Paranormal Romance Lovers recently had the pleasure of interviewing Olivia Arran, author of the popular True Mates series and the Alpha Protectors series. Both of these series share the same world with some of the characters appearing in multiple stories.
Olivia's books include:
If you have any questions, or would like to leave a comment, for Olivia, please feel free to do so. We love author/reader interaction here!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I think I’m really boring! I’ve been married for thirteen years to the man I met on my 21st birthday. I’d say it was love at first sight, but we were a little drunk, so it was more like lust at first sight!
I have two young children who occupy most of my time in that way that young children do, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Oh, semi-interesting fact: I’ve lived in eight houses in the thirteen years I’ve been married, in three different countries! In fact, we’ve been in one place for nearly three years now and I’m starting to get itchy feet!
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment in writing?
Hitting publish for the first time. It’s nerve wracking and scary as hell, but so worth it!
Have you always wanted to write? How old were you when you wrote your first romance?
I’m a bit of a dreamer! I like to live in my own head and dream up stories about the paranormal world (and if you try to tell me it’s not real, I’ll stick my fingers in my ears and sing really badly! You have been warned!).
I’ve always read way too much, so writing all my make up stories down was a natural progression. I read for enjoyment across all genres, but love paranormal, urban fantasy, and fantasy. If it’s about a world where magic exists and the creatures of my dreams are causing mischief, I’m there!
When I was a teenager I wrote a mishmash of urban fantasy/YA/fantasy type stories that will never see the light of day. They were really bad and rambled on for pages with absolutely no structure! I didn’t write my first romance until I was well into my twenties.
Who, or what has influenced your writing the most, and in what way?
Wow, that’s a really difficult question! I’m going to have to say: every book I’ve ever read. I think because I read as much as I do, I can’t help but absorb things into my subconscious. Like story structure, or the way characters are developed, or how a book twists and turns and leaves me guessing. Every book (good or bad) has left an imprint on me, and that subconscious knowledge has helped me to find my own voice and style.
How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
When I first plan a book I’m all about the characters. I start with either the hero or heroine and figure them out. What do they want? Why are they in my story? What can’t they have? Why are they interesting? Do they have any secrets? Hidden desires? Quirks?
Then (because I’m writing romance) I develop a love interest for them. Then, once they feel real to me, I figure out what conflict I’m going to throw at them. This is when it becomes a little more formulaic. I have set beats that I know I have to meet, so I plan those out first – just five lines describing things I know my characters have to do or achieve to get from the beginning to the end. Then I connect the dots! How I do that is by letting my characters figure it out - they drive my stories, I just guild them along the path!
Is there a certain type of scene that is harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
Racy scenes, for sure! I think it’s because it’s the moment when my characters are (or, should be) connecting on a deeper level. There has to be a reason why they’re getting down and dirty, it can’t just be for the thrill. A pivotal moment of change has to happen for one of them, or both.
After all, I write romance and it’s all about the feels!
Of all of your books, which is your favorite? Why?
The last one I finished! It always is, and I think that’s because of the feeling of satisfaction that comes with completing a story. That little spark when the dots are all connected and smoothed out, and the characters finally have their own story.
What happens to your deleted scenes? Do you squirrel them away for future use, or are they gone forever?
I’ve never deleted a scene! I always re-write or re-use them. I’ve deleted a story and started over, does that count? Those are gone forever because I use the same characters, I just give them a different story.
And now for the silly… what is the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of research for a book? Give details if you have them.
I said earlier that I was really boring and I meant it! I don’t think there’s anything I could list that most writers haven’t done at some point in their career. Put it this way, I always do my internet research incognito! I do have a funny habit of sniffing everything though! That’s because I write about shifters and I always want to be able to describe exactly how things smell. I get some funny looks!
Crazy things I’ve done that weren’t for book research purposes: skydiving, bobsledding, flying on a zip wire over a jungle, diving with sharks, and learning to skate and play ice-hockey in my thirties (ouch!)
What new and exciting thing is coming from you in the next little while?
