Thursday, 2 July 2015

Guest Blog - An Insightful Interview with Olivia R Burton

I have an extra-special guest blog for you today! Not only am I featuring my friend Olivia R Burton's new release, RATTLE, but I'm handing the blog over to her and my glamorous assistant, Fergus. You may remember that Olivia interviewed Fergus for her blog a while back. He really appreciated the platform to share his views about monkfish and has kindly returned the favour by sitting down with Olivia and asking some hard-hitting, topical questions.

But first, a little bit about RATTLE and Olivia.

Finn's a failure—at necromancy and life in general. "It's not my fault," he'd insist, looking deep into your eyes as he lifts your wallet. You'd catch him, of course. Because he's a failure.

Veruca, on the other hand, is competence personified. She has to be, working as a Reaper directly under the Prince of Hell. When Finn shows up in a stolen sport coat and uses Veruca as cover from his murderous mistress' glowering goons, she finds the one thing she may not be so good at: resisting Finn's handsome face.

Olivia lives just outside Seattle, WA and spends most of her time thinking about cats, vegan food, and action movies. You can find her most commonly on Twitter:  or at her blog: If you enjoyed exploring the Preternatural PNW in RATTLE, check out a little bit more of it in MIXED FEELINGS.

And now...Fergus and Olivia get to the heart of important issues.

Fergus seeking out important issues
Fergus: Olivia, hello. Don't touch my things. Everything is my thing. Now, I've noticed a sharp decline lately in the amount of tuna mayonnaise being made around the house, and I assume this is a global problem. I don't like it. It means there's none for me and I have to make do with meat and biscuits, and I only get those at certain times of day, which is oppressive. How does RATTLE address this tuna mayonnaise shortage?

Olivia: I can’t say RATTLE addresses the tuna mayo shortage directly, but it does touch a bit on the haves vs the have-nots. One of the main characters, Finn, has grown up rough, and has likely had very little tuna mayo in his life. Veruca, his lovely partner, has grown up in luxury and so could afford only the best tuna mayo. I think you’ll really identify with Finn, especially since you both occasionally pilfer things when no one’s paying attention.

Fergus: That actually leads nicely into my next question. Now, at night during the summer I like to sleep in the bush in the garden in order to keep the neighbour's dog from breaking in and stealing things, as he seems to be planning to do. Just this morning he stuck his head in the back door as I was eating, which was a worrying new development. What tips could Veruca give me on household security?

Olivia: Because Veruca is so wealthy she’s able to assign a lot of her security responsibilities to her friend and employee Donald. He has the ability to read emotions and therefore tell when people are lying. This can come in quite handy when dealing with those who might have ulterior motives. Perhaps, since the magical type of empathy isn’t real, you could try studying dog behavior in order to assess the neighbor’s pooch more effectively. I’m sure there are many books on profiling of canines that would be helpful in your vigilant efforts to keep your biscuits safe.

Fergus: Thank you. I will consider making the people teach themselves about dogs. When I bring dead things home, everyone screams and tries to take them away from me. When Finn brings dead things home, this is  "magic" and nobody calls him "a little shit." Don't you think this is unfair?

Olivia: Absolutely! At the start of RATTLE, Finn is likely less skilled and less experienced with the dead than you are, and yet he gets a pass. I think this really speaks to our superficial society and how beautiful people get special treatment. Because of Finn’s incredible good looks, he’s able to get away with a lot that us ordinary folk would not. 

Fergus: This is sad, because I also am handsome, but everyone says I am really a gremlin, which is oppressive. Recently someone left a bowl of strawberries and cream unattended in the living room and I put my face in it, and then they just gave me the cream because I had earned it with cunning and skill. Do you agree?

Olivia: I definitely think you deserved the cream more than whomever left it unattended. Clearly your drive to consume cream is greater than theirs, and they’ve proven themselves unworthy. 

Fergus: Exactly. Now, one last question. Sometimes I cough like I'm going to bring up a fur ball, but I don't. Do you feel this is a metaphor for publishing? What advice would you give struggling cats in my position?

Olivia: For me, not hacking up a furball as a metaphor is closer to writing than publishing. There have been many times over the years where I was certain I had words to get out and yet, no matter how hard I tried, there just didn’t seem to be anything in me. The only advice I have for that is to get out and try to stimulate yourself to loosen things up. Take a walk, sniff some flowers, steal some cream. Even if it won’t help you get something out, it will at least give you a fresh perspective on things and, at the worst, you’ll have gotten some exercise, smelled some flowers, or eaten some cream.

Fergus: And at the end of the day, how much cream we eat is really all that matters. Thank you, Olivia. Now please leave immediately, because people upset me.


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