One mind many voices …
Olivia Devereaux, Pam Bitner, and Kastil Evenshade are alter egos from the mind of one person. She writes in many genres, refusing to cookie cutter herself into one shape. Her body doesn’t cooperate so why should her imagination? She wanted to make sure when you pick up one of Olivia’s books, you know what to expect: Romance. The sweet and sensual kind to melt your heart and smile.
Born outside of Pittsburgh, she’s a Pennsylvania (that’s PA to the locals) girl to the core. When she’s not wrestling her muse into a corner for a key pounding session, she enjoys watching hockey (Let’s Go Pens!), football (Here We Go, Steelers, Here We Go!), or grabbing the Wacom tablet for some art fun. Oh yes, she’s got some of her artwork on book covers out there.
Olivia will now take your questions:
1. When did you begin writing?
In middle school. I had a big imagination but no guidance. What I wrote back then I shared with no one. In high school, I took a creative writing course and couldn’t fathom telling a proper story in under 8 pages. Of course, in my adult life, I know it’s not only possible but publishable.
2. Was there anything special about growing up in a Military family that inspired your creativity as a kid?
Moving around as much as I did in my youth, I learned that the only constant in life is family. We fight, kick, and scream at each other but in the end, we don’t let anyone mess with our family. No matter what the disagreement you have, you love each other. The conflicts, great and small, helped my imagination. While I hid my writing from my family (I was very shy), my artwork was always proudly displayed on my mom’s work desk for all to see.
3. What was your favorite book as a teen?
The Pigman by Paul Zindel. The back and forth by two characters so far apart on personalities and home environments but so close in friendship and the old man who showed them so much more. Most of the YA books I read were school-required, actually. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the read, it’s just I was more into fantasy books like Weis & Hickman’s Dragonlance series. Still, The Pigman is in the forefront of my mind when I think of what I used to read.
4. How did you decide to pursue publishing your stories?
My husband, actually. He said I was ‘wasting my time’ writing if I didn’t get serious about actually getting published. I mean, losing your spouse to NaNo every year could cause a little tiff if they’re not serious about doing something with it. In a way, he had a point. It took about three or so years after he said that for me to be brave enough to do it. Yes, I was still shy in my adult life in sharing what I write. I’m my own worse critic.
5. We know you’re artistic. How is creating artwork different than a story? How is it the same?
My muse for art definitely takes a different path. Usually I have a vision in my head with art and I roll with it. I can take a photo and manipulate it to make it my own. Those I do for fun. The stuff I create from scratch are the only things I’ll display on my Deviant Art. The way the muses are the same is if I mess with my artwork too much, I completely go overboard. The good thing, like my writing, I make a different file when I change and make different layers. Different layers allow me to keep what I drew, even though I might not use it. Of course, it only applies to digital. Hand drawn doesn’t have that flexibility.
6. Your writing is all about romance. How did you meet the man in your life? Was it love at first sight?
Something drew me to the man I married. honestly, I thought he was weird and just plain strange. We used to work at McDonald’s together and see who could say “The hate you” first in the morning. Dead serious on that. He was polite and I don’t know when it happened exactly but as shy as I was, I couldn’t confront him with my feelings even though mutual friends had told him. I never had a boyfriend, really, in high school. Geeky girls didn’t get the ‘respect’ back then. I transferred to another store and I think about a week later, he showed up at my door in his ’66 convertible Mustang (we still have that car!) asking if I wanted to go to the movies with him. We never looked back and will be celebrating our 21st anniversary this year. There’s been heartache along the way and one kid but I still love him and that will get you through the toughest days.
7. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Hockey! Seriously, I go through a depression when the season finally ends. I love the sport. I also dabble in video games every now again. It’s a great way to spark my creativity too.
8. Pet peeves and favs. Finish these sentences:
I can’t stand it when people are rude. Whether it’s treating someone in the customer service field like a servant instead of a human being or driving dangerously, I just don’t like when people are ignorant. I love it when my son gives me a hug just because I’m his mum.
9. If you could take an all expense paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I swear my answer changes every year but I’m going with Italy. The food, the hot guys, and part of my heritage.
10. What’s your idea of a perfect date?
Ummm…Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with my team in the finals? Yeah, hubbie wouldn’t go for that. Some of our best dates, though, were rock concerts. That would be fun! I don’t think our bodies would like us very much afterwards. 😉
11. C’mon, tell us, will you pen any Young Adult books in the future? Can you give us a hint?
Actually, I’m trying to polish up my 2009 NaNo Ghosts in the Mirror. I also have two other ideas for YA as well. Ghosts is about a kid who has an incomplete soul. In order to have spiritual energy to live in the waking world, spirits latch onto him. His purpose in life is to help these wandering spirits find peace, even though it costs him his time in the waking world when they leave. This idea wasn’t originally going to be YA but when my son really enjoyed the tidbits I gave him, I toned it down a bit and tossed some out the more adult POVs out.
12. What advice would you give a young writer just starting out?
Learn to take criticism. You’re going to get it in good and bad forms. It’s part of the writing world, having thick skin. If this is truly what you want to do in life, hearing only the praise isn’t going to help you and that first rejection letter is going to sting. Trust me, it’s rare to get an acceptance the first time around. Do your research and find your voice.
Thanks for joining us today, Olivia. It was great having you!
♥ Wanna see her creations? View Kastil’s artwork here: http://kastil.deviantart.com/
♦♦♦ Please note, Olivia is an adult romance writer.