Kevin O’Brien

Day 54:

Last week I finally had the opportunity to sit down and speak with New York Times Bestselling Author Kevin O’Brien. I had been looking forward to our meeting immensely. It wasn’t just the fact that he was a famous author that had my curiosity piqued; he came with his own reputation. Several people in the writing community had sung his praises to me, and I had to see what all of the excitement was about.

As soon as Kevin joined me at the cafe table, steaming cup of coffee in hand, I felt like I had known him for years. It was the way he was so easy to talk to, his propensity for good humor and laughter. I couldn’t wait to ask him about his greatest life lesson.

“It’s really simple,” Kevin said. “Always clean the lint trap for the next person.”

As we drained our coffees sip by sip, Kevin spoke to me about the laundry room in his co-cop building and how he always makes sure to leave the machines and the space better than when he found them. He knows it’s a small thing. But it’s also an important thing.

For Kevin, being considerate of others is one of the best ways to live a good life. He grew up Catholic, which he considers to be synonymous with being raised with a perpetually guilty conscience. But his religious teachings didn’t influence his outlook on life and other people as much as his work.

“A lot of my philosophies come from working behind the counter,” he said. “Anyone who has worked retail can relate. It’s a great place to learn about how to treat people and how not to treat people.”

It was clear to me that Kevin felt very strongly about being considerate. But I wondered out loud how he could be so wonderful in real life, and yet write thrillers as his life work. I couldn’t see such a nice guy writing about crazy murderers, creepy stalkers, and all sorts of atrocities.

“That’s what keeps me nice,” Kevin said. “I vent all of my evil thoughts onto the page. From the books I write, people probably think I’m Hannibal Lecter. Maybe they think I’m so nice because I’m just not creepy like they expect.”

Kevin doesn’t pretend to be perfect all of the time in real life, even with his books to balance him out.

“All of us authors are a bit crazy,” he said. “Some authors swear they don’t read their Amazon reviews but I read mine all the time. And I take them very personally, especially the negative ones. If there’s an especially bad review, I’ll look up the name of the person who wrote the review and kill them off in one of my books. That releases something for me.”

The way Kevin shared his guilty pleasure made me laugh out loud and honestly want to try the trick myself some day. And then it clicked for me, that Kevin was able to be such a complete person because he had an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. I mentioned as much.

According to Kevin, it isn’t as much of a devil on one shoulder as it is an evil little man. He was actually told about this “presence” by a friend’s chakra healer. She had been sensing the aura around him and when she got to his feet, she paused. She became very excited, telling him that she sensed a lot of cracks. According to the chakra healer, Kevin was letting a lot of outside influences in through his feet and there was an evil spirit tagging along. She said the spirit was more like an evil little man, and sensed that Kevin was working with him on something. Kevin was surprised at what the woman saw, and asked her if she knew what he did for a living. When she said she didn’t, he explained that he wrote thrillers and that she must have seen his muse.

Even though the chakra healer sensed the evil man attached to Kevin, it would be impossible for anyone else to. Because in real life, Kevin is about as angelic as they come.

“I just bring the evil little man out when writing or driving,” Kevin chuckled.

But definitely not when he’s doing laundry.

Things you can do:

  • Check out Kevin’s writing at his web site.
  • Put your bad thoughts down on paper so you don’t have to subject people to them in real life.
  • Follow Kevin’s advice and clean the lint trap for the next person.


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