Exclusive Interview With Author "Kay Oliver"
Award-winning author Kay Oliver's new novel Road To Elysium, is inspired by a true story that tells the heartfelt tale of what happens when a man who seemingly has it all, takes in a troublesome kid who robs his house. As their friendship grows Ken helps Mykel realize his full potential. Road To Elysium tackles themes of depression, racism, and how a single decision made in an instant can change numerous lives for the better.
Kay Oliver has always loved writing and feels there is power in words. She was hired by Steven Spielberg himself to work with him at Dreamworks in the editing and writing department. She has also worked for Saban Studios, home of The Power Rangers, where she oversaw the first Power Rangers graphic novel! In addition, her many novels have won numerous awards. Kay was recognized as a woman who promotes healthy and strong female images in her characters for her books, Disturbed Tombs and Grave Disturbances. Her focus is telling stories that are great reads with notable underlying motives of education. Her efforts are to bring forward ideas that many do not want to present or even discuss in an entertaining read.
You have an interesting background. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Sitting on my couch around the age of 20, I was watching a movie and thought to myself, I can write that story. I attended college and got a degree in Radio, TV, Film. My first job was in journalism but that is more about facts and not building a story. Making a change, I then took a job at Universal Studios when Lew Wasserman ran the studios. While at the studios I received a degree in Business Finance and began overseeing studio operation budgets.
10 years later the studio was sold and I went to work at DreamWorks for Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg. I made my first short film for the DreamWorks studio film Festival. The film was well received and asked to do a second one. Building the stories was a joy for me. From there a friend asked me to join Saban Studios, the home of the Power Rangers.Eventually I was asked to oversee the first graphic novel for the Power Rangers. The publisher was upset at the changes I would make and complained about me to my boss. But I understood that Power Ranger fans are fanatics about details. Upon release of the first book the fans praised the book and said that it should be an actual Power Rangers storyline. I went on to work on 4 more novels for Power Rangers which got me back to writing.
Now it was time to do my own novels. I just wish I started writing stories sooner. Moving people through stories is a passion of mine.
You’ve worked in various aspects of the entertainment industry, was writing fiction always a part of the game plan?
Creating intelligent stories, no matter the format, has always been a passion of mine. Motion Pictures and Television and writing fiction have a lot of similarities. The small differences being that you can visually show items in film that in literary works you need to fill in with dialogue, gestures, and facial expression descriptions.
Stories that intrigue a reader or viewer take time to create. Being clever and not foreshadowing every aspect of what is to come, keeps a person interested to turn to the next page. They want to know what could possibly happen next.
When did you start working as a novelist?
After leaving the motion picture industry as a full-time worker. I started writing novels for myself and to learn what it takes to get the story polished and published.
What was the impetus for writing your newest novel, Road To Elysium?
About 2 years ago I was watching the news. Near the end there was an uplifting segment about a man mentoring a young boy. The young boy approached him on the street and asked if he could help him. Immediately I went online to find out more and found nothing. What moved me is the fact that it was a gutsy move for the boy to walk up to a man he did not know and make a request of him and gutsy for the man to say yes to a boy he knew nothing about. I knew the story had to be told.
How would you describe the book?
The story is about Ken Hines who is in his late 40’s and has gone through unspeakable tragedy. It opens on a dark night as he sits in his living room when he hears a noise at his back door. Grabbing his gun, he goes to see what is happening as a young man enters his house and shots at him. He returns fire and hits the first of two young boys.
Police arrive and take them away. He finds himself haunted by the experience and wonders what led the young men to do this and could he help in any way? Finding out where one of the boys’ lives, he ventures over to see what he can find out. Parking a house down and across the street to just observe, when a young man named Mykel has the courage to knock on his car window and says “Mister can you teach me how to throw a football?” In that instance Ken says yes without thinking.
Tossing the ball becomes a lot more over time, including mentoring Mykel through twists and turns in his life, and the ball toss eventually becoming a neighborhood game. Along the way we discover the secret to Ken’s original depression. That game goes viral making Ken and Mykel local celebrities. This changes Ken’s life, Mykel’s, and the entire community.
Imagine BLIND SIDE starring Sandra Bullock meets IT’S A WONDERFUL starring Jimmy Stewart.
What would you like your readers to take away from reading your book?
Momentary decisions made by two individuals, who do not know each other, with good intentions, changes their lives forever.
How do you think Road To Elysium differs from your other books?
This story was inspired by true events. In other words, it can happen to you or to me. My other books come from questions of “What if?” or “Why not?” I put a spin on stories that others do not see coming or maybe never thought about before.
Do you have any new projects in the pipeline?
I do. A sequel to my award-winning book SISTERS IN COLD BLOOD for early next year. And a historical western fiction that should be published this year. The award-winning book GRAVE DISTURBANCES, a sequel to the book of the year 2022, “DISTURBED TOMBS,” was published and released earlier this year.
For more info on her please visit https://kayaoliver.com/