Sept 2: In Conversation with Gloria Oliver

In Conversation With: Gloria Oliver

My name is Gloria Oliver and I am a Cat Slave and Spec Fic author with nine plus Fantasy/YA Fantasym, Sci-Fi, and Cozy Mystery books in print and several short stories in varied anthologies.

I am also an avid reader, movie lover, and soundtrack junkie.

Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author Gloria Oliver. Can I offer you anything to drink?

Let’s live large today—a glass of Moscato wine, please. I don’t indulge often. I’ve had two bosses who took it upon themselves to have me get a glass if we were ever out traveling for the company. It became something of an inside joke. 😛

You are in luck. I just happen to have a chilled bottle. It’s not my favorite so I’ll have a glass of Tempranillo.

Lol. I had to look it up. Cheers!

Did growing up in Puerto Rico shape any of your writing?

I believe so, yes. Though it’s a property of the US, it was originally settled by Spain, so Spanish is the primary language. English is a second language, but depending on your school, how much English you learn or are able to retain is all over the place. (Think of taking Spanish in high school.) 😛

Another aspect of growing up in PR that I think impacted my writing is the diverse culture there. There’s history from the original inhabitants of PR, the Taino Indians, a lot of architecture and customs from Spain, and then American influences.

Where else have you lived?

In my teens, we moved from Puerto Rico to Ohio. First time I ever got to experience cold and snow! Tony Pérez was playing for the Cincinnati Reds back then, so we were asked if we were related to him all the time. Pérez is a common last name, a lot like Smith. There was a bit of culture shock in some respects (What? Real mashed potatoes and gravy don’t taste like KFC’s?), but mostly it was an easy transition.

The most shocking thing was hearing Vincent Price’s voice! In all the dubbed movies, they always gave him a deep, sinister voice. Hearing his higher-pitched, true voice was flabbergasting.

I’ve also lived in Texas, New Hampshire, and then back in Texas. I’ve been living in different suburbs of Dallas since high school. Plus, hubby is a natural-born Texan.  

What was the first book you ever wrote?

Published or unpublished?

Either. Both.

The first book I ever completed was called “Pe-as” (Peh-as, to differentiate it from peas. :P). It is hidden deep in the darkness. It still amazes me that I sent that sucker out to publishing houses back in the day. I was so clueless I couldn’t tell it needed a lot of help. DOH! I think a lot of people fall into that same trap. When starting out, we just don’t always know enough to tell what’s wrong with a story (both grammar and storytelling related).

My first published novel was “In the Service of Samurai,” a young adult Japanese fantasy novel. 

You write in several genres. Do you have a favorite?

Fantasy will probably always be my first love. It’s what I first started with. But the muse has sent me all over the place over the years.

As one short story writer to another, what is the key to a good short story?

Like a novel, it needs to have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but the biggest difference between a novel and a short story is the focused view. It usually only covers one theme or idea. Give enough background and detail to center your reader, but not so much that it bogs down the pace. This may sound odd, but just because someone can write an excellent novel doesn’t mean they can write good short stories and vice versa. However, there are definitely those who can do both!

Several times, I’ve handed in a short story to the crit group, and I was told it sounded like the first chapter of a novel. (Two of those I turned into books! Bwahahaha! Waste not, want not.) 😛

Interesting. My novella, The View from Here, started as a short story of the same name. Many good short stories have that open-endedness that leaves room for readers to fill in what they think could happen.

That’s true. Though as a reader, I prefer as much immersion as possible. While I do write short stories, I don’t go looking for them to read. A novel will trump a short story every time. I’m weird. Lol.

What got you into science fiction?

Fantasy and science fiction tend to be placed together, so dipping into one will eventually have you reading the other. But my Uncle Jimmy made sure I read some science fiction by sending me books! One of the first was “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein. I was in junior high at the time, so I am sure a lot of the topics were over my head, but I loved it. After that, I chased down all his other books. His YA book “Have Spacesuit Will Travel” was one of my favorites.

What authors influenced you?

There are so many! JRR Tolkien, Robert Heinlein, Edgar Rice Burroughs, CJ Cherryh, Larry Niven, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Piers Anthony. The list goes on and on. Then came Barbara Hambly, Tanya Huff, Carole Nelson Douglas, Rachel Caine, Martha Wells, Selina Rosen, and many others.

Niven is one of my favorites.

Another master of science fiction! My husband especially enjoyed his ringworld series.

What was the first book you remember reading on your own?

Stranger in a Strange Land is the one that always pops into my head. But it might be one of Piers Anthony’s Xanth books.

Are you ready for the lightning round?

Is anyone ever really ready?

Nope. Half full or half empty?
Half full though sometimes it’s half empty.
Ah, wishy-washy.
Lol. Not really. There are just times when one is easier to pick than the other. 😛
Least favorite food that you will still eat?
Meatloaf—though it is my hubby’s favorite. Boo!
In the heart of the action or off the beaten path?
Off the beaten path
Favorite city?
Montreal was very cool when we made a quick trip there back in my youth—it was also the first time I tasted cognac. (They let me sneak a sip.) Barcelona also looked fantastic, though we only got to spend a couple of hours there. Kyoto was full of the old and the new. I’ve not been everywhere I want to go, but I have been fortunate to see a few places.
Are you good at math?
Scariest animal you have encountered?

This has been a pleasure. Thanks for chatting. Any links you want to share?

For more info on me or my books, including sample chapters and free reads, please come visit at

Check out this book by the interviewer!

Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella trilogy, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.

My new book page:

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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Sign up for my weekly newsletter and receive a free book!

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Published by Leon Stevens

I am an author, composer, and an artist. I published my first book of poetry: Lines by Leon – Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020 and a book of original classical guitar compositions. My latest book is a short story compilation of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

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