Author Interview: Oliver Dahl

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I spend a lot (definitely too much) of time on the internet. YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit... you name it. I also love to play piano and read. Homework from school also takes up some time.

I think the internet thing comes with the job. ;)

What inspired your book? How did it all start?
Well, I talk enough about what inspired my first book, The Dreamers, so maybe I’ll talk about my upcoming book, Lies. In my American History class last year, we were reading in our textbooks about pre-colonial America, the 1600’s or so. While reading, I was appalled to see that the Salem Witch Trials were mentioned once. The textbook summarized the events and moved on in one paragraph. I had always been kinda fascinated and horrified by the Salem Witch Trials, and to see them almost blown off in a class textbook was... shocking. We’re talking about an event that hugely inspired our modern judicial system--an event that speaks boldly about human nature, and the affect of extremist religion on people’s lives. So I decided to write a book. It’s a fictional novella, a firsthand account by Ann Putnam Jr., one of the leading accusers of the Salem Witch Trials. I would like to think it will shed much more light to people on that fascinating time than the brief paragraph in my history textbook.

Wow. That's something different. While I've found certain statements in textbooks to strike my interest, I don't think I've ever heard of a whole book inspired by something like that.

What is your goal in writing and publishing this book?
Having published two books before, I want this one to be different. It’s not only about different things -- but in an entirely different genre as well! (My two previous books are modern YA/MG scifi/fantasy). But at the
same time, there are similarities, like the possible existence of fantasy elements in real life, which I absolutely love. This book will be the best quality book that I have ever written, let alone released. The quality and professionalism will be like the best of traditionally published books, and will hopefully compete as well in the marketplace.

Can you tell us about the publishing process? Was there anything that was easier/harder than you expected?
Self-publishing is so incredibly easy. It’s almost scary. Unfortunately, people abuse the ease with which you can use this amazing opportunity, and give it a bad name. But in the end, I was very surprised to see that after a few steps, it all ends with the click of a mouse over the “publish button.”

I'm learning about that firsthand this month!

What are a few interesting things you’ve researched for your latest novel?
I learned so much about the Salem Witch Trials, and think they’re so much more interesting now than I did before. For one, did you know two dogs were shot after they were accused of being witches? Or another, a four year old girl was accused as well! A blacksmith had to fashion new cuffs because the ones meant for adults just slid off her tiny hands.

Man... that's awful.

What’s your outlook on fanfiction?
I don’t really read fanfiction. I don’t know that I ever have. (Aside from my given exposure on Tumblr). But I would totally read any fanfiction people wrote based on my books! There’s a challenge/writing prompt for y’all. Send it on in!

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
I really love the publishing industry. If I couldn’t be an author or writer, I would still want to have a role in the industry. (Whether that’s cover designing, editing, reviewing, formatting...) Maybe I’m thinking too small here. Who am I kidding? I would love to be someone who can be paid to be on the internet all day. Maybe a YouTuber. (I’ve got a head start on this, too! -- Maybe a book blogger, or TV show reviewer. Can I just be a professional fangirl? Do people get paid to do that?

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