How To Write a Novel

IMG_6798Get a fairly decent idea.

Write a few pages.

Keep writing to see what happens.

Be convinced this will be a bestseller.

Discover you don’t know what you’re doing.

Keep writing anyway.

Resist the urge to go back and revise.

Get a small new idea that might be slightly helpful.

Keep writing.

Delete the last ten pages.

Delete ten more pages.

Take a cookie break.


Get back to writing.

Claw your way forward through the worst pages you’ve ever written.

Keep writing.

Discover you still don’t know what you’re… Continue reading

Chatting with Blondie and the Brit

Blondie&theBritFrom my toy store roots to my wish for a secret superpower, the latest Blondie & the Brit Podcast covers how and why I arrived where I am today: on the couch, writing YA novels.

K.J. Waters (Blondie) and Suzanne Kelman (the Brit) were so warm and welcoming that I couldn’t help opening up to them.


Throughout my girlhood, my creative, playful parents owned the Pied Piper Toy Store.

They’re the ones with superpowers, if you ask me.  

Writers themselves, K.J. (Stealing Time) and Suzanne (The… Continue reading

Manchester Writes


7th and 8th graders get ready to write with guest writer Caragh O’Brien at Manchester High School, Thursday, May 12, 2016.

My visit to Manchester High School was full of happy and thoughtful moments. Working with students from the high school and nearby Illing Middle School, I talked a bit about my process, answered questions about my novels and publishing, and led workshops where students wrote for ten minutes and shared their work afterward. 

Writing fiction in a low-stakes, open-ended way with just the nudge of a new idea… Continue reading

Natural Castles

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Everywhere I look, I’m seeing castles in the landscape. We’re driving across the country, and every turn brings another stunning view to send the mind soaring.

The North Texas Teen Book Festival Was Fabulous!

Nearly 8,000 readers came by the busload to Irving, TX for the NTTBF16. Photo credit: Jennifer Mathieu

Nearly 8,000 readers came by the busload to Irving, TX for the NTTBF16. Photo credit: Jennifer Mathieu

Every time I think about my trip to the North Texas Teen Book Festival, I grin. You would not believe how amazing it was. Middle Grade and Young Adult readers came by the busload for a day of panels with their favorite writers on Saturday, April 23rd, and I tell you, the energy was off the charts. I had the best time!

Here are a few photos from the day.

Howdy, Texas!

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 5.39.31 PM

As easily as I say “Pass the butter,” teens in Texas say “Ma’am” and “Sir,” and to my Northern ears, it’s a gracious sound. When I write about characters from Texas, I recall the kind, polite readers I’ve met there, and when I think about going back, I smile.



In the YA community, Texas is known for its book enthusiasm. The librarians (Yay for the TAYSHAS Reading Lists!), booksellers, bloggers, teachers, local writers (Yay for Jennifer Mathieu!), and readers are fun loving and first rate. There’s no… Continue reading

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For a chance to win a copy of THE RULE OF MIRRORS, enter here! The Goodreads giveaway ends June 21st, 2016.

Upcoming Events

June 10, 2016: I'm joining YA writers Karen Fortunati and Emily Murphy for the kickoff of the B-Fest Teen Book Festival shenanigans at Barnes & Noble in Canton, CT on Friday, June 10th at 7:00. This free event is a celebration of teen readers and books, including trivia and games! Afterward, at 8:00, I'll linger to sign books and chat.
June 11, 2016: I'm leading a free writing workshop as part of the B-Fest Teen Book Festival at Barnes & Noble in West Hartford, CT on Saturday, June 11th at 2:00. Free your inner writer and come join us! Details here.
July 12, 2016: I'll be joining four other YA and MG writers at the Avon Free Library Local Author Festival to highlight characters in fiction on Tuesday, July 12 at 7:00.
August 2, 2016: I'm joining the CT Authors Trail with a visit to the Saxton B. Little Free Library in Columbia, CT on Tuesday, August 2nd at 6:30 p.m.

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