Autumn With An Author: Didi Oviatt

I would like to introduce Didi Oviatt, a versatile, prolific author who often writes with the hands of another author and produces brilliant books. She is an upbeat person and although I have never met her, I feel to have known her for awhile. This interview turned out to be an alive conversation between her and James Cudney IV. She writes about multi-genre and I let her say the rest.

Books by Didi Oviatt
  • You wrote a mystery book with four hands together with Author James J. Cudney. Was your compositional method much in relation to your respective backgrounds and critical aims, or did you have to adapt to James’s style and vice versa.
    Ultimately, a mutual respect for views and likeness in opinions and culture is a must. Working with Jay has been so much fun!  I’ve co-written before in an ongoing interactive short story anthology, The Suspenseful Collection, and the technique that Kim Knight and I shared  couldn’t have been any more different than the technique that Jay and I ran with.
    With Kim — we passed our work back and forth, making clear distinctions on when one of us would stop writing and the other would start. It worked out wonderfully with the short story concept we were after.
    With Jay — we took a completely different approach. We wanted our sweet little bookish child, Weathering Old Souls, to be seamless from cover to cover – without giving away to our readers who wrote what. His style is, how do you say it, more intelligent? Lol… All the while my writing style is a bit simpler and tends to lean on the emotional side. So, we went in with a clear agreement that it was completely OK for either of us to add to, delete and/or alter whatever the other had written. Although neither of us ever actually deleted anything the other wrote, we found ourselves elaborating and adding on to one another’s stuff in a way that just worked. One of us would produce a good five to ten pages and then the other would transform that into sometimes double the content before writing another five to ten to send back. From here, the other of us would do the exact same thing with the freshly written pages… and so on. In a way, you could say that we adapted to and complemented each other’s work.  
    JJC: Didi said it all… and I’m not entirely sure I agree that my writing is more intelligent! I tend to go for those shocking connections and intricate clues, so maybe I might agree on that element… but Didi also sells herself short on the emotional aspect. Truly, when she revised scenes I wrote, I couldn’t believe the leaps and bounds they took. I’m entirely about plot and setting, but she brings characters to life with the details that make someone able to connect. And the descriptions of how a person’s actions mimic reality were so spot on, I had to re-read some of her stuff just to keep on absorbing the many different levels. It was like this perfect symbiosis during the 6 months we wrote the book. We had a rough outline, but the details in between were completely up to each person, and like Didi mentioned, we’d change some lines in each other’s work or move things around, but we’d hardly ever delete what was written. We deleted at the end when we had duplications or stuff that no longer made sense, but that was all.

