Mirrored: CH Osborne Interview
Recently I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing the Young Adult Fantasy novel, Mirrored, by local author C.H. Osborne. The review will appear in the January issue of Watertown Neighbors magazine. In the meantime, I liked the book so much that I contacted the author, to see if she’d grant me an interview for this blog, and she very kindly obliged.
- Where did you grow up? Do you still live in the North Country?
I grew up in Indiana, PA – about 50 miles outside of Pittsburgh. About the same size town as Watertown, but we had the 12,000-student Indiana University of PA instead of an army installation to bolster our population. I’ve lived in Watertown, Adams and Rodman, NY since 1980 — still live in Rodman.
- What did you do before you became an author? I’ve worked in the printing industry all my adult life…though it is questionable whether I’ve really grown up yet, so I should perhaps say for the last 39 years. I trained as an editor in college but moved to Watertown with my husband where there were, alas, no editorial positions to be had. I’d taken graphics courses for fun in college and worked a summer at a small print shop. That experience landed me a job at Hungerford-Holbrook (now defunct – not my fault, I hope – they printed Adirondack Life magazine, Spotlight and Empire Sports Magazines as well as college publications). When Hungerford closed, my husband and I opened DOCO Quick Print. I’ve been working at DOCO ever since.
- Mirrored is pretty amazing in itself, let alone for a first novel! What inspired you to write such an ambitious and imaginative story? I’ve always enjoyed writing, starting in 4th grade when I wrote new episodes of The Big Valley for my friends and me to act out over the summer (the series still runs on ME TV – we were all in love with Lee Majors). Wish I had a copy of one of those scripts – I’m sure they were stupendously horrid! I freelanced on the side during my Hungerford days, then got involved for almost 20 years directing youth and teen puppet teams, which included scriptwriting. I still noodled around with stories on the side, though. When my children, Stephen and Danielle (see question 4), were young, I read classic children’s lit to them after school each day. We worked our way through C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit and LOTR, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Kidnapped, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, etc., etc. Had a blast. And I read a couple chapters of a story that was rolling around my head at the time – the rough beginnings of Mirrored where Drake and Gwen find the secret room. Working with puppeteers kept me from finishing anything, but my daughter kept lobbying for the rest of the story. When she married and enlisted the help of my brand new son-in-law, I knew I had to finish the story. I had a reputation to keep up with the in-law!
- Your book is dedicated to Danielle and Stephen. Who are they, and how did they help you polish Mirrored? They were my first listeners as children and first readers as adults. They read, and reread, and reread again, making certain Drake and Gwen kept acting like teenagers. They still remembered their teen years quite vividly. Me? Not so much…or so I learned. They offered helpful insights in all areas of the story.
- How long did it take you to complete the first book in the series? Were you able to write the second one much faster? First draft writing took 3 months. Revisions another 3-4. But considering that I’d fiddled with it for years prior to buckling down and scribbling, let’s say 15 years grand total. The second one took a year and a half. The third one…still to be determined. The fourth…yikes!
- What did you like to read when you were Drake’s age? And what about now? I loved the old time stories. Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott, Alexandre Dumas, Emma Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel, Charles Dickens… My senior year in high school, a good friend handed me JRR Tolkien’s LOTR and I was hooked on fantasy (still am). I still love the 19th and early 20th century novels, but I’m on a mystery kick right now: Poirot, Father Brown, Agatha Raisin, Lord Peter Wimsey.
- Did you choose to use your initials rather than your first name because (like S.E. Hinton and JK Rowling) you thought it would increase the chances of both boys and girls reading your book? That was a consideration, especially since I was writing from a boy’s perspective, but really it just sounded and looked cooler than my full name!
- When can we expect the third book in the Mirrored series? I’m expecting to finish the first half of 2018. We’ll see if Drake and Gwen cooperate.
- And once this fantastical tale reaches its final chapter, are you planning any future projects? After book four ends the trilogy, I’ve got quite incomplete outlines for a series featuring a 12-year-old female detective. Yes, the characters hijacked my perfect trilogy and insisted on a fourth book. When I objected, they overruled. Rather a sad situation when I can’t have control over my own creation.