Monday, December 07, 2009


Erin O'Riordan lives in the midwestern United States with her husband. She has been writing compulsively since she could hold a pencil, and professionally since 2006. Her erotic stories, essays, and film reviews have been published in numerous magazines and websites. Though she has written about everything from professional basketball to her favorite literary sex scenes, the intersection of spirituality and sexuality remains one of her favorite themes. Readers can view more of her work at

What would you like readers to take away from your book?

An open mind toward other religions and cultures they may not know very much about. An open mind about the possibility of magic.

Why did you choose to write this book?

The Pagan Spirits series began as a short story, but the characters wanted me to know more about their lives and loves, so now I’m committed to finishing all 12 books in the series.

What did you learn while writing this book?

To write this book, I had to learn a lot about the geography, climate and culture of India. I’m still learning.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

I love the last chapter, because this book has such a happy ending.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

People who are not writers, but are readers, should understand that they don’t need any special credentials to review a book. If you read a book and you liked it, tell your friends about it. Sometimes people think, “Nobody cares about MY opinion,” but it isn’t true. I’ve found out about excellent books based on recommendations from people who aren’t professional reviewers.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

I was inspired, and reassured, by Linda Lael Miller when she said she gets writing ideas from everything she consumes, from TV reruns to country songs!

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

The toughest test is opening that first rejection letter; once I survived that and learned the world wasn’t going to end, nothing else has been as difficult.

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?

The best advice is “persevere.” The worst advice I’ve ever read it probably, when submitting a book query to publishers, to strictly follow each and every publishing house’s individual guidelines. It consumes too much time that could better be spent writing. I learned from Bob Mayer that the most efficient thing to do is develop one standard query for all the publishers.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Do read your work out loud to yourself; don’t take rejection personally.

I borrowed this question from Author Carleene Brice, What is your author fantasy?

Seeing one, or more, of my books on the New York Times Best-Seller List.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

Go to church! But I don’t do it often enough.

Five questions about books:

One book that you have read more than once.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

One book you would want on a desert island.

The complete poems of Emily Dickinson.
One book that made you laugh.

Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography.

One book that made you cry.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

One book you wish you'd written.

Pretty Birds by Scott Simon, because it made me laugh and cry.

Our theme for this month is Children Books. Can you recommend three books for children?

Big Mama Makes by World by Phyllis Root and Helen Oxenbury
The Adventures of Toby and Doby by Susan Pennington-Hurtubise
Betsy Who Cried Wolf by Gail Carson Levine

Oprah has--as one of her magazine columns--a section where she talks about what she knows for sure. What do you know for sure?

I know the right thing to do is always to treat others as I want to be treated.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

From St. James’s Day (Pagan Spirits, Book 3) by Erin O’Riordan:

“Where are we going?” Gillian asked as Mike drove toward the Third Ward.
“If I tell you, it won’t be a surprise,” he said. Soon, however, Gillian deduced they were going to the pizza place Mike and Fisher managed.
“According to the sign, it’s closed,” Gillian pointed out.
“You forget I have the key,” he said. When they reached the door, however, it opened without need of the key. The lights were on, and one of the counter staff, a tall high school girl named Amanda, greeted them on the other side of the door.
“Hello, my name is Amanda, and I’ll be your server this evening,” the lanky girl said with a disarming smile. She was dressed in the feminine version of a maitre d’s outfit, with a high white collar, a black bow tie and jacket, and a full-length black skirt. She even had a kitchen towel draped over one arm. She showed them to their table: the romantic window table, already prepared with glowing candles and a chilled bottle of white wine.
“Would you like to see the menu?” Amanda asked Gillian. “Or should I have the chef prepare you the specialty of the evening?”
“I’ll have the specialty,” Gillian said. Amanda nodded at Mike, but didn’t ask him what he would like. She disappeared behind the curtain, and Mike poured the wine into the chilled flutes on the table.
“What did you do?” Gillian asked him.
“I wanted our first date to be special,” he said. “Let’s have a toast to new beginnings.”
She held up her glass, and they toasted. “To new beginnings.”
After they’d finished the first glass of wine, conversation became easy again. They were once again Gillian Deitz and Mike Lubeck, best buddies. She asked him about the Magpies’ latest show and how the demo CD was going. He was in the middle of explaining the lyrics of “LULAS” to her when their meal arrived.
“Organic whole-wheat pizza crust,” Amanda announced, laying the pizza on the table in front of them. “Handmade sauce¾made by our own Mr. Lubeck¾made from fresh, organic Roma tomatoes and homegrown herbs, topped with soy cheese and delectable green peppers.”
Gillian looked down and noticed the green peppers had been arranged in the shape of a heart. She smiled. Mike smiled back.
“You went through a lot of trouble,” she said as Amanda disappeared again.
“I said I wanted our first date to be special.”
“It’s special because it’s with you,” Gillian said. She took two slices of pizza and put them on her plate. After her first bite of the heavenly organic pizza, Gillian added, “Now, I believe you were telling about some song you wrote about me?”

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

Readers can e-mail me at My websites are and


Zen falls in love with biology grad student/modern Pagan Ramesh Sudhra. One thing stands in the way of their happiness: his traditional Indian-American family doesn’t welcome Zen. Between his stern mother’s disapproval, Zen’s one-year vow of celibacy, and her assistant’s romantic troubles with a wild new witch, Zen’s life may never be the same.

Leave a question for Erin for a chance to win a copy of
Midsummer Night.


Judi Fennell said...

My kitten's name is Pagan. Does that count? ;)

(and, yes, I do enjoy the funny looks I get when I tell people her name.)

