Afterward, We Ate


Laura Toffler-Corrie, Caragh O’Brien, Ann Haywood Leal, Jame Richards, Sari Bodi, and Michaela MacColl


Yesterday, I met up with Laura Toffler-Corrie, Ann Haywood Leal, Jame Richards, Sari Bodi, and Michaela MacColl for a panel at the Ridgefield Library in lovely Ridgefield, CT.  The local kids were painting Halloween pictures on the local businesses and there were balloons everywhere, so it was a fun day on Main Street.  About forty people came by to hear a bit of advice on writing and publishing,… Continue reading

Kids Lit Panel

I’m joining my friend Laura Toffler-Corrie and four other YA and MG writers at the Ridgefield, CT library this coming Saturday for a writers’ panel from 1:00-3:00.  We’re ostensibly dispensing advice on the writing and selling of children’s books, but I suspect we’ll digress.  I, for one, am far from an expert.  Maybe I’ll get the easy questions, like what to do if your fingers get cold all the time when you’re typing.

Behind the Scenes: A Query Letter

In May, 2008, I wrote to three dozen literary agents to see if any of them would be interested in taking on Birthmarked, then called The Baby Quota.  Here’s my initial email correspondence with Kirby Kim, who now represents me.

Dear Mr. Kim:

In a dystopian future, the world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside.  It’s Gaia’s job to turn over her quota of infants to the authorities within the wall, until… Continue reading

Tale of Two Covers

In the spirit of Frankfurt and the Book Fair this week, here’s a curious tale of translation for covers.  When the German translation of Birthmarked popped up on Goodreads, I was delighted to see the cover was a striking and mysterious image of two vivid profiles over a dark background.  I went right to an online translator to find that the new title “die stadt der verschwundenen kinder” meant roughly “The City of the Missing/Vanished Children,” and I was like “Oooh, that’s cool.”  It all fit my… Continue reading


7th grade at SPA/SS

An English teacher from my old school, SPA, invited me back to talk to seventh graders last Friday.  In theory, I was providing a segue into their unit on The Giver, and we did indeed discuss dystopias and do a bit of writing, but also, the visit exposed me to one of those odd time-travel trips.  What’s the difference, really, between me talking as an adult guest and me sitting in one of the chairs at age twelve, happy to have a visitor… Continue reading

Mapping Unreal Places

Map of Wharfton and the Enclave

A summer ago, in Minnesota, I sat in my Aunt Rosemary’s lodge overlooking Island Lake and prepared to draw the map of Wharfton and the Enclave.  My son Michael and niece Maura offered to help.  I had the places all in my head, visually, but it was harder to set them down than I expected.  Logistics intruded.  It was important, for instance, that Gaia would be unlikely to stumble upon Mace’s bakery on her first trip to the prison, but… Continue reading

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
Book Trailer for Promised