Today I am interviewing Alexandra Oliva, author of the apocalyptic literary thriller, The Last One, which was named one of the best books of 2016 by The Seattle Times.
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DJ: Hey Alexandra! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Alexandra Olivia: Hi! It’s great to be here. Sure—I’m a debut novelist who was born and raised in upstate New York, but my husband and I moved to the Pacific Northwest a few years ago, and I think we’re lifers. I’m currently working on my next novel and spend a good portion of my downtime wondering how much longer I should wait before posting another picture of my dog on Instagram.
DJ: What is The Last One about?
Alexandra: A woman is on a wilderness survival reality TV show when disaster strikes, and she thinks it’s all just part of the show.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Last One?
Alexandra: All the science fiction and fantasy I read growing up, for sure. I’ve always loved harrowing narratives in which a character I adore is put through the wringer, both physically and emotionally. Also, the ubiquity of reality television—the medium is inescapable! At some point my subconscious must have recognized there was such a cool connection between the two, and that I could have a really good time contrasting a real survival situation with the faux survival premise of a reality show.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Alexandra: Some people love my main character; other people hate her—or at least find her “unsympathetic.” Which is fair; I tried to write a complicated and realistic woman going through hell. She’s not your typical do-gooder; she isn’t always nice and she doesn’t always do the right thing, and while she can be described as “strong” in many ways, she’s also weighed down by some pretty massive fears and regrets. Personally, I think that’s what makes her compelling. It’s certainly what made her so fun to write; I loved exploring the ridges and chasms of her personality as she’s pushed to her psychological and physical limits. Continue reading