Interview with IVEE OLIVARES – The Sonnclere Mysteries

Can you tell us a little about your books and yourself?

I’ve always loved mysteries. Growing up, I was particularly fond of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. So when contemplating writing a series myself, I decided to create a character not quite like Sherlock but similar. A highly intelligent person with a unique way of seeing the world. Someone who arrives at clues and conclusions that would escape ordinary people. The result is my Sonnclere Mystery Series. The protagonist is a young female chemist by the name of Dr Neroli Sonnclere who suffers from a condition called hyperosmia. It means she has an especially acute sense of smell. While Sherlock Holmes applies his deductive reasoning and vast knowledge, Dr Sonnclere uses her sense of smell and training as a scientist. Like Sherlock, she stands out from others. She’s tall with red hair and a big nose. And also like Sherlock, she’s socially awkward in her own way. Maybe not quite as strange as Sherlock, though.

 What inspired you to write your books?

Apart from Sherlock Holmes and mysteries in general as I mentioned earlier, science inspires me. I’m neither a doctor nor a scientist, but I enjoy watching documentaries on nature, medicine, archaeology and so forth.

 Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

To stretch myself. When I started my writing journey, I was advised that I should begin with what I know. That was fine at first. However, as I gained confidence, I found it limiting. Had I carried on the same route, I’d probably not have much to say. Hence, I try to write about subjects I know very little about. This means I have to do a lot of research, and exercise a lot of imagination. A challenging process, but I believe it enables me to write more interesting stories. And as an added bonus, I learn new things along the way.

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 What are some challenges that you faced while writing?

Finding the time. There’s nothing like being in the zone and spending hours hammering away on the computer. Unfortunately, life gets in the way. I am also impatient by nature. I wish I could be as prolific as other authors who churn out book after book. But I like to take breaks in between and give my stories and me some space.

 Who or what in your life would you say influenced you the most?

First, all those literature classes I had to “endure” at school. While I liked to read, I didn’t necessarily want to discuss what I read, much less write papers critiquing it. Writing creatively had also never crossed my mind. Until one professor turned it all around for me. I remember him wearing a short-sleeved white shirt, black-rimmed glasses and a toothy smile, reading an excerpt from one of Shakespeare’s plays. I can’t recall which in particular, but I was completely enthralled. The words were so beautiful, his rendering so impassioned. He made me wish I could write like that. I’m still wishing.

Second, my family. I grew up in a home that treasured books, music and art. I am grateful that they have always supported me in my artistic pursuits.

And last but not the least, my faith in God inspires me. It not only gives me strength and hope, but amazingly I get my best ideas while I am praying.

 What are your hobbies and interests away from the desk?

I love stories, whether they come in print, film or TV. Predictably as a writer, I read all the time—anything from thrillers to crime and romance novels. Sometimes, literary fiction and the classics. When I get the chance, I also enjoy travelling and going to museums and galleries. Since I trained as an artist, I still like to paint. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to do much of it these days.

 What does “success” mean to you?

Success means doing what I love to do, doing it well and earning a living from it. I write to entertain people, too. To give my readers a few hours of fun and excitement would make my efforts worthwhile.

 What are your current projects?

I am in the middle of my third Sonnclere Mystery instalment. I’m really excited about it. Still set in London, it’s about the creation of a truth drug and the consequences that follow its discovery. I’m taking the story from the laboratory to the press and ultimately to the highest echelons of power.

 Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write. Start writing and keep writing. If you persist at it, you will get better. Write about stories that thrill you, that make you think and feel. If you aren’t passionate about your characters and plots, how will your readers be passionate about them, too?


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