Major, Roberta Olsen
Roberta Olsen Major wore out two toy typewriters as a child before her parents decided it would be more frugal to provide her with the real thing. Throughout junior high and high school, she used two fingers to tap out lurid, angst-filled stories peopled with impossibly beautiful characters speaking highly improbable dialogue.
After earning a BA from Brigham Young University, she worked as a librarian in sensible shoes, before switching her Major to the care and feeding of a scientific husband and two charming children.
A published playwright and reviewer of children’s books, she now lives in Texas, where she collects dust, gets taken for daily walks by her faithful Schnauzers, and is, as always, working on her next book.
Royal Pains Series
Interview Roberta Olsen Major
What is the name of your book, and the genre?
Royal Pains 3: THE GOOD KNIGHT KISS is my ninth Wings release and third in a Young Adult fantasy series for young teens. The first book in the series, THE PRINCE IN THE FLOWER BED, took the Grimm fairy tale of Snow White and Rose Red and turned it on its proverbial ear. The second in the series, THE SEVENTH DWARF, extrapolated how the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming might have turned out after being raised by such a classic fairy tale couple.
THE GOOD KNIGHT KISS has a whiff of Rapunzel, a soupçon of “The Princess and the Pea”, a dollop of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”--and a dash of Greek mythology for extra seasoning.
Am I making you hungry? J
Would you like to give us teaser of your story?
Honoria, a princess among many in the Kingdom of Belleflower, is more interested in finding solutions to puzzles than in finding herself a suitor. When Sir Calabash falls in love--and from a tower--Honoria does her best to patch things up. When Sir Marmaduke wants out from under the thumb of his mother--and into the arms of the girl he loves--Honoria is ready to lend a hand. But when Sir Gabriel is sent to her cousin’s castle to solve a mystery--Honoria is stumped. Will she ever be ready for a good knight kiss of her own--or is romance just a royal pain?
What is the driving force behind your desire to write?
I think we all have a spark of the Creator in us. I think there’s nothing unusual about the desire in humans to create. I write because I can’t not.
How have events in your life colored your prose?
Tragedy at a young age taught me the therapeutic value of humor. I think there is nothing more crucial in the process of surviving than an ability to laugh. (A good cry is also very therapeutic.)
I don’t think anyone can fancy herself a writer if what she writes isn’t colored by the experiences of her life. Otherwise, it’s simply catalogue copy.
Do you create your characters, or do they simply evolve with the story?
I create them, but I don’t micromanage them.
Do you outline your characters? And if so, do you do it before or after they "come on the scene" in your story?
No, I don’t outline them--but I do have to keep files on them. I’m like an FBI profiler! I don’t want any crossover characters to suddenly change age, hair color, or family name when they pop up in another story.
There aren’t a lot of crossover characters in the Royal Pains series, but in my historicals (set in 1850s Texas) people are always dropping in on each other to visit.
Do you outline your plot or does it develop as you write?
I have a general idea where my story is going before I begin, but I don’t hesitate to travel any little byways that look intriguing along the way.
With what authors, if any, do you dream of being mentioned in the same breath by an avid reader?
Interesting question. I’ve never thought about that before.
I think my Texas historicals have kind of a homey feel to them, so maybe readers of Curtiss Ann Matlock books would enjoy reading PIECRUST PROMISES or TIES. Readers who enjoy Barbara Michaels’ Amelia Peabody books, or Georgette Heyer’s Regency era books might like YOURS IN HASTE or LATELY OF ENGLAND, historicals written with my talented and historically-accurate writing partner, Sara V. Olds.
As for the Royal Pains books, they are funny and, I hope, reasonably intelligent tales, so I certainly wouldn’t mind being mentioned in the same breath with Gail Carson Levine.
Do you have other works published?
As I said previously, THE GOOD KNIGHT KISS is my ninth book for Wings. I have also published several plays for children in the excellent periodical, PLAYS: The Drama Magazine for Young People.
Do you have other stories/manuscripts in the works, or finished and waiting? If so, tell us more. If not, what do you think you’d like to tackle next?
I have several manuscripts in various stages of completion at this point. I have at least five more Royal Pains books planned, though the number continues to grow as my ideas outpace my computer skills. I also have four more Texas story ideas, two of which are already started. I have a couple of contemporary Young Adult titles I would like to see published some day, one of which needs major revision and the other which has just been submitted for consideration.
I have had to take a hiatus from writing for a little while, though, as I’ve had some problems with my hands. Too much time at the keyboard, I guess!
If the Magic Fairy showed up with her magic wand, what wish would you ask to transform your art at this point in your writing career?
I’m actually happy with the way I am honing my craft. I am enjoying the journey. I don’t think I’d appreciate a “magic fix” as far as my writing is concerned. The process is the best part. Marketing, however, is another story! I’d gladly turn all marketing issues over to any takers so that I could just be left alone to write!
What brought you to Wings?
Perhaps it was the aforementioned Magic Fairy! Actually, my writing partner brought me to Wings and I have been very happy here.
My stories will not appeal to everyone. My characters are not romanticized--they have flaws. They aren’t physically perfect paragons of all the desirable virtues. They sweat, they bleed, they sometimes swear. They eat too much and say the wrong thing and do the best they can. In short, they are like the people in my life.
It has been my pleasure to find a home at Wings--where we can all be at home together.