Interview with Olivia Hutchinson

What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is my first book, or at least the first one that I've decided to publish. "Once Bitten" is the first in a series of seven novels, all based on a group of friends. A night with the girls turns into chaos when they decide to cast a drunken love spell in the hopes of finding the men of their dreams. What they don't realize is that their actions have repercussions, including introducing them to a world they didn't even know existed - the Netherworld.

"Once Bitten" is the story of Lila and Gabriel. After saving Gabriel's life while simultaneously calling the attention of Warlocks who would like nothing more than to use her in their plan for Netherworld domination, Lila and Gabriel have to find a way to evade their would-be captors.
What are you working on next?
My next novel is almost complete. While it still remains untitled, I will be publishing the second in the Netherworld series in the Fall of 2014. The story of Heidi and Liam takes place almost a week before the events in "Once Bitten".
What is your writing process?
My writing process starts with an idea. Usually this idea is formed over months or even years. I'll take notes, writing down whatever comes to mind including dreams I have. Sometimes I'll start with a character and other times I'll start with an event, regardless the process is the same. Once I feel that I have enough information to work with I'll sit down and begin outlining the story. Usually it's a skeletal outline which only serves as a directional tool.

When I start I always have the beginning and ending in mind as well as the knowledge of key events that need to take place in order to make the story cohesive. At that point I'll knock out a rough draft, going back a few times while I'm writing it to make small changes to the story. Once finished, I edit on the computer first before printing out a copy. With a hard copy in hand, I'll go through it with a fine tooth comb and a red pen, marking changes and areas that need to be fixed. I'll rephrase sentences and move around scenes or paragraphs. After making those changes in the electronic file, I'll print out a few more copies and begin handing them out.

After I get edited copies back from my beta readers, I'll read through their suggestions and any changes they've marked. Sometimes I take their advice and sometimes I don't, depending on the needs of the story. I make whatever changes I have to and then (again) print out another copy. I'll leave it laying on my desk for it to sit for awhile while I begin working on something else. After a few weeks, I'll return to the draft and edit it again. Usually by this point the story is not as fresh in my mind and I can look at it a bit differently. I make more changes and fix the computer file to match.

Once the major edits are complete, I'll go back again and read bits of the story out loud to myself, especially any phrase that seems awkward. At this point I'm also searching and editing for simple spelling errors that haven't been caught before (such as 'on' when it's supposed to be 'one'). After that I consider the draft finished. Sometimes I'll pass off another copy for someone to read but in my mind the story is ready for publishing.
What do you read for pleasure?
While I always loved writing, I used to hate reading. That was until my mother handed me a Harlequin and I realized that people actually wrote about sex. I think I was about thirteen at the time. Since then I've read mountains of romance novels until venturing out into classic novels such as the works by Jane Austen and Ovid. Now I'm hooked on reading just about anything and everything. From Nonfiction to Erotic Romance, there isn't a book I'm not willing to devour.
When did you first start writing?
I've been writing since I was old enough to hold a pen. From a six chapter book about horses I wrote on a yellow legal pad (complete with illustrations) to the poem I had published in an anthology when I was in the sixth grade, I never stopped. As I got older and started tackling much larger projects, I would get about halfway through with one before chucking it and starting on something else. It wasn't until a few years ago that I forced myself to sit down and complete something only to discover that I loved finishing almost as much as I loved starting a new project.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a rural town in Pennsylvania. When I was fifteen my family and I moved to Scandinavia for a few years before eventually ending up in the South. I caught the travel bug at a young age and even before moving overseas my parents and I would go on frequent trips, traveling around both the US and in other countries.

I believe that these experiences led me to reading books that I otherwise wouldn't have been exposed to. Traveling also incited my inspiration as I would come home with fresh ideas in mind. I wanted to see it all and I wanted to write all about it.
Describe your desk
My desk is anywhere I haul my computer. While I have an actual space set up, it's seldom that I use it. It doesn't help that the desk is covered in drafts of my novels that I've printed out and am in some stage of editing. Usually I can be found pounding away on the keys at my dining room table or sitting in the middle of my comfy bed, hiding underneath the covers with music blaring.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I own a Kindle but I also read on my iPhone frequently, purchasing titles from Apple.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend my time with my son, or at least as much as I can. I'm also a part time student while working full time in the healthcare industry. We enjoy vacations at the beach and traveling as much as we can.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a friend who works in graphic design and advertising who makes all of my covers. He and I have a partnership where we can run ideas back and forth until we come to a finished product that encompasses the story as well as what the story is promising to the reader.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A few years ago I never would have considered publishing independently, but thanks to e-readers it's now a viable option for me. While I haven't ruled out trying to publish with traditional publishing, I've always marched to the beat of my own drummer. Indie publishing allows me to work at my own pace and have more control over what I put out.
Published 2014-06-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.