2016 Guest of Honor Kevin O’Brien

Before his thrillers landed him on The New York TimesBestseller list, Kevin O’Brien was a railroad inspector who worked all the live long day and wrote novels at night. He grew up on Chicago’s North Shore, the youngest of six children, and studied Journalism at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He moved to Seattle in 1980. His railroad job took him all over the Pacific Northwest, and he wrote most of his first novel in Best Westerns and Red Lions. The result, ACTORS (1987) was translated into three languages. He took the advice of author, Terry Brooks, who told him: “Don’t quit your railroad job until you’ve made enough money on your writing to support yourself for two years.” Kevin’s second book, ONLY SON (1997) was optioned for film rights thanks to interest from Tom Hanks. ONLY SON was also chosen by Reader’s Digest for their Select Editions—alongside John Grisham’s THE PARTNER. That same year, Kevin bid farewell to the railroads and began writing full time. His first thriller, THE NEXT TO DIE (2001) became a USA Today Bestseller. Three more USA Today bestselling thrillers followed, and then came THE LAST VICTIM (2005), which hit the New York Times Bestseller list and won the Spotted Owl Award for Best Pacific Northwest Mystery. Kevin has continued to turn out New York Times best-selling thrillers, and his books have been translated into fourteen languages. Kevin is on the board of Seattle 7 Writers (www.seattle7writers.org) , a collective of bestselling, award-winning authors, dedicated to supporting literacy, writing and education. He’s burning the midnight oil while working on his 20th novel.