Thursday, January 28, 2010

Interview with KATIE O'SULLIVAN

Katie O'Sullivan is originally from the Jersey Shore (no, not the TV show!) and currently lives on Cape Cod where she edits an online magazine and writes fiction.

Who is the one person who most encouraged or influenced you to be a writer—and why?

When I was in elementary school, I started writing short stories. My Aunt Kate told me if I wrote a “real” book, she would publish it for me – she worked for a printer at the time. I took her up on her challenge and wrote “The Mystery of the Haunted House,” full of Nancy Drew clich√©s and chases. True to her word, she printed it into a little book, with hand-colored illustrations and bound in yellow vellum. I was hooked!

How long have you been writing? In what genres do you write?

I was an English major in college, and tried for years to write my Great American Novel. Life always seemed to get in the way, especially after I had kids! When the third child entered full-day Kindergarten, I found I had several hours in a row all to myself (!) so I joined a writing class and finally got serious. I enjoy writing (and reading) romantic suspense with paranormal elements, and I’ve also finished a middle grade novel with those same elements for younger readers.

Tell us about your work as the editor of a women’s magazine.

I joined last spring as the magazine’s Editor, and it’s been a wonderful experience. We currently publish five times a year and cover a wide range of topics that are of interest to the women of Cape Cod. We feature articles written by and about Cape women in a number of areas – Literary Women, Creative Women, Community Action, Holistic Health, Working Women, and the Environment. We also have a section titled “Life Stories,” where readers and contributing authors can share memoir pieces. We welcome ideas and submissions from all Cape Cod women – whether you live here full time or just for the summer.

As the Editor, I work with the Publisher to determine themes for the issues and find interesting authors and women to focus on. In the last year I’ve been privileged to work with well-established writers and authors as well as college journalism majors. I’m very proud of the way our magazine looks and reads, considering how very small our staff is. We’ve recently hired a few interns to help us grow and get more organized behind the scenes, and are talking with a woman who’d like to be our dedicated advertising salesperson. It’s coming together slowly, and it’s an exciting adventure.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a writer?

At the moment, finding time to write is my challenge. As a mom with three kids, I’ve become a master of multi-tasking. I can get stuff done no matter how much chaos is swirling around me. As a former reporter, I can do research for the magazine and help with homework and make dinner all at the same time. But I find that writing fiction requires a level of concentration that I just can’t achieve when the kids are home or there are other things on my plate. I constantly struggle with prioritizing my to-do list, and trying to move “writing” toward the top of that list.

What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.

My debut novel is UNFOLDING THE SHADOWS, released last fall by Cerridwen Press. It’s a paranormal romantic suspense, with a reluctant psychic as the heroine. The back cover blurb reads:

Jillian has worked hard to close the doors on her past and the psychic abilities that defined her youth. For sixteen years, she’s ignored the ghosts who still try to whisper to her. Even her controlling husband Kyle has no idea that his wife can talk to spirits. But on the day after Christmas, her great aunt’s car smashes head-on with a commuter train and Jillian finds herself on a collision course with ghosts who refuse to remain in the shadows any longer.

Long-hidden secrets are coming to light and Jillian’s life has to change to accommodate them. With the help of her friends and a substantial inheritance, she sets her life in a new direction, but Kyle’s not about to lose out on his share of Jillian’s inheritance—even if he has to kill her to get it.

You can purchase a copy directly from Cerridwen Press at Or you can purchase it for Kindle from at

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

My middle grade manuscript MERMAID’S BLOOD is complete and making the rounds, looking for an agent. I’m working on a sequel to UNFOLDING THE SHADOWS, and hope to have it to my editor sometime soon. And, of course, we’ve been busy with the Winter 2010 issue of

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?

Keep writing. Whether it’s your first manuscript or fiftieth, the most important thing is to write, write, write. The submission process is a long waiting game, and it’s important to keep your head in the game by starting something new.

Are you a member of any writer’s organizations? Why? Why not?

I belong to the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and to my local New England Chapter (NEC) of RWA. Writing is mostly a lonely pursuit, sitting by yourself in front of the computer screen. I find it really helpful to know there are a group of women out there in the same boat. Belonging to RWA gives me access to many, many writing seminars, online classes, and conventions that I didn’t know existed.

My local group meets once a month, but has a Yahoo chat group that fills my inbox daily. It’s great to have an extended support system for those times you need to ask questions or share successes. Many of my fellow NECers are seasoned authors with best sellers to their credit, and many more are authors like myself just beginning our journeys into publication. It’s a very supportive group and I feel lucky to have found them.

Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.

As my novel is still only an e-book, I won’t have any signing in the immediate future. There are a few local bookstores that I know through my work with who’ve already offered to stock my book and host book parties for me…

FUN QUESTION: Do you prefer the beach in the winter or the summer, and why?

This may sound strange, but my family and I love the beach in the winter. In the summer, Cape Cod can get so crowded. The parking lots and beaches are jammed with tourists, and dogs are banned from most beaches (although in my neighborhood we’re still allowed to walk them early in the morning).

By Labor Day, most of the crowds have all gone home and most streets are practically deserted. In September and October, the ocean is still warm enough to swim, the fish are still biting, and my dogs are welcome any time of day. The beaches feel much the same as they do in summertime, and on weekends they can still draw a crowd.

In winter, though, there’s a unique quiet and beauty to Cape Cod. I love walking on the beach when the waves have left icy, frozen trails along the sand. The beach itself changes its appearance almost daily in the winter, depending on the storms passing through. And when it’s snowing over the ocean… you really have to see it sometime.

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):

My website is You can find my blog at . Visit CapeWomenOnline magazine at .

1 comment:

  1. Hi :)
    Thank you very much for the insightful interview with Katie O'Sullivan and thanks to Katie for sharing here. It was interesting to learn more about Katie and her writing.
    All the best,
    PS - I hope her book gets contracted soon!