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Author, Alex Olivera, Takes Readers on a Personal Journey with New Book, Here Be Dragons.

Alex Olivera

Stories have a way of changing the way you think and feel. As a writer and artist, in addition to being a clinical psychologist, Alex Olivera knows just how stories can impact people’s lives. From her personal life experience to the influence of Japanese culture, Here be Dragons, is about exploring the unknown, which sometimes is within yourself. Japanese culture is itself a character in this moving story as it holds on to deeply rooted traditions in the face of a changing world. Read on as Olivera takes JustLuxe on a journey of storytelling and exploration.

When did you begin writing fiction?

When I was eight. My father gave me a “Cinegraph” for my birthday, a kind of primitive projector manually operated, in which you would put the movie (made of a long strip of almost transparent paper). I then started drawing and writing my own scripts.

What inspired you to write Here Be Dragons?

Japanese tradition, culture, people...

What is the significance of the title, Here Be Dragons?

“Here be Dragons" means dangerous or unexplored territories, in imitation of a medieval practice of putting illustrations of dragons, sea-monsters and other mythological creatures on uncharted areas of maps. The “dragons” end up being a metaphor, that applies to many territories; personal knowledge (what are you willing to see, what you sweep under the carpet); mystical: how the ego is dealt with. Etc. 

What do you want readers to take away with them after they have read your story?

My desire is that they “embark” on a personal journey. You know, in the field of psychology, which is one of my fields -I am a clinical psychologist- the power of stories is huge. There have been story-tellers, as tradition, everywhere, from tribes in the Amazon to Hungary to Nepal, Mexico. People heal through stories. 

What is your writing process?

Ha, that is a good one. I truly cannot answer that, I am just in a hurricane. My mind goes faster than my fingers. Sometime after, as it happens with storms, you go out to “evaluate the damage.” So many times I do not even know where the characters are heading.

How has being a psychotherapist helped in developing your characters?

I think a lot, but it has been a subconscious process. 

How has being an artist impacted your writing?

I do not separate, I feel one and whole and do everything in the same spirit. So where is the artist? Is the outcome “artistic”? The word “artist”, as much as I know I am supposed to be one, still is a total mystery to me and I do not understand its meaning. 

What is it about Japanese culture that influences you?

How a culture influences a person? I do not know... inoculation? It is like a truck that runs you over and throws you in the backyard, panting. You just have to deal with it however you can...

How has your past influenced your writing?

I feel all the characters in my book are me, in a way or another. They all represent me.

Are you currently working on a new writing?

Surely am. Somewhere in the vaults... 

Alex has a way of storytelling that makes it hard for the reader to put Here Be Dragons down. Culture, family, friendship, love, life, and death are all encompassed in a beautiful web throughout this exquisitely written tale. It leaves readers feeling open and vulnerable to acknowledge and heal from their own personal dragons. See more at Alex Olivera's Website.

Carly Zinderman

Carly Zinderman is a Senior Staff Writer for JustLuxe, based just outside of Los Angeles, CA. Since graduating from Occidental College with a degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies, she has written on a variety of topics for books, magazines and online publications, but loves fashion and style best. In her spare time, when she?s not writing, Carly enjoys watching old movies, reading an...(Read More)

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