When did you begin writing?
I started writing as a little kid, drawing pictures and including captions on little packets of stapled-together printer paper. As I got into elementary school and started reading a ton, I realized that I could write the kind of book that I would want to read, and so I started doing that. I still try to do just that today.
What is this book about?
“Lies” is a recounting of the Salem Witch Trials as told by Ann Putnam Jr., a real person who was one of the leading accusers during the Trials in 1692. She pretends to be under a curse with her friends in order to hang the witches that afflict her friends. In so doing, she discovers the power of her position and loses control on a terrifying road of abuse, guilt, and terror.
What inspired you to write it?
A few things. One of them was a general interest, curiosity, and mild feelings of terror towards the Salem Witch Trials. The “what if” question of my inspiration being: what if there were witches in Salem, and they weren’t just wrongly-accused puritan women? It also terrified me to imagine being in the shoes of those who were accused of being witches. They could do nothing to prove otherwise, and that is horrifying. The other source of inspiration would stem from my freshman year history book last year. The entire textbook contained all of one paragraph about the trials—events that hugely inspired and built our modern judicial system. I was appalled. This felt to me like a sign that I needed to write a book about these important events. So I did.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
“Lies” comes out March 11, and will be available on all major eBook retailers as well as in print on Amazon.com. You can find links to purchase once it’s out at www.oliverdahl.com/lies, or put your email in to be notified once it is!
Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?
I’m currently working on an epic novel that takes place in a world underneath the Catacombs of Paris. (www.oliverdahl.com/beneath). Because it will likely take a good year or two to finish and publish, I will probably put out several short stories and novellas until then.
Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?
It’s been pretty bumpy, but in the best of ways. The book had been edited prior to eBook formatting, but some incredible beta readers found remaining mistakes. Amazon Bestselling author Michelle Weidenbenner gave me an incredible review that really boosted my morale. Besides that, she also introduced me to Janelle Leonard, who has been helping me catch these final mistakes and really perfect this book. It is unquestionably the best book I have ever written, but I take it as a personal (very difficult!) challenge to write a better one.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
I get asked this question a lot, and my answer is always the same. Just write. Get stuff down on paper—don’t worry about how “good” it is. First drafts are supposed to be lousy, so go write one! Having a horrible first draft if a step in the right direction. After that, THEN you can go worrying about writing it better/making it “good.” TL;DR: Just write that first draft.
Is there anything you would like to add?
“Lies” is my third book, my first venture into historical fiction. I’m traditionally more of a fantasy/scifi kind of guy, myself. If you know some younger kids (upper elementary through jr. high) they’ll enjoy my first books, The Dreamers Adventures Series. It’s a Middle Grade/YA action-adventure modern scifi series about kids who can live inside of their dreams. (www.oliverdahl.com/the-dreamers-series)