Monday, April 8, 2013

Interview with Maryanne O'Hara

Maryanne O'Hara's Cascade made my top ten of last year; I fell in love with it when I read it last fall and haven't shaken it yet.  (It also has one of the most stunning covers I've ever seen.) Read on to learn more about her and her writing, and what she does when not writing (it's very cool!).   Enter to win a paperback copy of Cascade!

What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction?

I was about five years old when I wrote and stapled-together a book about my little dog who had just been killed by a car. It was my first experience of unbearable grief, and the impulse to write was immediate, instinctive, and such a balm. After that, I wrote a lot of grammar school fairy tales. I remember one was about how the ocean had become salty. It was a sort of prequel to Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, which I adored. (“But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more.”)

Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

I keep my journal and a good book of prose or poetry near my computer. Before I start to write, I note the date and the hour; I note what’s going on around me. It helps me to slow down and focus. Then I read a line or two of excellent writing to get me inspired. And I turn off the Internet.

Was Cascade the original title of your book?

It was, for a while. But then it got called all kinds of names before we finally returned to Cascade.

As you were writing Cascade, was there a particular scene or character that surprised you?

I didn’t particularly like Abby, and I kept wanting her to be a nicer person, but she refused. The Shakespearean “mistaken identity” theme towards the end surprised and delighted me.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

I love to travel, and a fall trip to Prague, for research on the new book, is in the works. I love yoga, and quiet meditation. I am a Reiki practitioner and I volunteer at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital once a week. I live on a river and kayak. I play tennis. I’m pretty active. I love cocktail hour, especially in summer, when the light is gorgeous and I’ve prepared a wonderful meal for favorite guests.

Read any good books recently?

Yes! In this new year, I’ve really enjoyed Dancer by Colum McCann, Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, The River Swimmer by Jim Harrison, and The Book of Lost Fragrances by MJ Rose, to name just a few.

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To learn more about Maryanne O’Hara and her writing, see her website.  You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and GoodReads.


I'm thrilled to offer a copy of Cascade to one lucky reader! To enter, fill out this brief form. Open to US readers only (sorry!). Ends 4/26.


  1. I'm always amazed when authors say characters have minds of their own, like Abby obviously did. I guess that's why I'm not an author.

    1. Ha -- I know! (And Abby *was* a hard-to-like character, but I so got her -- it makes me laugh that she was so ornery, because she was!)

  2. I absolutely LOVED this book! Thanks for an interesting interview!

  3. I absolutely LOVED this book! Thanks for an interesting interview!

  4. This was such a fantastic book..I loved it so much and the cover was so fitting. This is such a great interview...and I love that she enjoyed The Book of Fragrances by MJ Rose...that's another great read.

  5. I read this book a few months ago, and my opinion is unlike most I read.

    I'll say this for it: CASCADE is a gorgeously written novel. It is a well-written romance that is far and away better than most books called romances. CASCADE has a story that does not depend on descriptions of sexual gymnastics.

    But I wanted again and again to skip through paragraphs and pages. A couple times I even considered giving up on the book entirely. That is because O'Hara makes the common mistake of what I call "too much rumination." The main character, Dez (Desdemona Hart), thinks, at length, too much.

  6. Prague in the fall -- now that has piqued my interest! I'm so excited to read Cascade, even more by seeing it made your top ten and after reading this lovely interview. The cover absolutely takes my breath away.