Today I’d like to welcome Olga Nunez Miret here. Olga is a remarkable woman who has a list of accolades to her credit. Besides being a multi-genre writer, author, blogger and one of the top book reviewers at Net Galley, Olga is also a translator of books from Spanish to English and vice versa and she’s also a forensic psychiatrist!!!
Olga is originally from Spain and resides in the United Kingdom. You’ll find her books in genres of literary fiction, YA, and psychological thrillers, such as her newest book, Escaping Psychiatry II -The Case of the Swapped Bodies, which is her recent newly published book. I’ve already read the first book in this series and am looking forward to reading her newest book awaiting me on my kindle.
Please visit Olga at her blog, authortranslatorolga.com where you can read her always interesting and informative posts and learn about her books, reviews and services.
Olga Núñez Miret is a doctor, a psychiatrist, a student (of American Literature, with a Doctorate and all to prove the point, of Criminology, and of books and people in general), she writes, translates (English-Spanish and vice-versa) and although born in Barcelona, Spain, has lived in the UK for many years. She’s always loved books and is thrilled at the prospect of helping good stories reach more readers all around the world. She publishes a bilingual blog (http://www.authortranslatorolga.com ) where she shares book reviews, advice, talks about books (hers and others) and about things she discovers and enjoys.
Escaping Psychiatry 2. The Case of the Swapped Bodies
A woman shot dead. No enemies, no motive, only a story about how she swapped bodies with another woman found on her computer. The other woman in the story, the owner of the swapped body, goes into labour and won’t talk.
When FBI Agent Dave Dean asks psychiatrist/writer Mary Miller for her assistance, she doesn’t know that The Case of the Swapped Bodies is not the only mystery in Port Haven. A hit and run, an armed robbery gone wrong and questions about family traditions, priorities and legacies come into play and complicate matters. The line between fact and fiction is more tenuous than anybody realised and suspense is on the menu.
This is the third book in the Escaping Psychiatry series and it poses new challenges for Mary Miller. And not all the challenges are professional ones. How do you carry on when you’ve survived the unthinkable?
Now let’s get to know Olga! (Note: Please excuse the odd alignment of questions in this post. I had numerous posting issues with moving the information from Word doc to WordPress.)
I’m starting right out of the gate here Olga, please tell us how you manage to have time to write and review books in your busy life?
First of all, thanks very much for having me as a guest on your blog, Debby. I’ve been writing since I was a teenager (even earlier), although sometimes there would be long gaps in between, depending on how busy I was. I still have plenty of unfinished books from the time when I’d start something when I had a bit of time and perhaps don’t feel inspired to carry on.
I left my job as a psychiatrist working in an NHS (public health in the UK) hospital over a couple of years ago, hoping to explore other avenues. Due to my father’s illness and later death (guys, don’t forget to get your prostates checked), things didn’t go according to plan, but at the moment I’m spending a lot of my time translating books (mostly those of others, although I always publish my own in English and Spanish at the same time), I’m also doing some translation work for websites through an agency, blogging, reading and reviewing books. I’ve noticed that working at home and for yourself seems to mean you’re never off-work, but perhaps I’m doing something wrong!
Although I always have some idea or other for a book going, I don’t have a strict routine of writing every day, but once I get started I’m a pretty fast writer, and when I get going with a story I can get into marathon sessions of writing.
I’ve always been a keen reader and I read anytime I can. I always have my Kindle with me, so if I have to wait anywhere, I read, and if I am doing something that doesn’t require my full attention I will switch the text-to-speech option and listen to the book whilst I’m doing something else. As a writer, I know how important reviews are, so I try and share as many as I can.
You write in various genres; do you have a preference for one genre more than another?
Not really. As a reader I love horror (that is one of the genres I haven’t explored in my writing, although some of my stories are dark), thrillers, literary fiction, but although I’m not a big reader of romance, I also enjoyed writing I Love Your Cupcakes that was, perhaps, one of the most therapeutic novels I’ve written (it cheered me up when things weren’t going so well). Writing my YA series Angelic Business, which I conceived as a trilogy from the beginning, was interesting, as it allowed me to build up the characters slowly. As a reader, I’m always trying to widen my repertoire, but although I like historical fiction, I don’t think I’d have the patience to write it, for instance. I’ve read some science-fiction and fantasy books, although at the moment I can’t see myself writing in either of those genres, but never say never!
