Celebrating life stories...



Memorial created 06-8-2009 by
Kaiti Ketner
Meg O'Brien
March 2 1935 - December 6 2008

Wayfarer's Chapel, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

This online memorial was created in loving memory of Meg O'Brien, whose life story is told throughout this memorial website. Please sign Meg's guest book and let us know you came to visit.

We will remember Meg forever.

“If thou of fortune be bereft,
And in thy store there be but left,
Two loaves, sell one, and with the dole,
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul”
Muslih-uddin Sadi
(Meg’s favorite quote)





Born in Wildwood, NJ, Meg O'Brien was living in Houston, Texas. The mother of five children, she worked at innumerable jobs ranging from secretarial positions to housecleaning and freelance editing, before writing her first 'Jessica James' mystery novel which started her on the road to publishing success.   

'Jesse', the protagonist of the Jessica James mystery series, is a reformed alcoholic and freelance investigative reporter who has some amazing adventures with the Mob and some other heavyweight organizations. She is the main character in "The Daphne Decisions"(1990), "Salmon in the Soup"(1990), "Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow"(1991), "Eagles Die Too"(1992), and "A Bright Flamingo Shroud"(1996). Meg has also written several suspense thrillers including :

  • The Keeper , hb, Doubleday,1992
  • The Keeper , pb, Bantam, 1992
  • Thin Ice , hb, Doubleday, 1993
  • Thin Ice , pb, Bantam, 1993
  • I'll Love You Til I Die, pb , St. Martin's Press, 1995
  • A Deep and Dreamless Sleep, pb, St. Martin's Press, 1996
  • Take My Breath Away , pb, St. Martin's Press, 1997
  • Crashing Down , pb , Mira Books, 1999
  • Sacred Trust , pb, Mira Books, 2000
  • Gathering Lies , pb , Mira Books, 2001
  • Crimson Rain , pb , Mira Books, 2002
  • The Last Cheerleader , pb , Mira Books, 2003
  • The Final Kill , pb , Mira Books, 2006
A prolific writer, she has had rave reviews in the United States, and internationally in Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Australia and Great Britain. Her latest novel, THE FINAL KILL , is now available at your local book store, on www.BN.com, www.Amazon.com, or your favorite internet store.

Meg's BIO on the MIRA website is as follows: Remember that old Michael Landon flick, I was a Teenage Werewolf? Well, I was a Teenage Nun. At the age of 14 I fled the Wildwood, New Jersey, Baptist church I'd been reared in, became a Catholic, and entered a convent to "give my life to God." My grandfather was a Baptist minister, and he had already left for his heavenly reward. My flight into Romanism didn't go over well with my long-suffering grandmother, however. If I'd done this today, I'm sure she would have had the cult deprogrammers after me. I was at Nazareth Mother House in Rochester, NY, for a year and a half. During that time an old retired nun tutored me, putting me through three years of high school in one year, so I could go to college and become a teacher. I was pretty naive in those days. I didn't even know, when I entered, that the Sisters of St. Joseph was a teaching order. I thought it was more like the Carmelites, where I could hoe the gardens, sing the hymns, and pretty much just pray every day. (Even the Carmelites didn't have it that easy, but I was naive about that, as well.) I was fresh out of eighth grade at this time, and going to school as a nun—just when I thought I'd escaped readin', writin' and 'rithmetic—was not what I had in mind. I spent a year and a half butting up against every authority figure that convent life had to offer, and then I leapt over the wall. I finished up high school in six months and went to work behind the soda fountain at a Woolworth's. My second job, two months later, was as a telephone operator for Ma Bell. I was 16, lied about my age to get hired, and thought that having a job would give me the freedom I'd always longed for. Instead, it just gave me more authority figures! All my life I've been butting up against anyone who wants to tell me what to do. So it was natural enough that when I sat down to write my first book, it was about a female reporter, Jessica (Jesse) James, who also railed against authority figures. She even took on a Mafia lover instead of a cop, just—in part—to be different. In my heart of hearts, I also thought that if one had a Mafia kingpin as a lover, one wouldn't have to worry about bosses—they could, if one chose, just be killed! Since the Jesse books, I've been writing suspense novels. There's always a strong woman in them, someone who has to go out and right wrongs, not to mention save her own life. She usually has a strong man somewhere in the picture, and he may come in at the last moment to help save the day, but not before she's proven herself to be capable in that regard and has already done everything possible for herself. In my own life, I've usually had to go it alone, and my fictional heroines are much the same—except that they nearly always are involved romantically with someone who may or may not be a hero, and who may or may not be leading them down the primrose path. As a full-time writer, I don't have much time for romance, and when I do, it's usually full of so many tensions—like who gets to control the remote (me!)—there couldn't possibly be a happy ending.

I settle for happy endings in my books, and I put romance in them even though they aren't romantic suspense, but dark, psychological thrillers. I want my readers to feel satisfied on as many levels as possible when they put down one of my books, and romance is, after all, a part of life—or at least a part that many dream of having.

I've told on another page how I began writing, at a time when I was on welfare and still had my fifth child to support. Even though I'd always had a vague dream of "being a writer some day," I didn't have the courage to really do it until I was desperate—desperate for some way to get off welfare, and desperate for a way to make a decent living. We were broke and my daughter—who was a talented skater—needed new skates. I became a writer to earn enough money to buy them. It was that simple. (Of course, the large majority of writers would argue that the craft of writing is no way to make a "decent living"!). As these things go, of course, it was years before I made enough from my writing to buy my daughter new skates, and she was able to buy her own by that time. But for everyone there comes that moment, I think, when we know what we have to do. Something pushes us into it despite our fears and insecurities, and we plow willy-nilly into that new career, that new dream, that new hope.

Over the years, I've taught writing, and I've edited books for beginning writers. I always tell them the same thing: The major difference between the published writer and the unpublished writer is that the published one kept trying. I honestly believe this. I believe that what we focus on manifests, and it's all a matter of not giving up, of putting our hearts into it, and doing everything we possibly can to make it happen. I'm working on my 16th book in 14 years right now, and as I look back, I am grateful for the people who helped me reach this point—the friends and relatives who supported me in the difficult times, the agents and editors who helped to further my career. As someone has said, we meet angels along the way...and I've met more than my share of them.









Some of Meg's Books

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