Interview with Barbara Oliverio

What is your writing process?
I outline the story and create “personas” for each of my characters. After I interview each of the personas, I start to tell their story. Sometimes my characters lead me in their own paths and I let them – and the story is better – and sometimes I have to take them back to my original plan.
How much of YOU makes it into your characters?
In my debut novel, the main character has a fleeting resemblance to me and many of the other characters have inherited my turn of phrase, otherwise they are composites of people I have known through the years.
How do you balance the need to have time to write with the needs of family, society, etc.?
Despite what the movies show you, writing is not the effort of waiting for a muse to strike. I give myself a daily deadline of word count and stick to it, in a timeframe, treating it as if it were a job – which it is! Sometimes I need to go back and rewrite those words, sometimes I keep writing because the ideas keep flowing, but I meet my goal for the first draft and it works out very well.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1) Heidi - because it is the first full-length book I ever read
2) The Starbridge and St. Benet's Series' by Susan Howatch (9 books). I realize that's cheating because it's multiple books, but to fully appreciate the beauty and art that Susan Howatch brings, one needs to read the entire series
3) Summa Theologica because St. Thomas Aquinas is an amazing writer
4) Sense and Sensibility because who can't love Jane Austen
5) Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married because it showed me that "chick lit" can be well written, laugh out loud funny, and relevant
What do you read for pleasure?
Anyone who tries to pigeonhole me by my bookshelves would be sadly mistaken. I am just as likely to read a book on the history of salt as a fluffy chick lit novel for pleasure. it all depends on my mood. Currently I'm reading Herman Wouk's "A Hole in Texas" because it deals with the Higgs Boson, but next up on the rotation is "Divergent" or "Socially Awkward: A Novel", depending on my feelings of the moment.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have the Kindle app downloaded on my iPad and iPhone and am very happy with it because I can switch between one or the other and it will keep track of my place in the ebook I'm reading.
Describe your desk
When I'm home, I sit at a desk that is actually a drop down that can theoretically be closed in an instant. I say "theoretically", because I have a lot of notes, notepads, toys, etc. that sit behind my laptop that would make it relatively impossible to close the actual desk. Because I utilize the Scrivener program and sync it with Simplenote, I do a lot of my writing outside the house in various locations and my desk is just home base.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a tiny town in North Central West Virginia that is now the site of a closed coal mine. In the early 20th century, the mine drew a variety of immigrants from all over Europe as workers. Therefore, I was lucky enough to grow up in a very multi-cultural atmosphere. My writing is influenced not only by my own Italian Catholic heritage, but also by the strong family values I saw all around me in the area.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing when I could first put pen to paper. I have always written in one form or another and my choice of one of my double college majors was a natural -- journalism. I utilized it and my other major, mathematics, in my business career as a technical writer, then I moved my writing skills to the other side of business in public relations and marketing. It was only recently that I took all of my life experience and my writing talent to land on my real passion of fiction writing.
Tell us about your latest work—title, genre, etc. — and why you wrote it?
I wrote “Love on the Back Burner: A Tasty Romantic Comedy" (PG rated) because I felt that young women needed romantic comedy novels available to them that raised the level of the genre and could tell the story with good dialog and plot rather than relying on sex and crude language. I believe that no one should live beneath their giftedness – which is the lesson that Alexandria learns in "Love on the Back Burner". If you live a value-driven life, follow your heart and do the right thing by people then good things will happen.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
When I finished my first manuscript, I was prepared to follow the traditional route. I submitted my work to agents in search of representation and now have a lovely collection of rejection letters. When I started to see a theme in the letters ("strong characters", "great writing", "good story"), I had to pause and wonder why my work was not worthy. Finally, one agent told me that if I rewrote it and added more spice to the love story, i.e., more steamy sex, she would represent it. I determined that I would rather not compromise my own values. Through research I found extremely a professional editor, cover designer, etc., and created a work that I am proud to have stand beside any book published by one of the big houses, yet still does not compromise my own values.
Published 2013-12-20.
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Books by This Author

Game On: A Romantic Comedy that Scores
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 70,050. Language: English. Published: June 16, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » General
Beautiful Maisie finally gets her big chance to move to the nation’s biggest market in her dream job as a sports reporter– if only she’ll make a professional compromise. Should Maisie do whatever it takes to get the job, or stay true to her values?
Passports and Plum Blossoms: An International Romantic Comedy
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 74,260. Language: English. Published: August 17, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Annalise Fontana is feeling blue with no job and no boyfriend. So what could be more enticing than the opportunity to serve as a companion to her elderly Auntie Lil on a senior citizens’ tour of China? Her trip comes alive when she meets a mysterious, brooding stranger who seems to pop up on the streets of Singapore, in Beijing’s Forbidden City, and stays on her mind at the Great Wall of China.
Love on the Lido Deck: A Nautical Romantic Comedy
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 72,180. Language: English. Published: June 3, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Sharp-witted, always-organized Keira Graham has traded in her high tech career as a systems analyst for the whirlwind world of event planning. As she builds up her fledgling business, she learns that her widowed mother has news of her own -- a serious gentleman caller! Is Keira ready for mom’s new romance?
Love on the Back Burner
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 74,680. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Women's fiction » Chick lit
Youngest in a tight-knit Italian-American family, sassy Alexandria D'Agostino is successful in marketing and cooking, but her romantic life is less than 4-star. She dishes up childhood favorites to a succession of first dates (recipes included). With advice from her best girlfriend, loyal coworkers, and her loving family, will Alexandria discover the recipe for happiness -- and perhaps love?