Brooke O'Brien is the Author of the Heart's Compass series and the recently published Tattered Heart duet.
Growing up Brooke always had a love of writing; she started out writing poetry when she was young and began journaling her thoughts as she grew older. Diving headfirst into a good book has always been therapeutic for her. Now her two passions have collided.
Brooke believes you can cure any bad day with chocolate or by going on a long drive with the windows down and the music turned up! She's found that's when her characters talk to her the most! If she's not reading or writing, you'll probably find her spending time with her family and friends, watching Hawkeye football or NBA basketball, going to the movies, or collecting signed paperbacks.
1. Will you tell us about your most recent published work?
My recent book I published was the Tattered Heart duet back in March 2018. It's a Brother's Best Friend/Military romance. Book 1, Torn, takes place when Ryan and Maverick are 18 years old. Tattered takes place 4 years later.
2. What personal challenges do you face as a writer?
There is never enough time in the day to do all the things my brain thinks up. Sometimes it's hard to balance a full-time job, two children, and writing. I love it though and I wouldn't have it any other way.
3. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
It used to be editing as I wrote, however I stopped doing that. It slowed me down and caused me to overthink everything. I've found I enjoy the process soooo much more when I just write where the wind takes me (with an outline, of course). I'll go back and tweak things afterwards.
4. What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
This is an interesting question! I'm not sure I'd like to think of it as "giving up" something, but I'm committed to improving my writing with every book I write and taking on new challenges along the way.
5. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
YES! So much YES!
I'm typically a pretty organized person. I make lists and I take great satisfaction in crossing things off. I'm orderly and need structure to calm my chaotic mind.
With my debut Where I Found You, I pantsed this book. If you're new to this term, it means you just fly by the seat of your pants. You don't outline, you just go in and write what the characters are telling you. I have NO IDEA what I was thinking (well, I had no idea what I was doing anyway) but after a lot of revisions to make the story fall into place, I've learned I need to outline or it's a mess.
6. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Will you tell us about them?
2 - Until I Found You is Book 3 in my Heart's Compass series. It's currently being edited and will be released on February 15th. The other one is a Heart's Compass Novella, titled Now That I Found You. It's releasing on March 15th.
7. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I do! I appreciate constructive criticism. In fact, one of my beta readers I sought out after she gave me some very honest feedback on my debut. It was good feedback and a fair review. She's now one of my closest friends in this community.
I appreciate the good ones - It's the fuel I need at times. The bad ones are never easy, but I take them in and move on. Not everyone will connect with and love the same books in the same way.
8. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
9. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have a few author friends I've connected with throughout my writing career. Some of them are there to just chat with me about life and writing, others really challenge me in a business sense. Sometimes they give me those honest chats that I need and I love them for it.
10. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
11. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I don't know if I'd call it a trap, maybe more of a hurdle, but just the fear of people reading your writing and thinking you suck. We all feel it - even the most successful authors have doubt. It's important for you to know you're not alone. If you're an aspiring writer, there are groups out there where you can network and find your own tribe. Having people in your corner in every phase of the process is helpful and important to get you to the end result. It's worth it!
12. What’s the best way to market your books?
Well, I'm learning it's important to know your audience and who your targeted reader is, and make sure your book cover and blurb fit with the genre you're marketing. Sometimes what you love doesn't always market well. That's a hard pill to swallow.
13. What is your favorite childhood book?
All of them! ;) Umm... I loved reading Goosebumps.
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