I met Regan O'Leary through friends of friends on Twitter. It was a little bit of a roundabout way to meet a new friend and author, but I have to say I'm happy I did. I enjoy her up-front attitude, and say what you please ways, it means you always know where you stand, which is mostly holding your stomach laughing.
Regan is outgoing, chatty, and always willing to help with anything she knows more about than you do, which means she's quite a font of information to me :).
Born and raised in Baton Rouge Regan spent a great deal of her childhood along the Louisianna Gulf coast, where she now resides with her husband and three children. Her hobbies include reading, fishing, and travelling whenever she can, be it at home or abroad.
Here is what Regan O'Leary had to say...
Why did you decide you wanted to become a writer?
Everyone has a story to tell. Some tell their tales through music, art, and theatre. Since I can't sing or dance, writing is my best option.
What was the thing that drove you the most to do so?
The death of my brother. He always encouraged me in every aspect of my life. Before his death, Mark and I were in the midst of a particularly painful real life crisis that utterly consumed every waking moment of our lives. As with most disasters, we cleaned up the mess and moved forward. I remember him telling me on several occasions: "You should write a book. Nobody can make this shit up!"
I was devastated when he passed. My daughter encouraged me to begin writing - an outlet for my grief. She said, "Do it for Uncle Mark." Although Closer To Home is a fictional tale, it gave me the stage to create some truly dynamic characters who are forced to deal with the atrocities that occur in our lives every day.
Why did you pick the genre/s that you have?
I love to read mysteries and thrillers. I chose to write a psychological suspense thriller series because the human brain is an amazing organ. Its capacity to process data and emotion while sustaining horrible injury is phenomenal. I want readers to examine their own moral ambiguity and pathological thresholds. I want them to enter the realm where right and wrong, good and evil are blurred and intermingled.
Who is your favourite character, and why?
Hands down - Bane Shaw! I adore Shaw! He epitomizes self-confidence, loyalty, love, and pride. He makes arrogance work! He is fearless, complicated, and very sexy!
Do you have any particular quirks in your writing?
I guess you would call them quirks. I have a lot of hidden meanings and clues I drop into my stories. Numerical combinations, for example, have significant meanings. I also play around with dual and even triple meanings for the titles of my novels that are found within the plotline.
Do you belong to any writing groups? And if so what do you think are the pros and cons?
I belong to a couple of writing groups. The biggest pro is the camaraderie and support from the other authors. We share ideas, tools, tips and even woes. One group in particular consists of authors of every age and genre. It's interesting to be part of such a diverse group of people who share a common ambition. The only con - spending too much time with my author buddies instead of working on my own material.
How do you deal with writers block?
I am thankful that I don't struggle with writer's block. When I hit a creative snag, I put aside the work and move on to an entirely different piece of writing. I always have several writing projects going simultaneously so I spend time with something else until the vision comes back into focus.
What would you say is the most difficult part of writing?
Time! Finding time to write. I am fortunate enough to fill my days and nights writing, but still, there doesn't seem to be enough hours in a day.
What do you enjoy the most about writing?
I think I enjoy the escape from the day-to-day monotony. I love being able to spin a story I hope my readers will enjoy. And, I truly enjoy creating vibrant characters that I inevitably fall in love with.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Real life. I'm convinced people are crazy! Sometimes I look around and I think: 'did that really happen?' or 'did she really say that?'. No matter how creative a writer one is, life shows you things you just can't make up!
Are your characters based on anyone you know?
I have elemental personality traits in all of my characters, well, all except for Shaw - he is purely unique! For instance, Marsh Ellis, a main character in Closer To Home. Marsh is based on a friend from high school who grew up in poverty, my brother for his intelligence, and Terry Kath (former guitarist of the band Chicago) for his musical ability.
What do you do in your spare time to relax?
I read every chance I get. I also enjoy gardening, fishing, cooking, and I love to travel.
Who is your favourite author?
There are so many authors I enjoy reading, but my favourite author is James Lee Burke. I have a collection of signed, first additions of his entire Dave Robicheaux series. Jim is a brilliant mystery writer who never fails to take me on the most amazing journeys.
Where are your books available?
What are you working on right now?
What One Leave Behind is being polished and edited for release this summer. I am finishing the third novel in the Bane Shaw series that I hope to release by Christmas. I am also writing a non-fiction food travel guide for Baton Rouge, and I am researching my next series. The new novel is also a psychological thriller that will be set in Texas. If I do my job well, I will not only challenge readers to explore their notion of animal cruelty, but also take some mean-spirited shots at some real life bad guys!
What is your ultimate goal?
For years I have said: I have at least three good books in me, yearning to be written. I will have met that goal when I publish the third Bane Shaw novel. Beyond that, it's all lagniappe! I do hope I continue to find projects that bring attention to real-life issues through my fictional storytelling.
Do you have a favourite film? And if so what is it?
Like books and music, I love movies! I could pop off ten films that could easily qualify as my favourite. But, I'll stick to the southern cliché and say, Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind. There has never been another film that adequately illustrated a bygone way of life.
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/R-OLearys-Bane-Shaw
I'd like to take this last moment to say thank you to Regan O'Learly for agreeing to interview with me. I hope you enjoyed getting to know her as much as I did, and I do hope you'll pop on over to her Amazon page and pick up a copy of her book in preparation for what's to come.
Again, thank you Regan, it was a pleasure.
I am a wife, mother, and grandmother, and I live in Wales in the U.K.
Sallyann Phillips is an IASD member.
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