Hey everyone! I’m so excited to have Vivi Barnes, author of Olivia Twisted (November 5, 2013) here for an interview today! Here’s the official Goodreads excerpt for the book:
He tilts my chin up so my eyes meet his, his thumb brushing lightly across my lips. I close my eyes. I know Z is trouble. I know that being with him is going to get me into trouble. I don’t care.
At least at this moment, I don’t care.
Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Olivia might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Olivia and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…
I can picture Liv’s face: wide-eyed, trusting. Her smooth lips that taste like strawberry Fanta.
It was just a kiss. That’s all. She’s just like any other girl.
Except that she’s not.
Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.
Hope you guys enjoy the interview!
Question: Describe your book in ten words or less. Go!
Answer: Olivia must decide if she’ll join gang of hackers.
Question: Why Oliver Twist? What drew you to that classic in particular?
Answer:I fell in love with Oliver Twist when I saw the movie Oliver! during a particularly difficult time in middle school. It became my favorite classic. I thought the story was amazing and really depicted life in those times—when orphaned children were considered nothing more than the dregs of society. I thought it’d be interesting and challenging to do a contemporary retelling of the story from a teenage girl’s point of view, taking into account the innocence of the original Oliver and the deceitful intent of the Artful Dodger.
Question: What scene do you most regret having to cut?
Answer: Hmmm… I don’t have regrets on scenes that I’ve cut. I have a document that I call “Pieces and parts” in which all my cuts are pasted into in case I ever need them, but I never have. I cut them for a good reason, I guess, and move on to create new favorites.
Question: On the flip side, what was your favorite scene that got added during edits?
Answer: Easy – the second part of the first chapter, which is from Z’s point of view. Before I started edits, his POV was missing from some of the chapters. Adding in that first scene really set the tone and let the reader into his world of hacking and his relationships with Nancy and his ultimate boss, Bill.
Question: Which character was the hardest to write? Easiest to write?
Answer: The hardest character to write was Nancy, the “mother” of the Monroe Street gang. I did not include a Fagin in my story as the character didn’t quite fit, and though I loved him in the musical version, I didn’t so much in the original story. Nancy has many of Fagin’s responsibilities and qualities, painstakingly recreated for the contemporary story. I always thought Nancy deserved better than the fate she received in Dickens’ tale, so I wanted to do my best to honor her.
My easiest character was Sam, Z’s fun-loving sidekick who befriends Olivia. Her scenes were the most fun to write, as she doesn’t take much seriously (except when it comes to not pissing off Bill). Writing humor in an otherwise serious story is a welcome relief.
Question: What books would you recommend to a reader who loved yours and wants to read something similar?
Answer: If the reader is looking for a contemporary retelling, there are so many wonderful ones—SPLINTERED by A.G. Howard, TROY HIGH by Shana Norris, JANE by April Lindler are a few of the ones I’ve really enjoyed! Another great book and one with similar tone to OLIVIA TWISTED is DON’T TURN AROUND by Michelle Gagnon.
Question: What are three must-have items when you sit down to write?
Answer: My Macbook Pro (which I love to an almost unhealthy level), music (I have a playlist for each story I write), and a super comfy chair. I guess proper ergonomics is not my thing.
Question: Biggest writing quirk?
Answer: Listening to a strange variety of music when I’m writing, including hardcore stuff like Korn and Nine-Inch Nails. I know a lot of writers can’t write to music with lyrics, but I love it!
Question: Which book was your favorite read of 2013 (so far)? Are you looking forward to any new releases in particular between now and 2014?
Answer: This is a tough one—I have loved so many. One that stands out is DARKEST MINDS by Alexandra Bracken. And at this point, I’m really looking forward to ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth and IGNITE ME by Tahereh Mafi. Obviously, I love dystopian novels, too!
Question: Are you working on anything new? Can we expect retellings of other popular classics?
Answer: I’m currently working on getting my kids to bed (easier said than done). Oh, wait, writing, right? ;) I am writing new stories, though there is never enough time in the day to do all the writing I want. I would love to do a retelling of something that hasn’t been done before (or infrequently done), like BLEAK HOUSE by Charles Dickens. Perhaps in the future…
And now for the awesome giveaway, courtesy of Vivi! We have ONE finished, signed copy of Olivia Twisted up for grabs!
-Giveaway is US only
-Winner has 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond, a new winner will be selected.
-You must be 13 or older to enter OR have your parents’ permission.
-I am not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
-I reserve the right to change any rules as I see fit for each individual giveaway
*The above giveaway rules were borrowed and modified from Jessica @ Just a Book Lover.
With that being said, I wish you luck! May the odds be ever in your favor!