Frank O'Donnell

Frank O'Donnell
"The Witch of Greenwich Village"

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
April 25, 2005

Q.    Who is Frank O'Donnell?

A.    Here is how I think of myself: Husband, Father (of seven great kids, grandfather of five, great grandfather of one so far) Novelist, Playwright, Lyricist, Veteran of a career in the record business, former GI.

Q.    How did you come about the idea to write the novel, The Witch of Greenwich Village?

A.    Actually it was a process that developed over several drafts. I started out just wanting to write something that would engage and entertain people, then I realized that there were some themes developing, so I broadened my vision.

Q.    How did you come about the title?

A.    Since my protagonist is a witch and since witch is a very strong word I decided it should be in the title. Greenwich Village is a place where anything can happen; it even has an aura of mystery and intrigue about it, so that's why I set the novel there and why I used it in the title.

Q.    How did you come about Art's character?

A.   I wanted Art to be someone the reader could root for "strong, yet vulnerable; guy who could be drawn into Lucille's (the witch's) web and yet elicit the reader's involvement.

Q.    How did you come about Molly's character?

A.   To me Molly is the embodiment of the modern career female ambitious, hard working, determined, yet at the same time soft, loving and lovable.

Q.    How did you come about Lucille's character?

A.   I knew I needed a stunning, ageless, articulate, manipulative woman for that character. Jackie Collins (I hope I have the right sister the actress one is the one I want) came to mind and I could just see her in the role, so she became Lucille.

Q.    What genre is this novel written in?

A.   Actually, the book straddles genres (occult, romance, thriller, mystery, horror) and that gave me some problems as I pitched it to publishers. However, there is a tradition of successful books that do not neatly fit into a category: Rosemary's Baby, The Sixth Sense, Burnt Offerings, The Exorcist, for instance.

Q.    How long did it take you to write the novel?

A.   This one is a little hard to answer, because I would work on a draft, leave it for a while as I worked on something else, then I'd be drawn back to it. The process took about three or four years.

Q.    Are there any of your personalities in Art?

A.   Yes, there are, but I don't think that's particularly unusual. I think most writers start with themselves. Like Art I've always been eager to be published and willing to work hard to get there. Also, I'm a sucker for an attractive woman. Art, like myself is a "fallen away" (I like to think of it as escaped) Catholic who continues to believe in a spiritual element in life.

Q.    What message would you like readers to receive from reading The Witch of Greenwich Village?

A.   I think the best answer to that can be found in the quote from Emily Dickinson that appears on the fly leaf at the front of the book: "Success is counted sweetest by those who ne'er succeed." In addition I wanted to emphasize that ambition, if unrestrained by reason, can be a very dangerous thing.

I hope I've satisfactorily answered your questions. If there is anything else you would like to know, please ask. Following is a short bio which I hope maybe helpful.