Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with the characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you Corinne O’Flynn!
Corinne O’Flynn is an award-winning author of stories with fantasy, action, and mystery. She is a partner in Wicked Ink Books Publishing, releasing themed speculative fiction anthologies. She also runs a local nonprofit by day, feeding her passion to serve bereaved families after the death of a child. When she isn’t writing or working, she keeps busy with knitting, raising her four kids, and drinking copious amounts of tea. Corinne is a member of the board of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, where she serves as Conference Chair and is also a member of Sisters in Crime, ALLi, and Mystery Writers of America. She’s on a mission to collect as many half-marathon medals as possible. Find Corinne on her Website, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Instagram.
I love reading author bios. Many of them did not start out as writers. Sometimes people stumble upon the craft. Did you always want to be a writer? I was always a reader and probably somewhere in the back of my mind I wanted to be a writer “someday”, but I didn’t begin to think seriously about it until I was in college.
Why did you choose to write your genre? I write what I love! Fantasy is my first love as a reader, followed closely by mystery/thrillers. So it’s no surprise that I write both.
What is the strangest story you’ve ever written? Body decomposition facts. In my police procedurals I write about what happened to cause a body to appear a certain way. Forensic research makes for some really weird (and gruesome) writing, but I think it’s important to be as realistic as possible in order to be plausible. You have to really know what happens to a body under specific conditions in order to write it well. Researching these things is bizarre.
What are you currently working on? I’m working on Promise Of The Scholar, Book #2 in The Expatriates Trilogy,
a fantasy/adventure about a carnival kid who can communicate with animals who discovered in Book #1 (Song Of The Sending) that his family has been hiding him because someone is hunting him for his power. I’m also working on the as-yet-unnamed Book #3 to finish the series.
What motivated the plot of your latest book? The story began as a tiny snippet of a scene in a dream, believe it or not. It’s such a cliché, but it’s totally true. [Lots of stories come from dreams.] I was drawn to this story by the dream, but driven to write it because it is a story about embracing who you are, even if you’re not entirely comfortable in your skin. I think that’s a powerful message that we all need to hear at times. It’s definitely something that resonates with me for myself and for my kids.
What was the hardest story for you to write? What an interesting question. I guess I’d have to say a loss story would be the hardest for me to write. As writers, we draw from our personal experience in order to make our stories resonate with truth, and writing someone who is struggling after losing someone is definitely hard.
What process do you use to plan your novels? I start with a whiteboard on which I have post-it notes that ask questions about the character. Who are they, what do they want, who’s against them, who are their allies, where are they getting pressure from, etc. And that helps flesh out the players in the story. I also do a lot of brainstorming to get the major beats figured out. Then I flesh out an outline, a timeline, and go from there.
Who has been your favorite character to write and why? I love the medical examiner I wrote in my Half Moon Girls (crime/thriller) series. She’s weird, funky, awkward, and totally brilliant!
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? Yes. Ugh! For me it is about discipline with time management. With four kids, a traveling spouse, a job, and a large volunteer position chairing Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers annual conference, I need to do some serious prioritizing in order to make time to write. I can’t say I have been especially successful at it all the time, but it’s a process, and I’m okay with where I am. [Yay!]
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality? I think it’s inevitable that this happens. There are definitely traits of mine, good and bad, that I’ve written into my characters. I don’t know that it always happens intentionally, but I think it’s fascinating when I see it.
If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be? Why? I write fantasy and mystery now, and am going to delve into paranormal/paranormal romance one of these days. I’ve always wanted to try that. We’ll see!! [Can’t wait to read that!]
Which authors inspire you? I’ve always been inspired by Neil Gaiman because he’s a fantastic writer, but he’s also involved with all kinds of different projects with amazing success and doesn’t seem to have lost touch with who he is as a person. I’ve never met him in person (wish list item there!) but I have friends who have and by all reports, he is exactly as he seems: down to earth, real, and kind. There are so many authors who inspire me in different ways at different times, I am afraid to start naming them all!
What novel would you read multiple times? This is an easy question because I have already read these books several times: Pillars of the Earth, The Stand (Unabridged), Trinity, Pride and Prejudice, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Outlander (series).
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? (Person could be a fictional character)
Neil Gaiman (see question 12!), Stephen King – because I find him to be endlessly interesting. If I could bring a writer back from the dead, it would be Leon Uris, who wrote Trinity. I love Irish history and I bet hanging with him would make for some enlightening conversation.
What is your favorite quote?
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary? I love sparrows. And tigers. And dogs.
What is your favorite color? I love green. Bright green, kelly green, lime green… all the GREEN!
What do you do when you’re not writing? I write “full time”, meaning I am home in my office and writing is my job, but with all my other commitments it is probably more like a 60-40 split. Or maybe 55-45.
Catch up with Corinne online at:
Thank you for joining us today, Corinne! It was a pleasure having you here.
Join me next week when Lindsey Winsemius will be featured.