Writers Talking with Kathleen O’Donnell @authorkodonnell

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Kathleen is a wife, mom, grandmother and a recovering blogger. She currently lives in Nevada with her husband. Kathleen writes dark, irreverently funny mystery/thrillers about women behaving badly. She is a two time Book of the Year finalist who loves shoes, food, the written word, weirdos and Lucy.


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What are you passionate about these days?

My family. My terminally ill granddaughter—every day she’s still here and not suffering is the most precious gift. All of our kids are grown and I’m passionate about how their lives are turning out, hoping they make good choices and that they will all contribute something good to the world.


I’m also passionate about traveling, sharing bucket list experiences with my husband. He and I are lucky to be able to travel quite a bit. Seeing other cultures and how other people live is life changing. Opens up a whole new way of thinking. It’s good for the soul and the brain.


Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?

Both actually. The Invisible Heiress might be tougher because the protagonist writes a blog which would be tricky, but not impossible, to transfer to the screen. But definitely The Last Day for Rob Rhino. Very Coen Brothers. It’s what’s popular now. Badly behaved woman, the good characters and the bad aren’t that much different from each other. They’re odd, human and funny. I hope Hollywood is paying attention lol!


What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m currently editing my third novel about a disgraced Food Network TV chef who goes back to the backwoods highway town she grew up in. It’s a town that takes care of its own no matter the misdeed. She’s hiding something. It’s written in my usual style, dark and funny. A bit of a departure because it doesn’t move as fast as my first two. It’s a delicious trip that I want the reader to really enjoy.

I’ve also got a couple of stories brewing that are still just seeds.


What do you think about the current publishing market?

It’s in flux. I think self-publishing, for good and bad, has turned the market upside down. It’s great that anyone can publish a book. There are some talented self-published authors out there that couldn’t break through the barrier of traditional publishing. It makes the playing field more level. It’s bad that everyone can publish a book because the market is on overload and many self-published books aren’t edited properly and aren’t great. So, like everything else, it’s got its pros and cons. But with so many novels getting published, self or otherwise, it’s difficult to get traction or to get noticed. The writer has to be very involved in marketing even with a publisher. And most writers are not great at self- promotion.


What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Thinking they’re born writers. I definitely think some people have an inbred interest in it and are naturally better at it than others, but every writer has a lot to learn. Writers have to decide why they’re writing. Do they want to get a traditional or indie publisher? Self-publish? Are they just writing for themselves? If you’re writing to put something out in the world it should be your best and you have to learn to be your best, there are no shortcuts. It’s hard, hard work.


However, you also have to be careful because anytime there’s a “wannabe” market there are plenty of dishonest people out there dying to take your money for “guaranteed” publishing or marketing help, or writing classes. Do the research. Don’t fall for anyone who guarantees you anything.


If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I would’ve started much earlier. When my mother died a few years ago I found several pieces I’d written when I was younger. I didn’t remember writing them. So I had an interest but never realized it. I didn’t take it seriously and no one encouraged me to take it seriously. I didn’t know anyone who wrote anything for a living when I was younger. So, I’d tell myself to follow my gut and go for it.


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The Book


The Last Day for Rob Rhino

by Kathleen O’Donnell

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery

Claire’s a rich widow on a mission, who partakes with abandon from the pharmacy stored in her Prada purse. Rob’s an aging, hygiene-challenged porn star and reality show celebrity.

Stuck on the same flight, bound for the same eccentric town, she hates him on sight. She thinks she knows all there is to know about him but is dying to find out more. He’s disinterested but somehow still sees right through her. But they’ve both got big problems. Hers is in the Louis Vuitton carryon in the overhead. His is in his pants.

To Claire’s dismay, Rob turns up everywhere she goes, yet they form the unlikeliest of friendships. He cares for her in ways she’s never known before. He could be the best thing in her life—or the worst.

In a place full of secrets, including their own, they help each other find answers they didn’t even know they were looking for, yet some questions linger. What happened to Rob’s first wife? What happened to Claire’s husband? Will they live through the answers?

The Last Day for Rob Rhino is a dark, tragic, and funny novel about the bonds of family and friendship. If you’d love a Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, or Stieg Larsson novel with a humorous twist, this would be it.


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