1. What are some of your favorite YA novels featuring hacking and computer technology?
Find Me, by Romily Bernard and Feed by M.T. Anderson are both excellent.
2. Do you prefer HEAs (Happily Ever After's) or open endings?
I am a total romantic, so I love to see the couple united at the end. But only after having some major issues. I’m mean like that. ;)
3. What advice do you have for young writers?
Turn off the electronics (except for whatever word processing program you use) and write! Read as much as you can in whatever genre you write as well. I’ve been to many conferences and writing sessions, but nothing teaches writing better than a well-written book!
4. How have Olivia and Z changed since we last saw them?
Olivia Decoded actually takes place before the epilogue of Olivia Twisted. Olivia is finally situated with her grandfather, happy and secure. Olivia and Jack have been apart for eight months, and neither one is too happy about that. When they finally do come together, it’s not going to be without angst.
5. Do you have any new story ideas jiggling around in your brain?
I always do! The problem is that I have way too many ideas and not enough time in the day to write them. I’m currently working on a humorous middle grade novel so I hope to finish that by the end of the year.
6. Can we expect to see any more of Olivia and Z after Olivia Decoded, or is this the end for them?
I closed the loop pretty tightly in this book, so this will most likely be the last book sharing Olivia and Z’s adventures. I like to think they’ll have plenty more on their own, though. ;)
7. What are some of your favorite books that you've read recently?
I recently finished the ARC of Every Falling Star by SungJu Lee, a memoir based on the author’s real-life experience growing up in and escaping North Korea. It was phenomenal and I highly recommend it! Another book I’m reading right now and thoroughly enjoying is The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts--so adorable. And one I’m really looking forward to starting soon is the thrilling Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker. After that...well, let’s just say I have WAY too many books and not enough space to put them. When you know you have a problem...
8. Are there any books from your childhood that have influenced your writing today?
Oh yes! Well, most of the books I read were fantasy - Watership Down, Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, David Eddings -- these were my go-to books to read, and it’s how I learned to tell a story. For contemporary stories, I loved reading Sweet Valley High books and, of course, I consumed Judy Blume books. Blume’s books influence without being preachy, so I try to emulate that in my writing.
9. What's your favorite part about being a writer?
Hearing from kids who love the story. That is my absolute favorite thing in the world! Especially if they say they can connect with or relate to one of the characters. Publishing is a tough business, so this makes it all worthwhile.
10. Have you done any hacking/computer coding before, or did you have to do a lot of research for the book?
I did a ton of research for Olivia Twisted! I am not a hacker, so I took online courses and conferred with people who knew that biz. Olivia Decoded does not feature quite as much hacking as the first book--I was more concerned with the psychological aspect of a stalker, so I did a lot more research into that area. Research is a lot of fun in itself!
Thank you so much for answering my questions!
Thank you!! =)
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, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Liv might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Liv and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv… Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.
You Can Find it At:
Barnes and Noble
Title: Olivia Decoded
Author: Vivi Barnes
Series: Olivia Twisted #2
Release: Sept. 6, 2016
Genre: YA Thriller
This isn’t my Jack, who once looked at me like I was his world. The guy who’s occupied the better part of my mind for eight months. This is Z, criminal hacker with a twisted agenda and an arsenal full of anger. I’ve spent the past year trying to get my life on track. New school. New friends. New attitude. But old flames die hard, and one look at Jack—the hacker who enlisted me into his life and his hacking ring, stole my heart, and then left me—and every memory, every moment, every feeling comes rushing back. But Jack’s not the only one who’s resurfaced in my life. And if I can’t break through Z’s defenses and reach the old Jack, someone will get hurt…or worse.
You Can Find it At:
Barnes and Noble
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. After college, she convinced her supportive husband to move with her to be part of the sunshine and magic in Orlando, Florida. On a good day, she manages to divide her time writing, working, reading, goofing off with her three kids, and avoiding dirty dishes. Vivi is a proud member of SCBWI and attends conferences whenever she can.
You Can Find Her At:
Read below for an excerpt from the book:
“Wow, who gave you that?”
“My grandfather. He left it on my car seat this morning."
“Oh, boo. I thought maybe you had a secret admirer or something.” I try not to smile at her obvious disappointment. Emerson’s been on me to date for months now. She knows I had someone back in Richmond who was special, but only that we broke it off before I moved here. She doesn’t know anything else about Jack. No one does, because what would I say? The last guy I dated is a criminal, and the last time I saw him was right after we got kidnapped by his horrible boss and almost died trying to escape. That’d go over really well.
“I don’t know, what do you think?” Emerson breaks into my thoughts as we walk down the hallway to our lockers.
She sighs. “Where Kade’s taking me tonight. Girl, you are not with it today, are you? Are you doing anything tonight?”
“My grandfather’s taking me to dinner.”
“Sweet. Not so romantic, but sweet.”
I smile. “Yes, he’s sweet. But a little over the top on gifts sometimes.” Even after eight months of living the wealthy life, I’d be happier if he gave me a gift card to a bookstore instead of extravagant jewelry I rarely wear.
My phone starts buzzing, and I pull it from my pocket. Grandfather’s text reads: What gift?
I frown, typing, The bracelet you left in my car. I snap a quick picture of the bracelet on my wrist and send it to him. Maybe his text was a hint to send a picture, though I doubt it. He’s usually pretty direct about things.
“What’s up?” Emerson asks.
“Looks like Grandfather forgot he left me the bracelet.” But even as I say it, it doesn’t sound right. He’s one of the sharpest people I’ve ever known, and he runs a financial institution.
“Maybe he gave it to one of his staff to put in your car.” Her voice has the usual bitter tone whenever she’s thinking of her parents. They’re hardly ever around, and when they are, they don’t pay much attention to her.
“Yeah, you’re probably right.” I don’t believe that, though. Even though it’s possible Mrs. Bedwin did put it there, I doubt it. Grandfather is the type to handle things himself when it comes to me. But Emerson’s parents travel so much for their business that they often let their staff handle things like birthdays and other events they think aren’t important. So as grateful as I am that Grandfather’s always there for me, I don’t like to rub that in Emerson’s face.
“Maybe you really do have a secret admirer,” she says hopefully.
I roll my eyes.“I doubt that.”
“Oh, really?” She stops in her tracks, her eyes fixed straight ahead. I follow her gaze, a sharp sense of dread creeping down my spine. A white rose is dangling from the vent in my locker.
A rose I know wasn’t placed there by my grandfather.
A signed copy of Olivia Decoded + a $25 Amazon Gift Card