Olga Núñez Miret
“All three stories offer a great insight into psychological work and naturally allow the wonderfully interesting characters to be explored with depth and analytical sharpness.
On the way the author manages to include deep thoughts aboout a variety of subjetcs, making this a thoughtful and enjoyable read.”-ChristopherFischerBooks
“Through the genuinely interesting characters in her book, Olga weaves a so quite spellbinding study into the dynamics of life. Once one begins reading, it really truly IS difficult to put down. “– Dr. Glen Hepker (author of “A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health)
“Olga Nunez Miret writes with a fine eye for the minutiae of human motivations and interactions. I, for one, hope this is not the last we have seen of the author’s central character, the reluctant psychiatrist, Mary. She deserves more outings than a paltry three.”-Diogenes
When I first learned of my guest today and read about her I was truly amazed at all this lady was/is. I think I actually used the word fascinating when I first talked to her. Of course that put her on my list of musts to interview for the site. The fact that she agreed to an interview considering her busy life thrills me. You don’ t want to read any further form me. Meet . . .
Olga Núñez Miret
RW: Where are you from?
OLGA: I’m from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain (so far. There are proposals for voting for independence but at the moment it’s still in Spain).
RW: Who are your favorite authors?
OLGA: There are a number of authors I love, some I’d been reading since I was quite young (like Louisa May Alcott. Little Women and the character Jo was a great influence in my love for writing. I’ve also liked Oscar Wilde since I was very young). I love horror stories and Stephen King’s books in particular. I also always try to read all of John Irving’s books. I’m from Barcelona and I read in Spanish and Catalan too and Mercé Rodoreda is one of my firm favourites, although I also love Isabel Allende and Gabriel García Márquez. I studied American Literature and discovered some of their classics (Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne…) and some more recent ones (F Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner…). I always try to read anything by Tony Morrison. In more recent years I’ve become quite interested in Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood… And since I started publishing I’ve got to know and love many independent writers, but there are too many to mention. I’ve always felt happy with a book in my hands, since I was very young and that’s never changed (although now I also use an e-reader that makes packing much easier!).
RW: What is your favorite beverage to drink, any kind?
OLGA: I’m not a drinker of tea or coffee, or hot drinks in general. Hot chocolate if it’s very cold, but Spanish hot chocolate is quite different to what we get in the UK and I’ve never quite got used to other versions. Freshly squeezed orange juice, water, and I must confess to being a fan of Pepsi Max and other low-calorie cola drinks. I don’t drink alcohol either. Matter of taste not of conviction.
RW: What is your favorite word?
OLGA: In Spanish probably susurro. In English….Not sure. Joy?
RW: What is your background in writing, what makes you a writer?
OLGA: I’ve always been a reader, and I started writing when I was quite young, although longer stories from my teenage years. I’ve always loved literature and I used to exchange stories with other friends who were as interested in stories as I was. Later on I studied Medicine and became a Psychiatrist but I’ve always carried on reading and writing. I’m not very good at settling for anything (only the old favourites) and studied a degree in American Literature and went on to do a PhD (nominally under the American Literature umbrella although I wrote about the films of David Mamet). Many of my stories have been lost in the midst of time and bad storage, but over the years I’ve also taken a couple of courses on creative writing and short-story writing and some of the books I’ve published have been a labour of many years. I guess what makes me a writer is that I love to write.
RW: What is your escape from writing when you are at that about to explode point?
OLGA: I love to exercise and do it most days but usually a nice walk is always inspiring and relaxing for me. I rarely have to escape from writing, although I do from things related to it (marketing, editing…). I also like to go to the cinema or the theatre but those work out more like organised escapes and sources of inspiration rather than real escape valves.
RW: What is the title of your book?
OLGA: Since I started publishing in October 201 2 I’ve published a number of books, longer and shorter. At the moment I have one novel (The Man Who Never Was), two shorter works of fiction (Twin Evils? and Family, Lust and Cameras), a romantic novel where the reader can choose between three endings (Click Me Happy!), and a collection of three stories Escaping Psychiatry. I will talk about this one in more detail. Ah, I have also published all of these books in Spanish.
RW: What genre does your book fall into?
OLGA: Escaping Psychiatry would fit into the psychological thriller genre.
RW: Tell us a little about your book.
OLGA: The book is a collection of three stories: Cannon Fodder, Teamwork, and Memory, with the same main protagonists.
RW: What inspired the book?
OLGA: I wrote Cannon Fodder many years back (in 1998-9) when I was studying at Mount Holyoke as part of my degree in American Literature. I had been reading and studying about American History and the Civil Rights Movement and due to my work as a psychiatrist I got an idea for a story that would combine the two. I showed it to several people I knew, including some of my lecturers, who liked it but commented it was too long for a short story (between 60 and 70 pages) but too short for a novel. One of them suggested that I might want to consider writing other stories with the same main character and publishing them together. I noted the comment but didn’t do much about it until 2 or 3 years ago, when I’d gone back to working in psychiatry and had finished a Masters in Criminology, and that left me a bit more time to go back to my writing. As I was working in forensic psychiatry, that combined with the topic of my recent studies made me go back to look at the story and think up of some others that could involve the same character.
RW: Tell us about your main character(s) and what you think will them connect to readers.
