Interview with Erin O'Brien, Author of "Harvey & Eck"

Erin O'Brien abandoned her career as an electrical engineer in 1995 to teach herself t write. She writes all the time now, both fiction and nonfiction, although HARVEY & ECK is her first published novel. She contributed a chapter and an afterword to her brother, John's, posthumously published novel, THE ASSAULT ON TONY'S. John also authored LEAVING LAS VEGAS, which was made into an award-winning film after his death in 1994.

Erin has lived in Northeast Ohio all her life. Her husband, Eric, and she have one 8-year-old daughter and has been married for twelve years.

It is with great pleasure I give you an interview with this up-and-coming new author, Erin O'Brien!

You can visit Erin's website at


When did your passion for writing begin?

When my brother took his life in 1994, I began to look at things differently, including myself. I realized my corporate job was fundamentally wrong for me. I decided to follow in John's footsteps and take to the keyboard to find my calling.

Can you tell us what your typical “writing” day is like?

I first like to review what I've written the day before and do a light edit. That warms me up for the meat-and-potatoes writing. My usual fiction word count is about 1,000 words a day, but I can sometimes write a good deal more when working on nonfiction. Then there's the business end of writing, which includes things such as interviews, research and correspondence.

Do you write full time?

Yes, when I'm not answering the endless call of "Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom?"

Can you tell us a little about "Harvey & Eck"?

"Harvey & Eck" looks at pregnancy through an unusual lens. Harvey, the main character, is sexy and adventurous. Delving into the world of booties, bibs and babies fills her with trepidation. There's also an unconventional romance in the book.

Who published your book and how has your experience with them been?

When I first signed with Zumaya Publications, I was leery about signing with a POD. There is a stigma associated with POD and many mistakenly claim that all POD titles are self-published. If anyone is going to dispel that myth, it's Zumaya. This small, hard-working house has been a dream to work with. They paid for everything, did backflips to accommodate my every request and treated me like a queen even when I was having my obnoxious author fits. They are selective and serious about putting out great books. As the perception of POD evolves, a few houses will emerge as serious publishers. I have no doubt that Zumaya will be among them.

Can you tell us the inspiration behind "Harvey & Eck"?

Surely my own pregnancy had much to do with it in the obvious ways. The idea of a bad-girl mother-to-be was funny and compelling. I also was fascinated with the fetus growing inside of Harvey. So I created a character who would also grow during the nine-month gestation period, and made him a 56-year-old librarian.

Can you tell us ways you are promoting your book? Have they been successful?

I bust my rear end every day promoting this book. I set up three local signings and put together packets for the hosts that included mailing labels and promotional information. Every newspaper or publication that might be interested in my story gets a press packet, each of which I have tailored for the publication. I find the right editors and send it to their attention. To that end, I got a nice little blurb in Northern Ohio Live's September issue (circulation 35,000) and I was the subject of a feature story in every September magazine published by Scriptype Publishing, which amounts to a local circulation of 30,000.I answer every email I get and send out polished emails to people who might be prospective readers. Promotion never ends.

Who are your favorite authors and why do they inspire you?

Larry Brown was always able to find a glimmer of humanity in the most squalid settings. I love tough, raw fiction like James Dickey's "Deliverance" and Jennifer Belle's "Going Down," to name a few.

Do you have a mentor?

I had a correspondence with Larry Brown up until his death in 2004. Maybe now I've reached a maturity level that will free me from my constant attempts to replace my brother.I am a member of a writer's group and they are wonderful, amazing people. We've been together for years.

What future projects do you have in the works?

I'm at work on a screenplay for "Harvey & Eck" and a creative non-fiction memoir. There is also a novel stirring around my head.

What do you feel are the pros and cons of the publishing industry today?

POD is both a boon and a bane. Traditional agents and editors gas on endlessly, dismissing the technology. But the simple fact is that more and more people are ordering books online at 3 in the morning in their underwear and they couldn't care less when or how the books they're buying are printed. POD technology fits the Amazon model perfectly. That reality will become more and more difficult to ignore and eventually, the warehousing and destruction of pre-printed mid-list books will no longer be cost effective. When I get discouraged about the downside of POD, I remind myself that every single one of my books that is printed has already been sold.That said, every writer would do anything to get a stack of their books at every Borders and B&N. That just won't happen with a POD book, at least not today.In the end, the argument is moot. Readers will decide which books will become bestsellers as they always have. A good book will get read if it's POD or FSG.

Can you give aspiring authors words of advice towards getting published?

Write the best thing you possibly can. Then write it again. And again and again. I'm not talking about some namby-pamby spellcheck edit. I mean rewrite, that means start-a-new-document rewrite. Expose yourself to the toughest critics. Respect their advice, it will prepare you for the copious rejection to come.Enjoy the rainbow, don't worry too much about the pot of gold.

What’s one thing about your life that you think is important, but nobody asks?

No one ever asks about the benefits of writing, which are delicate jewels. Writing for years and years gives you insight into the human condition. It brings you closer to the truth. It teaches you about yourself while shifting your focus to the world around you.

Can you tell us where we can go to buy "Harvey & Eck"?

Booksurge, Amazon and ebookad. In Cleveland, Mac's Backs, Joyeaux Boutique and Local Girl Gallery. Any additions will be listed on my website as they become available.

Thank you very much for your time!

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If you are the author of a newly released book and would like an interview, email me at thewriterslife (at) Please put "Author Interview Request" in the subject line. Thank you!

1 comment:

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