Ashlyn's family and estranged lover try to protect her from the fast-thinking Shari's unwanted intrusion.
Ashlyn has found her paradise in the Cascade foothills, to heal the crushing pain of a star-crossed love. She wants solitude and time to heal and contemplate what her future holds.
Shari, in her journey, has found a whole new universe and has met an absolutely dynamic and maybe even diabolical man, whom she immediately hates. She is inexplicably drawn into a relationship that rocks her very foundation.
In the short space of one week, four people's lives converge in an Eden-like setting, to begin an adventure that turns each of their lives upside down.
The Dawn of Silva is the first in a series of Silva novels by Olivia Wilde.

Rita, tell us a little about yourself.

My childhood was a dream. I was raised on a farm in Central Washington, on an Indian Reservation. My dad was a beekeeper and my mom was a stay at home mom, I have a brother, a sister and four foster brothers. My mom and dad took in 'problem teenagers' who were not such problems, mostly misunderstood. We had lots of animals to take care of and lots of chores to do. I started riding horses when I was about 2 or so and then started showing them. Farm life gave me the greatest lessons - discipline, hard work, selfless love, nurturing, joy and loss. Unfortunately animals don't live as long as we do and even though I know that, losing them is always hard. At 14 I started modeling and acting and after high school I moved to Seattle to be closer to my work. I joined the theatre group and took as many acting, directing, makeup and stage classes as I possibly could. After a difficult breakup with fiance' #1, I moved to Boston, gave up acting, and started working in financial services. That profession continued for the next 20 years while I moved from Boston, to Washington, then Oregon and Utah. Writing has always been an important avenue of expression for me and my creative brain. The only professional writing I did during those years was for research and training projects. In 1993, during a 1 1/2 year breakup with fiance' number 3, I started pouring my heart out, attempting to mend some serious pain and disappointment. The characters in my writing started to come alive and redirected my writing to a fiction novel which became The Dawn of Silva.

A few months after I finished my novel, my real life fairy tale came true. After some spiritual and inspirational events and a pastor's powerful prayer asking for a man to come bursting into my life, I met my husband at Sea-Tac airport in the middle of the night. Funny though, he forgot to get my name and number so a couple days later he put an ad in the personals that read, "Sleepless Since Seattle. I left without even getting her name. Please help me find this woman I met at Sea-Tac Airport Tuesday night . . . if you know who she is please have her call Barry in Eugene." So fiance' #3 was out and I married Barry 9 1/2 weeks after our meeting. Shortly after, our love story went out on the associated press and we received 1000's of calls and letters from well wishers - the National Enquirer published our actual phone number. While lots of folks were happy for us, there were many who thought we couldn't last - that love at first sight doesn't exist. Last October we celebrated our 17 year anniversary and our love continues to grow stronger each day. I want to share our story because it's a feel good story and I think we can use more of them.

When did you first start writing?

My Mom was a believer that you say what you mean and don't say anything you can't take back. So whenever I would get hurt or upset about something she would have me write it down and if it was really painful, I would burn it and watch the smoke rise. I would visualize the anger dissipating so it couldn't hurt anyone. When I was about 7 or 8 I started writing poetry and songs, but I was very shy. Whenever someone would hear me sing or see one of my poems, I would get embarrassed and stop writing. It took me years to get over my fear of an audience. Like so many others, it took the most embarrassing speech to get it through my head that I could never top that feeling again.

Tell us about The Dawn of Silva. How did you come up with the story?

Well, it was so long ago, like I said earlier, I wrote this in 1993-94. I remembered deciding to buy a computer so that I could start writing. I never thought it would become anything. But after reading some passages to my mother and getting her feedback, I kept going and let the characters create. I remember thinking that if I was as strong as I wanted to be, like my grandmother, my aunt, and my mother, I wouldn't be sitting at a computer healing my pain. I would find a cabin in the woods and take all my critters with me and create the most beautiful place I could think of and make my dreams happen. After I had the first chapters done and at my mother's encouragement, I sent it to several agents in New York. One said they wanted it, so I finished it and sent it off. But it came back in the mail several weeks later 'undeliverable'.

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

The Silva series will be at least 3 novels. I started the second in 1994 after I thought the first was going to be published. Once the series is finished or maybe before, I will write 'Sleepless Since Seattle' which will be based on true events. I also write childrens' books under a different pen name. I didn't want a mom or dad to get confused and buy a steamy love story for a child. My grandfather was a published author and has about 6 or 7 books that I would like to publish, so I will also be working on those.

Where can we buy your book?
Currently it is available online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com & xlibris.com.


Diane Darcy said...

Hi Olivia,

Nice to get to know you. =) The book looks wonderful.

DoreeAnderson.blogspot.com or Doree.anderson@wordpress.com said...

Great interview, Jewel and Olivia. Wonderful opportunity to learn about our members and to get to know the bare threads of life and writing. Looks like a great read. Good luck.

Jewel's Gems said...

Thanks! It was fun getting to know her:-)

Mary L Walling said...

Great interview Jewel.. I love what her mother said "say what you mean and don't say anything you can't take back". What a wise woman. It was nice getting to know her. Thanks for the interview.