Behind the Scenes: A Note on the French Translation

My daughter and I met Hélène Bury, the French translator of Birthmarked, in front of the Hôtel de Ville in Rennes at 10:00 Saturday morning and instantly bonded.  Hélène is funny, smiley, and genuinely nice, and what’s more, she and I have certain things in common that sealed our friendship: we both prefer hot chocolate to coffee and adore Colin Firth.

C. O'Brien and H. Bury, in Rennes

I’m particularly grateful that Hélène was chosen to translate my novel.  In the first place, she has lived in… Continue reading


Coincidences tend to be unbelievable in fiction, but I’m living with a couple of curious ones now in my real life.  A year ago, when my daughter told me she wanted to study in France, she applied to a program at the University of Rennes, and Rennes just happens to be the city where Hélène Bury, the French translator for Birthmarked, resides.  What are the chances that my daughter and my translator would end up in the same city, giving me ample excuse to visit?

Off to France… Continue reading

Q. How Much Do You Write Every Day?

Q. How much do you write every day?   Do you have set hours to keep yourself disciplined?

A. I always secretly cringe at these questions because I suspect my answer makes me sound sort of pathetic or crazy, but here goes:

Normally, I write all day.  I wake up, take a shower, and start writing.  I stop for breakfast when I’m hungry, and then I write.  I stop for lunch, then write.  I stop for a walk, then write.  My family comes home… Continue reading

Becca the Highland Cow

Becca the Highland Cow (c) Becca Hart 2011

And now for an inspiring photo by my talented niece, Becca Hart. Thanks for the laugh, darlin’.

Porch Meeting: Bonnie at Fifteen

The following is a bit story about characters from the world of Birthmarked.

The field laborers were collecting their lunch buckets and heading home when Bonnie Orion came up out of the unlake.  She slowed to watch how the late afternoon light washed the men and women in anonymous orange, aging them into indistinguishable silhouettes, until the road fed up against the first houses of Wharfton, and with the changing angle of light, they transformed into unique, tired individuals.

She wasn’t particularly surprised when Theo Rupp veered out… Continue reading

Behind the Scenes: From Copyedits to First Pass Pages

After I finished going through the copyedits of Prized, I emailed the manuscript back to my editor Nancy Mercado at Roaring Brook in mid-December.  The next step was a series of emails we had in early January, when Nan checked back with me about a few of my changes and other things she’d noticed, like whether a character would be called by his first or last name in a particular line of dialogue.  Here’s another example, with my reply in italics:

Pg 153 “She might be too… Continue reading

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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
Book Trailer for Promised