Weathering Old Soul by Authors James Cudney and Didi Oviatt

  • Who came up with the plot of “Weathering Old Soul” and its characters?
    I’ve got to give Jay credit for the original concept 100%. He actually came to me with a few different ideas on a colab possibility, and I fell in love with past life regression ideas right out the gate. He was the king of organization and timelines too. We came up with each character and their backstories together, bouncing ideas off of one another almost daily until we were ready to dive into the manuscript. Putting together the plot and outlines were a breeze, I absolutely love writing with Jay. 
    JJC – I am a bit of an organizational freak. It’s my day job blending into my writing job. Thinking back, there were times when we’d have some ideas for a scene, but Didi’s previous scene ending was left unfinished (purposely). We did that to each other sometimes to keep us on our toes, but also to let creativity shine. If I had 80% of the scene worked out, but I couldn’t decide on a transition, Didi swept in and just carried it forward through til the next chapter. And I’d read her work, cry a bunch, and be inspired for what came next.
  • In psychology there is a concept of personality types based on psychological preferences, one of them is extroversion and introversion. Did your writing partner compliment you?
    In every way he did!  I like to think of myself as an ambivert. It’s like a mix between the two. I go in waves and phases – I’m moody, and change from day to day. I could easily hole up in my house for weeks, not speak to a soul and be perfectly content. Yet, I could also get out and mingle on a regular basis, and be happy and confident with this lifestyle too. Despite the occasional anxiety I’m able to adapt to circumstances and crowds. In writing Abigail’s story – Jay and I were able to work out a comfortable pace and write around each of our schedules and personal lives very smoothly. We accomplished a wonderful pace and encouraged one another creatively so I never felt rushed or pressured. With a consistent upbeat and uplifting approach, writing with Jay was a wonderful blend of laid back and accomplished.
  • Writing with four hands was an experience you would repeat?
    I feel like this is a loaded question lol. There’s a handful of authors that have reached out and asked, a couple of whom I’m considering a project with. I absolutely love writing with other talented authors and will most certainly do it again. The question is more of who and when. I have a few projects started on my own that I’ve promised myself to commit to first. I’m also picky. I’ll choose my next writing partner just as carefully as before. Both Kim and James are wonderful writers that I was extremely familiar with their work as well as personalities before we ever started creating as a team. I’d read their books and interacted with them for quite some time before making the decision to write together. Co-writing is a big commitment and you want to be absolutely certain that the partnership will work. 
  • Do you want each of your thriller books to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
    You know it’s funny, I really enjoy reading books that tie in with one another. My favorite writer who does this is L.J. Shen. I love how her Sinners of Saint books can each be read as a stand alone if you’d like, yet they all line up so nicely together too. Yet, in writing, I do best with stand alones that are each their own separate story and individual characters. Maybe it’s a commitment problem??? scratches head
  • Do you embed secrets in your thriller books?
    Every. Single. One.  
  • Do you dream about your characters, do they talk to you and/or suggest the next move?
    Some have and some haven’t come to me in dreams. Ahnia, the MC in Justice for Belle is one that I had a lot of dreams about. Which is weird and actually kind of worries me a little because her character was a killer in her sleep… That epiphany aside, I will say that most of my inspired thoughts have happened in the shower. Not sure how that works out or why. But something about the relaxing hot water and the sounds of the shower really just yanks the creative energy around, pulling it front and center in mind!     
  • Having a big ego – does hurt or help a writer?
    Oh that’s a great question!!  I don’t see it affecting the actual writing but when it comes to marketing and interacting with fellow authors I think it’s extremely important to stay humble and grounded.  A big ego isn’t a good thing to have in any aspect of life – writing included.
  • You have two kids, how do you manage your writing needs with their needs?
    I’m not going to lie, it’s hard!!  My son is autistic and requires a lot of time and attention. My daughter is so extremely demanding, she’s even more work than him. They are my priority in every way and I’d stop writing in a heartbeat if I felt it was taking away from them in any way. They are my whole world. Usually what I do is pull up my document(s) daily and just leave it all open. I’ll sit down for 10 minutes to an hour here and there as I can. I set goals and play it by ear every single day. I try not to be too hard on myself when I fall behind and remind myself of all the things they’ve accomplished or that we’ve accomplished together as a family instead of dwelling on their effects on my writing time.
  • Do you have unpublished books in your computer, that particular idea you can’t get to it?
    HA!  Several! I’m not above tucking manuscripts away for a year or two and then completely flipping them into a different story when I finally decide to open them back up.
    JJC – This is totally where Didi and I differ in approach. I’m too impatient. Once it’s written, I need it gone from my to do list! LOL I admire how much she has written and held for the future – she probably has the Best Seller hidden for the right time.
  • In this cancel culture we are living these days, do you see classical publications disappearing?
    I don’t. I feel like there are way too many literary lovers ready and willing to fight for the conservation of classics whether certain groups disagree with them or not. It’s important to keep history alive, and it’s also impossible to rid the world of all the works that have already been published. It saddens me to see books taken off the shelves, but it also gives me hope that those who already own such books will take care of them and conserve them until culture changes again and eventually brings them back. I’m a strong believer that if you don’t like something just stay away from it without taking it from people who do in fact appreciate the history in it.  It is possible to stay true to yourself without forcing your opinions on others who are only trying to stay true to themselves as well.
    JJC – Love this answer!!! Everyone needs to understand the time in which something was written. Doesn’t make it right, but it does help you to understand the hows and whys, as well as determine what to do to change for the future.

    Author BIO:
    Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search for Maylee, Justice for Belle, Aggravated Momentum, and Sketch, along with multiple short story collections. She’s collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology, The Suspenseful Collection. Most recently, she published her first romance novella titled Skinny Dippin’ which was originally released as a part of the highly appraised Anthology, Sinners and Saints. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can be found enjoying a laid-back outdoorsy lifestyle. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, and sun-bathing in the desert heat play an important part of her day to day lifestyle.
    Where to find Didi:

Listen to Didi Oviatt’s books on Audible:

Books by Didi Oviatt

Well, Didi, this interview with Jay was totally unexpected, I got two birds with one stone. I enjoyed reading and learning more about you. Some people discover to have a powerful voice under the running water of the shower, you get your best ideas for your books, therefore, if it helps you writing more books, just don’t stop taking showers. 😂

I feel intimidated and honored by these two giants, please allow me to place my books here with theirs.

Books by Valentina Cirasola

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
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