1. OLIVIA FOLMAR ARD
Olivia began writing creatively at eight years old. During middle and high school, she attended
several writing conferences and submitted poems and short stories to various contests, placing
several times. She finished her first long work of fiction, a novella entitled Heaven’s Song, in the
tenth grade. Her short story “By Its Cover” placed first in its division in the 2008 District III
Alabama Penman Creative Writing Contest, and was published in the Shelby County Schools’
Journal of Literary Arts. She took a reprieve from recreational writing during her years at the
University of Montevallo, where she earned a degree in history in 2012. She finished and
published her first novel, The Partition of Africa, in 2014.
Olivia lives in central Alabama with her husband John, to whom she’s been wed since the age of
twenty-two, and their cat, Buddy. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys watching quality
television and pushing the boundaries of her culinary abilities. Along with working full-time at
her alma mater and studying English at the graduate level, she is busy working on her next
Olivia is available for speaking engagements, interviews, and appearances.
She is also happy to speak to reading and writing groups.
Interview with WON Radio’s Freshly Booked with Jennifer K. Taylor
Shelby County students recognized for writing & art achievements – Shelby Co.
Ard autographs her book ‘The Partition of Africa’ at reception – Shelby Co. Reporter
Author Spotlight on Echo Fox Books
When did you decide to become a writer?
I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when I was five years old. It was the first book
with chapters I managed to conquer alone, and through that experience I fell in love with
the written word. It didn’t take long to realize I wanted not only to enjoy the stories of
others, but to create my own as well.
Who encouraged you to pursue your dream?
When I started writing poems in the fourth grade, my teacher read them and recognized
my potential. She encouraged me to keep writing several times over the years, and when
The Partition of Africa was published, she bought a copy immediately. She, along with other
teachers, family members, mentors, and friends, are the reason I am here today.
What inspires you?
This will probably seem like a cop-out answer, but almost everything inspires me! My mind
tends to turn everyday happenings into crazy scenarios. For example, once at a previous
job, a strange man who seemed nervous asked me to point him in the direction of the
company’s credit union. Before I’d reached the end of the hall, my mind was already
reeling—what if he was robbing the credit union, and thanks to giving him directions, I was
now an accomplice? The plots for both of my books emerged from several long, drawn-out
Which authors have influenced you as a writer?
All of them! I jest only in part; almost every author I read has influenced me in one way or
another. Most notably, though, I would have to say C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling,
K.B. Hoyle, Leo Tolstoy, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Audrey Niffenegger, Jodi Picoult, Jane
Austen, and Sarah Dessen have been the most influential.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
When I started writing seriously again, I asked a friend and fellow author this very
question. Her answer was simple: “Writer’s block is a myth.” Initially, I didn’t believe her—
after all, I’d been writing off and on for nearly ten years, and I had never managed to finish
anything longer than an unpolished novella. When she explained her answer, though, I
realized she was correct. More than anything, writer’s block is usually a manifestation of a
larger issue: lack of planning and/or organization. Writers will always go through periods
in which they feel stuck or uninspired; in order to face these times head-on, stories must be
planned out. It isn’t necessary to know every single detail of the plot, but having a general
concept of the destination is paramount to success.
Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
This may come as a surprise, but I’m not really a big fan of romance. I think—generally
speaking, of course—romance novels tend to sugarcoat the truth, justify bad behavior, and
encourage readers to foster unrealistic expectations. That being said, there’s still a part of
me that longs to curl up with a good love story. My goal with both The Partition of Africa
5. and The Marshall Plan was to craft intriguing, well-rounded romances for people like me,
who usually don’t care for the genre.
What are you currently working on?
I’m in the early stages of a third book in the Bennett series entitled This Dread Road. Claire
James, who plays a major role in The Partition of Africa, will return as a protagonist
alongside Henry and Annemarie, two brand new characters. This Dread Road has two
intersecting plots which will please fans of both contemporary fiction and historical
I am also working on a Christmas novella entitled ‘Tis the Season, which will hopefully be
available Black Friday 2016!
If you could read only one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky. People usually laugh
when I tell them it’s the best novel I’ve ever read, but it’s the truth!
I would like to review your book. Can I get a copy from you?
