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Dan O’Brien: Editor, Writer, Storyteller

wordfire squib

by Chloe Butcher

The other day I had the pleasure of conversing with the extremely talented Dan O’Brien. He is an editor, writer, and publisher. Saturday, April 26, O’Brien will be a workshop leader and panelist at the WordFire creative writing conference, hosted by Butte College. Before O’Brien became the founder and editor-in-chief of Amalgam Publishing, he was a freelance editor and had written 15 novels before turning 30. At this year’s Wordfire conference, O’Brien will be speaking on self-publishing and his role as an editor.

Chloe Butcher (CB):  Any one of your achievements could be considered a great life accomplishment, can you tell me about where all the inspiration and love of writing began?
Dan O’Brien (DOB):  I always wanted to be a writer. When I was about six or seven, I wrote a play for my cousin. It had set pieces and a complete story with little characters on Popsicle sticks. For whatever reason, writing and storytelling has always been a part of me. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
CB: Some authors have trouble writing even one novel, what motivated and inspired you to write 15?
DOB: For a lot of writers, even those who struggle to finish one, having plenty of ideas is not the problem. I have a very disciplined approach to writing and I often work on another book when I get blocked on any particular story. I am putting out several more this year. I just love to write.
CB: In all the different jobs that you’e held, is there a role you feel more comfortable in or like more than others?
DOB:  In the end, I’m a writer. I love ghostwriting and editing, but helping others publish their work is a wonderful feeling. I started a northern California quarterly publication, so I get to help publish while still being an editor. We’re accepting submissions right (wink wink).
CB: What caused you to make the leap from writer to publisher?
DOB: The feeling of helping others publish is addictive. When I worked at Empirical, I realized how wonderful it was to be able to publish the work of others. It stuck, what can I say.
O’Brien’s “Self-Publishing” workshop will cover publishing your own book, marketing tips, and a Q&A on how to be effective at getting your book out there. To read up on the other workshops and presenters at this year’s WordFire conference, or to register, please visit:
If you are interested in submitting fiction, nonfiction (both under 5000 words), or poetry to Amalgam Writers, please visit:
Don’t forget to revisit The Haberdasher in the days leading up to the conference, as we profile more of this year’s presenters.



About The Haberdasher

Created by writers for writers, The Haberdasher, or le Hab, is your Peddler of Literary Art for Northern California and beyond. In addition to writing tips and literary debates, we also feature critical reviews and author interviews.


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