Olga Nunez Miret
Today we welcome the talented, gracious and lovely author, Olga Nunez Miret. Her background as a Forensic Psychiatrist gives her writing authenticity and depth.
Olga Nunez Miret
Olga is from Barcelona but has lived in the UK for over 20 years.
She is a doctor and her day job is as a Forensic Psychiatrist (not exactly like the profilers in the movies, or anything to do with CSI either), but she has also completed a degree in American Literature at the University of Sussex (including a year abroad at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts) and a PhD on the Films of David Mamet. She was also a teaching assistant whilst completing the PhD, mostly on Film courses.
Olga has loved reading and writing since she was a child. Due to the many distractions (studies and jobs) she has never fully dedicated herself to the business of writing, but after a minor health scare she decided that there is no time like now. Carpe diem!
Her main love is fiction; she has written in a variety of genres (crime, family saga, para-normal, science-fiction…) and she is currently working on a series for young adults.
Apart from reading and writing, she loves the cinema, the theater (modern, classic, musicals…), fitness classes (and more recently also yoga), walking, crochet, and owls.
Read on for more about Olga and her newest novel…
“Escaping Psychiatry” has it all: intriguing characters, noir style, thrilling pursuits, dangerous situations, crime, serial killers, religion, family secrets, murder, psychological insights, mental illness, trauma, debates about prejudice and morality, heated trials, police investigations, corruption, and mystery.
“Escaping Psychiatry” is a collection of three stories with the same protagonist, Mary, a psychiatrist and writer. She is trying to develop her literary career but circumstances and friends conspire to keep dragging her back to psychiatry.
In “Cannon Fodder”, Phil, a lawyer who is Mary’s friend asks her to provide a report on one of his clients, Cain White. Although she concludes he is sane, Mary’s investigation uncovers some very damaging revelations about his family life, beliefs and local attitudes. Who is a saint and who is a sinner is a matter for debate. The more Mary gets involved in the lives of Cain and those close to him the more she realises how dangerous secrets are. Like time-bombs ready to set off any minute.
“Teamwork”: Captain Tom McLeod, from the San Francisco Police Department, invites Mary for a meal at home with his wife. When she meets their other guest, a young detective called Justin, she quickly realises there is an agenda well beyond a friendly meal.
In “Memory”, Mary runs out of her apartment after a difficult encounter with her friend Phil, and goes missing. When she is found it seems that she was hit in the head, abducted, raped and she is suffering from amnesia. She never recovers memory for the assault and finds it difficult to come to terms with something she cannot recall. The clues point towards a serial killer, but some things do not fit in. Who disturbed the killer? Why was she left there? The crime and the investigation surrounding it have a profound impact on Mary who decides that she needs to reconsider her life and start anew.
The epilogue revisits Mary at the point of the trial of her abductor and sees what changes have taken place in her life. Will she finally manage to Escape Psychiatry?
Now let’s shine the spotlight on Olga!
Olga: I am a psychiatrist, so I’m pretty used to odd. All of us who self-publish know that although theoretically very straight forward, there are a few hurdles on the way. Most of us think that once we’ve submitted and downloaded the file, we’re pretty much done. I got one of those dreaded e-mails from Amazon, requiring my attention. I had tried to publish a book without listing myself as an author. Mind you, I had listed the cover artist as contributor, but had forgotten I had taken part in it at all!
Maer: Now that is quite a story! Do you use beta readers and, if so, what qualities do you look for in a beta?
Olga: I can’t say I do. I’ve read all the reasons why it’s a good thing, and I tried with a book I’m working on now (rather, a series) to ask some volunteer readers in one of the Young Adult groups in Goodreads for opinions. It did not work well. One of the readers very kindly submitted detailed comments and even followed up a few months later. Other readers told me they couldn’t get into it and I never heard anything from the rest. That made me leave the book sitting for a while (although an agent had shown some initial interest). I have had comments from relatives and friends, but mostly at a very late stage in my writing. Some of my books were written a long time ago and people have read them and commented. With hand in my heart, my creative process is my own, and although I’m quite happy to talk in general terms about my ideas and the books, I’m not sure I’ve found yet my ideal beta readers. Maybe I should try harder.
Maer: What is a one line synopsis for your book?
Olga: In “Escaping Psychiatry”, Mary Miller, psychiatrist/writer confronts criminals, madmen and her own demons.
Maer: Is this a stand-alone or part of a series?
Olga: I initially published the three stories in the book (‘Cannon Fodder’, ‘Teamwork’ and ‘Memory’) as separate novellas in the same series. I have republished them in one volume, with an epilogue. I’m planning on more novels with the same protagonists and have ideas for at least three or four… and I keep going.
