Author Saoirse O’Mara tries to follow her heart with her children’s stories. Her goal is to make her readers smile, laugh, guess, and be entertained until the end, and to think about her intriguing stories for a long time. A goal worthy of any author! Please welcome her here to No Wasted Ink.
I’m Saoirse O’Mara, also known as Theresa Berg. I write under two different names because I write in two different languages. Books written as Theresa Berg are originally German, books written as Saoirse O’Mara are originally written in English. I live in Berlin, Germany, with my American husband and our two cats, Tüte and Kami. Our household communicates in fluent Denglish (mix of German and English) of course. When I’m not writing children’s books or mystery, I’m studying languages and linguistics, currently Sanskrit and Latin. So yeah, I’m a complete language nerd. I’m also a gamer; I love playing pen and paper RPGs like The Dark Eye and Pathfinder, but also video games like League of Legends, Titan Quest, and others.
When and why did you begin writing?
I think I started writing as soon as I was able to write coherent sentences. I just had so many stories to tell, and a very creative mind (teachers may have called me out for daydreaming). I also loved reading, and when I was still in kindergarten and was finally able to read books on my own (my parents taught me to read before I entered school), I decided that when I grew up, I wanted to be a writer too.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
This is a difficult one. I actually don’t remember, but it was probably after finishing my first manuscript. I was twelve or thirteen, and the story was a lot like Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books. This manuscript is still hidden away somewhere at home, and I even revised it a few years later, but it’s nowhere near publishable. It did show me, though, that I am able to tell a story from beginning to end and write it down.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
The book shown here, Miro the Dragon, is a children’s book about friendship and courage. In four stories, the tiny and scared dragon Miro has to learn essential dragon skills like flying, breathing fire, swimming, and hunting. He befriends a human girl who helps him believe in himself and later befriends one of his classmates at dragon school, the big dragon Botsch, who teaches him to swim. The book has fans ranging from three years old to over sixty years old, but the recommended age range is four to eight years old.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was at a medieval market in my home town and started talking to the storyteller, who complained about a lack of dragon stories for young kids, and who, after learning that I am a writer, asked me whether I could write her a story. I agreed, but after I had written Miro’s first story, she never responded to my email about licensing and payment, so I decided to instead turn it into a book. Miro told me a few more stories, which I faithfully wrote down, and once I had four stories written, I looked for an illustrator to capture him and his friends.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I actually don’t know. I rather think I have several writing styles, depending on what I write, and in which language I write. I do tend to avoid long descriptions and story “padding”, though, which is probably why my books are all rather short.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
That was actually pretty easy; Miro told me. What was more difficult was coming up with fitting titles for the individual stories. I sometimes wrote the whole story before the right title came to mind, and at other times, the title was the only thing I had and the story followed.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
It is okay to be afraid. And if you are too afraid to even try something new, maybe a friend can help you overcome your fear. Sometimes, all it takes is to finally try it.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
Two of my greatest influences were Enid Blyton, whose books I devoured as a child, and Agatha Christie, the queen of British mystery. I love the stories they told, and the characters they created.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
The cover and illustrations for Miro were done by the amazing artist Svenja Liv, who is also a friend of mine. We met in a writer’s forum online and I simply fell in love with her style. She was able to bring Miro and his friends to life with her drawings. She also did the covers for my middle-grade mystery/fantasy series A Rogue’s Tale. A few years ago, we finally met in person.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t give up. Try out different things. Follow your heart. Listen to your characters (they’re always right, you know). But most importantly, have fun.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for all the feedback you’re giving me, either through reviews or personally. Thank you for letting me know that you (or your kids) fell in love with my characters. Thank you for spending your precious time with my books.
Miro the Dragon
Cover Artist: Svenja Liv