Author Spotlight: Brian Cohen

I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of The Life O'Reilly by Brian Cohen, for review (you can see my review here). Brian was also kind enough to answer some questions about his writing!

What made you decide to start writing novels?

I had a passion for all things creative, including film, literature, and music, since elementary school. During my middle school and high school years, when I was introduced to literary classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, Les Miserables, and The Count of Monte Cristo, I discovered both a love of fiction and a knack for creative writing. But it wasn't until my first semester of law school that I truly caught "the writing bug" and knew I had to become a storyteller.

How did you come up with the idea for The Life O'Reilly?

I am a huge fan of crime fiction, so as an attorney setting out to write a first novel, it naturally followed that legal suspense would be my genre of choice. I spent six months researching, plotting, outlining, and creating character sketches, and then another six months cranking out 150 pages of material. During that time, though, a lot was happening in my life - stories of people my age dying prematurely were being told with alarming frequency, the rat race had become all-consuming, and my wife and I were getting ready to welcome our first child into the world. Then one day, I appreciated that everything I had been experiencing had inspired another story; I realized that, though writing a crime novel was something I wanted to do, telling the story of Nick O'Reilly was something I had to do. So that evening, I told my wife that I was shelving the thriller and starting on a new project and, the following morning, I began writing The Life O'Reilly and have never looked back.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing this novel?

Writing The Life O'Reilly was an amazing experience, and I learned so much about all aspects of writing a novel - plotting, characterization, pacing, and all that good stuff. I also learned that nothing great comes without sacrifice. As a writer, you have to work as hard as you can to perfect your craft and then invite and embrace criticism from experienced professionals. If you are open-minded, their feedback will help you improve a great deal!

Are there any tips you would give to a book club when reading, The Life O'Reilly?

I have a Reading Group Guide on my website ( for book clubs to use when discussing my novel. Other than that - relax and enjoy!

I hear you are working on a second novel, what is it about?

My second novel is an emotional story of love and redemption that explores the politics of a family business and the impact it has on the relationships of its inter-generational members who struggle to understand the differences in each others values. It also highlights the erosion of locally-owned businesses in favor of the absentee-owned chain stores and the resulting loss of character of main street.

What are you doing when you aren't writing? 

When I'm not writing, I enjoy spending time with my family and playing sports.

If you could have written one book is history, what would that book be?

To Kill a Mockingbird

If you think you would like The Life O'Reilly, or Brian Cohen's upcoming book, then check out his website for more information!


Anonymous said...

Nice interview!

And your new home is lovely. I've updated your link on my blogroll.

Rachel said...

Thanks Kathleen!! Still trying to figure out why my comments section is all weird... hhmmm...

Anonymous said...

Oh, I thought that was just my computer because it has been misbehaving lately. Good luck figuring it out!

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