On episode 98 of the WRITER 2.0 Podcast I spoke with Kevin O’Brien, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen novels. We discussed:
- his 17 years as a railroad inspector;
- transitioning to full-time writing;
- how Mad Men and Bewitched glamorize the ad business;
- why he writes 80-100 page outlines of every book;
- his latest release, NO ONE NEEDS TO KNOW;
- the movie deal that altered his career trajectory, but didn’t lead to a movie being made;
- three books that changed his writing life.
Plus, on Today in Writing, Edward R. Murrow’s takedown of Senator McCarthy.
About our guest:
For seventeen years, before his thrillers landed him on The New York Times Bestseller list, Kevin O’Brien made his living as a railroad inspector and did all his writing at night. His second novel, ONLY SON (1996), was optioned for film rights, thanks to interest from David Seltzer (THE OMEN)and Tom Hanks. It was also chosen by Readers Digest for its Select Editions–along with John Grisham’s THE PARTNER. “Seeing my photo on the back cover–alongside John Grisham–really made me feel as if I’d ‘arrived’ as an author,” Kevin admits.
Kevin has been writing full time ever since. But he hasn’t forgotten his railroad “ties.” So–if on occassion, you find a scene in a Kevin O’Brien thriller in which a dead body is discovered in a railroad yard, well, now you know why.
THE NEXT TO DIE (2001), his first thriller, was a USA Today Bestseller. More bestsellers followed with MAKE THEM CRY, WATCH THEM DIE and LEFT FOR DEAD. His 2005 spellbinder, THE LAST VICTIM won the Spotted Owl Award for Best Pacific Northwest Mystery/Thriller, and became a New York Times Bestseller. Kevin O’Brien continued his New York Times Bestseller streak with KILLING SPREE, ONE LAST SCREAM and FINAL BREATH. His 2010 thriller, VICIOUS, was also a bestselling ebook. His latest thriller, DISTURBED, will be available in April, 2011.
Kevin lives in Seattle, where he’s involved with the Seattle 7 Writers, along with Garth Stein, Jennie Shortridge, Erica Baeumeister, Carol Cassella and several other award-winning, bestselling authors (www.seattle7writers.org). Among the S7W projects is THE HOTEL ANGELINE: A NOVEL IN 36 VOICES, a collaborative book with 36 authors–including Erik Larson, Jamie Ford, Elizabeth George, Robert Dugoni, Susan Wiggs and several others. In Kevin’s chapter, someone meets a violent end…naturally. Library Lady, Nancy Pearl, furnishes the Introduction. All sales for this forthcoming ebook will go to promote literacy and writing in schools. Kevin loves Hitchcock movies, and is hard at work on a new thriller.