Exclusive Interview with Author Timothy L. O’Brien: The Lincoln Conspiracy

Yesterday, I reviewed The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O’Brien and loved it: click HERE to read review and don’t forget to enter the giveaway! Watching a Journalist use those talents researching and writing to pen a creative novel, seeped also in another of my loves–history, was absolutely inspiring. Today, I had the honor of interviewing O’Brien. For me as a writer, he’s one of my role-models. A Pulitizer Prize winning Journalist and Editor. A trail-blazer for The Huffington Post. And now an author of a historical novel. I hope this interview helps all my readers get more of a feel for the book, why he wrote it, how he wrote it, and what is in store for the future! Comment and let him know what you think!

Interview~Timothy L. O’Brien, author of The Lincoln Conspiracy

Welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! We have been looking forward to this interview about your new release, The Lincoln Conspiracy, and learning about you and your writing.

Q:  With a Journalism degree myself, I was intrigued first by the fact that you are an award-winning Journalist and Editor. How did your Journalistic side propel you along with this novel?

A: I was pretty relentless about the fact pattern surrounding the Lincoln assassination, Erin, and that’s certainly part of the journalism well I dipped into – I did quite a bit of reporting and research into Washington and New York in the 1850s and 1860s, as well as research about prominent figures such as Mary Todd Lincoln, Alexander Gardner, Allan Pinkerton, and others.

Q:  What gave you the desire to write a book about Abraham Lincoln? Presidential history? Conspiracy theories? Economics of the United States at the time?  Which most interested you and how did that play into your angle for the novel?

A: I’ve been a Lincoln buff since I was about ten years old. My father’s uncle gave me Sandburg’s Lincoln biography as a birthday present and I just became fixated on Lincoln after that. Like many others, I was fascinated by Lincoln as a person and as a historical figure. But there was little I felt I could add to the understanding about the period in which he lived through non-fiction. A novel – particularly a novel centered around his assassination and the myriad new forces shaping post-Civil War Society – felt like a meaningful way in for readers. I hope The Lincoln Assassination also works as a great mystery yarn.

Q:  What do want readers to take away most from this book? A suspenseful novel based on a very political time in U.S. History or something much deeper?

A: I hope they take away a deeper appreciation for what a wild, revolutionary time it was in Lincoln’s era and how fascinating the men and women of that time were. What most of us consider to be “modern” has its roots in that period. I also hope that real lovers of historical fiction and mysteries simply enjoy the tale itself.

Q:  What do you think is spurring the rush of historical conspiracy and intrigue novels? How many of them are based on truth?

A:  Novels allow you to probe character and intent, something that non-fiction has less leeway around. Novels also allow you to do creative things with the writing that non-fiction usually doesn’t allow, so that’s another reason novels are such great venues for a different form of historical understanding. I don’t know enough about the market to know if there’s a rush now or not – I just worked on this because I loved it and felt I could pull readers into the era.

Q:  How long did it take to finish The Lincoln Conspiracy?

A: I took five years, largely because I have a very consuming day job! The research for this novel also took a great deal of time.

Q:  What were your biggest hurdles along the way? Your biggest celebrations?

A: The biggest hurdle was time management – really carving out time to steep myself consistently in the writing and in the creative space I needed for the book. But I guess that’s nothing new! Seeing The Lincoln Conspiracy published has been the biggest celebration so far.

Q: Do you have plans for another novel? If so, please give us details!

A: This is the first in a multi-part series about Temple McFadden and his wife, Fiona. The next book will be set largely in New York, where they will encounter Maestro once again, but Washington will never be far from their thoughts or actions.

Q: How can readers best get in contact with you?

A: My website is an easy way to reach me: http://www.timothylobrien.com

Thank you very much for spending some time here on my blog! Wish you the very best of luck with your book and future endeavors.

Author Bio~Timothy L. O’Brien (pictured above)

Timothy L. O’Brien is the Executive Editor of The Huffington Post, where he edited the 2012 Pulitzer Prize–winning series about wounded war veterans, “Beyond the Battlefield.” Previously, he was an editor and reporter at The New York Times. There, he helped to lead a team of Times reporters that was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Public Service in 2009 for coverage of the financial crisis. O’Brien, a graduate of Georgetown University, holds three master’s degrees — in US History,Business and Journalism — all from Columbia University. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with his wife and two children.

 About the Book~The Lincoln Conspiracy

Publication Date: September 18, 2012 | Ballantine Books | 368p

DESCRIPTION: A nation shattered by its president’s murder. Two diaries that reveal the true scope of an American conspiracy. A detective determined to bring the truth to light, no matter what it costs him

From award-winning journalist Timothy L. O’Brien comes a gripping historical thriller that poses a provocative question: What if the plot to assassinate President Lincoln was wider and more sinister than we ever imagined?

In late spring of 1865, as America mourns the death of its leader, Washington, D.C., police detective Temple McFadden makes a startling discovery. Strapped to the body of a dead man at the B&O Railroad station are two diaries, two documents that together reveal the true depth of the Lincoln conspiracy. Securing the diaries will put Temple’s life in jeopardy—and will endanger the fragile peace of a nation still torn by war.

Temple’s quest to bring the conspirators to justice takes him on a perilous journey through the gaslit streets of the Civil War–era capital, into bawdy houses and back alleys where ruthless enemies await him in every shadowed corner. Aided by an underground network of friends—and by his wife, Fiona, a nurse who possesses a formidable arsenal of medicinal potions—Temple must stay one step ahead of Lafayette Baker, head of the Union Army’s spy service. Along the way, he’ll run from or rely on Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s fearsome secretary of war; the legendary Scottish spymaster Allan Pinkerton; abolitionist Sojourner Truth; the photographer Alexander Gardner; and many others.

Bristling with twists and building to a climax that will leave readers gasping, The Lincoln Conspiracy offers a riveting new account of what truly motivated the assassination of one of America’s most beloved presidents—and who participated in the plot to derail the train of liberty that Lincoln set in motion.


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