Today we welcome D.M. O’Byrne.
Book ‘Em: Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.
D.M. O’Byrne: I live in Colorado Springs with my husband and our cat, Warnie. We love biking throughout the beautiful region. Warnie loves chasing his tail.
Book ‘Em: Which books have you written? What are they about and why did you choose to write them? Do your books have a message? Are they fiction or nonfiction?
D.M. O’Byrne: My first mystery, Dangerous Turf, is due out in December with the sequel, Three to One Odds, due out in May, 2018. Both are published by Black Opal Books. My next series, beginning with Death in Trout Fork, is seeking an agent who will, hopefully, try to get a three-book deal with a publisher. I’m already working on the sequel. Yes, each mystery has a different message, but each message has to do with how wrong thinking or wrong decisions have negative consequences in our lives. I have written several nonfiction books under my real name, Dolores Kimball. I use my maiden name for my fiction works.
Book ‘Em: Do you have a work in progress?
D.M. O’Byrne: Yes, Rendering Evil is the second of a three-book series called the “Ryn Lowell Colorado Mysteries.” The first book, Death in Trout Fork, is being shopped to agents.
Book ‘Em: What sort of research do you do for your work?
D.M. O’Byrne: It depends on the subjects I’m writing about. Right now I’m doing research on small town police corruption and America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. I’m reading books on both subjects.
Book ‘Em: Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?
D.M. O’Byrne: I read very little modern literature, preferring instead to read the classics. I find those to be most helpful in improving the quality of my own prose. My favorite author in the mystery genre is Dorothy Sayers. Her plots are complex, her characters fascinating, and her prose exquisite.
Book ‘Em: Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
D.M. O’Byrne: My husband, Tom, although I think he just wanted to keep me from being bored.
Book ‘Em: What would you say are your strengths as an author?
D.M. O’Byrne: I’m a sequential thinker, so plotting has always been easy for me. Oddly enough, it’s my characters that seem to receive the most positive reviews. Maybe that’s because I have to work harder on them than I do on the plots.
Book ‘Em: How often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?
D.M. O’Byrne: I write mostly in the morning and again in the late afternoon. Really, the best time is whenever my husband is out of the house.
Book ‘Em: Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?
D.M. O’Byrne: On the best seller lists.
Book ‘Em: If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?
D.M. O’Byrne: Remember that writing is not just an art, it is equally a craft. Every craftsman must learn the basics of his trade. That means a working knowledge of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and rules of style. Nothing will get you rejected by a publisher/agent faster than mistakes in your manuscript. As a mystery writer, I read numerous books that helped me understand the ABCs of mystery writing. Whatever your genre, research, research, research.
Book ‘Em: What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?
D.M. O’Byrne: “I couldn’t put it down.” Music to a mystery novelist’s ears.
Book ‘Em: Provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with our members.
D.M. O’Byrne: I’m especially proud of the opening paragraphs of Dangerous Turf, found in the prologue:
“The petite, blonde girl brushed the colt’s mane until it gleamed like black satin. Very few jockeys bothered to get to know their mounts until just before their races, but the girl tried anything to even the odds that were always against female jockeys.
The colt’s liquid brown eyes gazed out of his stall to the normally busy backstretch area. But at this hour, most of the trainers, grooms and riders were over at the track watching the afternoon’s races. It was unusually quiet. The colt’s ears pricked up at the sound of approaching footsteps. The stall door opened and the man slipped in.
The girl turned. “Oh, hi,” she said. She continued brushing the colt’s mane. It was the last thing she would ever say. They found her body several hours later, the trembling horse standing over her, the whites of his eyes showing. But the man was gone by then, moving on to another track in another state.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6–ZV233aS0 (Dangerous Turf book trailer)