Tuesday, August 29, 2017

0 Caragh M. O'Brien, author of THE KEEP OF AGES, on anything that isn’t absolutely necessary having to go

We've had so many amazing authors provide interviews lately that we're spreading them out to Tuesdays and Thursdays rather than overwhelming our readers with writing wisdom on Saturdays. 

THE KEEP OF AGES is the final book in the Vault of Dreamers Trilogy, and we're excited to have Caragh M. O'Brien swing by to tell us more about it.

Caragh, what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

One of the scenes that was hard for me to write was from the perspective of Thea, a character who is very important in the second book of the trilogy and carries over to the third. She was in a difficult place mentally, and the scene didn’t have much action to give it motion, so it kept circling itself in a frustrating, sad way. I revised the scene dozens of times, switching up the dialogue and characters, shifting it about in the novel, and trimming and expanding it. In the end, I had to cut it entirely. I resisted for a long time because I thought it added an important perspective, but it simply was not living up to the rest of the book. It wasn’t absolutely necessary, and anything that isn’t absolutely necessary has to go.

How long did you work on THE KEEP OF AGES?

My earliest start of this novel is dated June, 2015, and I finished the very last revisions this spring, so altogether, it was nearly two years. That may seem like a long time. During the beginning, however, I was also finishing revisions for the second book in the series, The Rule of Mirrors (which came out in early 2016), and thinking about the two books during this overlap allowed me to make slight changes to Book 2 which helped in Book 3. I sometimes worry that I’m not a fast writer, even though I put in many hours a day. In the end, however, I’m very happy with my books, so for me, the time is well spent.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

I learned that a writing project that seems impossible will eventually yield and turn into something solid. The funny thing is, it’s hard for me to believe what I’ve learned, even though I’ve written six young adult novels now. When I’m immersed in the slog of an early draft, I truly cannot see my way out of it. So what I really learned is that I know something intellectually (I can write a book), but my heart doubts that fact (I can’t write a book), and both of these positions are true for me.

What do you hope readers will take away from THE KEEP OF AGES?

To be honest, I hope they feel like they’re friends with Rosie, my main character, and I hope they realize how lucky they are to be alive and thinking in their own, unique ways. Writing this novel took me deep into myself, but it took me outward, too, and I feel more connected to all humanity. We, the living, are the lucky ones.


The Keep of Ages
by Caragh M. O'Brien
Roaring Brook Press
Released 8/29/2017

In the fast-paced, high-stakes conclusion to Caragh M. O'Brien's Vault of Dreamers trilogy, Rosie travels to a derelict theme park to shut down dream mining once and for all.

Driven by fear when Dean Berg kidnaps her family, Rosie Sinclair strikes out across the country to rescue them. When an elusive trail leads her to Grisly Valley, the contaminated ruin of a horror theme park, Rosie has to consider that Berg may once again be manipulating her every move to make her fearful, priming her for a final, lethal dream mining procedure. As Rosie struggles to outmaneuver Berg, she unearths the ultimate vault of dreamers and the hint of a consciousness more powerful and dangerous than any she's imagined before. Faced with unspeakable suffering and otherworldly beauty, Rosie must discover how to trust her mind, her friends, and reality itself.

Propulsive and deeply speculative, The Keep of Ages concludes the Vault of Dreamers trilogy with stirring possibilities for what it means to be alive.

Purchase The Keep of Ages at Amazon
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View The Keep of Ages on Goodreads


 Caragh M. O’Brien is the author of the BIRTHMARKED trilogy and THE VAULT OF DREAMERS series, both from Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Ms. O’Brien was educated at Williams College and earned her MA in the Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University. Her young adult science fiction has been honored by the YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, the Amelia Bloomer Award, the Junior Library Guild, and numerous state reading lists. A former high school English teacher, she now writes young adult novels full time from her home in rural Connecticut.


Have you had a chance to read THE KEEP OF AGES yet? Have you cut a scene you loved because it didn't fit the book? Are you able to see your way out of early drafts? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

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