3. Out of all your books, you decided to publish We Are Family under a pen name, Misty Pink. What made you decide to publish that one book under another name?
This is one of the books I wrote a long time ago, slowly and over time, and although I was quite fond of the story and the characters I wasn’t convinced it fitted in with the rest of the stories I have published so far, as it is something I wrote when I was younger and I didn’t intend it for publication. Later on, as it was a finished story, I published it in Wattpad and had some nice comments (especially from a fellow writer who was very insistent I should publish it), so I thought it might deserve a chance. I have the sneaky suspicion that my biography, being a psychiatrist and all that, makes people think my books are going to be terribly serious and boring, so I thought about publishing it under a different name and seeing if it would swim or sink under its own merit. I was also curious about trying KDP Select, as I hadn’t had any of my books exclusively with Amazon for many years. I can’t say it’s been a successful experiment, though. I haven’t done much effort promoting it either, but…
When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always been interested in stories about writers, and in knowing more about them. As I said I’ve been writing for a long time and I always thought I’d try and publish my work someday, but I was too busy with other things. I have done some courses on writing over the years but never dedicated myself consistently to trying to get my books published. I guess the issue of what makes one a writer is almost a philosophical question. I guess if it is writing and feeling something is missing if one doesn’t write for very long, then yes. Of course, if that’s the definition, I’m a reader first and foremost. If it is a matter of making a living off your writing… In my heart of hearts, I’ve been a writer for a long time. In the eyes of the world… Well, that’s another story.
5. You are always current with what’s new and upcoming in the self-publishing world. Can you tell us a bit about your translation services and what’s involved?
I follow many blogs and try to keep up-to-date but it’s difficult to know what’s important and what’s not, and as you well know things change so quickly these days that is near impossible to keep up with all the trends. I’ve always published my stories in Spanish and English, mostly because although having lived in the UK for many years and writing in English at work I had started writing my fiction in English a long time ago, I thought my parents and some of my friends back home might like to read my books in Spanish too.
A few years back a Spanish author asked me if I’d translate his non-fiction book. Although it was quite short, at the time I was still working full-time and it took me a while, but as I read books by independently self-published authors I kept thinking it was a shame people who didn’t read English (or Spanish, as the case might be) wouldn’t be able to access them. Once I left my job as a psychiatrist I thought I could offer my services doing translations. Most people tend to come to me either by recommendations or reading a post about my work. At the moment I’m also offering my services through a Spanish cooperative of writers I’m a member of (http://edicionesproust.com/). People can check some of the books I’ve translated here (http://authortranslatorolga.com/translationstraducciones/). I charge a fee per thousand words translated (usually $40/1000 words, although I always offer some discount depending on the total length of the project) and authors can check the progress of the work at different stages (and of course, pay in instalments). I also ensure that there’s an independent correction of the final work included for the price. I also share a post about the book on my blog once it’s finished. I become very attached to the books I translate (they are like foster kids to me) and I’ve learned a lot through my translations, about other people’s styles, about topics I wasn’t familiar with, and about myself.
6. I know you jumped on the audio book band wagon in its early stages. Can you share something about what the process involves to get our books into audio? Do you have a favorite site/App you’d recommend? And do you feel putting your books in audio has exponentially increased your book sales?
The first time I tried was because I knew an actor who was interested in recording one of my novels (Escaping Psychiatry, the original collection of three stories) and I paid for his services. At the time I found it was very difficult to find distributors for audiobooks, as ACX (http://www.acx.com/) that distribute to Audible and i-Tunes didn’t accept audiobooks unless the producer or the author were in the US. I made enquiries and they informed me when they opened a site in the UK and started accepting audiobooks there. They also offer the option of posting any books you have available on Amazon, and you choose the type of voice you’d like, accent, characteristics, and say if you are prepared to pay for the audiobook or you want to split the royalties with the narrator/producer (in that case you also give the exclusivity to ACX for seven years, I believe). If somebody is interested they send you an audition that you can like or not, and then if you’re both happy there is a contract with certain conditions. Then you get to revise the first 15 minutes and approve or not, and next, you have to revise the final copy. It’s a lengthy process but it can be quite exciting too. I know people who have done the narration themselves (especially non-fiction writers), and some who know studios they use and go a separate route altogether. I think this might work especially well for people who sell books through their own website and who do courses and/or live presentations and book signings, as the price per audiobook is much higher than per e-book or paper copy.
