When I first learned that a modern day version of OLIVER TWIST was going to be releasing this year I was ecstatic. When I heard that the main character would be female I was even more thrilled as I was starting to wonder just how Oliver’s naiveté would come across today. Though when I found out that I had a really long wait for OLIVIA TWISTED‘s release, I didn’t think I’d be able to make it.
So when I was told that I would get the chance to host Vivi Barnes, the author of this upcoming title I so covet, for the Authors Are Rockstars Tour and share a prepared interview with my blog’s readers, I may have done a happy dance. Because I knew I’d get just a little more insight into what OLIVIA TWISTED is all about.
And of course it wasn’t nearly enough. It was more of a tease. Which makes me that much more excited for its release. At least the wait is only just over two months. That, I think, I can handle.
I should probably talk about why I think Vivi Barnes is a Rockstar and then turn the blog over to her so you can hear what she has to say about her inspiration for writing OLIVIA TWISTED, what “twists” she made to the original, and what characters from the original story make an appearance in her story.
Vivi Barnes is a Rockstar because…
She modernized one of my most favorite childhood stories, creating a story I just know I’m going to fall in love with.
She is not at all afraid to tackle a classic and alter that classic by creating a female MC.
She gave her characters a much cooler and more exciting criminal enterprise to be involved in – hacking – versus trying to make being a pickpocket sound cool.
She gave the Artful Dodger an equally awesome name in her story, “Z,” and gave him a Ducati to ride. Yes, it seems she made that “bad” boy into a “bad boy” in her book.
She authored the very awesome short story “Love Stinks” in the anthology of the same name.
She is an adrenaline sports enthusiast, a quality I admire. Greatly.
And I probably could go on. Actually, I know I could go on. And on. And on. But I really should let you read the book’s description if you haven’t already and take a peek at the interview to learn a bit more about OLIVIA TWISTED.
There are also a couple of giveaways at the bottom of this post – one for some OLIVIA TWISTED swag and one for a pre-order of the book. So if you are as excited about this book’s upcoming release in November as I am, be sure to check them out!
Pub. Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Formats: Paperback, eBook
He tilts my chin up so my eyes meet his, his thumb brushing lightly across my lips. I close my eyes. I know Z is trouble. I know that being with him is going to get me into trouble. I don’t care.
At least at this moment, I don’t care.
Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school.
Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, now Z has enough money to purchase and drive a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Olivia might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents.
As Olivia and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…
I can picture Liv’s face: wide-eyed, trusting. Her smooth lips that taste like strawberry Fanta.
It was just a kiss. That’s all. She’s just like any other girl.
Except that she’s not.
Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.
What inspired you to write OLIVIA TWISTED?
I actually watched the movie Oliver! about a hundred times when I was a kid, and long before I read the book. I fell in love with the movie because I was going through a difficult time in middle school (scoliosis, ugh) and seeing how poor Oliver had it so awful made me feel better. Hey, don’t judge – I was in middle school!
Then as an adult, after reading the book and all the characters kind of “rounded out,” I thought, “What if this story took place today, and the protagonist was a female—and it was called Olivia Twisted?” So really, the story began with a title.
What ideas did you “twist” from the original story, and did you keep any of the original themes?
Taking something that was written over 150 years ago and trying to fit it to contemporary times has its own set of challenges. I mean, they just don’t make top hats like they used to. Not only that, but putting Olivia in a workhouse and having her approach the headmaster to ask for more gruel in the 21st century just might not resonate with young adults today.
So I decided to put Olivia (or Liv, as she likes to be called) in foster care. Bouncing around from one home to another hasn’t been a picnic for her, but she deals. She heads off to school, where she meets fun-loving Sam and a mysterious guy named Z. They recognize the potential in her computer programming abilities and, much more importantly, they recognize that she’s “unattached,” with no family ties. So it doesn’t take long before they gain Liv’s trust and introduce her to their lifestyle.
Going back to the original Oliver Twist story, Oliver was brought in to the thieves’ den, but he was an innocent. The question in Olivia Twisted is whether Liv will go through with becoming a criminal, or will she remain true to who she is? When you think you have no place to go, alone in this sometimes-brutal world, will you accept that you need to do what you need to survive? Or will you fight against the odds? This is a theme that is as relevant today as it was 150 years ago.
What characters did you keep from the original story?
I did bring many of the characters to life from the original Oliver Twist story, though they may play combined roles. For example, I loved the Fagin in the movie Oliver! but didn’t care for him in the book. I liked him as the seemingly kind old man who played a father figure to the boys. So I gave Nancy those qualities and put her in charge of the Monroe Street kids. (I always had a soft spot for Nancy in Oliver Twist for standing up to Bill and helping Oliver, though it led to her demise, so making her the “mom” of the home seems to fit.)
I loved the evil and scary Bill Sykes (Sikes), so in my story, he remained evil and scary Bill Sykes. As for Olivia herself—she has the orphaned story of Oliver; however, instead of allowing her to be manipulated by society, I wanted her to be a true protagonist and shape her own world, make her own decisions.
And then there’s the Artful Dodger, a.k.a. “Z” in Olivia Twisted. Ahh…what better way to tempt fate than by making him the hot bad boy who rides a Ducati? Though he has his own demons…his own secrets…
And that’s all I’ll say about that! 😉
About Vivi Barnes
Vivi Barnes was raised on a farm in East Texas where her theater-loving mom and cowboy dad gave her a unique perspective on life. Now living in the magic and sunshine of Orlando, Florida, she divides her time writing, working, goofing off with her husband and three kids, and avoiding dirty dishes. Olivia Twisted is her debut novel, written in homage to one of her favorite classic authors, Charles Dickens.
What’s Up for Grabs
Giveaway #1: OLIVIA TWISTED Swag including a T-shirt and Bookmark – ONE winner (US only)
Giveaway #2: A Pre-order copy of OLIVIA TWISTED – TWO winners (International)
– You must be 13 or older to enter
– Giveaway #1 will have ONE winner (US only)
– Giveaway #2 will have TWO winners (International)
– ALL giveaways end on September 8th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific
– ALL winners will be chosen by Random via Rafflecopter
– Giveaway #1 prizes will be sent directly from the author
– Giveaway #2 books will be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository
– Giveaway #2 books can be in either paperback or eBook formats
For each giveaway there is a mandatory “Leave a Comment” entry. All other entries are optional. The tweet entry is a daily option.
Enter in the Rafflecopters below…
Giveaway #2 a Rafflecopter giveaway