Hi! My name is Annette O’Hare. I am an inspirational author of historical fiction. I live close to Houston, Texas with my husband, Dan, of thirty years. We love saltwater fishing on the Gulf Coast and spending time with our family. I’m a real history buff and my love for the history and heritage of Texas comes through in my writing. I’m a long time member of American Christian Fiction Writers and ACFW Writers On The Storm. It’s always been my desire to reveal God’s love to my readers and hopefully give them a laugh or two. Dan and I are proud parents of two Texas A&M graduates, one exceedingly imaginative high schooler and two rambunctious, loveable rescue dogs.
Connect with Annette...
Purchase: Northern Light
Get to know Annette O'Hare
You and Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself and writing...
I grew up in a rural area in Houston, Texas in the seventies and eighties. My brothers and I didn’t have video games for entertainment unless you consider “Pong” entertaining. To enhance our dull existence, (ha ha) I made up scenarios to act out in the magical wooded lot across the street we named, Devil’s Island. My love of story lead to my first literary work…bad poetry I wrote for my mama. Then, as a teenager my poems turned dark. I jokingly call this, “My Edgar Allan Poe phase.” As a high school junior I wrote my first full-length play, complete with a full cast of characters and show tunes. The play was so corny, but my creative writing teacher liked it and I received an ‘A.’ The rest as they say is history.
Emilie here: Ha! The "Edgar Allan Poe phase" I feel like we all went through that as teens ;-)
Tell us a little bit about your book...
Why did you write it?
I really love Texas history, and the Bolivar Point Lighthouse has a fascinating history dating back prior to the Civil War. Also, I have a family connection to the lighthouse. My great uncle and aunt’s family bought the lighthouse at auction in 1947. One of the two houses adjacent to the lighthouse bears the name “Maxwell” which is my great uncle and my grandmother’s maiden name. I feel like it’s a part of my own history!
What was a challenge you faced while writing it?
I never knew how much research was required to write historical fiction until I started writing one myself. It’s important to me that the time period I’m writing about has been well researched. There is so much information out there about the Civil War. That can be good and bad. Good because it’s easy to find the information you need and bad because if you make a mistake your readers will surely call you on it. One of the things I’ve realized is that many of the words and phrases we use today weren’t around during the 1860s. My new adage is: If you’re not sure…look it up!
Was there a passage of scripture you came across or used while writing it that you’d like to share?
The scripture reference for the novel is Psalm 43:3a, “O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me.” I chose this scripture for two reasons. First, it speaks of a light that guides, just like the lighthouse theme of the book. Also, the Psalmist asks God to send His truth to lead him. The truth I want to reveal is that we can’t always believe things are right just because they’ve been handed down from one generation to the next. When we don’t know what to believe, we should seek God’s wisdom and He will lead us to the truth.
What's the most random thing you had to Google for the story? I don’t know if you would call it random or just plain old weird! A character in the story suffers from mental illness, so naturally I had to research treatment for what was then called lunacy. Let me tell you first hand, Victorian era treatment for mentally ill patients is not a subject you want to Google…at least not when you’re alone or at night. Creepy!
Emilie here: Ohh....sounds creepy! I've found myself researching some strange things as well, but not quite like that!
Let’s talk about your writing life...
What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”?
When I first started seriously writing as an adult, I wrote a one hundred twenty thousand word manuscript before I knew anything about the craft of writing. That book could be used in a writing class as an example of what NOT to do. The advice I’d give to a younger or new writer is to learn the craft. Not only the rules of English lit, but also the current trends of what’s acceptable in writing now. Know the buzz words such as head-hopping, deep pov, ‘ly’ words. Educating yourself in writing takes time, but it’s worth it in the end.
Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters?
I love the beach. It’s the inspiration for a lot of my writing. I also love research, especially if it involves Texas history. There is so much, little known history associated with the Gulf Coast that needs to be told. When I learn something new, characters and their stories come to life for me.
Are there any books or resources you could recommend to younger writers looking to grow in their craft?
Some of the best books on craft are James Scott Bell’s, Plot And Structure and Conflict And Suspense. He even has a new book out called How To Write Dazzling Dialogue! Another great book I use in my writing is The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. This book helps you describe emotions that you may not know how to put down in writing.
Emilie here: Great books mentioned above! I love Plot and Structure and have an ebook copy of The Emotion Thesaurus! The others are on my list too.
What is your favorite genre to read? Why do you enjoy it?
I have a very eclectic taste in books. I love historical fiction based on real events. I like suspense and mysteries, but my favorite books are the young adult and middle grade fiction I’ve read. You know, the ones you never forget, that leave a lasting impression on your heart.
What’s your favorite green food? (In honor of St. Patrick’s Day of course!)
Green beer! No I’m just kidding. I’m one of those weirdos that actually likes Brussels sprouts.
Emilie here: Ha! And yes, I actually had brussels sporuts over last Thanksgiving that were amazing! They were roasted (after taking out the "heart") and then mixed with heavy cream and bacon. I mean, with those ingredients, how could you go wrong?
If you could travel to any location and stay there for one month where would you go?
It would have to be near the ocean. Perhaps somewhere I’ve never been like Greece or the French Riviera. Ahh…
What are you currently reading?
Two books, The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall and Out of The Ruins by Karen Barnett.
Emilie here: Thanks so much for being my guest Annette! Loved having you for the new release last Monday and how we get to know a little more about you. Congrats on this first novel for you!
I had the pleasure of hosting author Dani Pettrey last week and she graciously offered a copy of her novel Cold Shot (a MUST read dear readers--see my review here).
The winner is:
Congrats and don't forget to contact me so we can get you your book!