SIX MINUTES WITH NEIL O'DONNELL:
Joining LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author is Neil Patrick O’Donnell. Neil is the author of both fiction and non-fiction books. Some of his titles include, The Career-Minded Student, Writing Standout Résumés: A Guide to Help Recent Graduates Get Noticed & Hired, Hope in a Bottle, and Return of the Sagan. In addition to being an author, Neil is an anthropologist, certified career coach, and musician.
How did you get started writing?
I’ve been writing since before I was 10 and completed my first short story at 10 (scifi – it involved me being chased by dinosaurs). Ultimately, I was captured by a pterodactyl, wiggled my way free from the pterodactyl’s grip and woke up bouncing on my bed. I just always liked imagining myself in past or futuristic worlds. These dream worlds became a refuge for me as I tried to battle OCD.
Who influenced you?
Choose Your Own Adventure books inspired me – they encouraged me to write my own stories. As for authors who were impactful on my style, David Eddings is at the top of the list. The realism he put in his stories made for incredible reading experiences.
Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
My favorite book is The Sapphire Rose by David Eddings. He does more in one chapter than any other author does in a series of novels. This work shows Eddings’ masterfulness at developing heroes and villains who are collectively believable and understandable with regards to their convictions.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Write down your ideas and reflect on them often. Don’t be afraid to abandon a storyline if you decide to change a tale mid-write. Also, just keep writing! If you get stuck (aka ‘writer’s block’), take one of your characters and write a background story for them. It’s a great way to break new ground.
Where is your favorite place to write?
At my home. My laptop on a TV tray – I write while my wife writes or watches reruns of NCIS or Big Bang Theory.
What else would you like to tell us?
Writers and storytellers create and adapt language – don’t be afraid to challenge the rules set in any language. That said, remember that established grammar rules still are THE rules on your high school and college tests (and editors USUALLY get final say).
Neil, thank you very much for joining LitPick for six minutes! We’ve enjoyed getting to know you!