Today I’m sitting down to chat with one of my critique partners, the awesome Kim O’Brien, about her debut YA novel, BONE DEEP. (Full disclosure, Kim is not only a friend, she is also a skilled equestrian and amazing cook and my recent partner in crime on the ABC morning news as we did our first live TV interview (thanks Tom Abrahams!) to promote the MoCo Book Fair a couple months ago) Kim’s fans know her from her numerous inspirational romances or maybe even her board book series on horses, but with BONE DEEP, she is shifting genres to YA and she’s off to a great start with this contemporary mystery/romance, out today from Spencer Hill Contemporary!
Joy: Tell us a little bit about BONE DEEP.
Kim: Thanks Joy for having me on your site and congratulations on the release of your new book FINDING PARIS. I loved it!!!
As far as BONE DEEP goes… well, it is a mystery and, at its heart, a love story. It’s about a girl -- Paige Patterson -- who travels to Arizona to spend the summer with her archaeologist father. While there, she is reunited with her childhood best friend, Emily and soon finds herself falling for the project manager’s son, Jalen. But the summer takes a terrible turn when Emily vanishes. As the police struggle for answers, Paige sets out to find the truth. The search takes her from the Cliffside ruins of prehistoric Native Americans to the Navajo Nation to the horrifying possibility the answer is much closer to home. Her father has no alibi for the night Emily disappeared, and Jalen has some secrets of his own. As Paige digs deeper into Emily’s disappearance she realizes that uncovering the truth may cost her everything – even her life.
Joy: Why the Southwest? Why archaeology and Native American legend?
Kim: This above photo is Montezuma’s Castle in Camp Verde, Arizona. My family and I visited there a few years ago and these ruins became the inspiration for BONE DEEP. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but the castle is actually about 90 feet off the ground and set into a sheer limestone cliff. Imagine having to navigate a series of ladders and make that climb multiple times every day! But that’s what the Sinagua Indians did. These prehistoric Native Americans lived in these ruins for about 400 years and then overnight they mysteriously vanished. To this day no one knows why. I became fascinated by the ruins and the idea of people mysteriously disappearing. The more I learned about Native American mythology and legend, the more I fell in love with the culture. Even now, looking at this photo of the ruins, I wonder what secrets they are holding…
Joy: What are three things we might be surprised to learn about you?
1. I have two different colored eyes
2. I’ve written everything from non-fiction children’s books to Inspirational romance to young adult mysteries.
3. I love watching college football – Gig ‘em Aggies! Sic ’em Bears!
Joy: Who are some of the authors who have inspired you?
Kim: Jodi Piccoult, Stephen King, Anna Sewell (Black Beauty), Carolyn Keene (a pseudonym for the ghost writers of the original Nancy Drew series)
Joy: Advice for aspiring writers?
1. Read constantly. There’s a saying that goes something like not all readers are great writers, but all writers are great readers. Not only is reading really, really enjoyable, but also it helps wire your brain for rhythm and cadence.
2. Practice your craft every day. Make writing a daily habit, even if you only have a short time. Pick a time and stick to it.
3. Get feedback from someone you trust (and/or join a critique group). Having your work read aloud by other people is extremely helpful.
Joy: What's coming next for Kim O'Brien?
Kim: I’m working on a thriller called, “The Darkest Place.” It’s about a girl who gets stalked. Hopefully reading it will make everyone check their locks before they go to bed. Only kidding. More seriously, as I researched stalking I was amazed how common it is, and how hard it is to get rid of a stalker once he or she locks onto you.
Joy: Okay, time for a quick Lightning Round:
Wine or whiskey?
Chocolate or twizzlers?
Guilty pleasure TV?
Song you can't get out of your head?
Billy Joel’s “Say Goodbye to Hollywood.”
Joy: Now you all need to go out and get a copy of BONE DEEP!
And for more information about Kim O’Brien, go to: http://www.kimobrienbooks.com