I am proud to introduce Caragh O'Brien, author of the Birthmarked Trilogy! Promised, the third book in the series was released on Tuesday. If you haven't read her first two books - Birthmarked and Prized - I suggest you do so immediately. And one lucky follower will have a chance to win a copy of the whole trilogy! Don't miss that below. Now, without further stalling, here is my interview with her:
NL: Before becoming a full-time writer, you were a high school English teacher. How do you think that affected your writing? Did you write with your students in mind?
CO: First, Emily, let me say how happy I am to be here at The Ninja Librarian. I love the awesome name of your site.
Being with teens every day deepened my understanding of human suffering, joy and curiosity, and naturally that carried over into my writing. My students definitely inspired me. I didn’t write with particular teens in mind, but I knew that for a book to be good enough to satisfy students like mine, it had to be the best thing I could possibly write. The standard was insanely high. I knew that teens were interested in complex moral situations, and that they appreciated characters with guts. I knew I had to write honestly and have fun myself.
NL: While this book takes place in a future time once we've all killed the earth, but sometimes it felt like a historical setting. Was that something you intended?
CO: I didn’t intend for the novel to depict the earth as quite so murdered, but I can see that it looks pretty bleak. I liked playing with the primitive, medieval-seeming conditions outside the wall because I admire how people used to manage before electricity and modern technology. The rough conditions went well with an inventive, survivalist society and set up a nice contrast with the privileged lives of people within the wall. It isn’t much of a stretch to look around our own world today and find people living in what looks like the past to those of us with more resources.
NL: Are there other authors who have influenced your writing?
CO: Whenever I read, I’m inspired. I like to see what writers do with voice (The Knife of Never Letting Go), action (Ship Breaker), and pacing (Twilight). Even though I can’t do what they can do, my reading frees me up to experiment and explore.
NL: In the first two books, there are different codes and cyphers. I loved trying to figure them out before Gaia did. Are you just a pro at breaking codes?
CO: Ha! Heavens no. I just enjoy messing around with codes. My siblings and I always played with codes as kids and I thought it would be fun to have codes in the books. I thought I’d have one in the third book, but it never made sense to put one in, so I had to let it go.
NL: Because I work with schools, I have recently had the pleasure of trying to figure out the concept of common core and "reading across the curriculum." I couldn't help but think that these books would be perfect for Science classes, English classes, a little for the History classes, and it's a stretch for Math, but it might work. Did you write this trilogy with that in mind?
CO: Common core and differentiated instruction are the ongoing challenges, right? Very tricky. I was not thinking about the books in a school environment when I wrote them. If anything, I thought they’d serve as escapist adventures that students might pick for independent reading. That’s really how I’d most like the trilogy to be discovered and enjoyed. That said, I’ve heard from some teachers and students who are doing very cool things with Birthmarked. They tend to be in classrooms that foster independent thinking, open-ended inquiry, and the questioning of authority. You know, all the dangerous stuff.
Thanks again, Emily, for having me by! Good luck with your collection development and your blog. It’s been a pleasure visiting with you!
There you have it, folks. The one and only Caragh O'Brien! Such a great author. Go find her on Twitter or on Her Website!
There have been lots of stops on this blog tour. Take a moment to have a look at the rest of the posts (and more chances to win books, ahem):
Monday 9/24 http://thebookmuncher.blogspot.com/
Tuesday 9/25 http://mundiemoms.blogspot.com/
Wednesday 9/26 http://www.lushbudgetproduction.com/
Friday 9/28 http://www.twochicksonbooks.com/
Saturday 9/29 http://www.thebookmonsters.com/
Monday 10/1 http://www.areadersadventure.com/
Tuesday 10/2 http://www.startingthenextchapter.com/
Wednesday 10/3 http://birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com/
Thursday 10/4 You're here already! Congrats :).Friday 10/5 http://www.ibbookblogging.com/
Now for the giveaway... US/Canada Only.
Want to win all three books??
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Not so hard, huh?
Thanks to the Fierce Reads campaign for allowing me to host this awesome interview/giveaway. And thank you Caragh for being so willing to answer my silly questions :).