Writer Wednesday – Ryan OBrien

Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
I live on a sailing catamaran in The Florida Keys and also have a log cabin in Washington State. I plan on writing 3 books a year from this point forward. Visiting middle grade schools and talking to students is an exciting and rewarding activity, and we have met with over 1500 students during this past year doing power points on my book and talking about reading in general. I hope to triple the number of students in the coming year. Check out thelandofwhooseries.com for more information.

Tell us (briefly) about you…
…and a bit about what you’ve written…

I have written The Land of Whoo and the second book in the series, The Land of Coral Seas. I started out in high school writing for the school newspaper. In college I was on the yearbook staff. My major was R/TV Management so this included writing PR releases and news and commercials.

…and what you’re working on right now.
I am currently working on the third book in The Land of Whoo Series. I am also working on another YA book primarily about The Keys called No Limits.

What are your earliest book-related memories?
I was enthralled with reading Robinson Crusoe as my first book love.

What are your three favorite books?
Robinson Crusoe
On Writing, by Stephen King
Treasure Island

How many books to do you read at any given time? What are you reading now?
I have just finished The Alchemist, and before that, 39 Clues, The Emerald Atlas and Hunger Games.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
get ideas for my current projects and make notes and underline passages to review later.

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
We over edit, trying to make the manuscript the best it can possibly be.

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
I read all the Middle Grade books recommended – especially by my many friends that are middle grade teachers – to know what my target audience is looking for.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Very likely. I believe in sharing any knowledge available –

What do you look for in a good book?
I love honesty, frankness and great adventures. Also after reading Stephen King’s “On Writing,” I have been eager to see another author’s character development and descriptions and compare their plot lines. I am also looking for original story lines and this lets me be aware of what is currently out there.

Why do you write?
I love it!

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
Marketing or Advertising

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
From my family and friends. Also from a group of middle grade students that I talk with about ideas for my next books.

What has writing taught you about yourself?
I have been looking for ideas and many times wake up in the morning with the idea – trust the soup.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
At first they said, “Sure you’re going to write a novel.” I wrote the first 2 chapters of my first book on my iPhone. After finishing the first book in two and a half months, they rethought. My wife has been my biggest supporter and Editor in Chief, as a former court reporter. She is my inspiration and best friend.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
From what I know, everyone is different. There are many paths to success that are not the same for all.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
Dedicating the time to write on a daily basis.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
On my first book, we sent it off for a second opinion and got an editorial letter from a create space editor. One piece of great advice given was that my main character did not make enough mistakes. To be more believable, I added more predicaments where Michael Henry didn’t choose the easiest “path.” Kids learn from their mistakes and that makes a stronger character.

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?

How do you deal with your fan base?
I have a group of middle grade students that I communicate with on a regular basis to gather ideas about the direction of my book series. Today I gave a presentation to over 100 middle grade students and thanked them for their support and ideas for my second book in the series which was just launched on Amazon and Kindle. After my first book was released, I had a fan search me out to tell me he had read my book three times and loved it. I interviewed him and have used him as a character in my current book. He is Jack Sloan, the cabin boy, and of course the last name is fictitious.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
I live on a cruising catamaran in the Florida Keys and love to sail and scuba dive

Anything else we should know?
This current book has been dedicated to my daughter, who has passed away, to remind me to always put family first.

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