Kathleen O’Brien is the author of over 32 books.
1. What is the most interesting experience you’ve had as a writer?
When I was researching deviant sexual practices for my romantic suspense QUIET AS THE GRAVE, I encountered some spine-chilling pictures of interesting…devices. And machines. Wow. For a former convent-school girl like me, this was a shocker. Now I just hope no one ever confiscates my computer and checks on my searches. Straight to the loony bin for me!
I used to be a cat person, no exceptions. But then I met Lily, our new Bichon, and I flipped. Not only is she smart and cute and (something no cat has ever considered) obedient. She also is free from the two things that I’d always hated about dogs: stink and slobber.
3. Describe your most recent main character. Compare his or her appearance to celebrities or other fictional characters we know.
I just finished a Superromance that will be part of Harlequin’s 60th anniversary celebration. It’s called FOR THE LOVE OF FAMILY, and the hero, Matt Malone, is part Irish, part Italian. He’s black-haired and olive skinned, and gorgeous, of course. When I wrote him, I saw a cross between a young Al Pacino and a sober Colin Farrell…only taller!
I never get tired of reading Georgette Heyer’s THESE OLD SHADES or Mary Stewart’s NINE COACHES WAITING. Never. I also love Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles, but they are so hard they wear out my brain, so I need to be in the mood. The smart mood.
Main characters’ names have to “feel” right. Isn’t it weird how you have certain associations with certain names? The scary thing is, maybe other people have different associations. The hero in my next book, TEXAS WEDDING, is named Trent Maxwell. I hope no one associates that name with serial killers or knuckle-draggers…because Trent Maxwell is one of my favorite heroes ever! I first met Trent in TEXAS BABY, and I couldn’t wait to write this sequel so that he could have his own romance!
I used to think I couldn’t listen to anything, because it created static for my inner voice. Then I discovered Pandora.com, and found out that if the music is just my style (super corny), I can do just fine!
No one believes this. I have a critique group. We’ve been together for years, with dozens of books among us, and sometimes we get punch-drunk trying to think of something new. I have this gorgeous filigreed sterling silver nut spoon I inherited, and one night we decided to balance it on the tip of our nose while reciting possible character occupations. Whatever we were saying when the spoon dropped…we had to use that idea. I think that’s why the heroine in HAPPILY NEVER AFTER, another romantic suspense, created stained glass.
Dingle, Ireland. I’m Irish, and the air in Western Ireland just sings to me. The little beach at Slea Head, with its caves and winds and its crystal water trickling down stony cliffs, is pure magic. I received a hug on that beach that will always be the memory I use to ward off demons.
I hate plotting. I always feel that I’ll never, ever have another idea. Sometimes I start with no more than a tingle of curiosity. I come to the critique table and say, “I’ve always thought it was weird that The Dead Bride is so universally understood to be creepy. Why is that, and how can I use it?” Sometimes I have a character in mind, or a certain kind of story, but more often I just start whining, “Help me, guys!”
10. When you aren’t writing, what do you like to do for fun?
Of course, like all writers, I’m a reader. I also love games–board games, card games, word games, jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, charades. Anything! I love movies and great TV shows. I love walking and traveling and museums and the theater and my iPod. I crave moving water: the beach, the lake, the ocean, the backyard fountain. Even rain. I can spend hours watching it.