Welcome back, everyone for the conclusion of this awesome interview with Caragh O'Brien, author of the bestselling Birthmarked trilogy!
Photo credit: © Tomy O’Brien
Author Blurb: Caragh M. O’Brien is the writer of the award-winning Birthmarked trilogy. She has trouble resisting chocolate chips, loves hanging with her family, and sings in a local chorus. Most days, she’s on her brown couch completely lost in one writing world or another.
1) Gaia is a terrific heroine, but I found myself liking most of the characters. Did any character in particular surprise you? Which one was your favorite to write about and why?
Gaia’s my favorite character, and she frequently surprised me. I liked writing her because she was learning who she was, and choosing who she could become. At heart, she was strong. She could make courageous choices to save others, but she also had to figure out how to survive and how to stay true to herself. That’s not always simple, and I liked how she made miserable mistakes along the way. Leon’s a favorite of mine, too. He’s very uncooperative and difficult to work with.
2) For our aspiring writers, tell us the most important lesson you've learned in writing this trilogy.
Oh, my gosh. I’ve learned so much. So many times I wondered what on earth I’d gotten myself into. It was hard to have faith that early drafts which were so messy and sprawling would ever be any good. I had to learn to trust that the revision process would reveal things to me as I went along, and it helped to have an editor who asked brilliant questions. The messy process can be very hard to accept when you pressure yourself for answers and perfection right away.
3) I love how puzzles play a large role in this trilogy. Are solving puzzles a hobby of yours and more generally, how do your personal experiences play a role in your writing?
I enjoy puzzles and the intricate way patterns overlap, from jigsaws to quilting. We played with codes a lot when I was a kid, so those experiences informed the codes in the series. Mostly, though, I don’t consciously draw from personal experiences for scenes or characters. That’s too limiting. I think rather my experiences have formed who I am, and I’m writing from the present, about what matters to me now.
4) Tell us a little about the last book in this trilogy without giving too much away!
I tried to write a train wreck. You know, when you can see horrible things coming and there’s no way to stop them. I was also deeply interested in where Gaia’s relationships with people she loves and people she despises could go in Promised. I loved seeing her in action as an imperfect leader. Does that help?
Thanks, Christina, for inviting me by! It’s lovely to have questions from someone who clearly cares about the novels, and you’ve certainly made me think. All best, Caragh
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