Author Colleen Oakley is an expert at giving readers all the feels with her stunning women’s fiction novels. As our January Guest Editor, Colleen Oakley gave us the lowdown on her new novel You Were There Too, the authors she adores and further insight into her life as a writer. Stay tuned this month as we reveal more about the wonderful Colleen Oakley and pick up your copy of You Were There Too now!
What was the inspiration behind You Were There Too?
Along with being a novelist, I’m a freelance writer for magazines. A few years ago, I was researching an article for WebMD about sleep, and I fell down one of those rabbit holes on the internet, where I stumbled upon a study about dream telepathy – the more-common-than-you-would-think phenomenon of two people sharing the same dream. A few experts in the scientific community had agreed that there were so many anecdotes of peoples experiencing this, that it must be a real thing, though they had no explanation for why or how it occurred. I was fascinated! And I couldn’t stop thinking about it. What does it mean? Why does it happen? I knew I had to find out. So I turned it into a novel.
Did you always know you wanted to write books? If not, what was it that pushed you to become a writer?
I did! I’m the cliché kid who’s been scrawling out stories since I could hold a crayon. My mom even still has a bunch of them in a box in the attic somewhere. In college, I studied journalism because I loved hearing other people’s stories and when I graduated I worked in magazines, but I was always working on my own fiction at night and on the weekends.
Which authors do you admire most?
There are so many! A short list: Ann Patchett, Jojo Moyes, Angie Thomas, Rebecca Makkai, Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin!), Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, Zora Neale Hurston, Celeste Ng, Meg Wolitzer, Karen White and Emily Giffin – and not just for her writing, but for her political activism and not being afraid to stand up for what she believes in.
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