Katie O'Sullivan writes with a breezy lightness; a float on air, take me away kind of style. The sprinkles of suspense, intrigue, romance, humor, and even fantasy that she dusts through the chapters of her books captivates readers from the first word to the last.
I've always yearned for a life on Cape Cod and applaud this author who's writing so vividly transports me there. Give a warm welcome to Katie O'Sullivan, author of Son of a Mermaid, Blood of a Mermaid, and My Kind of Crazy.
What is your name?
Describe your books/genre to our readers.
I write romance and adventure for young adults and the young at heart. My young adult books are mermaid fantasy novels with a contemporary Cape Cod setting. The first in the series is Son of a Mermaid, published in 2013. Blood of a Mermaid is the second book, just out this summer. I also write contemporary romance with a dash of intrigue. My third and latest is My Kind of Crazy, published by The Wild Rose Press and out on Kindle now. The world release is slated for July 30.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when I devoured all the Nancy Drew books and most of the Hardy Boys series in one summer. My aunt promised that if I finished writing a book, she'd publish it for me - and she did. I still have my author copies of "The Mystery of the Haunted House" and I've heard some of my childhood friends still have their copies as well. I was an English major in college, and wanted desperately to write The Great American Novel, but life and family took precedence for many years. When my youngest started full-day Kindergarten, a friend dragged me to his writing group and I finally got serious about writing fiction.
I read that your family bought an inn in Vermont when you were 18. Tell us a bit about this time in your life. Do any of these experiences make their way into your books?
Living and working in a ski resort town was crazy at times, but there were lots of wonderful experiences mixed in over the years. I had a guaranteed summer job throughout college, tending bar at nights and serving breakfast in the mornings. When I decided to leave advertising and find a new career, I had the luxury of becoming the manager of the inn for a year while I figured out my next step. After my parents bought the inn, my sisters and I never had a "real" Christmas vacation again, since that's the very busiest time in Killington! We'd take 3 hours in the middle of Christmas day and enjoy egg nog and a frenzy of presents before the skiers returned and wanted their spiced rums and hot chocolate. When I got married, it drove my husband crazy! Some of the people I met over the years became characters in my writing, but My Kind of Crazy is my first "inn" kind of story. I'm sure there are more Inn stories to come!
You write both young adult and adult fiction. What genre gives you the most satisfaction and why?
I enjoy writing in both genres for different reasons, but I think YA is more satisfying in that a writer is reaching out to an audience that is more open to the fantastic, and to believing in both the existence of real magic and the simple magic of the every day. It's a mistake to think writing for kids and teens is "easy" or "easier" because it's not. It's just a different perspective.
You're also an editor, copy editor, magazine columnist, and mother of three! What's your secret to time management? Describe a typical day.
Wait, there's a secret to this? No one told me! Seriously, I'm hanging on by my fingernails most days, trying not to forget too many things and letting the laundry pile up to high. Don't even talk to me about dusting. As for writing, deadlines are my friend. If you tell me when you need it, I can get it done. Otherwise it sits on my desk and gets lost. My typical day starts at 5 a.m. with lots of coffee and a flurry of activity. I'm lucky to have three really wonderful kids, and things have gotten easier since my eldest got his driver's license. He's headed to college soon (to the U.S. Air Force Academy, actually!) Things were craziest when they were in three different schools with wildly different schedules and activities, but things are getting easier. We've never limited their activities but rather encouraged them to be involved - so it's all my own fault anyway.
Mermaids are a primary theme in your young adult series. What is it about mermaids that inspired you to write these books?
We live a block from the beach, and walk along the ocean with the dogs almost every day. I love collecting the treasures that wash up along the shore, and love to imagine life beneath the waves. My middle child has always been very into sea life and learning about the creatures that live in and near the ocean, and the schools here on Cape Cod do a wonderful job incorporating the natural world into their classrooms and field trips. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful spot!
What advice do you have for new authors? Do you recommend they take the traditionally published or self-published route?
My advice is to write the best book you can. Then have other people read it and give you feedback before you start submitting it. When I sent out queries, I wrote to both agents and small publishing houses and got lucky in the small press arena. I've worked with a few wonderful and very professional small publishing houses, and love the supportive atmosphere among the authors. I'm not opposed to self-publishing, but there are many self-pubbed books that just aren't quite "ready" or could have benefited from a more critical editor. There are also some truly awesome self-published books out there. The hard part about both small press and self-publishing is that the burden of marketing and promotion falls all onto the author.
What are 3 things most people don't know about you?
Three things most people don't know... hmmm... 1. My parents were so sure I was going to be a boy that they didn't have a name picked out for me. They each had one sister, and ended up naming me for both of them. (The hospital wouldn't let them leave without naming me something.) 2. My first car in high school was an orange Camaro that my best friend named "Chuck." 3. Two of my all-time favorite movies are Groundhog Day and Housesitter. I don't know why, except they are funny and I love them. I will stop and watch either of those movies every time I see them on t.v. Every. Time.
Are you working on any new projects?
I'm working on a new Cape Cod romance, as well as on the third book of the mermaid series. I'm also busy promoting the two new books I have out right now, and trying to organize a few book parties and signings for the coming summer. My writing projects are all taking a back seat at the moment, though, as we get ready to send my son off to college. He leaves for Colorado at the end of June and there's so much to do between now and then!
Connect With Her