Friday, April 3, 2009

Author In The SpotLight ~April Edition~

Author: Steve O'Brien
Author Of: Elijah's Coin
Please give a warm welcome to this month's Author In The Spotlight guest star! Steve O'Brien!I recently reviewed his book, Elijah's Coin, which I loved! If you are interested in learning more about the book, click here for my review, or click here for Amazon's Summary. Anyways, here is the amazing interview! Hope you enjoy it!

Q: Is there a certain character that inspired you to write about in your book Elijah's Coin?
A: The two main characters, Tom and Elijah were the inspiration. A young man about to embark on a destructive course and an unlikely mentor with a mysterious past. Dr. Olin Summerlin was a fun character to develop as well, but the main two characters were what drove the book.

Q: How did you come up with all of the rules that Elijah taught Tom to live successfully?
A: With two children at home I became interested in personalities that they admired. Unfortunately, the personalities tended to be celebrities with questionable techniques for becoming famous. I started thinking about success and was disappointed that success for young people was tied to achieving fame through different forms of self promotion—some of it involving dangerous activities. In the book I laid out some rules that I believe are the true road to success. Not success seen through modern culture, but success in living a purposeful life. Giving to Get is the key to success. The rules set out by Elijah are design to help focus on Giving to Get and being true to values that make for a better society. The rules are things I’ve personally witnessed and ways to model oneself for a productive life.

Q: If you weren't an author today, what would you most likely be doing?
A: I am a full time attorney, so writing is not my main occupation. If I weren’t writing, I would probably use that time in some form of teaching or mentoring. The book is a means to distribute the principles I’d like to convey to students or mentees.

Q: Have you ever met anyone as inspiring as Elijah King in your life?
A: Elijah King is a combination of several people I have met in my life. Many times we learn valuable lessons from people we barely know—or from people who don’t even realize they are teaching us a life lesson. I wanted to capture that thought through a character and it became Elijah King. All the characters tend to be combinations of people I have met, which make them a composite of many people. I have told several friends that they should look for themselves throughout the book. The feedback I have gotten from that thought has been astounding.

Q: Would you ever want to continue Elijah's and Tom's story in another book? Or would you rather keep it a mystery to the readers?
A: I haven’t planned out a sequel, but have been asked repeatedly. With Tom moving to Washington at the end of the book, there may be a story to be continued. Also Elijah King and his coins is a concept that could launch several stories. I’d better get to work on that.

Q: How did the story plot of Elijah's Coin come to you, and when?
A: Tragically, I spoke to a friend who was an alum of Virginia Tech in the days following the school shooting. He was devastated by the news and the visuals of what happened. He could barely speak about it. That conversation made me think about how young people get off the track--and why? I wanted to write a story that showed how, through human contact and a few guidelines, a person can get back on the right path. I had the idea for a mysterious mentor and learned about the story about the prophet Elijah and his coins from Jewish teachings. The idea was to bring the story forward to modern times, but also give Tom examples of success in doing so. The first part of the book is learning the lessons—being a mentee. The second part of the book is about taking those lessons, living your life through the lessons, and becoming a mentor to others—all done in a fictional setting. The book is didactic, but I wanted to frame it in a fast paced story. The lessons could have been written as a non-fiction, self help guide, but I wanted it to be a story that could engage the reader first, and then hopefully teach a valuable lesson or two.

Q: Is this your first book ever written?
A: This is the first book I have published. I have a few other nearly completed manuscripts. I have written for many years, but mostly for my own pleasure. I decided to start with Elijah’s Coin. Who knows where it will go from here.
Q: How do you relate to Tom?
A: I wanted Tom to be a model for a life turn around. He suffers a terrible tragedy and begins shutting down. I wanted to show how a person could re-energize their life and get back on a path to success. Not only to get his life back on track, but to become someone who could help others. It doesn’t happen through introspection, it happens through interaction. Mentors largely teach people how not to repeat their own mistakes. To take that life learning as a step up the ladder, then model appropriate behavior and give back. My wife and I founded The Elijah King Charitable Foundation and portion of the proceeds from each book go to programs to help disadvantaged youth. The book is about giving to get. Those who buy the book are doing that automatically. Then, of course, I hope they pay it forward with the coins and the message.


wdebo said...

Wow, that's so cool, you got Steve O'Brien to interview, I really enjoyed his writing in Elijah's Coin.

Wdebo :)