on April 10th 2015
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Boston, 1932. The police are baffled by a series of killings in which the victims have had mystical runes carved into their flesh. Enter Doc Graystone, gentleman necromancer. Adept at delivering two-fisted necromantic justice, Graystone battles demons, revenants, and ragmen in a race against the clock to stop a madman from destroying the world as we know it.
I’m happy to share this interview with you today. Nicholas Olivo shares some interesting facts about his writing process and his favorite authors. Enjoy!
What is your favorite book?
The Stand, by Stephen King. When I was in high school they released an uncut version of the book with a bunch more characters and scenes that werenÂ’t included in the original. Each of the characters has a unique personality and motivation and you can tell whoÂ’s speaking even without dialog tags.
What writers influenced you the most?
Stephen King, Terry Brooks, Jim Butcher and Lester Dent. King for his characterizations, Brooks for his fantastic plots, Butcher for introducing me to urban fantasy, and Dent for the structure I followed when writing the Doc Graystone Adventures.
What book are you reading now?
IÂ’m listening to the audiobook of The Harvest, by Chuck Wendig. ItÂ’s the final book of a trilogy, and even though I just started, I can tell itÂ’s going to be a heck of a ride.
Do you have a set writing schedule that you adhere to?
I usually spend a few days sketching out what will happen in a story (or a few weeks if itÂ’s a novel). Once I have the plot and characters established, I write 2,000 words a day, every day, until itÂ’s done.
If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?
The Doc Graystone Adventures follows the exploits of Dr. Grant Graystone, gentleman necromancer. ItÂ’s written in the style of the old pulp stories from the 1930Â’s, with lots of action, adventure and snark. There are currently five novellas in the series, each pitting Doc against larger than life supernatural foes.
Was this book inspired by something in particular?
I was in a second hand book shop and found a reprint of The Spider, who was one of the old pulp heroes. I bought the book on a whim and read the entire thing in a sitting. I liked it so much I wanted to give the pulp style a try, but with my own twist. I was joking with my wife about what the tagline for a paranormal pulp series would be, and came up with Â“Two-Fisted Necromantic Justice.Â” Right after I said that aloud I started laughing, and new I had to do something with it.
What inspires you?
Learning about new legends and folklore often gives me ideas for stories. I stumbled across the tale of the lost city of Shambhala one day, and that became the setting and focus for the fourth Doc Graystone novella. I like to use urban legends, too. For example, the story of the Dover Demon features heavily in my Caulborn urban fantasy series. So if itÂ’s strange, creepy, weird or otherworldly, I make a note of it and will likely use it in the future.
How much research do you do?
The research tends to happen when IÂ’m trying to avoid anachronisms. In the first Doc Graystone story, thereÂ’s a scene where Doc is in the police station and one of the detectives hands him a cup of coffee. The story is set in 1932, and I had to find out if Styrofoam had been invented yet. It hadnÂ’t, so I had Doc drinking out of a ceramic mug. Later on, I wanted a character to use a fire extinguisher, and had to see if those were around then. Luckily, they were.
When you read, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
IÂ’m not picky. I have a bunch of physical books, ebooks and audiobooks. I like to listen to lighter stuff in the car and then read the heavier stuff when I can sit back in my recliner at home.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I learned I really like writing villains. Heroes are great, and everyone loves them, but a hero is only as good as his villain. I think I really hit my stride with the bad guys while writing this series, and IÂ’ve had a ton of fun coming up with foes for Doc Graystone. ItÂ’s been great determining their motivations, their hopes, and most importantly, how to turn their strengths into weaknesses that Graystone can exploit.
Thanks for having me!