Pete A O’Donnell is the creator and writer of the children’s story website Illadvisedstories.com where kids can listen to free and funny adventures.
He is a graduate of Queens University and a member of the society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. He works as firefighter and EMT, and has a deep interest in history.
The Curse of Purgatory Cove is his first book. It started as a short story when he was a kid but after reading about the pirate ship Whydah, recovered with its treasure off of Cape Cod, his short story about a paperboy became something more.
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Author Pete A O’Donnell
Survival of Characters in a Bizarre Place Full of Secrets
- Where are you from?
I’m originally born in Texas but was raised in Rhode Island, the smallest state in the US.
- Why do you write?
Telling stories has been a passion since I was a child. I love fiction, creating worlds from my imagination. There’s also a part of me that pushes towards writing because it doesn’t come easy. I’m dyslexic and had a tough time learning to read. Writing seemed to be the one thing many teachers couldn’t see me doing.
- What do you write about?
My first love is science fiction but I’ve also written a historical novel set here in my home state about our pirate past. I writer children’s stories as well for a podcast I do called Ill-advised stories
- Do you have a specific writing style?
I like my stories to move quickly, but I also like them to have a sense of humor.
- What are obstacles that come in the way of writing?
I’m a fulltime firefighter/emt and a dad so as I imagine many would say, life itself becomes an obstacles, however I’ve tried to bring my kids into my work, creating the podcast with stories that were first written for them.
- What’s the most memorable thing asked/said by a reader about your work?
It’s happened more than once now that a child has told me how much they loved my middle-grade pirate novel. One kid even called it his favorite book.
- How long have you been writing?
I’ve been creating short stories since I was a kid, but I started pushing towards creating a catalogue of them around the time I was fifteen. My first novel I finished after college where I studied journalism.
- When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?
When I told my uncle a story about a forest full of trees that could talk to each other. I would’ve been 7 at the time. I had him locked into the tale and when I saw that power at work, I was hooked.
- What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
I’m an early morning writer. Usually starting around 5:30
- What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I leave words out when I’m typing. If you went back and read something I wrote before I got to fix it, it would make no sense.
- How long does it take to write a book?
I’ve finished seven novels and published four and each one has taken a different amount of time. The pirate book, The Curse of Purgatory Cove was fifteen years with rewrites. Of course, I worked on other things in between.
- Do you have suggestions on how to become a better writer?
It’s an obvious one but I would say reading. Go as wide as you can with it too. Read everything, classics, modern works, poetry, nonfiction, graphic novels. Consume as much as you can and treat each piece of work like an opportunity to study. I once heard that the reason dyslexic people read so slowly is because we read every word. We can’t skip along like some readers do but to be a writer means to worry and fret over every single word, to pick that perfect structure to a sentence. You can only pick that up by studying what others have done.
- What challenges do you come across when writing/creating your story?
Head space is the biggest problem, having time with my own thoughts. When you’re engineering an entire universe, you need space to put your thoughts together.
- What do you think makes a good story?
Characters come first. If you a reader doesn’t care about the people in your story you’ve got nothing. The next most important thing is tension. There has to be a constant pulling in every scene, even in the small moments.
- What does your family think of your writing?
They’re very supportive reading everything I write.
- Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, but it’s a passion first. I have to tell these stories, first and foremost. What happens to them. If they reach a wider audience is the career part that I’m attempting to get a hold of.
- Do you have anything specific you’d like to tell the readers?
These stories that I write are the stories I want to read, the worlds I want to dive into and they’re amazing and layered with characters I like spending time with. I would like to welcome the readers to them, to dive in and enjoy the stories the way I’ve enjoyed writing them.
- When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably when I started producing short stories consistently in high school. Not many have read them but I can still picture every scene vividly.