Kathleen O'Reilly

Rian: I really enjoyed “Diva’s Guide To Selling Your Soul”. It had a very interesting and unusual plot. What was the story behind coming up with that plot?

Kathleen: Well, I just moved from Texas to New York about two years ago, and uh, the book is more true than people realize. I mean, it’s like, every woman you see is a size TWO!! They don’t kid when they say that everything is bigger in Texas. Anyway, it’s not like the people in New York are snobby or anything; envy just becomes very insidious when surrounded by so much money and beautiful people — and I’m easily intimidated. :)

Rian:  What did you find to be the most difficult thing about writing that book, if anything? The easiest?

Kathleen: The easiest part of the book was writing the character of V, who I love. The most difficult part was balancing the fantasy aspects of the book with the reality of New York. I wanted it to feel real, but that’s very hard to do when you give people supernatural powers.

Rian:Â Are you anything like any of the characters in “Divas…”?

Kathleen: Uh, yeah, uh, V’s a lot more me than I really care to admit. I don’t have her potty-mouth, but I mentally cuss a heck of a lot.

Rian:  Describe how you managed to effectively get into the head  of Lucy, who was the devil. Was it difficult coming up with
her story?

Kathleen: Actually, (and I don’t psycho-analyze this), it was easier than I thought. I like the idea of the devil being a woman, because I think it’s much scarier and makes the devil much more seductive. I’ve always believe that Satan is merely the darker part of man, and in a lot of ways, Lucy is the dark mirror of V. Also, I think we like to believe that the devil is some minion of evil, but I don’t buy that. I think the devil is a much more sympathetic character than we realize, simply because it’s part of us. Okay, more theology/philosophy than you wanted :)

Rian: Do you have any other novels in the works? If so, what are they about?

Kathleen: Yes, I’m currently working on one now that’s to be published in April 2006. It’s about a character who wants to help everyone around her, but she’s the one most in need of rescuing.

Rian: What do you think of the chick lit genre in general? What  about the people that put it down?

Kathleen: I like chick lit. I think it’s the natural progression to the romance genre. Less focus on the more old-fashioned feminine desires, and more focused on the solo journey. It’s here to stay, because women are changing, both in good ways and bad. As for the criticisms of chick-lit, genre fiction of any kind will be criticized. I’ve been reading romance for as long as I could read, and I’ve been writing it for a few years as well, so I’ve heard all the complaints, but the average reader isn’t really interested in more literary fiction with beautiful prose. They want a good story they can relate to. There’s a place for literary fiction in the world, but it’ll never be commercially successful like the genres, because lit fiction is about the prose and genre is about the story. At least, that’s my $.02. Take it for what it’s worth.

Rian: How did you get started in writing fiction? Was it something you’d always wanted to do?

Kathleen: Uh, no. But my friends always told me I’d be a writer, but I didn’t want to be a writer because writers are not rich, and I wanted to be rich. However, these opportunities kept popping up in my life, both in non-fiction and then finally in fiction. I realized I couldn’t fight my destiny, and to this day, my friend’s all say, “Told you so.”

Rian: Describe your writing routine. Do you have to write at a certain time of day or in a certain place?

Kathleen: I write while my kids are at school, from about 9am to 3pm. We have a basement, loosely termed, “the dungeon” because it’s got these old stone walls. I have a desk and chair and computer down there. It’s very effective. However, Spider Solitaire is bad. Very, very bad.

Rian: Was it difficult getting your book published? What was it like being published by Downtown Press?

Kathleen: In some ways, yes. As you might guess, it’s a book that some people have a lot of problems with because the heroine has sold her soul to the devil in order to be thin and rich. (But we’ve all thought about it in the darkest dregs of our soul — unless you’re thin and rich, of course). I changed agents because I believed so strongly in this book. That said, only one editor ever saw it, and she bought it on exclusive. As for Downtown Press, they’re a great house. They push the envelope and like variety in their titles. It’s a good home for me.

Rian: What advice would you give a potential paranormal chick lit writer, if any?

Kathleen: When you finish one book, immediately start the next one. Practice won’t make perfect, but it will make better.

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