Marc O'Brien is an American author and a communication artist from Barry University, Florida. For many years Las Vegas Author Marc O'Brien has learned to respect the many different ways to send a message from point A to point B. This unique side to the communication field was encountered when as a youth the disabled equestrian experimented with therapeutic horseback riding. As a pioneer to this healthy way to strengthen someone on the social, physical and mental levels Mr O'Brien found himself earning credible achievements that gave him a platform of a college-educated professional who handles information. He has authored a number of works like The Final Fence: Sophomores in the Saddle, Peter the Peteeatrick Panda's Playground, The Legend Of The Pixie Piper, and many more.
Quillopia had a great time interacting with an amazing author Marc and delving deep into his inspiring life journey. We are eternally grateful to the author for constantly being a part of Quillopia and contributing to our literary visions.
First of all, we would like to hear about your journey so far now from you. The readers of Quillopia would be delighted to get acquainted with you?
For 17 years I had a residency (owning and living at a property) in Las Vegas and during this time I was able to compile what I call an author portfolio. Fictional works that put on display my actual feelings of how I dealt with a physical disability which I can honestly state I was shoved into since it happened before I was born. An event like this not only puts a child in situations where they are not supposed to be like a hospital, but it takes away basic things like a recreational activity. Since I grew up in a supportive setting and television/film had strong male images like Evil Knievel and Steve Austin the Bionic Man (there are so many more too) the adjustment into normal college-bound scholastic life was smooth. I was the first student in the Middletown, NJ school system to go from Kindergarten-12th grade graduating from Middletown South High School in 1984. Then off to the warm climate of North Miami Shores, Florida where I attended Barry University and graduated in 1988. During my tenure at Barry University, I used my background as a therapeutic horseback riding participant to build a social and athletic life riding with Audie Sumner at South Wind Farms about a nice 45 minutes from campus in Davie, Florida. This led to being a member of the South Florida Hunter/Jumper Association, once again achieving visibility in South Florida, community showing a large pony as an adult in horse shows. All this experience inspired The Final Fence series. After my University study, I experimented in journalism which sharpened my writing skills and taught me how to write with purpose. Also, I spent 23 months (about 2 years) in New York City publishing with Praeger, and this is where I learned about the importance of ISBNs and how to respect bookstores as an important outlet.
What has been your main motivation and inspiration behind writing?
First off my books were developed in a one-bedroom Las Vegas apartment and my main motivation was to get things out of my system and on paper. It was a wonderful time-consuming activity. Las Vegas had outlets where I could take breaks featuring gourmet food and social stimulation. This all kept the day structured. When paperback writing was daydreaming visions, this action was a positive outlet. Having a controlled fantasy world is necessary when dealing with a physical disability and being an entertaining fictional author. If you learn to write or present work professionally, writing is an extremely healthy activity that respectfully allows people to understand what you are dealing with in a situation that was not the person’s fault.
You have authored plenty of poetry as well as prose, but what do enjoy writing the most?
Such English teachers' words, my new discovery poetry came from Austin Macauley UK and I do not know all those technical definitions. I just rhyme things together and make a valid point. As for prose I like fiction writing and have really spent some time with short fiction. Short/Flash fiction exercises my mind and keeps my writing strong both creatively and journalistically. I never know if a local newspaper/magazine may need assistance.
Are there any authors or personalities you look up to?
One of my main characters the journalism student is Peter King. His name homages horror authors Peter Straub and Steven King. They were the ones who instigated my writing bug and assisted me in coming to terms with issues that a person must learn on their own. Horror is a wonderful genre for a person to develop closure in understanding in facing adversity. The genre is a good friend that nicely states, “I wouldn’t go inside there if I, were you?” “That mutant can play a good banjo so respect him” or “It is time to go trouble is brewing.”
Who would you like to consider as your role model?
A good-looking actor who can act. A role for the model. I have pulled strength from so many people in dealing with a disability and their support has been so helpful in navigating the waters that at a time are choppy or placid. I had wonderful parents as role models, and they have always supported me and pointed me in the right direction. A strong family nucleus is also important in dealing with this type of scenario since they are the ones who can be trusted without a doubt.
Your latest novel The Final Fence: Sophomores in the Saddle has an unconventional approach it. Would you like to tell us something about it?
Personally, it is the first time someone has presented an issue of the importance of a disabled person to others outside stereotypical ‘inspiration.” (There is the gymnastics film American Anthem that shows a disabled person’s support to a successful athlete). Health care workers and Educators must be challenged by making sure those who have a chance to contribute to society can make an impact. Showing one’s strengths and weaknesses are the responsibilities of the Health Care and Education profession. Once this is accomplished a person will not self-destruct like my character Eddie Patrick instead realize it is only a lack of balance which two canes take care of so study hard and figure out who you are…then you will mature into an adult ready to take on the world.
We come across your versatility in Children’s Literature authored by you like, Peter the Peteeatrick Panda's Playground and The Legend Of The Pixie Piper. We are curious to know your opinion about how the writing process of Children’s literature differs from the mainstream?
There is no difference. A story is a story. Everyone can ponder the message that Hansel and Gretel can bring to the dinner table. As for Oliver Twist and The Artful Dodger? It’s ageless and should be considered a part of the literary family.
Thank you for contributing and motivating us towards our aim. What makes you support our literary vision?
Besides being an outlet that presented my work online the idea of bringing fiction writing to an International audience during this time where there is so much tension will not only entertain but hopefully keep peaceful communication going in places that may not have the luxury of maturity through responsible discussion.