At the time of writing this I’ve just sent the next book in my Alpha Protectors series, Defender, to my editor. That should release toward the end of June 2016. Next up, I will be working on an exclusive story for a bundle due to release later this year, then diving back into my series and writing Book 4.
Can you share a short excerpt of your newest release?
I’d love to! This is an excerpt from Sentinel, Book 2 in the Alpha Protectors series. In this scene the hero, Angel, has just joined the Moonridge pack, but really he is working undercover. The heroine, Chloe, is shocked to come face to face with a man from her past, a man she lied to.
How dare he just turn up here and expect everything to be okay? Expect me to be okay. My hands curled into fists, my nails digging crescents into my palms. What did he think was going to happen? How did he think I was going to react at seeing him?
He should have been fine. With his looks and arrogant charm and sense of self-importance he should have forgotten me, gotten over me no problem. Should have picked another woman who was happy to submit to him in a way I couldn’t.
But he hadn’t.
And he was so angry. Bitter. Hurt.
Before I knew it, I was racing after him, shoving the door open and rushing out into the warm summer evening. I glanced around, eventually spying him halfway across the courtyard. “Angel!”
He didn’t stop, but he did pause for a second, his shoulders stiffening and his hands clenching at his sides.
“Let it go, Chloe,” he called over his shoulder, his voice not full of anger anymore, but sounding miserably hollow.
I jogged to catch up with him, some masochistic part of me unable to just let him walk away. I needed him to understand… Understand what, though? I couldn’t tell him the truth, so what exactly was I expecting to achieve? I didn’t know, but I couldn’t leave it like this. Reaching out, I grabbed him by the shoulder.
His face snapped around, a snarl dancing on his lips. “You really don’t want to push me,” he growled.
“I... I just wanted to say I’m sorry.” There.
“You’re sorry?” His words were incredulous, his expression matching his tone. He advanced toward me, his hips rolling with agile grace, his chest swelling and biceps flexing as he towered over me. “You’re sorry?” This time there was no mistaking his emotion. He was pissed.
“I am,” I offered, already regretting having followed him out. I refused to take a step back, refused to back down from him. This was my pack, and no matter what I’d done, who the hell did he think he was turning up and throwing his weight around?
I was getting whiplash, yo-yoing between feeling sorry for him and feeling guilty for wanting to throttle the life out of him.
“So, are you sorry you fucked me? Or are you sorry you fucked me and told me you had a mate and child? Or are you sorry that I’m here? Which is it, Chloe?” Each word rang in my ears like a shot fired from a gun, slamming into me and tearing through my chest.
Okay, throttling it was. I snarled at him, wishing he wasn’t so damn tall so I could stare him down, eye to eye. “All of the above. Hell, you’ve got to understand that it’s best if you just go.”
“Best for you?” He sneered. He advanced forward another step, and despite myself I stumbled backward. “Who… do…you…think…you…are? Thinking you can tell me what to do? You gave up that right the second you lied to me and ran away. Like a coward. You’re nobody to me, you saw to that. And if I want to join this pack there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.”
Now he was just pissing me off. Squaring up to him, I poked him in the chest. “I think you’re forgetting who my dad is—”
“Oh, don’t worry sweetheart, I’m not in any danger of forgetting exactly who your father is.”
Now what the hell did he mean by that?
He took another step forward, crowding me. Rough brick brushed against my back, then his arms came down around me, caging me.
He leaned in, his breath hot on my cheek, his eyes flashing with his wolf.
I couldn’t help myself, I sucked in deep greedy breaths, dragging him into my lungs. His scent was wicked, like liquid heroin coursing through my veins and jumpstarting my heart. And I was aching for a fix. I had been craving him for five long years.
“Like I said, sweetheart, you want me.” His head dipped, his breath tracing a path from my collarbone up and onto my jaw then trailing along my cheek. He groaned, the sound seeming to be wrenched from deep inside him, an honest sound. “Dammit!” He hissed, then leaned his forehead against my cheek.
Where can our readers find you online and connect?
Thanks again to Olivia for taking the time for our interview!