Cover art: Aaron Anderson
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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Liv Olteano on tour for Lover, Lover. Welcome, Liv.
Our Interview with Liv Olteano – Lover, Lover tour
- What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?
Hmm… if I’m honest, the most interesting thing I find about someone is their set of contradictions.
I’m sure we’ve all noticed this: the most interesting people always have some sets of contradictions around which their personality is built. Sometimes these contradictions are harder to pinpoint, and other times they wear them proudly and for all to see. If someone has no contradictions I can identify, I generally tend to believe them to be dishonest or phony somehow.
So I’m aware I also write characters that feature contradictions, because by reflex I build characters that come off as real people to me. In fact, when I write a certain story, I see those characters as real people, and explore them just as I do when I meet someone new.
I’m aware some look for these inconsistencies as proof of faulty building – in fictional characters as well as in real people – but I must disagree. There’s no such thing as linear anything when it comes to real life, so why should fiction try for it?
- Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it? Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.
The simple truth of the matter is I address the toughest parts of a story – those pesky bits that give me trouble – when I’m not actually drunk but just a bit tipsy. There’s something about the altered chemistry of the brain, the lowered inhibitions, and the more risk-prone thought process of such times that simply makes me breeze through the rough patches. Ideas flow differently; I don’t bump my head against anything – genre, tropes, plot outline – and just immerse myself in the joy of writing what I feel. I call it feel-writing, because right then I simply let the characters and story do their thing without any sort of authorial intervention. It’s exhilarating, and the highest degree of freedom I’ve ever personally experienced – and writing, as a process, is in itself a form of freedom so that’s saying something.
I don’t think I’ve ever read the material written like that the next day to find it not up to par. Those parts tend to become my favorite ones of that particular story, in fact.
- With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain? To get away? To move past? To widen our knowledge? Why do you write?
I think that for each story, the answer is different. In fact, I think that for each chapter or significant scene of the same story, there are different reasons behind the writing.
When I was writing Lover, Lover for instance, a close friend was contemplating an imminent breakup. I already knew the story would be a second chance romance, but the details of the relationship and how things would mend was a total unknown to me at that point. I don’t like to outline the relationship part of my stories, because the exploring as I go makes it all feel a lot more fun and authentic to me.
In my mind were all these thoughts resulting from talks my friend and I had about breakups, about where all the love goes and how it slips away; about all the shared memories and times – how can one move on from everything they’ve known for years of their life, how they can rebuild and why they feel the need or desire to do so.
I’d thought about these things a lot, so I wanted to explore not how people break up or why they would get back together, but what might happen when my characters – Drew and Angelo – reunite some years after their breakup, when they still have feelings for each other. So I wrote the story to find that out.
Twin souls reunited.
Drew’s always been a fighter: first in martial arts competitions, and now as a dreamcatcher—keeping the people of Seattle safe from spaga attacks that would drain their life force in their sleep. All he has to do to become a full member of Team 32 is complete his first mission.
But the first one he has to defend is his ex, Angelo… the only man Drew ever loved, even if he was the one to leave. Drew never got over Angelo, and it seems Angelo might feel the same, despite the heartbreak he suffered at Drew’s hands.
As the chase after a powerful and resourceful caster hits close to home, old feelings resurface. But if Angelo learns of the dreamcatchers, he’ll be a target for the spaga. And how can he trust Drew now that Drew’s keeping bigger secrets than ever?
“I put the phone back in my pocket and looked toward the bed. The victim stirred beneath the covers. I knew they were supposed to be sound asleep, but I held my breath nonetheless. It was really weird to stand and look at someone who was sleeping—I felt a bit creepy. The person had to be turning on the other side or something, but then the head poked up. The bedroom windows were positioned so the light from the street hit his face—because I saw clearly it was a man. He blinked a few times and looked at me, his face slack from sleep and probably the shock of staring at someone standing in his bedroom. He had hazel eyes and dark brown hair, and his skin looked just as deliciously tan as I remembered it. His face had changed a bit. The angles were sharper and the lines more prominent. He looked more grown-up somehow. But it was him, without a doubt: Angelo, my first real steady man. The one that got away—well, more accurately, the one I’d walked out on five years ago. Even if he could see me, the red charm still being active, he was supposed to go right back to sleep. If he’d remember anything at all, he’d be convinced it was a dream.