Maer: Which character, other than Mary, is one of your favorites to write and why?
Olga: The characters Mary has to assess throughout the book are interesting (Cain and Justin are not your run of the mill guys) but I’m intrigued by Phil, a lawyer and friend, who goes through an interesting transformation through the book, that in some ways parallels that of Mary.
Maer: If you had to pick a color to describe Mary what would that be and why?
Olga: Not being the most visual of persons (I love the visual arts but have no skills whatsoever on that field) this is a bit tricky. I’d probably say purple because it’s a very rich colour with many shades and combines some of my favourites (pinks, blues). I feel she changes and moves from a lighter tone to a much darker hue in Memory. And she is far more luminous by the end of the epilogue.
Maer: Who are your favorite authors to read?
Olga: I’ve been an avid reader since I was a child and recently I’m discovering many new authors, mostly independents. I love the classics (Herman Melville, Edgard Allan Poe, F Scott Fitzgerald, May Louise Alcott, Jane Austen, the Brönte sisters, Oscar Wilde…), love Stephen King (adore horror), Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood, John Irving, Tony Morrison, Ishiguro and in Spanish: Quevedo, Mercé Rodoreda (well, in Catalan), Isabel Allende, Antonio Machado, Montserrat Roig (also in Catalan), Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Ruiz Zafón… I did my PhD on David Mamet, and I enjoyed reading his plays, scripts, essays…
Maer: Great list! Can you share a bit about the project you’re working on now?
Olga: I don’t know if it’s the same for you, Maer, but I sometimes start on a project, with the best of intentions, and another idea comes to my head and keeps pestering me until I give up and start working on that one. Officially I’m working on a Young Adult series, called Angelic Business. I’ve written the first novel Pink Matters and I’m at the moment writing the second one. I plan on writing a third one and then publishing them quite close to each other. But an idea for a romantic novel, set up in the world of baking (and cupcakes) came to my head a few weeks ago and is full steam ahead, so I’m not sure which one will win, especially as this one would be more self-contained. And of course, there are the other novels in the Escaping Psychiatry series. Some people who’ve read my YA novella “Twin Evils?” have suggested that it could be expanded or there could be a sequel to it. I haven’t given it much thought, but it’s on my list of possible things to do if I get stuck. I also have some works I’ve already written that might decide to publish, but those would not take so much time (one hopes!)
Maer: Wow, Olga, lots of fascinating things going on with you! And I tend to stay on track, although an idea may try to push me into straying. 🙂 What do you do when you’re not writing?
Olga: I’m a forensic psychiatrist and working in a hospital in the NHS (public health in the UK). I’ve decided to leave my job for pastures anew, and although I have many ideas (and I keep talking about creating the perfect bookshop) I’ll see where the adventure takes me.
Maer: Awesome! What influenced you to write in your genre? Do you write in others?
Olga: I’m not (so far) much of a genre writer. My first book The Man Who Never Was is a fairly unique family saga. “Twin Evils?” is a young adult novella with elements of the paranormal and fairy tale. “Click Me Happy!” is a romantic story with three endings to choose from. Escaping Psychiatry, my latest, is a psychological thriller. (I’ve published them all in Spanish too.) Because of my job, where I have visited prisons and have seen people in clinics, spent time in secure hospitals, compiled psychiatric reports for court, and treated people suffering from mental illnesses who have come into contact with the criminal justice system, I have read around the subject. I also enjoy thrillers (in book form but also movies and TV series) and it was easy for me to think of the kind of cases that my character could come across and how she might feel and what she would do if she was in such situation. Strangely enough, although I love reading horror novels, I haven’t written any novels on that genre (yet). I have written short stories that some people told me reminded them of the ‘Twilight Zone’ or ‘Tales of the Unexpected’. For me it starts with the idea of a story, or the “what if…?” that sets me thinking. And if I get hooked in the story, I hope others will too.
Maer: They all sound so intriguing! What music, if any, do you like to listen to while writing?
Olga: I like a great variety of music, depending on my mood, from classical to country, via rock, pop and jazz. Because I live alone I tend to turn the radio on when I get up (after meditating) and it stays on. Sometimes if I’m finding it difficult to concentrate I might turn it off, but more often than not it will be on the background and I might not be able to tell you what I’d been listening to.
Maer: Olga, thanks so much for such a fascinating look into your work. Do you have anything you’d like to add?
Olga: Thanks to Maer for giving me this opportunity to visit her fantastic blog, thank you all for reading and hope that we might keep chatting about books. Never stop reading! And if you read something and like it, remember to review and provide feedback. We love to hear from our readers!
Maer: It was my honor. Thanks again!
You can find Olga at these links: