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Character Interview: Diane O’Connor from Linda Merlino’s suspense Room of Tears



We’re thrilled to have here today Diane O’Connor from Linda Merlino’s new suspense, Room of Tears.  Diane O’Connor once taught high school and lives in Queens, in 2041 she is 71 years old.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

ImageThank you so for this interview, Diane.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

The book portrays my character with complete honesty.  I worked with the author, Linda Merlino, very closely making sure she detailed my description of my life as a firefighter’s wife and the events before and after 9/11.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

The Diane I was before 9/11 differed dramatically from the Diane I became.  The author burrowed into my soul and became my shadow writing with an in depth skill the Diane that was Billy’s wife and the Diane that became his widow.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I used all my strength-my reserves and then some to carry on after Billy’s death.  I did what I could to be a mother to our boy.  Tenacity would then be a trait I consider strong – without it I would not have survived.

Worse trait?

I lost faith after Billy died – closed off my heart to buffer the pain.  I developed a way of coasting through each day – living on the periphery and that leaked into being a mother.  My worse trait surfaced – selfish me –I turned inward shutting out my son from the person hidden beneath the shell – the mother he never knew.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Sally Field as the Diane portrayed in 2041.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

My one and only love my husband– Billy O’Connor.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I knew the ending – I’d been given the gift or curse if you will of knowing and I was never nervous or surprised just grateful to finally tell Billy’s story.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I considered Friar Antonio Ortiz a man of great character coming as he did upon my request to Queens.  A humble man, who struggled with me from our first greeting. A man who promised, on the soul of his great grandmother, to carry the burden of my revelations, for nineteen years.  I would not have wanted to be Antonio.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I asked Antonio to remember us – and he did.  The ending was the beginning of never forgetting.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Write about the Diane before 9/11.  I was fun and spirited – I loved life and believed we were invincible.

Thank you for this interview, Diane.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Hopefully readers will tell others about Room of Tears and their word of mouth will spread and my name will remain on their lips well into the future.


ImageLinda Merlino is the author of  Room of Tears (July 23 2013),Hudson Catalina(2008-Belly of the Whale & re-release 9/14/12), Swan Boat Souvenir (self-published 2003) she began writing fiction as a young mother on the sidelines of endless soccer practices.  Linda wrote anytime any place.  A manuscript filled a carton in the back seat of her car.  Many years have passed since those early beginnings, but her work continues to be inspired by her children.

The author has a fascination with heroes and writes her fiction to honor ordinary men and women who react unselfishly in extraordinary circumstances.  She extends her gratitude to all who keep us safe and free.

Her hometown is outside of Boston.  She lived for many years in New York City and more recently calls Connecticut her home.

Find the author on the web:           


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