In this interview I’m talking to Hector Manuel Elias Oliver, who – besides having an awesome name – is one of the youngest contributors to the Beyond the Gate anthology. He’s a very busy young man, and you can’t help feeling inspired by his enthusiasm and energy. Read about his journey so far, how he stumbled upon Fiction Unboxed and the entire SPP community and what he has planned for his future.
Hi Hector. Thanks for taking the time to join me today. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello! Thank you so much for having me here, I’m so excited! My name is Hector Manuel Elias Oliver. Long name, I know. But I love it and have been using it as my brand for a while now. I’ve been a reader since I was very young and in sixth grade I decided I wanted to be a writer.
Of course, years went by, and even though I always wrote, I chose to leave writing as a hobby. That was until in High School I met this teacher who became the reason I wanted to become a full time writer, or better said, a full time author.
At the moment I’m all over the place. I’m a young entrepreneur, writer, networker, philanthropist, speaker, and soon to be health coach. I’m also a graphic design major, a wanna be programmer, a (starting) youtuber, blogger, huge gamer, and massive procrastinator.
You’re doing a lot of things. Do you want to focus on writing, or will you continue to spread out and do what inspires you along the road?
Writing is definitely an important part of my life, and I will be doing it more than other things, but I will continue to spread out. I love all the things I do, and I know there are MANY out there that I want to do.
My only issue with this is time. I really need some time management courses or something like that. Which is something I’m trying to fix soon.
Actually, I recently described myself as someone who has 4 or 5 full-time jobs part-time. Like I said, time management is something I need to learn as soon as possible.
Have you written anything for publication before?
I haven’t. The Short Adventure of Beatrix Weiland, my story for Beyond the Gate was my first published work. This has me really excited, you have (probably do) no idea how amazing it is to finally be able to label myself as “Published Author”!
What or who are your biggest creative influences?
My friends have always been my inspiration ever since I started writing in elementary school. In High School I met a teacher who is the reason I considered to become a full time author. Garrett Robinson and the guys from Sterling and Stone have been without a doubt some of the greatest influences I’ve ever had.
It’s a blessing to have a teacher who really impacts your life. Tell me more about her – what did she do to make you so certain that writing should and could be a full time job?
It definitely a blessing. It’s a he, actually. He was my literature teacher, and I’m not really sure what to tell you here. We became really good friends, he is one of the smartest and most knowledgeable people I’ve ever met, and I learned so much with him.
When I mentioned to him that when I was younger I wanted to be a writer, he encouraged me to do so, even gave me examples of what people have done to make it as a full-time writer.
What is your writing environment like and is there anything you’d change about it?
I mostly write in my bedroom but recently I found an amazing café where I’ve been trying to write. I would like to change my room to adapt it better for writing, but for the moment I’m happy at the café.
What made you decide to participate in Fiction Unboxed and write in this shared world?
Before FU I had never heard of The Self – Publishing Podcast. I found about FU while searching through Kickstarter. Of course, I fell in love with the idea and I loved everything that happened. As for writing in the shared world, I thought it would be an amazing experience to work with other writers from around the world.
What are the biggest take-aways you’ve learned from SPP, Fiction Unboxed and the community surrounding it?
Oh, this is a really difficult question. A few weeks ago I finished Write. Publish. Repeat. and… Well, my mouth dropped several times. I think that book is everything I could ever ask from the guys of SPP. Fiction Unboxed not only gave me one of my favorite books but allowed me to connect with incredible people around the globe, which of course, led to having my first published story.
As a side-note to that, I actually found out of Garrett Robinson (Who is one of my greatest inspirations) by a video shared by one of the Unboxers of Fiction.
Tell us about your story in the “Beyond the Gate” anthology?
My story in Beyond the Gate is called The Short Adventure of Beatrix Weiland. It is the story about a teenage girl who begins to question everything she’s ever been told about her faith. In the story, Beatrix is faced with problems I think most of us can relate. We have all gone through a phase where you start to ask why for just about anything, but especially to rules and customs.
Before knowing what the story would be about, I started out with the following one liner which explains the feeling I try to transmit through Beatrix:
“What do you become when you fall off track with everything that should be, question everything you’ve been told, and simply enjoy it?”
What do you plan to write next?
This is interesting because we just went through November and NaNoWriMo was going on. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep up with my story because of many crazy things that were going on, but I have that story in mind.
The story is going to be about the life of a Sixteen year old outcast and how moving to a new school and meeting two of her classmates changed her life completely.
I’m also working on a Serial which is the project I’m most excited about at the moment. A Sci-Fi Fantasy mash up set in a post-apocalyptic world where the only way to make a living is by hunting down the remaining mystical creatures in the world. (Exciting, isn’t it?)
Are you planning to write more in Engine World, or will you focus on your currently planned books first, before deciding?
I would really like to continue writing in Engine World, but I want to focus on my planned books right now. I want to make something independent.
Even though I really liked my story (and main character) for Beyond the Gate, I liked the ending and I wanted to end the story completely with it. So, if I continue to write stories in Engine World, it might not be with Beatrix Weiland. But I say that with a grain of salt. I don’t know how the other books are going to be (plus I’m super behind in FU 1.5) and maybe I will bring Beatrix back again.
Thank you so much, Hector. Loved having you here. Best of luck in the future!
Check out episode 9 of New Writer Podcast, where Hector was a guest. Matt and Hector talks about cover designs, but they also talk about Engine World and The Dream Engine, which is among Hector’s favorite books.
Have you read Beyond the Gate? If not, you can get it for free today.
Also be sure to visit the books website, where you can learn more about how it came to life, and read about all the authors who have contributed.