Absolutely! Please send a review request with your name, website/blog name, social media
information, and URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m an author, too! Will you read and review my book?
I do occasionally read books for review for the blog Read Yourself to Sleep. I accept all
genres, with the exceptions of horror and erotica. Please send all queries by e-mail to
6. PUBLISHED BOOKS
The Partition of Africa (Bennett Series #1)
Original Publication Date: December 26, 2014
Second Ed. Publication Date: January 4, 2016
Trim Size: 6” x 9”
Print Length: 270 pages
Hattie Greene is a serious-minded sophomore who always follows the rules. She earned her place
at the prestigious Howard Knox College & University, and she intends to keep it. Much to the
chagrin of her socialite roommate Claire, Hattie ignores the usual college activities in favor of
focusing on her academic career.
Hattie’s status as a perpetual good girl comes into question when Samson Campbell, a married
professor with rugged good looks, enters the picture. He’s wrong for her on every level, but she
just can’t stay way. They enter an affair that threatens everything Hattie holds dear, causing her
to question her identity. All actions have consequences, and this is no exception.
The heart wants what it wants . . . but what if the heart is wrong?
7. The Marshall Plan (Bennett Series #2)
Publication Date: October 7, 2015
Trim Size: 6” x 9”
Print Length: 244 pages
Molly Marshall is fresh out of graduate school, armed with a shiny new degree in journalism and
ready to take over the world. There’s just one little problem: no one seems to care.
Six months have passed since graduation and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t find a
paying job in the field she’s spent years preparing to dominate. Stuck in a menial job she hates,
plagued with memories of an abusive childhood, and engaged to a man she may no longer love,
she’s running out of options and fast.
When she stumbles across a long-kept secret, though, everything changes and she’s forced to
make a choice. What will it be, her ambition or her heart?
This standalone sequel to The Partition of Africa invites you to examine your thoughts on
family, desire, and the nature of love itself.
8. UPCOMING RELEASES
This Dread Road (Bennett Series #3)
Expected Publication Date: December 2016
Trim Size: 6” x 9”
Claire James has no idea what she’s doing with her life. She has no job, no plans, and now, no fiancé. Stranded
in a strange city, she has no choice but to seek guidance from her weather entrepreneur of a father. But when he
offers her a Manhattan apartment and a chance to reclaim her hedonistic lifestyle, something inside her snaps.
She realizes she’s never done anything on her own before, and she desperately wants that to change. Instead of
keys and a credit card, she leaves her father’s office with a ticket to South Carolina and the promise of
But a change of scenery isn’t enough to heal Claire’s scars. Ostracized at work and held at a distance by her
best friend, she feels like an outcast in the town she once called home. After a few months pass and nothing
changes, she begins to question her decision to leave her ex, who has shockingly already moved on.
But during a long, lonely overnight shift, Claire connects with Annemarie, an older woman who sees through
all of her pretenses. Their conversation quickly moves from lattes to love and loss. As Annemarie shares the
tale of her own ruined heart, revealing little by little just how much they have in common, Claire realizes she
just might hold the key to making everything right.
Following The Partition of Africa and The Marshall Plan, this stunning conclusion to the Bennett series
takes us across space and time to remind us of one simple truth: Love never fails.
9. ‘Tis the Season: A Christmas Novella
Expected Publication Date: November 2016
Trim Size: 6” x 9”
@lfcalhoun1988: First day as team lead at @URELCOInc!
#RiseAndGrind #OutfitOnFleek #ILoveMyJob – 2/15/16
@lfcalhoun1988: Late night fro yo run with my hottie. #marriedlife – 6/13/16
@lfcalhoun1988: Joe & I are finally HOMEOWNERS! #blessed – 7/6/16
Lauren Calhoun has had the perfect year . . . at least, according to social media. But at the end of the day, when
the screens power down, she’s stuck with the cold, depressing truth. Her dream job from hell is running her
ragged, her marriage is falling apart, and their charming new beachfront cottage feels more like a tomb than a
home. At the heart of it all lies a secret diagnosis, one that threatens to snatch away her dream of being a
mother for good.
This Christmas, the last thing Lauren wants is to venture out into the real world, where filters and hashtags
can’t help her. But when her husband cashes in a long-owed favor, she’s forced to tag along on a trip to see her
least favorite people on the planet: the dreaded in-laws.
