Thursday, September 6, 2007

Straight from the Author's Mouth of Nick Oliva, Author of ONLY MOMENTS

Nick Oliva (O-lee-va’) has been a musician, composer, photographer, an audio engineer, an Entertainment Director and Technical Director for over twenty-five years and is a successful self-made money manager.

“Only Moments” was originally written within the cyclical theme of Birth, Death, and Rebirth over ten years ago. I focused on the unforgiving world, the false hope of technology and religion, incorporating one’s own search and questioning of the spiritual aspects that provide some measure of meaning, and then tying it into the romance of total devotion of man and wife. Some might call it a fairy tale romance, but there are many “high school” relationships that have survived the test of time, however difficult. These two characters are both heavily flawed but those flaws are what binds and drives them with their deep passion for music.

This journey begins in the year 2020, with a romantic surreal dream and the waking of one sixty-six year-old widower Chris Vadia, a retired professional musician, and his sullen celibate perspective due to his wife dying fifteen years earlier. After establishing the human surroundings of the time period, we flashback to 1970 and we find how he meets the love of his life, while on a wild summer vacation driving through California. A beach in Big Sur is the dramatic background for the beginning of their impassioned romance.

Time then shifts through their college days, marriage, their struggling and successes, parental deaths, their Carnegie Hall debut, and then the crisis of having grown so far apart despite being with each other constantly. Our unforgiving fate, the duality of technology, the commonality of human emotion throughout history, ties into a tale of human devotion that eventually brings understanding and hope.

The road, throughout the novel is representative of one’s life path and sense of curiosity and discovery.

I wrote it because I challenged myself to write a better book than John Grisham. Now, don't misunderstand. That I have a small percentage of his success would be wonderful. I just wanted to write a book that was more meaningful and see if I could get it published.
When I chose to get this book in print I chose Publish America. I could have went with I-Universe or a similar type of company and paid up front but I didn't want to go to what I thought was a vanity press. After the papers were signed, I realized all the controversy surrounding the publisher and read many complaints as well as people who had good experiences. I can only say that my covers were designed with my supervision and were my photos and they did a great job putting them together. There were typos and they did clean them up. It is frustrating to deal with them with the email only communication, but they have done what they said they would do. Many of the vociferous attacks on them have come from self-promoting authors who want to put down others to make themselves look better so they propagate threads on their websites and contribute little to the literary world. I think some of the complaints stem from people who have never been published and they want their book to be "perfect" in every way and it doesn't work that way with any publisher. There are always mistakes. I had my manuscript edited twice and proofed twice and there were still typo and formatting errors that occurred. I think that they have published things that probably shouldn't have reached the public, but again they are a POD and in the process of making money they have allowed acts of sloppiness to damage their reputation. I cannot fix their problems, but I wish they would bring their current standards up as their reputation is important to survive in business world. I on the other hand had a good experience, but because of the perceived and actual problems it has been difficult to get reviewed because of the Publish America stigmata. Let's face it, the publishing world has always been an exclusive enclave of "country club" mentality and this new wave of POD's and electronic distribution is a threat to democratize the business and the publishing business has been in trouble for many years. Some major publishing house are already turning to POD for their "lesser" titles and limited run books. If JK Rowling and the Harry Potter series had been published by a POD, would the validity of their writing be in question? Does the way something is brought to print affect the quality of the work? I think it is a transition from the old to the new and in the process there is pain, stupidity, and competitiveness that obscures the art for it's own sake. If the stories hold up, and the literary quality is there then it should not matter. I am proud to have a book that I know turns the lights on in a room and hopefully those who read it see things they haven't before. I leave the arguing over the way it is brought to the public to others.

My cross-over to the land of the dead, my flatlining and death experience that imitates the book I wrote years earlier is incredible but many people avoid wanting to talk about it. I think their religious beliefs or perhaps their own disbelief of anything metaphysical keeps them from wanting to hear the experience. It is almost as if it is a threat to their perceived "blanket of security" that their faith and/or lifestyle keeps them from being open minded to other possibilities of life after death. It is not just strangers and friends, it extends to my own family. No one wants their applecart upset.

Some advice for would be novelists:
Don't assume! Never assume that the world needs another book. Why is yours so special?
What makes it stand out? Does it stand out? Remember this-your finished a novel. 99% of the people who start one don't and rarely does anyone even begin one. You are part of 3 billion people in this world. Do the percentages. One percent of 3 billion is 30 million, one tenth of that is 3 million and one tenth of that is 300,000 and that is roughly how many books get published each year. That means you have 1/100th of a chance to be a part of 300,000 books that are for sale. That's a sobering thought! So don't get your hopes up or your expectations too high. On the other hand, do it for you! That's who counts anyway. You did it, you accomplished an incredible thing. Don't downplay it because you aren't on Oprah, or the movie of the week isn't based on your book. Life is about the little things. Enjoy them and be proud! Smell the roses.

What started for me as a documentation of a wild teenage vacation across country and through California at age 16 and changed my life permanently, morphed into an attempt at showing life's bittersweet ride on the road to acceptance that our humanity is all we can embrace regardless of whatever technology we can muster.

Nick Oliva

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Yvonne Perry said...

Nick, musician? what instruments do you play?

Yvonne Perry

Nick Oliva said...

I have a degree in composition and play percussion, piano, guitar, and synthesizers. My wife is a drummer/singer/percussionist and we play around the Vegas area, not as often we used to, as we are older and they are now looking for blondes with big tops and long legs. Talent optional...LOL