Thursday, September 30, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Olivia Rae

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Olivia Rae!

Linda: Thank you so much for being on my blog. Let’s talk about A Life Redeemed. What was your inspiration for writing the story, what draws you to the time period? 

Olivia: A Life Redeemed is a sequel to A Life Renewed, though you don’t have to read the first book to understand the second one. I just felt the sister of our hero in book one needed her own story. In this book, Audrey Hayes, is sent by Queen Elizabeth to Scotland as a spy to find out if Laird Gavin Armstrong is part of a plot of zealots who plan to put Mary of Scots on the English throne. The queen also has a mysterious interest in Gavin’s son, Thomas. The story has many twists and turns, and of course, a romance and a surprise ending. I find the Tudor period in English history fascinating. The first book deals with a secret of Queen Mary Tudor and this book deals with a secret of Queen Elizabeth I. I hope your readers will like traveling to Scotland as that is where the majority of book two takes place. 

LM: Research is important part of writing, especially historic fiction. What sort of research did you do for A Life Redeemed? Was there any sort of “aha” tidbit you found that you knew needed to be included? 

Olivia: Usually research comes before I even start a book. It’s where many of my stories start. However, with A Life Redeemed, I knew I wanted to take my character to Scotland because when Queen Elizabeth came to the throne there was a lot of friction between her right to the English Crown and Mary Queen of Scots. There was also a lot of religious friction between the Catholic Church and the Reformed Church. Since this series deals with spies and secrets, it was the logical direction to go. As far as “Aha” moments, I would have to say, originally, I did not plan to bring John Knox into the story as he is a controversial person in his own right. However, in order to understand the struggle between the two countries and the different faiths, I could not leave him out of the story. 
LM: You write contemporary and historical fiction. How do you find preparing and writing the two genres different? The Same? 

Olivia: I believe there is twice as much work in writing a historical as there is in writing a
contemporary mostly because of the research, but there is research in contemporary fiction too. The problem with researching historical books is there is so much conflicting information because no one today was alive in the middle ages and Tudor England. You need to dig back to original documents as much as possible and consult experts on the time period and locations. Scottish history isn’t my forte. While I was writing A Life Redeemed, I found an expert in Scottish history that could answer all my questions and who read my manuscript before I even sent it off to my editor. That was a huge help. 

How are both genres the same? I would say every story has to have a conflict. Developing believable characters that have a goal to reach is also necessary. When characters’ goals conflict then you have a great story be it set in the past or present. 

LM: Tell us about your journey to publication? 

Olivia: It’s been a long one. I have been writing for close to thirty years. I didn’t start in Christian fiction. I guess I spent years chasing a dream that was not aligned with God’s will. I can even remember the time when one publisher told me I should be writing Christian fiction instead of straight romance. Of course, I didn’t listen right away. When I got stronger in my faith, I finally said, all right, Lord let's do this your way. So I changed my name, and started walking humbly with my God. My first two Christian romances were published in 2015 and I have never looked back since. 

LM: What is one thing you wish you knew how to do? 

Olivia: Wow, what a loaded question. I’d say a lot of things. I am involved with Lutheran Church
Charities Disaster Relief. Often, I help with hurricane clean up. Last year I was asked to operate a mini-CAT. I was terrible at it. I now have a great deal of respect for those who operate heavy machinery. I would love to learn to operate the CAT better and maybe work a bulldozer too. 
LM: What is your next project? 

Olivia: I am working on book three of the Secret of the Queens series, A Life Reclaimed. Thomas in A Life Redeemed is all grown up, and boy, he still has a lot to learn. The book should be released by spring of 2022. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 


About A Life Redeemed

Upon Queen Elizabeth’s order, Audrey Hayes travels to the borderlands of Scotland to learn where the fierce Laird Armstrong’s loyalties lie. Is he aligned with his mother’s English roots in support of the queen, or does he hold with the beliefs of his father, who wishes to see Mary of Scots on the English throne? The fate of Audrey’s family rests on her success in finding the answer. 

After losing his lands in a wager and being betrayed by his kin, Gavin Armstrong entered a loveless marriage to obtain the funds to buy back his family home, Warring Tower. Now a widower, struggling against countless border wars, he is on the verge of losing his home and lands again. With few resources, he reluctantly makes another risky wager, one he cannot hope to win without trusting the secretive Audrey Hayes, a woman he suspects is an English spy. 

As the two work together to save Warring Tower, their attraction to one another grows. But when Audrey finally gains the information she seeks for Queen Elizabeth, she realizes that the only way she can save her family is to betray the man she loves. 

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1 comment:

  1. Olivia, these sound interesting. I can really relate to the striving for publication and not bearing fruit: I too strove for 30years. Isn't it great when we do it God's way instead? Thanks for sharing.
    Kathy Bailey