Interview with Thriller Author Pat O'Brien                  30.05.21


Pat O'Brien is an American Author.  His debut novel Unknown Vengeance is due for release on the 5th August 2021 available for pre-order on the link at the bottom of the interview.

I reviewed Unknown Vengeance on the 14th May 2021.  It's a brilliantly addictive page turner which I highly recommend (see my blog for the review).  


What drew you towards writing crime thrillers?


Like many authors, I wanted to write about what I like to read. It seems like I’ve always been drawn to crime/psychological thrillers. Although I also enjoy mysteries, I prefer thrillers. I like knowing who the bad guys are and the setup of the cat-and-mouse game to catch them.  I have bookshelves full of David Baldacci, James Patterson, John Grisham, Jefferey Deaver, Carter Wilson and any thriller writer I can get my hands on.


What is your background and how did you get in to writing?


I’ve always enjoyed writing. I can’t draw worth a damn and I’m just about useless with a paint brush, but I think I do pretty well with creating pictures and images with words. While in college, I took courses in creative writing to try to hone my skills in creating vivid imagery. I also had an early career in Buffalo, NY, radio and television. Putting words together just became a natural extension of myself.

One time when I was getting ready to take a flight, I picked up David Baldacci’s Memory Man. I was hooked. I probably read another 15-20 of his books in the next few months. The more I read, the more I said, “I want to do this.”

Where do you find your inspiration?


I can find inspiration in anything, anywhere. I can see a random person or item and suddenly imagine an entire backstory. It’s one of the things that helped me in Unknown Vengeance. I didn’t want to just have victims who were killed by a serial killer. They were people. People with lives who needed to be known. I want the reader to connect with both my major and minor characters.

If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, on a writing project, who would it be and why?


Umm…. I’d prefer living. Writing next to a dead person would freak me out. LOL. Actually, I think it would be great to collaborate with David Baldacci. He is one of my all-time favorites. I enjoy how well he crafts a scene and subtly develops characters throughout his novels. I hate when authors try to cram everything about a person in a few pages…let them develop over time, like a real friendship. You learn the good and bad in drops, not in buckets.  I also think it would be fun to work with Carter Wilson. His sense of humor and attitude would probably have us devolve into a night of good bourbon and bad jokes…but it would be a ball. He has a knack for creating tense imagery and creating the right sense of foreboding in a psychological thriller. If you get a chance, read his novel Revelation. Creepy as all hell without being gory. I love when writers can make your gut tense up with their words.


Do you have any projects coming up that you are particularly excited about?


Many people, like you, have said they would like to see the characters in Unknown Vengeance become a series. (Thanks Jane!) I am almost finished with the sequel, Planned Vengeance.  In the back of my twisted imagination, I have already laid the groundwork for the third one, Mass Vengeance.  I also have a few independent stories rolling around in my head.

Are there any new books or writers that you are looking forward to coming up?


I grabbed Carter Wilson’s The Dead Husband when it was first released a couple weeks ago. Finished it that same weekend. Anything from Baldacci is a must-have for me as well. Jeffery Deaver has two more Lincoln Rhymes books coming out later this year. (The Midnight Lock and A Perfect Plan) I’ll be getting those too!


What was the moment like when you got your book deal?


Absolutely incredible. After dozens and dozens and dozens of rejection letters from agents and publishers, I began to think it would never go anywhere. Then one day, I opened my email from Cayelle Publishing – and they wanted it! It has been a thrill ride ever since. They have been fantastic to work with. Cayelle has been very supportive and really believe in it. They chose Unknown Vengeance to be the premier novel for their new Whistler imprint. It has been a whirlwind of fast and slow all at the same time…the release date is coming August 5th and I am very excited. I hope all the readers get the same takeaways and insight that you did, Jane. As I mentioned to you before, as a new writer, I wasn’t sure if readers would truly feel what I was trying to accomplish with my character development and storyline. After seeing your perceptions, Jane, I knew I must’ve done something right.


What genre of books do you enjoy reading?


Obviously, I’m partial to crime/psychological thrillers. I like novels with a dystopian society, and I enjoy well done horror. I like novels that explore a range of emotion and inner turmoil. (I love when Stephen King allows us to know his character’s unspoken thoughts and fears.)