We had the good fortune of connecting with Oliver Madison and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Oliver, what’s the end goal, career-wise?
There are different layers to my goals. First and foremost, I want to enjoy what I write. When I craft a story, I truly feel like I’m able to escape negativity, drama, news, and politics. I’m transported to a world of my own design. From every brick holding up my fictional buildings, to each of my characters’ quirks and strands of hair, I feel honored to bring my world to life and share it with my readers. Sometimes, friends will ask me to write about romance or to write self-help books because they are more marketable. I normally respond by telling them that if I don’t write what I’m interested in, then there would be no point in writing at all. It’s not about the money. Enjoyment is always my first goal. That being said, in a perfect world, of course I want my books in the hands of as many readers as possible. My ultimate end goal would be to become the next J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Walt Disney, or Stan Lee. I want my stories to grow into a global fandom. I want my readers to be so immersed with my fantasy worlds that my characters and books can cross into other realms of media such as movies, TV shows, and comics. I want fans dressing as my characters at Halloween, Comicon, and premieres of film adaptations. I have big dreams that I intend to make a reality. With writing, a lot of these dreams are left up to luck. However, there is still quite a bit to this goal that I can control. The first step to reaching this global level will be to become a best-selling author. To do this, I’ll need to promote my upcoming books strategically and will need a ton of help from my readers. According to my research, if I can get at least one hundred positive reviews during the first month of my book’s release, they will be eligible to be promoted more. This will grant me an exponential amount of exposure. When this happens, I will be on the right track to hit my goal of becoming a best-selling author. It will be a huge milestone. For any avid readers that enjoy YA books with action, adventure, and dark undertones, purchasing a copy of my new books during their release and quickly leaving your honest rating and comments on Amazon and Goodreads is the best way to help me achieve this goal. I know we will reach this milestone soon, but I can’t do it without the help of my readers!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What sets me apart from other authors are the various tones, themes, characters, and subject matter in my stories. Tone: Most of the tones in my books have an elevated sense of realism. Because I want my stories to be a fantastical escape from reality, I often envision my characters as animated. I try to make them charming, quirky, and as fleshed out as possible. Anything that can happen in my worlds, will happen. The best example I can give for this would be the movie, Sin City. This movie has such an emphasis on its extreme tone, that it feels like you are in another world. It’s gritty, dark, violent, and one-liners that would be cheesy in the real world fit perfectly in Sin City. My stories are meant to be fun escapes and provide teens and young adults with adventure, whimsy, and wonder. So, the way that my narrator tells each story matches that. Themes: Most of my themes carry some bite. I love to contrast my stories with innocence and corruption. Some of my sweetest and kindest characters are locked in situations that are grim and morbid. However, they seldom waiver in the face of despair. By doing this, I feel that the darker and creepier aspects of my stories are magnified. When tragedy hits, it hits harder and I like to think that it shakes my readers up a bit. The contrasts I implement between my characters and their treacherous settings help whenever I want to add shock value. Characters: My characters are diverse. I have characters from every race, religion, and background. I probably do this because I myself am mixed with multiple backgrounds. I think having diverse characters works because you don’t see them that often in mainstream media. It’s nice to show that different types of people are out there and normalize different characteristics that are not stereotypes. When I do this, I make sure that my characters’ backgrounds do not define them. A character may happen to be Black, White, Filipino, male, female, Hispanic, etc., but at the end of the day, their personalities will vary solely on their own unique experiences. I always want to convey that no matter what ‘group’ your family or society wants to put you in, remember that you are an individual first and should be judged solely on your own actions. My message to readers has, and always will be, to become the best version of ‘you’ that you can be. All other labels and categories are arbitrary. Subject Matter: I write about what I’m interested in. Normally, that tends to be ‘what if’ scenarios. What if I was secretly a ninja and fought crime in my free time? What if I was the leader of an infamous street gang? What if I was trapped in my house in a duel to the death with my family? My stories can get a little crazy, and that’s the way I like it. If I wanted to write about something ordinary, I wouldn’t write. I would just do that ordinary thing. If you want to read about ninja battles, secret organizations, and life and death decisions, then definitely check out my books. It was a tough path to get to where I am now. I talk to a lot of aspiring writers that want to get started that never do. For those that truly want to start writing and strengthen your skills, I would recommend doing the following: – Read More: especially best-sellers in the genres you want to write. Make sure to analyze the techniques the author uses. – Take All Criticism: It can be tough to hear at times because your story is like your baby that you put a lot of time into. However, we all need that outside perspective to make sure we can develop our skills. – Just Write: Don’t just talk about writing. Actually do it. If you don’t, too much time will go by and it may never get done. Worry about completing your story first. It’s fine if it starts out messy. At least when it’s done, you will have something to work with. Just be ready to reread and edit your drafts hundreds of times. Perseverance is key.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Arizona has some of my favorite places. My most favorite, without a doubt, is the Japanese Friendship Garden. I would take my best friend to the garden to soak in the lush greenery. We would forget all about the conflicts around the world and simply be in the moment, mediating by the koi pond and waterfall. It is hands down one of the most peaceful places in Arizona. For breakfast, we would go to Hillside Spot in Ahwatukee on 48th St and Warner. It’s a great local dive bar in my hometown with tasty egg sandwiches and breakfast burritos. It’s a brewery too, so it could be nice for dinner as well. For lunch, my best friend and I would go to Hachi Ramen on Warner and Kyrene in Tempe. It’s another cozy spot with a relaxing atmosphere. Dinner would be at Bandera in Scottsdale. I can’t say ‘no’ to their burger and IPA combination. A few years back, I visited all of the top ten listed best burger places in Arizona. Bandera was not on that list and is not a burger-specific restaurant, but theirs was in my personal top three. Another favorite spot would be the Phoenix Zoo. I love animals and seeing them in person. I think our zoo takes good care of its animals, while encouraging young people to respect and learn all about them. It’s important to be exposed to nature and wildlife and I think the Phoenix Zoo does a good job of bridging the gap between man and nature. Because I like to stay active, I would absolutely recommend hiking Telegraph Pass at South Mountain. The trail is just challenging enough to where you can work up a sweat, but still accessible enough so that anyone of any skill level can hike it. It has a rewarding view of the city once you reach the top. These activities are best in the fall and spring, but if you don’t mind a little sun, you can go out in the summer as well.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When you’re an independent author, it can feel like an uphill battle. However, in my battle, I am far from a one-man army. First and foremost, I’d love to thank my family and friends that read my first drafts of my novels. They do not hold back in any of their criticism. Sometimes they tear my drafts down to the bare bones, but I know that their feedback is priceless and will ultimately set me on the path to craft the best stories that I can. Writing is the main component of being a successful author, but it isn’t the only factor. I would like to give a shout out to my friends and to the companies I have worked with that gave me and my characters an online presence: Alex, Matt, Steve, Terrence, and Stowebridge Promotional Inc. They have all helped with web design, graphic design, and character design. I would not be where I am today without them. Also, I cannot emphasize this enough; I’d like to thank each and every reader that has ever purchased one of my books and every fan that has ever left a review or ‘like’. It means more to me than you will ever know.