Interview with M. Oliva

How do you describe yourself as an artist?
I am a visual artist and book illustrator. I am also a writer. Mini bust sculptures had also captured my interest but after making a handful, the project was abandoned along with anything art-related. In reality, I saw the need to concentrate on my new career. Eighteen years later, after a successful tenure in banking, I started my own antiques business. Buying and selling fine art made me study the artists’ styles and techniques – one of the reasons to resume painting once I was on my own. Professional writing came later.
When did you start writing?
Throughout the years, I remember always having a pencil in hand for doodling and writing notes of anything that caught my attention. Initially, I wrote limericks at work for any occasion. They were well liked and, many times, there was a request for something special. Essays and short stories followed, along with poems. My first short-short story was “It Happened at The Horse Ranch” - one of my few non-fictional works.
What was the transition to writing books?
I’ll have to backtrack a little. Back to serious painting, my first realistic training was drawing the human figure; then portraits only. My scribbles produced some modern works and comic animals – just for fun. I worked mainly with oils but have done some pastels, watercolors, pencil drawings and many acrylics. At one point, I started a drawing-related book but - because of the numerous pencil renditions - it became more difficult to publish, so it took a place in the back burner. The inspiration then turned to comic animals and a series of over one hundred oil on canvas paintings of comic birds was created. This one, too, is stored away until I decide what to do with it. One day, looking at a paper bird I had made, I decided to paint it in a realistic setting: dark skies, a tree and the moon. It was so colorful that I painted a few more on canvas with similar settings, and displayed them on a table. It took just one look to realize that, unwittingly, I had created a story… so the writing began. As I composed the fantasy tale, more drawings and paintings were made including one for the cover. Birdyjosh and Birdylu ~ A Paper Birds’ story was self-published in 2011-2012 in full-color paperback and eBook formats, respectively.
Have you written any other books?
Yes, Sublime Adoption ~ A Tale of Love and Mendacity was published in 2012 as an eBook with a cover depicting women and men’s faces. Before publishing, when I had decided to change the title and cover; it occurred to me that the faces in a painting I had finished earlier, represented the characters in the book. The original cover with a different title was then stored away.
Is the above novel totally fictional?
Absolutely!. Although there is a superficial connection to a real life's event, it is so remote and distorted that it no longer bears any resemblance to what had really taken place, so the story has been rightfully classified as fictional.
How big is your collection of essays, poems and short stories?
I have enough to publish all of them into one book. They have been compiled already but formatting is another story. Hopefully, it will be an eBook before year-end. The poems cover abstract, romance, inspirational, motivational and Haiku themes. Included are poems appearing in published works as well as some Spanish versions.
Do you ever get bored?
Very interesting question. Artists rarely get bored. Just as dancers who have to practice continually, as writers, we also have to work diligently to perfect our trade. We must keep up with composition and grammar, aiming to improve our stories and style. Many people claim they have no talents, but what they do not know is that talents are hidden and must be discovered. As with anything else, it takes time, effort and money to bring a talent to life and make it work. Luckily for me, I enjoy many art fields and have the privilege to choose what I will be working on in the next minute or hour. From writing different themes to painting in any medium and style, to illustrating something… there is plenty of room to choose.

As many writers do, I also follow discussions in groups within social sites such as LinkedIn. As to Websites and blogs, I maintain four and two respectively but they require a lot of updating. I also post some of my small works on WritersCafe.org and similar ones.
Were you born in another country and, if so, where did your inclination begin?
Yes, I was born in Havana, Cuba and English is my second language. (Second…?). It was in my native country that I began flirting with watercolors in their original form. That certainly was the worst painting style to learn on my own, so I did not get anywhere with it. One thing about me is that I am self-taught, for the most part, in most of my artistic endeavors. I like to explore, to see if I like something enough to continue working on it. I like variety.
Any other interests other than painting and writing?
A wide variety indeed! Reading, visiting museums, art and antique shows, movies and the theater - followed by a nice dinner at a good restaurant.
How did you learn about Smashwords?
The Internet. Always searching the Net. After using Amazon’s CreateSpace for my children’s book, I chose Smashwords as a convenient, free way to self-publish my young adult/adult novel. It was very easy to adapt to the new MS Word requirements following Mark Coker’s Smashwords Style Guide. Their wide distribution to major sales channels makes it even more attractive. As for Amazon, I opted out of it on Smashwords and published the eBook directly with Kindle to solve the existing distribution problem. I plan to publish my third book with Smashwords as well, followed by Kindle.
Published 2013-09-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Book of Diverse Writings - Volume II
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,810. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs, Fiction » Romance » Clean & wholesome
My Poetry Styles' Honest Disclaimer - its full version appearing at the end of the book- makes light of the mixed styles the reader may find in this collection: “I love writing… Poems or prose… But I must confess… Without apologies… My verses do not… Conform to the norm… Not Classic at all!” Themes: romance, abstract, motivational, inspirational, Haiku, about animals and nature, love above all.
Book of Diverse Writings - Volume I
Price: $1.59 USD. Words: 42,780. Language: English. Published: April 17, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
As the title implies, this book contains diverse writings separated by categories: short stories, essays, anecdotes and trivia that can be read in three minutes each or less. Hidden, the featured crime mystery can be read in about thirty minutes. Plots center on abductions, astronauts, drones, hole punch clouds, magical, mystical; pirates, tall tales, etc. Themes abound for unique readers' tastes.
Sublime Adoption ~ A Tale of Love and Mendacity
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 61,180. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
What starts as a humane love story linked to a noble adoption turns into a tale of deceit and mendacity with four young adults quickly maturing by the forces of life turns or poor choices. The poignant story evolves from twisted and tormented souls ultimately yearning for redemption. The final surprise revelations open the path to sincere forbearance and new beginnings for all.