Welcome Susan O’Brien

We are so happy to have Susan O’Brien with us today. Thanks for joining us!

FINDING_SKY_front_under_2mb-2My first mystery, Finding Sky, was published this week, and I’m especially thrilled to celebrate with the Wicked Cozy Authors. That’s because although Finding Sky is set in the D.C. area, I plan to write in—and about—the most beautiful place I’ve ever been: the Damariscotta River in Maine. Side note: Maine is the first place I heard the word “wicked” used in a positive way. I was in elementary school, and since I’m a “word person,” it was unforgettable!

I’ve always wanted to be an author, and plenty of dreaming about it was done on childhood trips to my grandparents’ Maine property—a coastal paradise with its own beach, blueberry bushes, and soft, pine-needle walking paths. I adored gazing at the water, notebook and pen in hand, feeling inspired. It’s one of the few places I’ve ever written poetry.

Damariscotta_River_Susan_OBrienOnce, a writer visited while we were there, and he took my passion for the craft so seriously that I can still picture him on the beach, chewing “spruce gum”—which he cut from a nearby tree and shared—treating me as an equal. What a gift.
I hesitate to reveal too much, because someday, my protagonist Nicki Valentine will explore the same treasured location with her children. Seeing it through her eyes—with her sense of humor and romantic challenges—will be quite an adventure. (Although I did have a massive, totally unrequited crush on my hunky sailing instructor one summer. Hmmm. That could provide some inspiration!)

Walking_path_Susan_OBrienI can’t wait to escape to Maine with Nicki and her family—literally. I’ve spent countless hours looking at real estate online, envisioning what it would be like to plot on a dock, clear my mind in a kayak, and make a riverside deck my “home office.” (During the winter, I plan to live in Florida, which involves a whole other real estate plan and imaginary budget.)

In reality, I may have to rely on a research trip, Google, and the memories I’m lucky to have. And that’s plenty. The peace I felt in small-town Maine is enough to last a lifetime.
I’m curious, do you dream of writing in a special location? Which settings do you find most inspirational and why? Do you long to share a certain spot with your characters and readers? And as a reader, do you enjoy visiting new locales with protagonists? I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Happy travels!

Susan_OBrien_Web_PhotoSusan O’Brien has been passionate about reading and writing since childhood, when she started a neighborhood newspaper and escaped tween stress with mysteries. Since covering her first big story (the birth of gerbils next door), she has worked with USA TODAY, PI Magazine, The Parent Institute and others. Susan has an M.A. in forensic psychology and is a registered private investigator in Virginia. Among her diverse interests are photography, gardening, loud R&B music, healing prayer and reality TV. She lives with her husband and children in the D.C. suburbs and donates part of her earnings to missing children’s organizations.
Visit Susan on her website, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

18 Thoughts

  1. Welcome, Susan! Indeed, there is much to love about Maine. I recently lived a teeny part of your dream – spent four days alone in a friend’s island cottage writing and watching lobster boats motor in and out of the cove. Heaven.

  2. Welcome to the blog Susan! You must take a research trip to Maine, and revisit your childhood memories. I had the opportunity to revisit mine (in New Hampshire) and was not disappointed. Looking forward to your book–is the primary location in DC?

    1. Thank you! Yes, Finding Sky is set in the DC area. I should have said that! So different from Maine! I love that your trip to New Hampshire was a success!

  3. I just started your book Susan, but I love visiting places my protagonist takes me, especially places I dream of visiting.

    Much success with your book.

    1. Let’s go! Are you free this weekend? 🙂 I guess we’ll have to settle for our upcoming library events. Maybe we can check out some Maine travel guides. 🙂 Can’t wait to read your series!

  4. Thanks for visiting, Susan and for posing your questions. I also write about places that I love in both New Hampshire and Maine. In my books set in New Hampshire I create fictional towns flavored with reality. In my current project, set in Maine, the town is real and it has been so much fun doing the research.

    1. You have the perfect combination! The excitement of creating new towns and the fun of research. New Hampshire sounds wonderful. I need to visit there one day!

  5. Congrats on the new book!

    I love to visit places I’ve never been in books. If those visits counted, I’m very well traveled.

  6. Thanks for sharing that story about the Maine beach and pine needle-covered paths, Susan. I love living vicariously. It sounds heavenly.

Comments are closed.