Congrats to you, Erin, for making your dream happen! :)

Erin O'Riordan said...

Thank you, Judi, for taking the time to stop by and leave your comment.

Geewiz387 said...

Thank you for sharing with us Erin. I don't know that I believe in magic but I would like to think it exists.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Congrats on the book and here's to many future successful endeavors!

Mistralwynde said...

Erin, thank you for all your fabulous, magickal writing. As a pagan who loves your erotic stories, wicked sense of humour, and tremendous imagination, keep on writing! Hugz, Sabine

Robin Cain said...

Hi Erin - Thanks for the great interview. Sounds like you put a great deal of time into researching what you are writing. Curious as to how you thought your 'generic query letter' to agents and publishing houses worked for you, as everyone seems to say that individual personalized ones get greater attention.
Congratulations on your writing career!

Erin O'Riordan said...

Thank you, GeeWiz, Sandra, Sabine, and Robin, for stopping by and for all of your comments.

GeeWiz, some would say there is magic all around us, from the opening of a rose bud to the way the leaves turn brilliant colors in the fall to the delicate spots of the ladybug. Magic is all in how you see the world.

Sandra and Sabine, you are very kind.

Robin, it isn't easy to write "one size has to fit all for now" queries, and there are certainly some agents and publishers who are turned off by them. However, as a writer, I have to carefully balance my time between writing and promoting what I've written. I suppose what I mean to say is, query letters should always be targeted to the audience, but it's also important not to lose too much time on the minor details when all you want to do is get someone's attention initially. I hope that makes more sense; I met Bob Mayer at a writers' conference, and he explained it more eloquently than I have here.

Ginny Karoub said...

Thanks for sharing, enjoy the interview! Congrats on your books!

Thomas said...

Erin I hope start reading
"The Pagan Spirits series" soon, I liked the excerpt so much, best wishes, Thomas.

Erin O'Riordan said...

Thank you very much, Ginny and Thomas.

Thomas, I hope you enjoy the series.

Unknown said...



Erin O'Riordan said...

Thank you, Christopher.

Mary J. McCoy-Dressel said...

Hi, Erin!

I stopped by from Facebook to say hello. After reading your interview, I learned that we have a lot in common-- Linda Lael Miller for one. She's also inspired me with her writing. And let's not mention that dreaded FIRST rejection letter! Thanks for sharing a part of your life with us, and best of luck with your books.


Xtabber said...

Hi Erin! No questions for you today, but wanted to pop in and say hi and have fun with your day today! Love the Q&A so far!

Erin O'Riordan said...

Mary, thanks so much for stopping by. I met Linda Lael Miller once, when she came to the annual Open Book event my local library holds every year. This was in 2006, the same year I wrote my first novel, THE SMELL OF GAS. (TSOG will finally be published in late 2010.)She's extremely prolific; it seems like every other week she has a new book on the shelves. I wish I could finish them that quickly!

Erin O'Riordan said...

Thanks for stopping by, Xtabber. Glad you're enjoying the blog.

cherio1 said...

What an interesting interview. I love to think that magic does indeed exist.

Erin O'Riordan said...

Me too, Cheri. :)

Amber Scott said...

What a great interview! Small world, I learned two tricks from a workshop with Linda Lael Miller: tarot cards as a means to character build and the list of 20. I use both often when stuck. I'm putting you on my authors to watch list.

Morgan Mandel said...

Erin, it sounds like you have lots of books ahead of you in your series. I wonder how many are already done.

Morgan Mandel

Erin O'Riordan said...

Thank you, Amber.

Morgan, I finished writing the third book in the series earlier this year and am editing it now. I have an outline for the the entire series, though.

LaShaunda said...


Thanks so much for being our featured author today and answering questions.

Thanks to all who stopped by to ask Erin questions.

Erin O'Riordan said...

Thank you for having me, LaShaunda. I love your blog!

mariska said...

stop by from FB :) Hi Erin, i enjoyed this interview. it's great to know you.

- describe your writing in three words ?

Wish you the Very Best of Success ahead !

Erin O'Riordan said...

My writing in 3 words? Steamy, but deep.

Unknown said...

Hi, Erin,

Nice blog. Congratulations! It's always good to see what other authors are doing to promote their work and themselves. Keep plugging away and when you hit the NYT Bestsellers list, I can say "I knew her when." Way to go!

Erin O'Riordan said...

Thank you, Verdi!

JoeyJordan said...

So many questions already covered in this great interview.

I guess the one thing I would ask would be, "Have you ever had a character you couldn't connect to but you had to write them into the story because you knew it had to be that way, or do you always connect well with all of the characters you write?" The silly question that I was thinking of asking was..."what is your favorite icecream?" =)

ScorpJen1121 said...

Hey! This sounds great. I love that you're trying to spend open mindedness and I hope I can get to read your work soon!

Are there certain authors you aspire to be "like"?

P.W. Dowdy said...

You are a winner, Erin. Keep doing what you do so well. Write, write, write!

Stop by L.A. on your first chance. We'll do coffee.

Erin O'Riordan said...

Joey, I have an easier time getting in the heads of the female characters than the men. My husband/editor helps me with the guys. Probably the hardest character for me to understand is Vlad.

My all-time favorite ice cream is pistachio.

Jen, I would love to be known for my paranormal romance series like Charlaine Harris, J.R. Ward, MaryJanice Davidson, Kate Douglas...

Thanks, P.W. No member of my family has lived in LA since my great-grandfather and step-great-grandmother lived there in the
1940s, but it would be fun for me to walk the streets my grandfather walked when he was a teenage juvenile delinquent.

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