When I first joined Devin’s forum in September, I had no idea that it would become such an integral part of my life. I sometimes wondered if I should get out and find a writing group like this in the real world, but with this group it didn’t really matter. I grew to know them, to appreciate their support and their individual talent, and in process Devin became a very good friend.
Now that I’ve finished reading Threshold and Witch Hunt (expect a review soon), I’m very excited to share this Q&A with you. Enjoy!
Devin O’Branagan – author
1) The classic: Tell mea bit about yourself. I know a bit from your forum and your bio, but for thosewho don’t – spill the beans!
I’ve been writing fiction since I was fiveyears old—my first story was a ghost story. My first two published novels, alsoparanormal fiction, were released by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books inEnglish and by Heyne in German. I have since published six more novels in avariety of genres including paranormal thrillers, paranormal chick lit, comicchick lit, canine chick lit, and young adult urban fantasy. In addition, Iwrite a humor column for TAILS Magazine.
2) I always like to find out about a fellow writer’sroutine while they work – still trying to master my own. What would you say areyour “needs” when you sit down to write?
All I need is my laptop computer. I have nospecial routine—I just sit down in my favorite easy chair and write. I have abig basket next to the chair, and it is filled with haphazard notes I’ve madeon plot, characters, dialogue and research. I also have a dictionary andthesaurus at the ready. Otherwise I’m a fly-by-the seat-of my-pants kind ofwriter.
Moving onto THRESHOLD!
3) I’ve often heard you say that this book is your”favourite baby”. What is it about THRESHOLD that makes it stand outfrom all the novels you’ve written?
I believe it’s my best-written novel. It isalso my most inspirational. For me, writing isn’t just about telling a goodstory, but also about moving people’s hearts.
4) What was your inspiration behind THRESHOLD? Notonly the NDE, but all of it – the shamans, the bit “art” themes, etc.
THRESHOLD was inspired by a near-deathexperience of my own, which fueled my lifelong spiritual journey. That journeytook me through the study of many religions and metaphysical paths, includingshamanism. Other themes in the book, from art to quantum physics, are areas ofpersonal interest to me. Everything in my life is grist for the mill of mywriting.
5) She wasn’t there very much, but I really lovedQuinn “Queen B”. She’s strong, assertive, sometimes brash and rude,but still understanding, compassionate, and not blind to her own fault. I’dlove to know more about her.
Throughout my life I have met people oftrue power, and people with imagined power. I wanted to explore that dichotomyand did so via Branwen and her mother, Quinn. It’s interesting how many peoplehave claimed Quinn as their favorite character in THRESHOLD. I think it’sbecause she is representative of a woman who is truly powerful.
6) More importantly, tell us a bit about YOURfavourite character in THRESHOLD.
The primary protagonist, Cole, is myfavorite character. He is amazing. Prior to his NDE he was not a nice child,and even though the reasons for that are explained, he never justifies his badbehavior. He owns it, tries to change, and seeks redemption. He has suchcourage, even if reckless at times. And he has genuine compassion. I lovedworking with him.
7) Other works:
My first novel, now out of print, wasSPIRIT WARRIORS, a paranormal thriller about the end-times as prophesied by theHopi Indians. While researching it, I lived in a log cabin near the Hopireservation and studied with the spokesman for the Hopi Elders. I may updateand rerelease it when time allows.
WITCH HUNT was my second novel, publishedby Pocket Books in English and Heyne in German. It is a paranormal thrillerabout three hundred years in the history of a family of witches, from the daysof the Salemtrials through to a modern, fundamentalist-inspired witch hunt. It went out ofprint as well, so I had the rights reverted to me and in 2010 released anupdated version of it. It spent much of 2011 on Amazon’s Metaphysical FictionBestsellers List and was recently picked up by Turkish publisher, Dogan Egmont.
GLORY was released last year and is thefirst in my planned young adult urban fantasy series, THE LEGEND OF GLORY. InGLORY, a seventeen-year-old girl’s blood holds the cure for a deadly pandemicplague, and a witch, an angel, and a vampire are assigned to be her bodyguards.It, too, was on Amazon’s Metaphysical Fiction Bestsellers List and was also nominatedfor the 2011 Best Popular Paperback for Young Adults List, sponsored by theYoung Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American LibraryAssociation.
And then there are THE RED HOT NOVELS, achick lit series that includes the suspenseful comedy, RED HOT PROPERTY, theparanormal chick lit sequel, RED HOT LIBERTY, and the canine chick lit spinoff,SHOW DOG SINGS THE BLUES. These books are comedic, but include a depth uncommonto traditional chick lit. I like to deal with issues in my fiction: gay rights,animal welfare, taking a stand for what is right in life no matter what thecost, rising above one’s limitations, etc. Even the delightful SHOW DOG SINGSTHE BLUES—which is told from the dog’s perspective—has a message. When apampered show dog is mistaken for a cowdog and has to work on a ranch for theday, she discovers she is much more than just another pretty face. The maincharacters in the RED HOT series (human and canine) grow, learn, and becomemore than they imagine is possible.
SHOW DOG SINGS THE BLUES hit the #1 spot onAmazon’s Hot New Releases and spent time on the bestsellers list for booksabout dogs. I donate a portion of the proceeds to Australian Shepherd Rescue.
8) I’m currently readingWITCH HUNT and so far I’m loving it. It seems you and I share an interest inhistorical intolerance. What is it about the Salem Witch Trials that sparkedyour imagination for this novel?
In 1989 the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwā—adeath sentence—against author Salman Rushdie for writing a novel offensive tothe Islamic faith. I was horrified, and my first thought was, “That couldn’thappen in America!”My second thought was to remember the Salemtrials. Because of the strong influence groups like the Moral Majority and theChristian Coalition were having in the 1980’s, I grew concerned that historymight repeat itself, and so I wrote WITCH HUNT as a cautionary tale.
9) Care to tell us aboutany new projects in the works? You’re hardly the time to stay idle for long.
I am working on the sequel to GLORY, titledPRETTY SACRIFICES. I am also working on THE TWILIGHT BONE, which is the prequelto SHOW DOG SINGS THE BLUES. The third book in the RED HOT series, RED HOT VAMPYRE,is in the planning stage.
10) I love that you’re so interactive with yourreaders. What made you decide to create your forum?
Following the release of my first youngadult novel, GLORY, I made a lot of public appearances. Most of the teens whoattended my programs had writing ambitions, and I felt the need to encouragetheir talent. I originally started the forum simply as a place to hold flashfiction contests for new writers. Over time it grew into the wonderful writers’forum it is today. Our international membership now includes people of all agesand all experience levels, from beginning writers to professional authors. Wealso have members who are not writers, but are artists, publishingprofessionals, as well as people interested in animals, metaphysics, andreading. The forum allows me to interact with fans in a personal way that Ifind most rewarding.
11) Any parting words? The rest is up to you!
One of the things I’m most proud of is howI’ve found ways to use my writing to support animal rescue. I’ve held two majorraffles to raise money for Best Friends Animal Society, the nation’s largestno-kill sanctuary for homeless, abused, and abandoned animals. The prizes I offeredwere to feature the winners’ pets as characters in my novels. Through sales of mybooks and plush toys related to the themes of my writing, I also supportAustralian Shepherd Rescue, Border Collie Rescue, and cat rescue groups.
If anyone would like to learn more about mybooks, animal rescue projects, and forum, please visit my website at www.DevinWrites.com