Interview and Giveaway with Caragh M. O’Brien

Filed in Caragh M O'Brien , Interview , The YA Lover Posted on August 4, 2010 @ 11:00 am 42 comments
Today, I am thrilled to offer you a glimpse into Ms. Caragh M. O’Brien‘s life as well as her upcoming work; author of Birthmarked, my favorite dystopian novel ever! She’s currently working on book 2, which I can’t tell you how excited I am to read it!

The YA Lover: I am sure you have been asked this before, but where did you get the ideas for the world you created in Birthmarked? Not so much the story itself but the dynamic world?

Caragh: Let me say first, Jenn, that I’m delighted you invited me by and that you enjoyed Gaia’s story so much. The original ideas for the wasteland and societies in BIRTHMARKED came while I was driving across the country during the drought of 2008. In the southern states, every lake we drove over was an empty pit, and the landscape started me imagining what would happen to us, politically and socially, when climate change really hit.

The YA Lover: Gaia Stone is one of the strongest characters I have ever read about. She starts off strong, which is unusual. Did her personality traits come from someone you know or is she infused with different parts of people you know?
Caragh: Gaia’s the sort of person I wish I could be. She draws strength from the love of her family, which is certainly familiar to me, but then she’s braver than I ever have been. I don’t consciously draw from people I know when I’m writing, and I can only surmise that my characters come from some deep place in me where I’m basically human, like everyone else. For Gaia, I really just turned her loose, and she kept making these incredible decisions. I love being in her mind.

The YA Lover: For a debut novel, your voice seems very fresh, yet you take on a complex subject, within a very complex world. Were you worried that publishers out there might not see your vision?

Caragh: I didn’t worry about what publishers would think at all. I just wrote the best story I could. I really didn’t expect I’d get it published, so I was surprised and delighted when other people were interested in it, too. I feel very fortunate that the book ended up with Roaring Brook.
The YA Lover: I know you’re working on a book two; I also know you said at first this would be a stand alone novel (boy am I glad it’s not). How many books do you now see in the series?
Caragh: BIRTHMARKED is the first novel in a trilogy, and you’re right that at first I didn’t plan more. Having a three-book contract has given me a chance to explore things on a different scale, and it’s a lot of fun.

The YA Lover: Is there anything you can tell us about book 2?

Caragh: It picks up Gaia’s story shortly after BIRTHMARKED ends, and another one of my favorite characters reappears, too. It’s also dystopian, and I think, in important ways, the next book is worse for Gaia. She has to keep growing in a tough situation.

The YA Lover: OK, on to a few sillies -If you could be any fictional character, whom would you be and why?
Caragh: Today, I’d like to be Pocahontas from the Disney movie. She can sing, she can canoe, she has great hair, and she’s in a forest. That all sounds good to me right now.
The YA Lover: What was the last book you read? Did you enjoy it?
Caragh: I just finished The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride and I’m in the middle of Mistwood by Leah Cypess. Good stuff.

The YA Lover: What’s the best part of a novel for you, the beginning, middle or end? Why?
Caragh: Do you mean reading one or writing one? For reading, I like the end where I can see everything come together and then I can take off with my own pondering about it all. For writing, I like revising so all the parts build together. It’s fascinating to make sure each decision at the end is connected to something earlier in a way that only makes sense once you get there. It’s a great game, if you know what I mean.
The YA Lover: Is there anything else you might like to share?
Caragh: I’d just like to say again how thankful I am that you invited me by. I love the dialogues that are springing up about young adult books, and your blog is an important part of that. All best, Caragh
Thank you Caragh for taking the time to chat with me, I can’t tell you how excited I am for the 2nd book in the Birthmarked Trilogy!  



Because I loved this book so much, I want to share it with the world! Here’s what you have to do:

1) Leave us a comment – who does not love comments right? (Make sure to include your email address, so I can get in touch with you!)

2) Gain an extra entry for pimping out the contest (just leave a link)

3) Gain another extra entry for commenting on my review of Birthmarked – gotta make sure you want to read it! 🙂

The Giveaway is open to anyone that Book Depository ships to, and the winner will be chosen on the 11th!

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  • Blodeuedd August 4, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Had a little look at amazon, read the word dystopian like and knew I wanted to read it. My fave kind of ya for sure. The future holds so much in store, it can go right, it can go really wrong

    blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

  • Katie August 4, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Sounds likea great book! I will have to added it to my TBR pile!

    Thank for the great interview!

    bigferret at email dot com

  • Books and Bane August 4, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Since I am always searching for books with a strong lead character this one sounds spot on!!!!

    Left a comment on the review too!

    Thank you!

    Michele P

    nedsped at gmail dot com

  • Kaya August 4, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Count me in thanks!

    Birthmarked looks awesome!

    I left a comment on the review.

    Blogged about it here:

    Thanks for the chance.

  • draconismoi August 4, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    You had me at "starts off strong." I love dystopian novels – but I am tired of the poor-female-must-discover-inner-strength cliche. This sounds great.

    cass at feministdracona dot net

  • Ekta August 4, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I love Pocahontas!! She's my favourite Disney character 😀 Birthmarked sounds awesome! Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

    +1 comment on post
    +1 comment on review

    ekta.p7 [at] gmail [dot] com

  • Autumn August 4, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Add me! I would love to read this!

