Name: Brooke O’Brien
Age: I’m about a week away from turning 29.
Where are you from?
Born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
A little about yourself (i.e. your education, family life, etc.)
I’m currently engaged to my high school sweetheart of nearly eleven years. Together, we have two children, ages five and nine. We hope to get married sometime in the next year. After starting a family at a young age, I made the decision to attend college at University of Phoenix pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I will be releasing my debut novel, Where I Found You, on May 8th. It’s Book 1 in the Heart’s Compass series of interconnected standalones. I’ve already began working on Lost Before You (#2) releasing later this year.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing when I was young, around third or fourth grade. While it wasn’t always stories, it was an outlet to express myself. It helped me reconcile my thoughts around difficult things I’ve experienced throughout my life.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
There are times I still question if I’m a writer in a professional sense. I’ll ask myself, “What do you think you’re doing Brooke?” I’m hoping that’s normal in the beginning. Haha!
To me, I’m a writer because that’s what I enjoy doing and aspire to do in life. I believe the stories in my head are meant to be told. I don’t know if it’s quite hit me that I’m only days away from publishing my first book. I’m still waiting for that to fully sink in.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I think that many people can relate to Callum and Ellie’s story in one way or another. It’s a story that hits very close to home with me. I wanted to be the one to tell it.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’ve been told that I’m descriptive in that I paint a picture for the reader. My hope is to be descriptive in a way feels like you are in the moment with the characters, experiencingit with them.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
If you’ve read Where I Found You, you know that the compass necklace plays a role in the story. The main character, Ellie, is lost and trying to find her way through life. I felt like the title fit perfectly when thinking about her journey and how the compass incorporated into the story.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
It’s a reminder that even when you feel lost and broken, you are stronger than you may think you are. Even the most broken people deserve to find happiness and love.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
A lot of this book I drew from personal experiences. There are other parts where the characters were doing the talking. The scenes I can relate to are the hardest to talk about. So much of this book was healing for me.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
The books that have influenced me the most are the stories I felt the author’s emotions in every word. Stories like It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover or Written in the Scars by Adriana Locke. Both of these books are stories that hit me on another level.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
She is more of a new-to-me author, but I recently read A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandi Steiner. This is an example of how someone’s words can hit me straight in the feels. It was like a rollercoaster of a ride, but I loved it. She has moved over into that “auto one-click” status for me.
Asking me who my favorite author is like asking me which of my children is my favorite. That’s just wrong, ha ha! I have a few favorites that no matter what they publish, I’m always ready to one-click as soon as it’s available. Those authors would be Colleen Hoover, K.C. Lynn, J. Daniels, Adriana Locke, Harper Sloan, and
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My friends. I’m so incredibly grateful for the friends I’ve made, both in my personal life and in this community. I don’t know that I would’ve got to the point of clicking publish without their endless support and encouragement.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
As a new author, it is certainly my dream to be able to make this into a career. I’m certainly hopeful! Until then, I will continue to develop and refine my craft and enjoy each story I write.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. It’s my first book and I know I have a lot to learn.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I do! It started when I was in my elementary school years. I spent some time writing short stories and poems. My fourth grade teacher nominated me to attend a Young Writer’s Workshop at Cornell College. One of my poems was chosen to be published in a book that year, as well.
As I got older, reading and writing was something I did daily when I was alone in my room. It wasn’t until about 5-6 years ago when I started exploring the romance genre and about a year ago I made the decision to write my own book.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am currently working on my second book in the Heart’s Compass series called Lost Before You. This book follows Callum’s brother, Mason. It’s a friends to lover’s romance.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
My first book has a suspense element to it. I’ve learned in writing my first book that writing action scenes are challenging.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I will be attending Book Signing starting in 2018. I will be attending the Twin Cities Author Event on June 9th and Show Me Your Books Kansas City September 7th and 8th.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Special thanks to Lindee Robinson with Lindee Robinson Photography for the cover photo. NajlaQamber with NajlaQamber Designs created a beautiful cover for Where I Found You. Both Najla and Lindee are incredibly talented and wonderful to work with. I’m looking forward to working with them on Lost Before You in the near future too.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I would say the hardest part about being a writer is finding time to write when I work a full-time job and have two children. Life keeps me busy and I’m sure there are ten other things that I am supposed to be doing, but spending time with my characters is important to me.The hardest part about writing a book is the editing process. It can be grueling because it’s the point where I start to analyze every word. I can be so critical of myself.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I have learned a lot so far and I know it will only help me continue to grow. I’m continuing to learn how to be descriptive without being wordy.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
Sam Hunt would make for a perfect fit for Callum Reid. Candace Accola reminds me a lot of how I envision Ellie Hayes.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Rough drafts are not a true reflection of your work. They are simply a first attempt to collect your thoughts, to put them down on paper. Don’t criticize yourself for your rough draft. Keep writing and don’t give up!
I also recommend having a great team to work with you, helping you revise your work. While you may think you are able to catch your mistakes, the truth is you can’t. You won’t. Be open to feedback and letting someone read it in those rough stages, as it will truly help you polish off your manuscript.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! Thank you for reading my first book, for giving me a chance and giving my work purpose. I hope you loved Callum and Ellie’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I recently picked up a copy of Right by Jana Aston. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a rom-com. I’m enjoying it!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I remember the first indie author that I read. I opened up my eyes to authors who aren’t published traditionally and on the shelfs of my library or bookstores. I fell in love with Colleen Hoover right after she published Point of Retreat. I was in love and immediately began downloading books suggested by readers who’ve read her novels. I’m so glad that I did.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My kids. They will have me laughing one moment and crying over how sweet they can be.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Ellen DeGeneres – I would like to thank her for both never giving up on her beliefs. For never being scared to stand up for what is right, even if it meant she had to stand alone. I also want to thank her for making me laugh every day!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I don’t want a headstone. I would much rather be cremated and have my ashes spread into the ocean. I hope to be remembered through the memories I’ve created and the lives I’ve touched.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I certainly do! Most of my time is spent either with my fiancée and two kids, reading, watching basketball or football. I like going to movies with friends, too.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The only show I am faithful about watching is Scandal. I love the drama and passion. It always keeps me on the edge of my seat.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Chocolate! I like chocolate on chocolate too. I also have an unhealthy relationship with chips and queso.
My favorite color growing up was orange. The brighter, the better!
Music played a huge role in my book, Where I Found You. My favorite genre would have to be country. Sam Hunt and Miranda Lambert to name a few. I enjoy a little bit of rock and hip hop, too.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I like being challenged and staying busy. I always joke that I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t have what feels like 100 things going on at one time. I could see me doing something in Business Management. I enjoy motivating and empowering employees to surpass their goals and achieve results.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes, I do! Please follow me at www.authorbrookeobrien.com