The Genetic Freedom Act

The law isn’t really called that, but since I’m already playing with fiction twists, changing the name is a satisfying place to start.  The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 says about what you might expect it would: that insurance companies and employers can’t discriminate against anyone because of his or her genes.  They can’t demand genetic info about people, or their families, when they’re deciding whom not to cover in policies or whom to employ.  That’s the real law here in the U.S.

It’s just too… Continue reading

Gaia at Eleven

(Here’s a bit story about a character from Birthmarked when she was a kid.)

Gaia plugged the last jug with its stopper and tied the handle to the end of her pole.  Once more, she tested the grip of the faucet in the great wall to be certain it was off tightly.  Spilled water had absorbed into the dust already, making it a richer brown, and she messed her bare toes into it for the coolness before she lifted her yoke pole and balanced it over her shoulders.… Continue reading

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


Ari & Milo, my serial novel, is now up on Wattpad! I drew illustrations to go with each chapter, and best of all, it’s free! Because of problematic themes, this novel is for mature readers age 17+.

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