About Barbara Oliverio:
I am the daughter of Italian immigrants and grew up in Northern West Virginia with a love of reading and a passion for learning. Following a career path that included being a teacher, journalist, and marketer, I have lived as far away from home as Italy where I had ample opportunity to practice my family’s native tongue as well as opportunity to take advantage of living near other European countries and travel extensively. My life-long joy in writing has culminated in novels that focus on young Catholic women in a positive light. Readers of all backgrounds have fallen in love with my characters who come from close-knit Catholic families who live their faith.
I am also a professional book critic, freelance editor, and a mentor to blossoming writers. In addition I share my writing and communications skills by preparing resumes and cover letters for job seekers, and I also coach them to optimize job interviews.
A rabid Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I live with my husband, an equally committed New York Giants fan, outside Orlando, where dinner is usually from one of my mother’s treasured recipes. When I’m not volunteering my time at my church, I can usually be found with my nose in a book, or shouting answers while watching Jeopardy.
What inspires you to write?
I’m drawn to fiction because I come from a family of who has the philosophy to “never let the facts get in the way of a good story”. While my brothers are great oral storytellers, I find that I enjoy the process of creating entire scenarios that can’t be contained in a few minutes of a brief joke. My first novel had a large inspiration in the fact that young Catholic women do not have role models in fiction who are witty, funny, interesting characters living realistically in today’s world while keeping their values. My life experiences give me the luxury of a wealth of characters and information from which to draw. I also enjoy the part of my life that encompasses writing non-fiction because it is the actual act of writing that is most important to me.
Tell us about your writing process.
Before I begin “the work”, I collect as much information as possible. (I use the Scrivener program which makes all of this process so easy to keep in one place.) My background in journalism comes into play in my novels as I do a character sketch for all main characters that includes an interview of each of them that is done in a journalistic style. I also draw a sketch of the characters and their relationships to one another so that I keep straight how realistic the universe would be.For example, how could a character comment on another if she never met him or heard anything about him? For any book, I think it’s important to stay true to the genre. Before starting my first comedic novel “Love on the Back Burner” I researched Romantic Comedy (“ChickLit”) and noted the pattern of the books, the type of characters that the reader of that genre would expect, etc. By the time I sat down to write the book, I was ready to live in the world for the length of time it took to complete it. Whenever I reach this point in my process, I set a daily schedule of minimum words and stick to it. Sure, there are days when I go back to revise, revise, revise before I start on a new day, but it is important to keep on track. I can appreciate writers who fly by the seat of the pants, but, personally, I need a loose outline to know where the characters are headed and what the general beats of the story are.
How do you develop your characters?
My characters often tell me where they want to go, and if I try to move them in the wrong direction, I find that the writing becomes a task. As long as I have done my homework ahead of time, they’ll stay true to themselves, even if they change course a bit from the original outline. For example, in my novel “Love on the Lido Deck”, my main character was originally going to be stranded on an island because she missed getting back on her cruise ship at one port stop, but that scenario didn’t ring true, so she insisted to me that she find her way back to her cruise ship. Her story was much more interesting than the one I wanted to tell, so I let her tell it.
I also have to admit…I speak my dialog out loud while I'm writing to see if it flows properly. This either can be very amusing or annoying to anyone within earshot.
Who are your favorite authors?
Anyone who would try to pigeonhole me by my bookshelves would be sadly mistaken. I am just as likely to read a book on the history of waste disposal as a fluffy chick lit novel. It all depends on my mood. I read a lot of books on the Catholic faith, the classics, history, biographies, bestsellers, current events, sociology, YA …you name it and I will read it, with the exception of pornography and anything that is gruesome or degrading. Since I must quantify, I will, and I’ll name my all-time top five books:
1) “Heidi”, because it is the first full-length book I ever read.
2) “Summa Theologae”, because St. Thomas Aquinas is equal to none.
3) “Sense and Sensibility”, because Jane Austen defined what a romantic novel should be.
4) The Starbridge and St. Benet series. I realize that’s cheating because it’s nine books but to appreciate the beauty and art that Susan Howatch brings, one needs to read the entire series.
5) “Almost Paradise”, because Susan Isaacs proves that a “woman’s” book can be funny and smart.
What genres do you write?: In books, I write Romantic Comedy (published) and non-fiction (as of yet unpublished). I’m also a paid book critic, and write content for the web and periodicals, and create resume packages.
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Print, Audiobook
Where to find out more about the author
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.