Interview With Author James R. Olson
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
My Dad was a professional soldier, so I grew up as an Army brat living on military posts both here and abroad. I did my own service as a tank driver in the Marine Corps. I love history and although I began my writing career concentrating on historical fiction I’m currently engaged in writing stories from obscure history, which I define as little known or seldom remembered events from history. I’m halfway through Volume Four of my series of Fascinating Tales From Obscure History. Counting my three published Fascinating Tales books, I’ve written eight novels, three of which are historical fiction. I currently live and write in East Texas.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Not counting my Fascinating Tales books, my latest novel is “Suffer The Children”. I was inspired by the people who work to save abused children. It’s the story of Jonathon Wilson who suddenly finds himself the guardian of two abused children, the son and daughter of his addict sister who died of an overdose. Not only must he heal their physical and emotional scars, he must attempt to keep them alive when their mother’s drug supplier wants to question them concerning a shipment of missing drugs. This novel won a Global Book Award.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m not sure you’d call it an unusual writing style, but I don’t know any other writer who does it. I believe a well told story should flow smoothly when read aloud. Therefore I read my stories into a recorder and then listen to them. This forces me to hear inconsistencies, and awkward phrasings. I believe this makes my writing easy to follow.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Every books I’ve ever read has taught me something valuable. I enjoy John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” for telling a compelling story in a condensed form. I’ve always wished I could develop characters was well as Leon Uris. And finally, I wish I could construct stories as compelling as Harlan Coben.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on Volume Four of Fascinating Tales, and I suspect I will be writing these stories of obscure history until someone takes the pen from my cold dead hand.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m hoping Awesome Gang will become my favorite way to promote my books. I suspect most of my promotion has been by word of mouth from folks who’ve read my books. My readers tend to be very loyal. Hopefully Awesome Gang will open a whole world of new readers to my writing.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Be true to your inner self, but listen to any friends who will give you honest criticism. You don’t learn anything from people who tell you how well you write Except for perhaps William Shakespeare, we all can improve in our craft.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I believe this story is credited to Abraham Lincoln. A king tasked his wise men to come up with an expression that would be true in all circumstances. They told him, “This too shall pass away.” So, no matter how high you’ve climbed, you will have occasions to fall down. No matter bad things seem to be, they will improve.
What are you reading now?
I’m a very eclectic reader. Currently I’m reading a steampunk novel (a genre I’d never heard of before) by C. I. Chevron, “Cogs and Fur”. It a very interesting genre.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Not likely I’d have these books with me when I got stranded, but If I could plan ahead, I think I’d like to have the Bible, the collected works of Shakespeare and a blank diary so I could record my own story on that desert island.
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