Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Author Interview: The Flower Bowl Spell by Olivia Boler

Little Blurb about yourself:

Thank you so much to Books Books the Magical Fruit for the interview today. What fun! Okay, a little about me: I’m the author of two novels, YEAR OF THE SMOKE GIRL and THE FLOWER BOWL SPELL. By day, I’m a freelance writer, and I earned my master's degree in creative writing from UC Davis. I’ve published short stories in the Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA) anthology Cheers to Muses, the literary journal MARY, and The Lyon Review, among others.

1. Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

My father, who is a retired teacher. When I was a kid, he was always working on something in his spare time, a novel or short stories in his corner of the living room where he kept his desk and typewriter and books.

2. How long did it take you to write The Flower Bowl Spell?

I started it in the fall of 2004, finishing a rough draft for National Novel Writing Month. Over the next 7 years, I worked on it on and off with different degrees of intensity, putting it aside for almost a year a couple of times to let it simmer, so to speak.

3. While writing, how many times do you go back and rewrite a plot?

Hm, I haven’t thought about this very thoroughly. I’m not a very plot-oriented writer—I start with a character and let that person lead the way. But I’m trying to think about plot more concretely. I’d say the plot is pretty fixed from the inception of a project, but I will probably tweak it two to four times as the story unfolds organically.

4. You run into a bookstore, where do you go first?

These days, the kids’ section, LOL! I have two children, so most of the books I buy are for them. But I’m also interested in writing for children—I recently finished a draft of a chapter book/middle grade novel—and the plot came easily! But for me? I usually head to the new general or literary fiction. This whole genre writing (my novel is paranormal fiction) sort of just happened because I decided to write about a witch and make it magickal. I hadn’t read a lot of paranormal, sci-fi, urban fantasy, etc. before writing the book.

5. How many books in a month do you tend to read?

Two or three. I wish I had time for more, but with writing, work, taking care of my kids, I just don’t. If I read something I really enjoy, I will suck it up like sugar through a straw. That’s how it was with The Hunger Games trilogy. I have no problem making time for good writing, excellent plotting, and strong characters!

6. In all the books you've read. Who is your most favorite character and why?

It’s a weird tie between Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, and my own heroine Memphis Zhang.

7. State 5 random facts about yourself.

I’m mixed race, half Chinese and half Caucasian.
I love chocolate chip cookies.
If I don’t sit on the couch each night and watch TV with my husband after the kids are in bed, I get cranky.
My favorite TV show of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I’m a terrible housekeeper.

8. Your favorite Genre?

Probably upmarket fiction.

9. What are you currently reading?

Anya’s War by Andrea Alban, Diary of a Wimpy Kid (with my daughter), and Insatiable by Meg Cabot.

10. What is the best book you've read?

All the works of Jane Austen.

11. Any new projects coming up?

Loads! The aforementioned children’s chapter book, a sequel to The Flower Bowl Spell, a YA prequel to The Flower Bowl Spell, and an upmarket woman’s fiction novel about the romantic adventures of two twentysomething sisters who own a San Francisco tearoom.

Here’s your chance to market your book. Describe it. And why readers should pick it up?

The Flower Bowl Spell is about a San Francisco Wiccan, Memphis Zhang, who, after a personal tragedy, decides to abandon her magickal powers. Two years later, a fairy shows up in a Metro subway tunnel, and crazy things start to go down. Memphis is reluctantly pulled back into the world of magick, and along the way, she has to come to terms with her own guilt while trying to save the lives of the people she loves. A fan favorite character is Tyson Belmonte, a rising rock star, who is also someone from Memphis’s past. She has a boyfriend, yet she can’t help finding herself drawn to Tyson, even though he might be dangerous in more ways than one.

If you love witty dialog, a smart kick-ass heroine, and an unpredictable plot in the vein (ha ha) of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, pick up The Flower Bowl Spell. I seriously doubt you’ll regret it!

Author Bio

Olivia Boler is the author of two novels, YEAR OF THE SMOKE GIRL and THE FLOWER BOWL SPELL. Poet Gary Snyder described SMOKE GIRL as a "dense weave in the cross-cultural multi-racial world of complex, educated hip contemporary coast-to-coast America...It is a fine first novel, rich in paradox and detail."

A freelance writer who received her master's degree in creative writing from UC Davis, Boler has published short stories in the Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA) anthology Cheers to Muses, the literary journal MARY, and The Lyon Review, among others. She lives in San Francisco with her family. To find out about her latest work, visit



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  1. Thanks again for the interview! It was a lot of fun—great questions.

  2. Three cheers for terrible housekeeping! I knew I liked you the minute I met you, Olivia... :)


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