Author Spotlight: Katie O’Sullivan

This week, let’s welcome fellow YA mermaid author Katie O’Sullivan:


Hello Katie! Tell us all sorts of stuff about yourself!

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Hi, Pete! Thanks for inviting me to chat about my books.


What is your book about?

Like you, I write mermaid stories for young adult readers. I have two books published in the series so far, and am currently working on the third. The first is Son of a Mermaid, which introduces the reader to Shea MacNamara, a 15-year-old high school freshman from Plainville, Oklahoma. When a freak tornado destroys the family farm, he’s forced to move to Cape Cod to live with a grandmother he’s never met before. Once there, he discovers many things aren’t quite what they seem, including the cute girl he meets on the beach. It’s a shock when he finds out she’s actually a mermaid, but even more of a shock when he develops gills of his own.


How did you come up with the story?

We live close to the ocean, and my daughter has always been into mermaids and pirates, but this story took shape one day when my son and I were walking the dogs on the beach. We found a sparkling black beach stone with a precise hole cut through the middle, and made up a story about its magical properties and the mermaid who lost it. The actual rock itself is gone, broken during a fifth grade show-and-tell session gone wrong, but the story evolved into Son of a Mermaid.


Which of your characters do you most identify with and why?

My favorite is the main character, Shea. When I wrote him I combined the traits from both my boys, so he’s like one of my kids. I love that he’s so full of heart and loyal to his friends, standing up to confront bullies and fight for what he believes is right.

In the second book, I think I developed a crush on Zan, one of the bad guys, because he has the most interesting character arc – learning to care about others and stand up for what he believes in.


What is your writing process like?

Process? I’m supposed to have a process?

I’m a character-driven reader and writer who likes to research every little detail to get that ring of authenticity in there. My process can be officially described as “pantser,” which means I’m plotting as I go, or “by the seat of my pants,” lol.

For the second book of the mermaid series, Blood of a Mermaid, I actually outlined most of the plot ahead of time and the book flowed very quickly… (so I should probably do that more often.) Even with the outline, the characters decided what to do and when to do it, and I ended up in places way off the map I’d originally drawn. But I knew, for instance, I was going to crash a plane in this book so I did a lot of research on ocean crashes. I like to use the internet to get into details of what I’m writing, even if it’s only a short scene. I spent hours upon hours reading about narwhals, and they only appear in a few pages of the second book. Even in a fantasy about mermaids, I get hung up on the details being true to life.


What do you snack on while you write?

I tend to drink a lot (!) of coffee and tea while I’m writing. If my daughter bakes cookies, (which she does quite often) those are my snack of choice when I’m stuck on a plot point. Chocolate chip are my favs, but she also makes awesome raspberry jam linzer cookies.


What are some of your favorite books?

I’ve been an avid reader since I was very young, and an English literature major in college. I hate to admit I’m not a huge Jane Austen aficionado, which is heresy for English majors, but was more of a Mark Twain/Charles Dickens/Shakespeare/Tolkein fan. I spent time studying in London immersed in T.S. Elliot, and don’t mind measuring my life in coffee spoons.

I also LOVE to read YA. I rediscovered YA as an adult when my oldest was 3. Another dad at peewee soccer was reading the first Harry Potter book and I teased him. He said “don’t knock it ‘til you try it,” so I did. And I was totally hooked by Hogwarts.

Recent (last 5 years?) favs include The Hunger Games trilogy, Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, the I Am Number Four series (although the first book was best), Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series, Scott Westerfeld’s Ugly series, The Book Thief (LOVE!), the Twilight series, Carl Hiasson’s young adult books, The Fault in our Stars, and The Night Circus, (although I’m not sure if that’s technically YA.)

…Okay, I guess I read a lot. Recently I’ve also been reading a lot of indie books by new authors. There are a lot of great voices coming from small press or self-published authors, and it’s fun discovering new and creative twists on old ideas. The most creative series I’ve discovered recently is The Elementals by Brigid Kemmerer which starts with Storm. (Love that book!)


What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I’m a full time writer and editor, and mom to three active, involved kids. While my oldest graduated high school last June and left for college, the other two keep me busy with their activities, lessons and appointments. I used to spend a lot of time volunteering in the schools and leading scout troops, but now spend my volunteer hours on neighborhood boards and town committees.

I also have two big dogs, a Saint Bernard and a Swiss Mountain dog mix, who think my only job is to walk them and cater to their every whim. The Saint also thinks she’s a lap dog, which worked fine when she was a puppy, but that was 150 pounds ago.


Where can your books be found?

KatieOSullivan_SonofaMermaid          BloodofaMermaid_cover

While both Son of a Mermaid and Blood of a Mermaid are currently available on Amazon and Barnes & from my current publisher, Crescent Moon Press, I will be rereleasing the series this summer with all new cover art as well as the third book to continue Shea’s adventures under the sea. In the meantime, you can find me online in the following spots to keep up with my latest news and stuff…

Website    Blog    Facebook    Twitter

Goodreads    Amazon Author Page

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Thanks for dropping by, Katie.

I’ve already read, enjoyed, and reviewed Son of a Mermaid (read it HERE). I’ll soon be reading Blood of a Mermaid. Why wait for the upcoming rereleases of them when you can get them today!

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