The Forge Clock Tower

The Clock Tower in Jaffa, Isreal.

The Clock Tower in Jaffa, Isreal.

One of my favorite places in The Vault of Dreamers is the clock tower, an old, round, stone building in the middle of the Forge School campus. Stepping inside it with Rosie instantly takes me to another world. Naturally, I couldn’t help returning to the clock tower in The Rule of Mirrors. It can be powerful in a sequel to return to familiar places, especially if they evoke bad memories or bring back warm feelings.  For me, the clock tower does both.

Here… Continue reading

Look What Arrived!

The Rule of Mirror arrives!

The Rule of Mirrors arrives!

My editor sent me copies of The Rule of Mirrors!  I have the actual book in my hands. It’s a thrill to see this novel in its final stage after all these months of labor and conniving. Thank you to my lovely editor, Kate Jacobs, for helping me all along the way!  

My brother Tomy O’Brien was visiting when I opened the package, and he snapped this happy photo. It was great to have him here to help celebrate. He even read… Continue reading

Double Voices



Before I wrote Birthmarked, I worked on a novel that contained five points of view, all following different members of the same family in crisis. It was a worthy experiment, but I swore afterward that I’d never try it again. I couldn’t make all the perspectives equally compelling. I felt like I was shortchanging each character, and the collective honesty I was aiming for didn’t resonate enough.

Imagine, then, my surprise when I started writing The Rule of Mirrors and discovered I could not write it from only… Continue reading

We Live in a Beautiful Country

Interstate 10, Texas

Interstate 10, Texas

Driving across Texas a few days ago, I was awed by the sweeping distance and the wild sky. I keep thinking about how big the mountains were, and how they, in turn, were dwarfed by the clouds. Each mile along Interstate 10 brought another amazing view, all the way to California. We have nothing like it back in Connecticut, where trees crowd the hilly roads of my home, and I felt like I was roaming a new planet.

As a writer, I can take my work with… Continue reading

Family Time

Boxing Day in Connecticut, 2015

Boxing Day in Connecticut, 2015

I’m enjoying some family time these days. We take walks, play Scrabble and Dominion, light candles, eat fabulous meals, read books aloud, work puzzles, lounge, and laugh. My people keep arriving—singly, in pairs, and with dog. The warm dynamic shifts each time like a happy, human fabric of belonging. I’m one of the blessed, for certain.

I wish you and yours peace, joy, and love.

When Page Totals Go Backward

Not every step goes forward. (So deep.)

Not every step goes forward. (Deep, I know.)

It’s nice to see pages adding up, especially in a first draft. A writer can’t resist doing a little math and thinking, “If I can just write 5 pages today and every day this week, I’ll have 25 by Friday. I’ll have 50 by the Friday after that. I’ll have an entire draft before I know it!”

It sounds SO appealing, but the problem is, writing doesn’t often obey math, and expecting words to appear in tidy chunks can make a girl… Continue reading

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Upcoming Events

February 16, 2016: The Rule of Mirrors (The Vault of Dreamers Book 2) comes out! It will be available in bookstores and online, and it is available now for preorder.

February 29, 2016: I'll be joining writers Cecil Castellucci, Kiersten White, and V.E. Schwab at The Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego, CA on Monday, February 29th at 7:30 for a panel and book signing.
March 18, 2016: I'll be joining YA writers Veronica Rossi and Stephanie Kuehn for a Not Your Mother's Book Club event at Books Inc. Opera Plaza, San Francisco on Friday, March 18th, at 7:00 p.m. Details here.

Q&A with Caragh M. O'Brien
Q&A with Caragh M. O'Brien 13 members
Join YA author Caragh M. O'Brien as she discusses writing and reading YA novels and celebrates th...

Books we've read

View this group on Goodreads »

Caragh's Latest Favorite Reads

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Every Day
The Dog Stars
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
The Fault in Our Stars
Two of a Kind
Until It Hurts to Stop

Caragh's books »

Audio Books

The audio books of BIRTHMARKED, PRIZED, PROMISED, and THE VAULT OF DREAMERS have been released by Tantor Audio. They're available through Tantor, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and

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Book Trailer for Promised