Saturday, June 28, 2014

Interview with Kate O'Leary, author of Twell

Hiya peeps! Melange Books took a chance on me about five years ago and opened the door to make my publishing dreams come true. They've given many authors that chance since then, so I wanted to give props to Melange this month by interviewing several of their authors. You'll find some great insights, tips, and new books to read along the way. Enjoy!

Where are you from and what do you do when you’re not writing?

Kate O'Leary
I live in South Australia, and am, currently residing in the Adelaide Hills, which is a farming and winery area. Very green and rolling hills, with the famous Barossa Valley wine region not far away, stinking hot in summer, and freezing and misty in winter, good old extreme Aussie weather!

I grew up in a small town right at the bottom of Australia, where the caves are on the world heritage list, they are so extensive and so many bones of newly undiscovered extinct critters are continually found! They even made a dinosaur park where you can scare your kids with dinosaur size kangaroos. Creepy!

When I am not writing I usually push paper around for a living in boring office jobs, but in leisure time I enjoy cooking, singing and dancing to house cleaning, working out anywhere but in an actual gym (boring!)  drinking good wine (lucky there’s plenty of that around here!) and I also love to get outdoors to walk or even rock climb! (Although not in winter, as frozen hands make climbing a tad dangerous)

How did you come up with the idea for this book/series?

I studied a course in children’s literature after I finished high school. One of my short essays was about Twell, my MC, and she was having a tantrum at her guardian over having to be partnered to some boy she didn’t know. The essay was in storage for several years until one day the idea of it came back to me and I knew there was so much more Twell had to say and experience. I wanted to explore a world where society was different to the free will we enjoy in western society. I wanted to explore how loyal we should be to our Government, and how much of ourselves our leaders should know of us, or have a say over.

After the first book was complete, I knew Twell had even more to say, see and do, and another book managed to churn out of my brain, which Fire & Ice have also taken on for publishing later this year. Now I have the scary task of writing the last book, the hardest and most challenging of them all!

Tell us about the writing process—what were your favorite and least favorite moments?

When I wrote the first book, the whole thing came out in a couple of months. I would have dreams of the characters having a conversation, (arguments mostly) wake up, and stumble downstairs to quickly write it down before going back to bed. I’d be at work, and another pivotal conversation would spring on me. I’d write the story on random pieces of paper as it came to me and then type it out once I got home. The characters were alive and kicking and vocal! I was excited, and living and breathing the world of Como!

By the second book, I knew the characters better, (those who made it into the second book that is) and that book flowed out in a couple of months too. However I actually wrote these books a few years ago, and have been tinkering with them ever since as I have hones my writing skills with classes and in writing forums. The original manuscript has come a long way in terms of style and flow, as well as the plot being reworked many times. I have learned to be a better writer by taking on constructive criticism and observing what I like about the style of my favorite writers.

My favorite moments are when I surprise myself with what I write, and feel excited for others to read it. However the third book has not come so easily, maybe because I feel more pressure to make it as good as the others so it’s interrupting my flow, and what I would naturally write. I truly need to get back into the world of Como and just let the characters do their thing! 

So my least fave moment is now, when I have writers block and am also trying to focus on marketing the first book, and then the second! 

Also I parted with some scenes I really loved because I knew they didn’t advance the plot in any way. Chopping them out was painful, but it paid off, and once it came to the editing progress, the editor did not want to remove anything I could cry over!

What’s your favorite cure for writer’s block?

Wait for the characters to talk to you or for an idea to evolve. If not, just start writing and see what comes out, even if you can only manage a few sentences, it’s important to keep going, as you may be pleasantly surprised! If all else fails, have a cheeky glass of wine (or two), then your can write with less inhibition and over thinking and always go back and rework it later!

Find it HERE! 
Can you please share an excerpt? 

“Did it ever occur to you that some of us just want a chance know what it’s like to experience passion, Twell?” Jonaz asked, now stepping even closer to me. His voice became a low growl and my stomach lurched and fluttered alarmingly. 

I stiffened at how close he was, but resisted taking a step back.

 “Don’t you want the opportunity to feel these things, Twell? Maybe even feel what it’s like to be in love before the chance is taken away?” He continued more gently. His expression was honest, no trace of arrogance now. Instead, a flash of sadness crossed his features, and something else, something raw, something like need. 

With a shock, I sensed that somehow, this boy who seemed to have such a blessed life, might actually be missing something. Had I just caught a glimpse of actual pain or loss behind the arrogant façade? It threw me, weakening by resolve, and I struggled to retain my anger as a twinge of guilt twisted inside me.

“I’d rather trust the Governing Body to handle that part of my life.” I stared at the ground abashed. This was getting emotional and I just couldn’t go there. Not with anyone and especially not with Jonaz Maven, of all people. His hand shot out, jerking my chin up, forcing me to look into his eyes. The way they saw straight through me and my lies made me feel as exposed and vulnerable as if I’d been standing there stark naked. I stopped breathing.

What’s your next/current writing project?

The final book in the Como Chronicles Trilogy, Eeek!

Here’s a totally random question for you:

I've been reading a lot of sci-fi lately, and I've always wondered what it might be like to be a sexy alien. Use this link to find your alien name and let us know what you come up with

My alien name is Von, LOL

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Thank you! Twell comes out on June 26th in print and e-book, hope you enjoy!


Kate O’Leary, has loved reading and writing ever since she was young enough to try and get through the back of her cupboard into Narnia, or through her mirror into Wonderland!  In high school she entertained her homeroom reading out chapters of her first novel ‘Miranda’ about a teenage girls adventures with her horse Rusty.

After school Kate studied Children's Literature, and her first drafts of Twell were awarded in writing competitions. Kate’s writing interest is firmly embedded in dystopian fantasy, being continually fascinated with future direction of our world and the concepts of free will and moral vs. lawful obligations. Twell’s adventures will continue to explore these ideas in the Como Chronicles Trilogy.

Kate lives in the beautiful Adelaide Hills of Australia, surrounded by rolling hills and wineries and horses, as well as some good rocks to climb when she feels like scaring herself!


  1. Congrats, on the new release, Kate! Don't you just love when your characters start talking to you:)

  2. Love the description of your home, Kate. Lovely interview and I wish you luck with the last of the series. Saying goodbye and ending a trilogy will be hard.

  3. Great interview!
    Kate, I think you need to write a story about prehistoric kangaroo's.
    Maybe Australia's version of Jurassic Park? haha
    But really, I enjoyed reading this. (And my alien name is Star.)


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