    +1 commented on review

    autumn.crochet @ gmail .com

  • Donna August 4, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Please enter me! My email's in my profile. I've listed this in my running Chomper Contests post.

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  • Natalie (Mindful Musings) August 4, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Ooo…I've been wanting to read this one! Thanks for the giveaway!

    +1 Tweeted it here


  • Jennifer August 4, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    This sounds like a great book. Please enter me in the giveaway.

  • Alessandra @Out of the Blue August 4, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Wow, I'm in the right mood for something dystopian. This sounds like a great book.

    +1 commented on the review


  • Barbara E. August 4, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    I've been hearing about this book, and the more I hear, the more I'm interested.

    Commented on your review.

  • JenM August 5, 2010 at 12:06 am

    I'd love to read this book. I don't usually read dystopian novels but this one definitely snagged my attention.

    +1 commented on the review.

    jen at delux dot com

  • elizabeth August 5, 2010 at 1:05 am

    I really want to read this book!

    swordsforfighting at yahoo dot com

  • Sylvia August 5, 2010 at 1:47 am

    I can't wait to read birthmarked! I love dystopian books and I hope I will love this as much:)
    Thanks for the contest!


  • linaramz August 5, 2010 at 2:29 am

    I'm so excited to read Birthmarked! I haven't read alot of dystopian but I find it very interesting and am excited to read more books in this genre. Birthmarked sounds awesome. I love a story with a strong female character so I can't wait to read this!

    +1 commented on review

    linaramz at yahoo dot com

  • Liz. R August 5, 2010 at 7:06 am

    I'm looking forward to reading Birthmarked, I love all things dystopian! I really like the cover as well, I would pick it up if I saw it in a bookstore.

    Commented on the review!


  • brandileigh2003 August 5, 2010 at 9:44 am
  • Pokadots1121 August 5, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    This looks like a really good book. I just adore the cover. Thanks for this chance!

  • rachel445 August 5, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Really excited to read Birthmarked!

    +1 Commented on the review


  • Julie August 5, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    This books sounds interesting. Count me in the giveaway. juliecookies(at)

  • Lisa R August 6, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Sounds like a fascinating read.


    commented on your review

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  • Giada M August 6, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Thank you for the interview! Birth Marked sounds great. I already added it to my wishlist! Thank you for this chance! 😀

    I commented on your review.

    Giada M.

    fabgiada (at) gmail (dot) com

  • k_sunshine1977 August 6, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    this sounds really good – and i'm lovin' the cover!

    k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

  • mbreakfield August 6, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Great interview! If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
    I tweeted
    I commented on review.

  • Pink Panther August 6, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks for this lovely interview! I've seen the review and it sounds absolutely fabulous! One loner against the world (or at least, the Enclave).
    +1 comment
    +1 review

    Thanks so much for making this international! You can reach me at

  • Darlyn August 7, 2010 at 5:19 am

    I have this book on my TBR list! Thanks for an opportunity to win =0

    +1 comment
    +1 comment on review
    +1 facebook

    darlyn225 at gmail dot com

  • Tina August 7, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    I've been dying to read this book! Thanks for the chance to win.

    melodiousrevelry (at) gmail (dot) com

  • Cherry August 8, 2010 at 2:13 am

    I am a nosey reader. I usually ask authors if their characters are patterned after people around them and celebrities… mother-in-law in one of the bad guys?! 🙂 I know I'm naughty… but I guess most authors are like Carragh in that bits and pieces of people and things around them comes out after being digested in their subconscious…

    Thanks for sharing Caragh and Jennifer!

    Re-posted your contest at:


    Cherry Mischievous
    mischivus101-warrior [at] yahoo [dot] com

  • Christa August 8, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Amazing contest! ; )

    How did I miss that Birthmarked is part of a trilogy?!? I must read it now. I love dystopia, but they tend to be standalone (though I think that's changing)… so, keep them coming! ; )

    Thanks for the giveaway.
    ambience.of.rain {at}

  • tetewa August 8, 2010 at 11:02 am

    First time hearing about this one, sounds good!

  • Tore August 8, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Hi, I am a follower. I would love to read this book. Please enter me in contest.

  • latishajean August 8, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    This sounds like a great book Thanks for the chance! Im a follower too.
    twitter follower/latishajean
    +1 comment on review

  • WulfLuva August 8, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    OOO… I've never heard of this book before now!

    Maybe I'll win and be able to read it! 😉

  • throuthehaze August 8, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Great interview! This book sounds good.
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  • Bella August 8, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    This book sounds fabulous! I, however, have never been a fan of Pocahontas 😮

  • donnas August 9, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Sounds good. Thanks for the chance!

    Tweet –

    commented on review

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  • Cass August 10, 2010 at 2:33 am

    This book sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway.

    Commented on the review

    cc932005 at hotmail dot com

  • Lu August 10, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    This looks really good! Love the cover!

    chidoryx AT hotmail DOT com

  • Kailia Sage August 10, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Please enter me! Sounds like a great read! My e-mail is on my profile!

  • EVA SB August 11, 2010 at 4:07 am

    I love dystopian novels and this sounds great… at least to read about!

    I tweeted

    I commented on the review[@]gmail[.]com

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