Saturday, November 26, 2011

Q&A with Devin O'Branagan

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 me a bit about yourself. I know a bit from your forum and your bio, but for those who don't - spill the beans!

I’ve been writing fiction since I was five years old—my first story was a ghost story. My first two published novels, also paranormal fiction, were released by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books in English and by Heyne in German. I have since published six more novels in a variety of genres including paranormal thrillers, paranormal chick lit, comic chick lit, canine chick lit, and young adult urban fantasy. In addition, I write a humor column for TAILS Magazine.

2) I always like to find out about a fellow writer's routine while they work - still trying to master my own. What would you say are your "needs" when you sit down to write?

All I need is my laptop computer. I have no special routine—I just sit down in my favorite easy chair and write. I have a big basket next to the chair, and it is filled with haphazard notes I’ve made on plot, characters, dialogue and research. I also have a dictionary and thesaurus at the ready. Otherwise I’m a fly-by-the seat-of my-pants kind of writer.

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 out from all the novels you've written?

I believe it’s my best-written novel. It is also my most inspirational. For me, writing isn’t just about telling a good story, but also about moving people’s hearts.

4) What was your inspiration behind THRESHOLD? Not only the NDE, but all of it - the shamans, the bit "art" themes, etc. 

THRESHOLD was inspired by a near-death experience of my own, which fueled my lifelong spiritual journey. That journey took me through the study of many religions and metaphysical paths, including shamanism. Other themes in the book, from art to quantum physics, are areas of personal interest to me. Everything in my life is grist for the mill of my writing.

5) She wasn't there very much, but I really loved Quinn "Queen B". She's strong, assertive, sometimes brash and rude, but still understanding, compassionate, and not blind to her own fault. I'd love to know more about her. 

Throughout my life I have met people of true power, and people with imagined power. I wanted to explore that dichotomy and did so via Branwen and her mother, Quinn. It’s interesting how many people have claimed Quinn as their favorite character in THRESHOLD. I think it’s because she is representative of a woman who is truly powerful.

6) More importantly, tell us a bit about YOUR favourite character in THRESHOLD. 

The primary protagonist, Cole, is my favorite 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 bad behavior. He owns it, tries to change, and seeks redemption. He has such courage, even if reckless at times. And he has genuine compassion. I loved working with him.

7) Other works:

My first novel, now out of print, was SPIRIT WARRIORS, a paranormal thriller about the end-times as prophesied by the Hopi Indians. While researching it, I lived in a log cabin near the Hopi reservation and studied with the spokesman for the Hopi Elders. I may update and rerelease it when time allows.

WITCH HUNT was my second novel, published by Pocket Books in English and Heyne in German. It is a paranormal thriller about three hundred years in the history of a family of witches, from the days of the Salem trials through to a modern, fundamentalist-inspired witch hunt. It went out of print as well, so I had the rights reverted to me and in 2010 released an updated version of it. It spent much of 2011 on Amazon’s Metaphysical Fiction Bestsellers List and was recently picked up by Turkish publisher, Dogan Egmont.

GLORY was released last year and is the first in my planned young adult urban fantasy series, THE LEGEND OF GLORY. In GLORY, a seventeen-year-old girl’s blood holds the cure for a deadly pandemic plague, 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 nominated for the 2011 Best Popular Paperback for Young Adults List, sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association.

And then there are THE RED HOT NOVELS, a chick lit series that includes the suspenseful comedy, RED HOT PROPERTY, the paranormal 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 uncommon to 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 the cost, rising above one’s limitations, etc. Even the delightful SHOW DOG SINGS THE BLUES—which is told from the dog’s perspective—has a message. When a pampered show dog is mistaken for a cowdog and has to work on a ranch for the day, she discovers she is much more than just another pretty face. The main characters in the RED HOT series (human and canine) grow, learn, and become more than they imagine is possible.

SHOW DOG SINGS THE BLUES hit the #1 spot on Amazon’s Hot New Releases and spent time on the bestsellers list for books about dogs. I donate a portion of the proceeds to Australian Shepherd Rescue.

8) I'm currently reading WITCH HUNT and so far I'm loving it. It seems you and I share an interest in historical intolerance. What is it about the Salem Witch Trials that sparked your imagination for this novel?

In 1989 the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwā—a death sentence—against author Salman Rushdie for writing a novel offensive to the Islamic faith. I was horrified, and my first thought was, “That couldn’t happen in America!” My second thought was to remember the Salem trials. Because of the strong influence groups like the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition were having in the 1980’s, I grew concerned that history might repeat itself, and so I wrote WITCH HUNT as a cautionary tale.

9) Care to tell us about any new projects in the works? You're hardly the time to stay idle for long.

I am working on the sequel to GLORY, titled PRETTY SACRIFICES. I am also working on THE TWILIGHT BONE, which is the prequel to 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 your readers. What made you decide to create your forum? 

Following the release of my first young adult novel, GLORY, I made a lot of public appearances. Most of the teens who attended my programs had writing ambitions, and I felt the need to encourage their talent. I originally started the forum simply as a place to hold flash fiction contests for new writers. Over time it grew into the wonderful writers’ forum it is today. Our international membership now includes people of all ages and all experience levels, from beginning writers to professional authors. We also have members who are not writers, but are artists, publishing professionals, as well as people interested in animals, metaphysics, and reading. The forum allows me to interact with fans in a personal way that I find most rewarding.

11) Any parting words? The rest is up to you!

One of the things I’m most proud of is how I’ve found ways to use my writing to support animal rescue. I’ve held two major raffles to raise money for Best Friends Animal Society, the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for homeless, abused, and abandoned animals. The prizes I offered were to feature the winners’ pets as characters in my novels. Through sales of my books and plush toys related to the themes of my writing, I also support Australian Shepherd Rescue, Border Collie Rescue, and cat rescue groups.

If anyone would like to learn more about my books, animal rescue projects, and forum, please visit my website at


  1. Thank you for asking me such wonderful questions, Krista, and for providing me this opportunity.

    We really enjoy your contributions to the forum and value you as a member of our online writing family.

    I love how friendships can develop in cyberspace. It's, well, magical!

  2. Wonderful interview sorry it has taken me so long to read/comment.

  3. I just posted this quote, "For me, writing isn't just about telling a good story, but also about moving people's hearts." on my Threshold Lens.