About the Author
Kaki Olsen is always on the brink of another adventure. If she couldn't be a writer, she'd be a full-time musician or travel guide and she would take her lunch breaks at Fenway Park. Until that happens, she speaks both Spanish and English at her every-day office job, but she has vacationed enthusiastically in such places as Istanbul and Ireland. She has lived in five states, but will always refer to Boston as home.
She regularly contributes academic papers on zombies or wizards to Life, the Universe and Everything, a sci-fi/fantasy symposium originated at her alma mater, Brigham Young University. Her published works have appeared in such magazines as Voices and AuthorsPublish.She is a doting aunt and librarian of two bulging bookshelves.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
I started as an insomniac 6-year-old who would retell fairy tales in her head in order to fall asleep. Then I graduated to school assignments (I still have my first "book," "The Princess Who Never Smiled") and short stories in the style of various authors.
2. What writing project are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
My main project is currently "The Matchmaker's Apprentice," though the title is likely to be more catchy in the future. It's the story of a prince finding himself a princess, a la most Disney movies from the 20th century, but this prince was third in line for the throne until his brother started a war and the next-youngest brother died in battle. Now this prince, who suffers from PTSD and has banished all fairy godmothers from the kingdom, is expected to have a happily-ever-after. Enter the local matchmakers, whose function has recently been to talk parents around to the idea of who their children wish to marry.
I'm also finishing "Check-in," a mystery novella about a kidnapping victim whose phone is possessed by a benevolent ghost bent on getting the police to find her before the kidnapper decides to dispose of her.
"Just One Catch" is a short story involving an android, the dragon egg she must smuggle off of Earth and the bad timing that befalls them.
And finally, "Scions and Saints" is the story of an orphan fighting against the people who killed her parents and the very-much-alive mother who has been leading the revolution that her daughter is determined to stamp out.
3. How long does it typically take you to write a book?
A first draft takes about 3-5 months. I've done NaNoWriMo and not been satisfied with the result. The editing will, I hope, be quicker in the future now that I know about word limits and what my editor likes in pacing.
4. What authors inspire your writing?
Most directly, Marianna Roberg and Julie Berry. Marianna writes fascinating murder mysteries that just make me laugh at the oddest places, which is something I feel I channel into my books. And Julie has the most delightfully quirky characters. Further out, I love Gail Carson Levine and J.K. Rowling.
5. What period of history interests you the most? Does this influence your writing?
I am addicted to the US Civil War and can bore you tears with stories about the 20th Maine and Robert E. Lee. I even wrote my admissions essay for my high school on how I would like to have dinner with General Lee, which should tell you something. I would love to write a piece in this period, but so far have no ideas with what to do.
6. What inspired the idea for Swan and Shadow?
I have loved Swan Lake since at least the age of eight because I remember dancing the finale with my best friend in the ice cream aisle of Safeway when I was nine. When watching the American Ballet Theater production, I had the thought, "Well, sure, in this version, a guy stumbles across a girl and they live happily ever after. What if the girl never saw anyone but the all-night convenience store clerks?" All of a sudden, I could see her leading the kind of lifestyle that I enjoyed as a high school student who often stayed late in the city before heading home. I knew where in Boston she could hit an all-hours CVS or get a late pizza on Kenmore Square and I absolutely HAD to write the story. The quirks--especially the 40-page introduction to the original first chapter that I envisioned--came much later. A lot of the ideas came as a result of questions my roommate would ask and that is why I dedicated the book to her.
7. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I am a compulsive traveler and have been to seven countries in the last four years. I'm also a violinist, violist, cellist, pianist, organist and play the hand bells when I can. When I need a break from my books, I turn on Netflix and watch anything from The West Wing to Doctor Who.
Check out my review for
SWAN AND SHADOW
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