My sales have always been negligible, but I believe anything is worth trying, and sometimes a book might prove more popular in a different format, language or platform, and unless we try it, we’ll never know. It’s important to know, from checking audiobook fan site and groups, that well-known narrators have fans that follow them and will buy anything a narrator works on, no matter if they know the author or not, but of course, such narrators are very sought after and they charge very high fees.
7. Your book reviews are some of the best around. I know this because most books you recommend are now sitting on my TBR list on my kindle. Can you tell us how you came to be a reviewer for Net Galley and what reviewing for them entails? Also, if you’ve read a book you rated low, would you still review it publicly?
Thanks so much, Debby. I have the same problem with your reviews. I’m keeping a Pinterest board with reviews, mine and others, so I can keep track (well, sort of). (https://uk.pinterest.com/olganm7/book-reviews/)
A few years back I read a blog where somebody mentioned reviewing for an e-magazine and said they were looking for people. I asked to join their team and they agreed. One of their conditions was to join NetGalley, as some authors or publishers might distribute their copies through them. Anybody can join, although I suspect different status (you can join as a blogger, or a teacher, or somebody who writes articles, or who is a professional to do with books) might have a different outcome with regards to the number of books they approve.
What it works like is you can check new books posted (that depends on where in the world you are, as some publishers might only have the rights for certain territories) and if you’re interested you can request them. Then the publishers (or usually their PR people. Independent authors can use their services too, but it is costly, although I’ve read that you can join some groups that make it cheaper but I haven’t tried it) approve the request or not. You can also save your preferences and it works like a lot of other newsletters. They send you recommendations based on your interests and you can request books you fancy reading. They also send newsletters with books that they have ‘on their radar’ for the next season but those might be not available yet. Some publishers might approve you automatically if they think your reviews are useful, and then you can download any new books they publish (I’m auto-approved for 3 or 4 publishers).
As a writer, I know how hard it is to publish a book, and I decided long ago that I wouldn’t publish a review that was lower than 3 stars unless it was a book that I considered dangerous or malicious in some way. After all, personal taste is just that, and what I hate somebody else might love, and vice versa.
Besides book reviews, what else can readers expect to find on your blog?
I write about my books sometimes (not very often, don’t worry), I regularly feature other writers’ books, I’ve also written posts about classic writers, I’ve written about movies, about family history, I might share something I found interesting and useful with regards to writing, or something that just tickled my fancy. I’ve been thinking about changing my blog and trying something different next year, but I haven’t decided yet. My thoughts at the moment are having more of a regular features structure (share fitness videos one day, reviews another day, posts about writing, amusing posts, inspirational… perhaps).
9. Now, please tell us a bit about your new book, Escaping Psychiatry II and how it spins off Book I and the prequel. And of course, we’d love to read an excerpt!
That’s a bit of a story. I wrote the three stories that I included in Escaping Psychiatry, which all have the same protagonist, Mary Miller, a psychiatrist and writer who gets involved in criminal cases due to friends and colleagues, although she just wants to write, over several years, because the original story was too short to publish on its own, and I was advised to write further stories.
After publishing Escaping Psychiatry a couple of years ago, I worked on other projects, although I kept accumulating ideas for other cases Mary might get involved in. Then I had a dream that I decided would be part of the next story. I wrote that part, which became the file found on the computer of a woman who appears murdered (that gives its name to the book, ‘The Case of the Swapped Bodies’) in the summer of 2015. And then, I wasn’t sure how to proceed. I took on other projects (mostly translations of other authors’ work) and then, suddenly, I had an idea for another story, that was to become the prequel to the series, and the first case Mary got involved in (Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings that is free, by the way). Once I wrote that story, that was a pretty quick process, as it’s a short novella, the rest of Escaping Psychiatry 2, seemed to fall into place. The translation and the edits have taken a bit of time, but it’s finally here.
Excerpt – Prologue
“We have a very peculiar case on our hands. I thought you might find it interesting. And we could do with some help,” Dave Dean said.
“What’s so peculiar about the case?” Mary Miller asked. “What makes you think you need a psychiatrist?”
“The guys are calling it ‘the case of the swapped bodies’, so you can imagine it’s a bit odd.”