OLGA: Mary, a psychiatrist and writer, is the main character of the book. She’d love to dedicate herself fully to writing, but people she knows and circumstances conspire to keep bringing her back into her other professional arena. In ‘Cannon Fodder’ one of her best friends, Phil, a lawyer, asks her to provide a report on a young man , Cain, who’s been accused of causing public disturbance and inciting a riot. This man says he can hear God and God is black. In the process of assessing Cain, Mary not only discovers many secrets about the man’s family but opens herself up to discovering a few things about herself. The other two stories are more straight forward thrillers, but the psychological aspect is always pretty central to the plot.
Mary is very insightful in her professional life but cannot help getting personally involved in the cases she comes across. She tries to do right by everybody but in some occasions that comes at a high personal cost. Phil, her lawyer friend, also appears in the three stories, and a bit like Mary, we get to know more and more about him throughout the three stories.
The cases involve a variety of characters, but I think what helps them connect to readers is that things aren’t clear cut and characters are complex, not all good or bad. Also the fact that in the first two stories we see things from Mary’s point of view makes us share with her in the doubts and feelings that she might try very hard to keep from others and puts us in a privileged position.
RW: Who would play your main character(s) in a movie?
OLGA: I haven’t given it much thought. There are many great actresses around, but now that you make me think about it… the actress in the original Danish version of The Killing, Sofie Gråbøl, would be great.
RW: What message do you think your book delivers to the reader?
OLGA: If there is a message it would be that nobody is perfect and appearances can be deceptive, but that works both ways. Somebody who seems to be a pillar of society can in reality be anything but, but we also need to be weary of pigeonholing people due to their appearance, colour, religion, sexual preference, social class, or anything else, because we might well be projecting onto others our own fears and prejudices.
RW: Describe your book in one word.
OLGA: Engaging. Or thought-provoking.
RW: Where can we get your book now?
OLGA: It is available in all the usual suspects in e-format (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Foundry…) and also in paper through Amazon. There is also a wonderful audio version narrated by Emmy Award Winner writer, actor and director Alan Cooke (a.k.a. Wild Irish Poet) available in Amazon, Audible and i-Tunes.
RW: How do people connect with you through all forms of social media?
OLGA: I am in Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, have my own blog where I blog about writing, random things, but also about other authors and books, I have an author page in Amazon and Goodreads, have a website , I’m also in Tumbler, Google Plus and Stumble. I belong to a number of author groups and several readers and writers groups in Facebook and Goodreads. I have shared my e-mail in my website also. I’ve shared some videos in You Tube….If anybody tries to contact me and I don’t answer straight away I’m likely to be writing or translating.
RW: Do you currently have representation? If so who, and if not describe what qualities you would like in an agent and what you would bring to the relationship.
OLGA: No, I don’t. I guess I’d like my ideal agent to be a combination of a great PA, a good friend, somebody very adept at marketing, and a magician. I’d like to find somebody to bounce ideas on, who would be able to encourage me but also tell me when something was likely to go wrong, and somebody who would know the market and the publishing business inside out. And somebody who would love writing and books as much as I do.
RW: What are you working on right now?
OLGA: I am in the final stages of correcting a sweet romance, I Love Your Cupcakes, set in the world of TV cooking and baking competitions. I had the idea a while back and I felt it was time for something upbeat and cheerful. Once this is ready I want to finish writing a Young Adult series called Angelic Business, about a young girl’s involvement with celestial (and less so) beings. I’ve written the first two novels but I’ve decided to complete the third one and translate them all before publishing them at short intervals, so people won’t have to wait ages to get the full story.
RW: What book are you reading at this time?
OLGA: I’ve started reading Under the Tuscan Sun in French (Sous le soleil de Toscane) that I found at Père Lachaise cemetery with a note asking to read it and pass it on. As I had just visited Florence I had to take it (and it will also be good to practise French!). I’ve just finished reading a book by an author friend, Francis Molehorn, in Spanish La piel del pecado and I’m planning to start reading Waldek the translation of the best-seller book La búsqueda by fantastic writer Blanca Miosi. I review books for BTS e-Magazine and I’m waiting to receive the next book to review for them.
RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?
OLGA: Do not despair just because you think your book doesn’t fit into one of the best known genres or is not about the topics that make it into the best-selling list. If you really want to write about something, do it. With regards to getting published, explore all options. It is very difficult to approach the big publishing companies without much of a writing record or agent representation, but consider other options like small publishing companies (beware of what used to be called ‘vanity publishing’ and anybody who offers to publish for a fee…), and self-publishing. Even if you don’t feel confident on how to do some of the things, there are people who offer their specific services, lot of advice on line, and I’ve found other authors very generous in sharing their expertise and advice. Seek them out. Of course, write the best book you can, correct it, edit it but above all, never stop writing. And be prepared to keep going. Don’t expect immediate success. But if you really love it, do it.
RW: If you could have written any book that exists, other than your own, what would it be and why?
OLGA: Wow! That’s a question! Probably La Plaça del Diamant (The Time of the Doves or In Diamond Square depending on the translation) or Moby Dick.
I want to thank Olga for agreeing to an interview. Such an intelligent woman with a wide variety of literary offerings and no sign of settling on one genre. It will be interesting to see what she comes up with next.
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