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Be Excellent to Each Other
Shea Oliver is an indie author, wayward photographer, father of two, a fanatic solo hiker, teardrop trailer enthusiast, and an overly energetic couch potato. He can often be found wandering alone, lost in thought, and surrounded by nature. A longtime Colorado resident, he is passionate about conservation, wildlife, and human rights.
Learn more about Shea on his website, SheaOliver.com.
Shea Oliver lives in Niwot, Colorado, near the base of the Rocky Mountains. He can often be found wandering through mountain forests and alpine tundra. An avid hiker and photographer, he often uses his time in the mountains to work through various characters and plots. When he is not enjoying nature, Shea is devoted father of two teenage sons and a serial entrepreneur.
You can find more about Shea on his website, SheaOliver.com.
Shea Oliver is a science fiction and horror writer with a passion for telling stories that challenge readers’ assumptions and stereotypes. In his first published novel, The Betrayal of Ka, a protagonist’s decision to sell drugs to a young boy results in the death of the child.
Shea enjoys taking readers them on deeply emotional journeys to explore his characters’ motivations, mindset, and decisions. While his stories are written to be entertaining tales, they also are designed to be works that prompt readers to explore their own thoughts, behaviors, and treatment of others.
During a difficult personal period, Shea solo-climbed and sat alone atop a high mountain peak in Rocky Mountain National Park to assess his life. As he mediated in that beautiful setting, his long-dormant dream of becoming a novelist reemerged, and the next day, he began writing his first novel.
Shea’s professional career spans numerous industries with significant experience in enterprise software sales and digital marketing. He has founded multiple companies, coached other entrepreneurs, and taught public speaking at Colorado State University.
Shea happily declares that his greatest achievement in life is being the father to two amazing sons. He is also an ardent nature lover, teardrop trailer enthusiast, and photographer. When not pounding on his keyboard, Shea can often be found in the wilderness, hiking alone, and enjoying life.
Discover more about Shea on his website at SheaOliver.com.
As the spaceship secretly lands on Earth, Ka’s mission is clear: find and kill Transprophetics. His shipmates think of him as a killer. On his home planet of Koranth, he is considered a murderer. Haunted in his dreams by the boy whose life he stole, Ka struggles to define who he really is.
A girl in a temple in Thailand. A boy kidnapped in Mexico. Both can do the impossible. Both can move objects with their minds. These two Transprophetics pose grave risks to the Donovackia Corporation as it plans its invasion of Earth.
With a blade in his hand, Ka’s decision to kill, or not, will reverberate across the galaxy.
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As I’ve heard others say, the book that I planned to write wasn’t the one that I ended up writing. When I decided that I would get serious about writing a novel, I started with an idea about an invasion of Earth. It began with two characters who resembled my two teenage sons in some respects. Before I finished the first chapter, I started having more and more questions about this nebulous invasion that I would be creating.
The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to create some social and political commentary on our situation on Earth. Additionally, I began asking what might happen if the invaders were more like us or even exactly like us. So my focus flipped to creating their world with a greedy corporate titan, a regulatory body rife with corruption, and a misaligned justice system.
I wanted to avoid a heroic main character and create one with a redemption arc that can’t be entirely resolved, and one that might be unresolved depending on one’s point of view. In hindsight, the decision to write the book was more important than the specifics of what I was going to write.
It would have to be Bram Stoker’s Dracula. When we meet him, he’s already got the castle, minions, and wealth. I want to hear the backstory – how and when he became a vampire. I love the vampire culture that’s grown since that novel was written, but like so many others, I’d love to meet the original Dracula.
Even as a little boy, I wanted to be a vampire. We’ve built all these narratives about how and why he drinks blood and takes the lives of others. Is it like so many things in that the real answer is simple, but because we don’t understand, we make it complicated. Like so many supernatural characters, we’ve created a multitude of variations. I’d love to be the one that has the first conversation with the “real prince of darkness.” And yes, we’d skip the tea and drink the blood of virgins served in elegant crystal wine glasses.
I’ve always been a fan of redemption characters, so I guess that I’d have to say the ‘good one’ who starts off bad. I love complicated characters who struggle, even if their internal struggles aren’t revealed until later in the story. I’ll admit to really enjoying the paths of Jaime Lannister in The Game of Thrones and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series.
