Author Interview: Dan O’Brien

The Path of the Fallen CoverPath of the Fallen author Dan O’Brien joins me for a quick sit-down to talk about his science fantasy and what comes next.


I absolutely loved the world-building in this novel. The city of Culouth, the Fallen, Illigard, even the space station floating above Terra got my brain working. What were your inspirations for creating this vast world?

I grew up reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy, and the idea of world-building was a large part of the sci-fi classics like Dune. It is truly a lot of fun and as my brother is fond of saying, it can get away from you if you let it. I tried to create a distinct enough world that you could see the characters moving through it, without letting my tendency for rambling on take over. 


The Path of the Fallen is both a coming-of-age story and a tale full of political strife. Did you have difficulty balancing these aspects?

I really didn’t feel like I did at the time of writing, but I can see how those two themes might seem at odds with one another, or at the very least difficult to manage. Part of E’Malkai becoming the person he needed to be was how the world around him forced him to make decisions, to engage in choices that were necessary to drive his story forward. 


You did an excellent job creating your secondary characters. T’elen, Elicites, and Arivene were my favorites. Any chance of seeing them again?

Withough giving too much away, at least one of those characters will not be back. There is a bit of buddy cop scenario for two of the other characters in the follow-up book, Breath of the Creator. I really enjoyed creating the characters who enriched E’Malkai’s world. 

The myth of the Creators is quite interesting as well, especially the way it raises conflict between E’Malkai and his uncle Ryan. Was this something you’d intended from the start or something that you found while researching?

Absolutely. The mythology of the Creators is enormous and POTF really only scratches the surface of what E’Malkai must undergo. I am releaseing the prequel this month, Book of Seth, which is a first-person narrative of Seth, E’Malkai’s father, as he and Ryan navigate the tundra, the Fallen, and what had to come next. A lot of Ryan’s motivation will become clearer in that novel. 


What’s next for E’Malkai? For you?

I have a sequel in the works, but the next novel in the series is its prequel, Book of Seth. The sequel, the aforementioned Breath of the Creator, is still being written, but I anticipate a 2015 release. I have variety of other novels out that take place in different universes, as well as a plethora of short and novella-lenth works. Check them out. 


Path of the Fallen is available at:

Barnes & Noble



About Dan:

A psychologist, author, philosopher, freelance editor, and skeptic, Dan O’Brien has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Portent, The Path of the Fallen, Book of Seth, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog at He also works as an editor at Empirical, a national magazine with a strong West Coast vibe. Find out more about the magazine at




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