“Drew? Is that you?”
My heart skipped a beat or five. He was most definitely not going back to sleep. He was freaking talking to me! I panicked and quickly swallowed the green charm. I found myself immediately back at our home base, in the webs room, my heart pounding like hell.
Claw poked his head into the room. “Hey, man. Back already?”
I stared at his long, straight black hair, at his black eyes. I’d had a bit of a crush on Claw when I first met him. Something about his dark skin had always reminded me of Angelo’s permanent tan. But Claw’s black eyes with their intense, brooding gaze had never been like Angelo’s glimmering hazel ones. I felt my stomach tighten. Just thinking about his name did things to me, all these years later. I was such a huge moron—they had to invent a whole new league just for me.
“Come into the kitchen,” Claw said. “We’ve got a bit of a celebration going on here. You finally popped your dreamcatcher cherry after all.”
I smiled while my pulse spiked. Oh, crap. Way to end my very first mission—I hadn’t done the cleansing. I’d panicked and fled, without doing the cleansing. Goddamn it! For tonight, having used my red charm there would keep the home shielded. But without the cleansing it would be a beacon to all spaga, calling their attention to the premises and the residents, starting next nightfall. I had to get back there before that. No way was I going to tell Claw I’d screwed up on my first ever mission. No way. I just had to hope Aashi wouldn’t think to check up on my work. She didn’t, usually—at least as far as I knew. I could fix this.
I went into the kitchen where Claw and our other teammate, Taka, were holding up glasses of champagne. I took mine and we toasted to me not being the junior anymore. We didn’t hang around too much after that, going to our rooms instead. Claw had to attend the daily dreamcatcher leaders meeting for the Seattle area. Taka probably went back to his room to read—he was always reading, it seemed to me. And I just went to my room, hoping that the excitement would wind down and I’d be able to sleep.
It took a while. I kept thinking about five years back. I kept remembering nights spent with Angelo, and the sweet mornings after. All the things I now yearned for, and from which I’d run away then. I’d been dealing with a lot of confusion at the time. I hadn’t been able to find my center, and the steady connection between us had only made me feel more off-kilter when it came to everything else. I’d needed to sort myself out. So I walked out on him and tried to do just that.
It seemed to me that before shaking shit off and figuring yourself out, you had to get piles of shit a mile high weighing you down so you’d have the proper incentive. So I’d worked on my pile until it was nice and large. And then I’d shaken it off and figured out who the hell I was and what I wanted from life. Sad thing was, in my rare moments of honesty, I knew part of what I wanted was what I’d had with Angelo.
The look in his eyes tonight kept overlapping with the look in his eyes the day I’d moved out. It had hurt to walk out that day. I could imagine how it must’ve hurt him to see me do it. I had to make amends somehow. I had to keep him safe.
I finally fell asleep with the image of his hazel eyes running through my mind over and over again.”
Want to read more from Chapter 1? Check out the book on the Dreamspinner Press site (Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lover-lover-by-liv-olteano-9289-b ) and hit the Read an Excerpt button right beneath the cover xD
About the Author
Liv Olteano is a voracious reader, music lover, and coffee addict extraordinaire. And occasional geek. Okay, more than occasional.
She believes stories are the best kind of magic there is. And life would be horrible without magic. Her hobbies include losing herself in the minds and souls of characters, giving up countless nights of sleep to get to know said characters, and trying to introduce them to the world. Sometimes they appreciate her efforts. The process would probably go quicker if they’d bring her a cup of coffee now and then when stopping by. Characters—what can you do, right?
Liv has a penchant for quirky stories and is a reverent lover of diversity. She can be found loitering around the Internet at odd hours and being generally awkward and goofy at all times.
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