After I made the decision that I would write a book, the process was a bit more arduous than I anticipated. Within a few weeks of starting in earnest, I realized that I would need to approach the book more like a serious project. I created a spreadsheet with weekly word-count goals and a rough-draft, word-count goal range. As I love hiking, I required myself to have so many words completed before I could hit the trail each week. That idea ended up working to my advantage because my mind would ponder various elements in the book and improve the story while I was rewarding myself for reaching my goals.
I did consider walking away from the book a number of times. Honestly, it was more about imposter syndrome than frustration. The idea that I could create a work of fiction that others would enjoy often seemed like a stupid idea. I never considered myself a creative person, and at times, I feared the reaction that I would get when I shared the work with others.
I recently found my very favorite book from when I was a very young boy, A Pony Called Lightning. I loved anything about animals. Around middle school age, I discovered JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, and Piers Anthony. Their fantasy worlds ignited my love of reading. While we lived in a city, we didn’t live near a library. On weekends, I’d often get on my bike with a pocket full of change and ride around looking for garage sales. Back then, I rarely spent more than 10 cents per book. My favorite finds were Clive Cussler and James Clavel.
My interest now shifts between genre fiction (sci-fi/adventure/horror) and then to non-fiction, especially books written from a non-western perspective. Currently, I’m working through works from Steven King, Hugh Howey, Brian Lumley, and Orson Scott Card. A few weeks ago, I gave my oldest son a copy of one of my favorite non-fiction books, Turning the Mind Into an Ally by Mipham Rinpoche Sakyong. I also really enjoy reading about the Dalai Lama and his writings.
As a kid growing up on Star Wars and Star Trek, I certainly love the concept of alien life forms. However, in literature and film, there is a tendency to categorize each “species” with specific human characteristics – Wookies are gentle but strong, Vulcans are logical, while Hutts and Ferengi are greedy.
I wanted to weave complex characters. Humans are terribly complicated and emotional creatures, and prone to doing the unexpected while still maintaining their core values and personalities. I thought that creating a world with multiple species would become confusing. Additionally, while my writing is meant to be entertaining, I also want my readers to question their thoughts, assumptions, believes, and how they treat others. A galaxy with humans is the best way to achieve all of that.
JRR Tolkien, Anne Rice, Clive Cussler, and Piers Anthony.
Just down the road, my Crazy Horse would have to be John Flanagan, the author of The Rangers Apprentice series. I have to give him a mention because he began writing the series for his son, Michael. I started writing my first book partially for my sons, Michael and Brandon. To this day, the three of us still talk about how much we enjoyed reading The Rangers Apprentice books together when they were younger.
That’s a tough question because there are so many. Since many current authors do share advice, I think I’d probably go into the past and sit down for coffee with Charles Dickens.
I’d love to understand more about how he balanced being creative and socially insightful while being a masterful businessman in the world of writing. Considering his brilliant use of serialized fiction, I’ve wondered what he would think of the Internet-enabled world in which authors live now. Would he try to publish via traditional means, or would he embrace platforms like Medium and Wattpad? Or do it all? Considering his progressive views of the world (at his time), I’d love to chat about how he sees our world and how he might approach putting social commentary into creative writing today.
Spreadsheets. I have to be tracking my total word count against my goals. For me, it’s motivational to watch the graph of what I want to accomplish versus what I actually am accomplishing. Currently, my habits are to set weekly goals, work to beat them by mid-week and watch the line rise above the overall goal line. Of course, that doesn’t always work out as I plan.
I also need silence and hot liquids. I read these threads on social media about the music that people play when writing. I need quiet, white noise, or nature. I get too easily distracted if anything else is going on around me. Coffee is consumed until mid-afternoon when herbal teas take over. I’ll be petitioning for the inventors of thermal mugs and electric mug warmers to be given sainthood.
As cliche as it sounds, write and then write some more. That’s the most important thing. The second most important thing is don’t get hung up by “professional advice.” For almost anything in writing, and in life in general, some expert will say this is how it’s done, another expert will give absolutely contrary advice, and dozens more will fall on the spectrum in-between. Work on being comfortable in your own skin, which often comes from doing what feels uncomfortable for a while, and then write some more.