Thanks for stopping by The Happy Booker for my stop on the Olivia Twisted blog tour. As soon as I read the synopsis for Olivia Twisted, I knew I couldn’t wait to read it so I jumped at the chance to be a part of the blog tour and to have a chance to ask the author Vivi Barnes a few questions! So please welcome Vivi to The Happy Booker and be sure to enter the fantastic giveaway too!
Vivi, can you please tell us a little about Olivia Twisted?
Sixteen-year-old Olivia (Liv) has had her share of the foster system, and she’s just ended up with the strange Carters. At school, she meets fun-loving Sam and mysterious Z. The two befriend Liv in hopes of getting her to join their gang of hackers. But as Liv and Z begin to fall for each other, the question arises of whether they can each abandon their opposing convictions to be together.
Following the plot of the classic, OLIVIA TWISTED is told from the points of view of Liv and Z (Z is the equivalent of the Artful Dodger from the original OLIVER TWIST).
In your main characters, Olivia and Z, what do you think readers will most connect with?
I think readers will connect with the difficult positions the characters find themselves in and the choices that they end up making. While not always the right choice, I tried to make them true to what the characters would do. For example, Liv’s experience in the foster care system wasn’t exactly stellar—if mostly because she’s been tossed from home to home her entire life. So when it comes down to making the “right” decision or the wrong one, if the right one means being thrown back into the system, she does what she has to do to avoid that. Does she make all the right choices? Not at all. But might I as a teen in her situation make those choices? Absolutely.
Did you have to do any type of research for this story?
Oh, yes. Of course, I reread OLIVER TWIST and made notes about the story and characters, but mostly I had to research hacking elements. I’m not a hacker, so I tapped into the internet for the ideas and friends who happen to be experts in that field to make sure the scenes were accurate. I’m sure the FBI was quite entertained by some of my internet searches!
When writing, are you more of a plotter or pantser? Does the story ever get away from you and end up going in a direction you weren't expecting?
All. The. Time. I am a definite pantser, though I do a story summary before I start a novel (it’s usually a few paragraphs outlining the story just so I know that there is going to be a whole story). Many times I think something’s going to happen, but the characters lead me in another direction altogether. It’s like a movie in my mind that I see as I write—with twists and turns I didn’t expect. I have noticed being a pantser makes for faster writing but longer revising periods for me.
What, if anything, did you find most difficult in re-imagining a classic like Oliver Twist?
It’s tricky when you take a known classic and revamp it to fit contemporary times. For one thing, staying within the confines of an existing story can be challenging, as even though I had leeway to re-imagine as I wanted, I did have to make it match the original plot somewhat. I think this was most challenging with determining how to get Olivia to Monroe Street just as Oliver ended up with Fagin’s gang. Oliver was a victim of society, and while I didn’t want to make Olivia a victim, I had to ensure external forces played a major part in getting her to the Monroe Street gang. And then there’s always the worry that no matter what you do, someone won’t care for your version, but that’s completely okay. I think it’s great if people are attached the original story and have feelings one way or another—that’s the point of having classics. If people talk about them, they’ll stay important!
Are there any types of characters you find more of a challenge to write?
I thought Nancy was a bit of a challenge. As the “house mother” of the Monroe Street gang in OLIVIA TWISTED, she played a combined role of Nancy and Fagin, so I had to determine what made her uniquely Nancy. Nancy went through hell in the original story, even though she was kind and ended up saving Oliver, so I wanted to honor her in my story. But as far as difficulty writing general types of characters—not really, it’s on a character-by-character basis.
What are a couple of your writing rituals or quirks?
I sit in my super-comfy chair in my bedroom, feet up, my MacBook Pro on my lap and a glass of wine or Diet Coke next to me while I’m writing. I’m not exactly the poster child for health and ergonomics, I guess. I also have to be listening to music while I write. Most of the music contains lyrics—something I know is unusual for writers. But I love a good Korn or Nine Inch Nails song while I’m writing as much as I love a tune from a Harry Potter soundtrack!
Can you share one of your favorite quotes or moments from Olivia Twisted?
This is a tough one, since I love a lot of them (is that wrong to say?). But I think of all things, this is my favorite, and it’s one that I added after my editor kept bugging me to “show this,” LOL! It’s from Z’s POV, and originally was written to say something simple, like “I was shocked.” I think this does a better job of getting the point across:
Like a flipped switch, everything stops. There are no sounds, no movements, no breaths. I am shock-frozen in a block of ice, screaming and pounding my fists on the inside but unmoving on the surface.
If you were to spend the day with one of the characters from your series, which one would it be and what would you do?
Um, that’s easy—Z. I’d totally go for long rides in the country on his Ducati with him. I’ve always been into the “bad boy,” so this is an easy choice. =)
Print, ebook, or audio book, which format do you prefer to read?
I’m not a big audio book person, maybe because I don’t have long commutes to work and if I listen to anything, it’s music. I’m torn between ebooks and print—really, I love both. Ebooks are very convenient, especially when traveling, but nothing beats the feel of actually turning a physical page of a book.
Will Olivia Twisted be published in audiobook format?
Undertermined at this time.
What's next? Are you currently working on another book?
I am, but it’s all TBD at the moment. Sometimes that’s how I like my life—TBD and always a mystery!
Thank you so much Vivi for taking the time to answer these questions. Olivia Twisted sounds amazing and I cannot wait to have a copy for my bookshelf!
Thank you!! =)
About the Book
OLIVIA TWISTED Digital Assets
Title: OLIVIA TWISTED
Author: Vivi Barnes
Pub. Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen
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.
About the Author
Originally from East Texas (the accent comes out more often than not), Vivi now lives in the magic and sunshine of Orlando, FL with her very understanding husband and three kids. She’s an extrovert with awkward blogging tendencies. Her debut novel, OLIVIA TWISTED, comes out November 5, 2013 from Entangled Teen!
She’s represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Foreword Literary.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
10/28/2013- Fiktshun- Guest Post
10/29/2013- Book Briefs- Review
10/30/2013- The Cover Contessa- Guest Post
10/31/2013- Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews- Review
11/1/2013- Happy Booker- Interview
11/4/2013- Larissa's World- Review
11/5/2013- Kindle and Me- Guest Post
11/6/2013- A Bookish Escape- Review
11/7/2013- Reading with ABC- Interview
11/8/2013- Realm of the Sapphired Dragon- Guest Post