“It sounds like one of Sherlock Holmes’s cases,” she said, trying to hide her amusement.
“Tell me more.”
“I can do better. I’ll send you a file. Encrypted, for security reasons, but you know what to do.”
“OK. And what should I do with it?”
“Just read it. And send me a message or call me when you’re done.” Dave ended the call without a word of goodbye. Mary wondered for a moment about her relationship with the man, who was a few years younger than her, but then heard the ping of a new e-mail and went to check the file. And all thoughts about Dave Dean, or any other matter, went clean out of her head.
Part 1 – The File
Chapter 1. Who am I?
How odd. The alarm clock didn’t sound as usual. Had she used her mobile phone instead? But she never did that. And Charlie was sure she’d never uploaded Whitney Houston’s song, ‘I Will Always Love You,’ to her phone, and never in a million years would she consider using it to wake up in the morning. In all likelihood, it would have made her hurl the phone against the wall. She slid her right hand from under the quilt to stop whatever it was. But…her bedside table was lower than it had always been. What on Earth?
She sat up in bed, opening her eyes. What should have been her reflection confronted her from a mirror that had never been at the bottom of her bed. But who was that woman? Off-permed hair—shoulder length and mousy in colour. Where was her long mahogany hair? And these huge breasts and horrible big body wasn’t hers, either. Perhaps the green eyes weren’t too bad. Something could be done with them. But what was she going on about? That woman had freckles! Freckles! OK, calm down, calm down. It was evidently a dream. What else could it be? She closed her eyes, tightly, and after counting to ten, opened them again.
No change. There was still that stranger in that room, looking back at her.
“What are you waiting for, Maggie? Go and get me my coffee! I can’t be late! Just because the kids are with my parents, it’s no excuse to just spend all morning in bed. And you told me you’re supposed to be working a shift this morning. Get going!”
She nearly fell off the bed. She’d been so astounded by the figure reflected on the mirror that she hadn’t even noticed there was someone in bed with her. The guy, a rather unkempt dark-haired fellow, smelling of beer, unceremoniously pushed her off the bed.
“Get going, you lazy cow!” And to accentuate his words, he slapped her rather rotund backside.
Charlie/Maggie had no idea what to do, but to avoid more abuse she stumbled out of the room. Although she recognised nothing, her new body seemed to know where it was going, and she found herself in a small and rather rundown kitchen. Whoever this Maggie was, she wasn’t doing terribly well for herself. And that awful man had mentioned kids. Was she supposed to be a mother, too?
Her body kept doing its own thing and prepared a coffee. No fancy coffee machine or top of the range cooker and electric goods. Her granny’s kitchen, before she died, had been more up-to-date than this place. There were some family pictures hanging on the wall. She recognised the guy in bed and what must have been Maggie a few years back. A wedding picture. She was evidently pregnant, and he didn’t seem too happy. A picture of three girls, somewhere between seven and twelve, or something like that. She’d never been any good with children’s ages. Not having any of her own, and only taking a passing interest in the children of her friends, hadn’t helped.
Without much conscious involvement, she set the coffee, some margarine and marmalade on the table and put a couple of slices of bread in the toaster. The guy appeared through the door as she put the slices of toast on a plate.
“Another hard day at the garage awaits. Only coffee, today.” He grabbed the cup and sipped quickly and noisily. “Oh, I’ll take the toast; otherwise you’ll end up eating it and getting even fatter than you are. And you complain I don’t spend any time with you. Who would? It’s like fucking a seal. Not even a seal! They have better silhouettes than yours. A sea-lion!” The guy burst out laughing so hard that she thought—hoped—he’d choke, and he slapped his thighs at the same time for added emphasis. What a moron! Who did he think he was?
Charlie was convinced this had to be some kind of strange hallucination, but it definitely wasn’t a good one. She didn’t use drugs, but if this was a trip of some sort, she wanted her money back. She could hardly say she was enjoying it. There were enough annoying people in the real world. Who’d pay to take something to experience an alternative life that was much worse than their real one? A masochist? A reality TV creator? A journalist? A writer?
Thank you so much for visiting with us here today Olga, and sharing a wealth of information about yourself, your writing, and your experience with creating audio books and reviewing for Net Galley. I have the first 2 books in the Escaping Psychiatry series and can’t wait to read them all! Wishing you much deserved success with all your books!
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