As Lauren and Joe navigate the tangled web of family drama, deception, and unexpected tragedy, their
wounded hearts slowly start to heal and they remember why love is worth fighting for.
The Partition of Africa
“In the sea of rush-to-publish books out there, Ard appears to be a true professional and
dedicated to her craft.” –Stephanie, Goodreads reviewer
“If you are looking for a clean read that will hold your attention, look no further!” –Leah,
“[Romance] is not my usual choice…I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The story is good and the
storytelling is even better.” –Judy Felding, Amazon Reviewer
“This author is one to watch.” –Kirsty Turner, Goodreads Reviewer
“This debut novel is well-written and relevant. I don’t read a lot of romance, and I’m usually
leery of first-time novel attempts, but I was pleasantly surprised by not only the depth of the
message in this story, but also the deftness with which Ms. Ard writes. It’s clear she is a natural
writer with a great eye for style, and her story goes deeper than the average romantic tale.” –
Alabama Reader, Amazon Reviewer
“Consequences have a way of bringing out the best and worst in people around [Hattie] and it’s
fascinating to see how Ard uses this to help us examine themes of redemption and forgiveness.”
–Becca, Goodreads Reviewer
“I can count on one hand the number of romance novels that I have read. . .What a pleasant
surprise! This book was captivating, immediately piquing my interest. Ms. Ard has a talent for
painting a vivid picture without being trite.” –Karen McMillan, Amazon Reviewer
“This book was a pleasure. . .A wonderful read that I absolutely recommend.” –S. Bullock,
“I am not much of a reader, but when I started this book I could not put it down. It was well-
written and held my attention. I can’t wait for the next book to come out!” –Amanda, Amazon
“I hate romance novels, but I gave this a try anyway. It was a great coming of age tale. There
were not any of the ‘steamy’. . . scenes used in the telling [of the story]. There was a point a few
chapters in where I almost put the book down. . .I’m glad I didn’t. It is really a good story and I
would recommend it to anyone. . .” –Katherine, Amazon Reviewer
11. The Marshall Plan
“Molly Marshall . . . is probably the most relatable character I have ever come across. For anyone
who has ever doubted themselves [or] found themselves unsatisfied with the life they’re living
. . . I think you’ll love Molly, too. This book is almost as good as a therapy session, without the
awkward, ‘So, how does that make you feel?’ question. It’s a contemporary tale that speaks to
any age or stage of life. The writing style is easy to digest, leaving the reader free to enjoy the
story that unfolds.” –Angel Leya, Goodreads Reviewer
“I think a lot of women’s fiction takes the idea of empowerment too literally, like women are
expected to grab life by the horns and demand what they want out of it. One thing I love about
this book is the idea that empowerment can also come from graciousness.” –Rebecca Lyman,
“I suppose The Marshall Plan would be classified as contemporary or romance, but really it's a
coming of age novel; or actually a coming-of-age-in-your-twenties novel. As annoyed as I was
with our protagonist, Molly Marshall, for much of the story (which was the point, just to be
clear; I don't think you're meant to approve of her terrible attitude), her uncertainty as she
navigates the rocky terrain of post-college life felt pretty on target. Life hasn't turned out how
she anticipated: her degree is collecting dust while she works in a taco truck and becomes more
and more dissatisfied with her career, her relationship with her fiance, and her life in general.
It's not at all what she wants and so she's lured into the black hole of bitterness and irritability.
This is the story of how she finds her way back out of that hole.” –Katie Ziegler, Goodreads
“Ms. Ard has a knack for developing empathy between her characters and her readers. That,
and the strength of the writing, is what earned this story its 5-star rating for me.” –Alabama
Reader, Amazon Review
“ Such a captivating story, from the very first page. Can't wait to read Mrs. Ard's next book!!” –
Jennifer M., Amazon Reviewer
“This isn't normally my genre of choice. However, the author's prose is so well-written and her
story so truly relatable that I found myself unable to put this down. Olivia describes a young
woman struggling to understand the root of all of her problems and on the brink of self-
discovery. The message delivered is one that any of us can understand. Beware! It will leave
your reaching for the tissues!” –Sophie A. Stogner, Amazon Reviewer