Today, The Forgetting Flower T-shirt is in near Reading, England with author Natasha Oliver. Natasha talks about moving to England after living in Singapore, her love of Brené Brown, and her new book The Evolved Ones, Awakening. Check out our talk.
Who are you and what do you do for fun (either in your job or outside of your job)?
My name is Natasha Oliver and I’m a wife, a mom, and a writer. The order depends on the time of day. For fun, I like a variety of things. I like to go for walks because now I live in the English countryside. I also like reading, playing with my kids, and traveling.
Why do you live where you live? What do you like about it? What’s not so great?
We just moved from Singapore a few months ago to the countryside of England to take some time out and focus on family. While I love the open space and the fresh, country air, the weather has been the hardest to adjust to. I really miss the consistency of Singapore’s climate. I’m told that it gets warm here for more than a few days a year, but I’ll have to wait and see—not trusting anybody’s word on it just yet.
What are some of your favorite books and why?
Oh, this is a hard one as I read a little bit of every kind of fiction. I really like The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo because the main character resonates with me. Each time I read it, I get something new from it. I think he wrote that from his soul because it speaks to mine. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown because she is a genius and I respect the hell out of each word she puts on the page. I admire her ability to be vulnerable and to speak the truth, and the fact that her truth is similar to mine only makes it a better read. The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne because I can tell he had fun writing it, and I had just as much fun reading it.
What is it about The Alchemist that speaks to your soul? Why that special connection?
In all honesty, every time I read that book, I get something new and different out of it. Most recently, what resonated the most was Santiago’s journey of self-discovery. Oh sure, that was always there, but it didn’t resonate with me like it had the previous times. I see so much of myself in Santiago: the drive to explore, to see different things, to think the grass is greener on the other side. Yet, what impressed me was how despite all the wonders that Santiago experienced in each place, he didn’t allow himself to get distracted for long from his ultimate goal. Instead, those experiences aided him.
Also, Santiago fumbles. How often do we fumble in life? He makes bad choices, but he’s human and his quest is one that I think regardless of who you are and what stage of life you’re in, you can relate to him. Old or young, male or female, parent or not, our journeys are intertwined when we approach them with an open mind. It’s like Coehlo said, “Following your dream is like learning a foreign language: you will make mistakes but you will get there in the end.”
Do you have a website or project you’d like people to know about?
Yes. I have a book coming out in late July, 2019: The Evolved Ones, Awakening. It’s the first in an exciting urban fantasy series set in a world where human evolution has resulted in a small group of individuals developing special abilities that others would do anything to replicate.
If Harry Dresden (Dresden Files by Jim Butcher) and Atticus O’Sullivan (The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne) were women, they’d be similar to my character, Rox. My book is like theirs because their characters are chronically flawed but always try to do the right thing. In my genre (urban fantasy and paranormal romance) so often the protagonist is a twenty-something, fair-headed beauty who is a spit-fire of perfection. Her flaws are the types of answers you’d give in a job interview. You know the kind: “My weakness is that I work too hard, it’s like I can’t go home until the job is done.” [insert eye roll]
I wanted to write a character who had depth to her, who has lived long enough to realize that beauty fades and that with all of the knowledge you gain, you ultimately learn that you don’t know jack shit. Her poor choices—not matter why she chose them—have consequences, and she was going to have to suffer them.
The best place to find out more information about The Evolved Ones: Awakening is on Natasha’s Facebook page. Also, follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her blog (peaceandcenter.com) is very personal and where you can find out the most about who she is as a human being.
My daughter is reading The Alchemist, a classic by Brazilian writer Paul Coehlo, which tells the tale of an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago. It’s a mystic story about his adventures that will help you follow your true path. Since our cat Maddie had her spotlight, my daughter read the book beside our other cat Aleksy. He likes to hang out in her bedroom. Our little gray boy seemed to be interested. He may finish reading it before she does!