Author feature – David J O’Brien

By | February 19, 2016
I have something just a little different for you today. Author David J O’Brien contacted me after seeing my review of Katey Lovell’s One Night In Los Angeles – he’s published by Tirgearr Publishing too – and thought I might like to try one of his books, The Ecology of Lonesomeness. I liked the title, the description, and the fact that it was a little different from my usual reading. The reviews on Amazon are good – especially on the US site – and I really liked the fact that he donates 10% of his royalties to the World Wildlife Fund. 

Sadly, I just couldn’t fit it into my reading list, but I’m delighted to welcome David to Being Anne, to tell us more about putting the ecology into lonesomeness…

A romance novel with the word Lonesomeness in the title might be understandable. As long as the lonesomeness has a sexy antidote. But Ecology? Is there room for such science in contemporary romance, or even fiction? I think so!

There’s a little bit of the natural world in all my novels, and often characters who like the great outdoors, or become aware of it as the story progresses. Some of it is speculative biology: cloaking what we assume is myth with science so that we can understand how in fact it could easily be real, or based in a reality we are familiar with. I’d love to call such work Eco-Fi, like speculative fiction using space and physics uses Sci-Fi, though it doesn’t have the same ring to it…

There was a time when Sci-Fi was a niche market – and there was little romance involved, but now there are plenty of romance novels set on distant planets, and we’ve become so accustomed to seeing movies set in space that we don’t sometimes see past the science when we watch a movie like Star Wars. 

The subject of Ecology is becoming more common in our everyday life; for both good and bad reasons. Most people have a good understanding of what it means, and how important our environment is. It’s not the mystery it once was, and it’s a lot easier to understand than the space-time continuum, in my opinion, anyway!

Over the last few years it has become clear that we writers have an obligation to make our characters more diverse, and make topics like gender equality and gay rights part of the stories we tell. I believe those of us who have a good understanding of ecology also have a moral imperative as writers to push forward and bring it even more into the light, and make it part of our conversation. Given the current ecological crises we face, it’s perhaps even more important. 

And in the same way as having a gay character won’t make our story less engaging, so having a character who appreciates and tries to improve our environment won’t make our novel less romantic, our love story any less heart-wrenching.

Thank you David – let me tell everyone more about two of your books, both of which really appealed to me:

The Ecology of Lonesomeness

Kaleb Schwartz isn’t interested in the Loch Ness Monster. He’d enough cryptobiological speculation about Bigfoot while studying the Pacific Northwest forests. He’s in Scotland’s Great Glen to investigate aquatic food webs and nutrients cycles; if he proves there’s no food for any creature bigger than a pike, then so much the better.

Jessie McPherson has returned to Loch Ness after finishing university in London, hoping to avoid the obsession with its dark waters she had when younger and first discovered lonesomeness. She knows any relationship with a scientist studying the lake is a bad idea, but something about Kaleb makes her throw caution to the depths.

When Kaleb discovers Jessie’s lonesomeness refers not just to the solitude of the loch, he’s faced with an ecological problem of monstrous proportions. Can he find a way to satisfy both the man and the scientist inside himself, and do the right thing?

Buying links 

Amazon UK  |  Amazon US  |  Apple

Five Days on Ballyboy Beach

A startling revelation – the long-time friend you never viewed romantically is actually the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.

But what do you do about it?

For Derek, a laid-back graduate camping with college friends on Ireland’s west coast in the summer of 1996, the answer is … absolutely nothing.

Never the proactive one of the group – he’s more than happy to watch his friends surf, canoe and scuba-dive from the shore – Derek adopts a wait and see attitude. Acting on his emotional discovery is further hindered by the fact he’s currently seeing someone else – and she’s coming to join him for the weekend. 

As their five days on the beach pass, and there are more revelations, Derek soon realises that to get what he desires, he’ll have to take it. Events conspire to push him to the forefront of the group, and, as unexpected sorrow begins to surround him and his friends, Derek grasps his chance at happiness. After all, isn’t life too short to just wait and see?

Buying links

Meet the author

David is a writer, ecologist and teacher from Dublin, Ireland, now living in Pamplona Spain. He has a degree in environmental biology and doctorate in zoology, specialising in deer biology and is still involved in deer management in his spare time. 

As an avid wildlife enthusiast and ecologist, much of David’s non-academic writing, especially poetry, is inspired by wildlife and science. While some of his stories and novels are contemporary, others seek to describe the science behind the supernatural or the paranormal.

A long-time member of The World Wildlife Fund, David has pledged to donate 10% of his royalties on all his hitherto published books to that charity to aid with protecting endangered species and habitats. 

You can find out more and read some poems and short stories on David’s website. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

4 thoughts on “Author feature – David J O’Brien

  1. David O'Brien

    Thanks so much for inviting me on your blog today, Anne. If any of your readers have any questions I'd be happy to answer them…

  2. Georgia Rose

    It's lovely to come across this post this evening. I am reading The Ecology of Lonesomeness at the moment and am loving it – a review will of course follow once I've finished it but I'd highly recommend already – can't wait to get back to it 🙂

  3. David O'Brien

    Thanks for the comment, Georgia. Sorry I didn't see it earlier – I thought I set up notifications, but obviously didn't. I am indeed, delighted with the review!

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