“I am literarily disturbed. I write of very dark things. Things a normal person never even thinks about.”
Marcás Pádraig O’Dea* was born to blue-collar parents in 1961, the second son of Patricia Ann and John Matthew O’Dea, in a rural Michigan town. After his parents divorced when Marcás was 7, he and his siblings were raised by their mother who, it would later be learned, suffered from a severe form of Borderline Personality Disorder. His father was diagnosed as paranoid/schizophrenic early on.
He is of Irish/American ancestry, whose extended family are scattered throughout the U.S. and Ireland. His family has a castle at Dysert O’Dea (Irish: Dísert, meaning “hermitage”), the former O’Dea clan stronghold, 5 kilometres (3 mi) from Corofin, County Clare just off the R476 road. It was built between 1470 and 1490 by Diarmaid O’Dea, Lord of Cineal Fearmaic, and stands some 50 feet (15 m) high on a limestone outcrop base measuring 20 by 40 feet (6 by 12 m). The tower is adjacent to Dysert O’Dea Monastery. There is a also O’Dea High School, a Catholic all boys high school founded in 1923 and located in Seattle‘s First Hill neighborhood. The school is named after Edward John O’Dea who was bishop of Seattle when the school was built. O’Dea is part of the Archdiocese of Seattle.
When Marcás was in sixth grade, he wrote a short story in which his teacher saw something promising and secretly submitted it to the University of Michigan’s Young Writers program as part of a competition. No one was more surprised than he when it took First Place and earned him a week’s scholarship in their much sought-after writing program. He realized then that he would become a writer when he “grew up.”
And so it went.
In 1976, the family — which now included an educationally-challenged and abusive stepfather — took a vacation to Colorado. Marcás immediately fell in love with the mountains and returned there to live after he graduated high school. It was there he spent much of his young adulthood. In fact, Marcas resided in Colorado from 1980 until 2018.
Though he would finally be shut of the horrors of his childhood, it would be years before he worked through that trauma. It manifested in clinical depression and, eventually, a diagnosis of cPTSD. His journey to mental health has taken decades, but it continues to inform his writing.
“It’s where the darkness comes from. No one can endure a life of that without it affecting him in fundamentally damaging ways. Thank god for writing. It is the best therapy I’ve ever found.”
He began his career writing historical fantasy and mainstream fiction, which is where he began garnering awards for his writing across the U.S. He realized, however, that his passion lay in horror and dark fiction. He’d long been a fan of Stephen King, Peter Straub, Shirley Jackson, John Saul, Dan Simmons, and Dean Koontz. So he switched gears and started writing stories that he enjoyed, and never looked back. In order to honor the various genres in which he enjoys writing, he took on several nom de plumes that allowed him to explore the different writing landscapes and still be true to his forever love: horror. He is the author of two graphic novels, one created for the Colorado Geological Survey, and one that is currently seeking publication.
He facilitates writing workshops throughout the US and Canada.
He has lived short-term in a number of major U.S. cities, but has returned at last to Michigan, settling in the Upper Peninsula on the shore of Lake Superior.
He worked his way through college, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Communications, and a Masters of Fine Art in Creative Writing. He currently teaches writing, philosophy, and metaphysics at the high school and college undergrad levels. He earned certification for paralegals from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), is an active member of the Freelancer’s Association, and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). He is a member of the Nonfiction Authors Association. He is also a Microsoft Certified Professional.
Like many writers’ resumes, Marcás has had a long and varied career beyond writing. Some of the careers he pursued span the gamut from waiter, 9-1-1 call center operator, paralegal, exotic dancer, professional fitness consultant, manny (male nanny), marketing & design professional, grant writer, content creator, radio deejay, social media manager, educator, logistics specialist, nightclub and rave DJ, board coordinator, nonprofit consultant, among others. He currently functions as a professional story consultant in both screenplays and novel-length fiction.
Marcás has been fascinated by birds since early childhood, and they are a theme that carries through most of his writing, either as actual characters in the story, like Fiechin the Spirit Crow (pronounced Fay-chin) in What Waits for Us in Darkness, to the plantation slave educating himself in ornithology in Throwing Rocks at God. He believes that they symbolize ultimate freedom, which is what his characters so desperately desire. He has written papers throughout his educational career on various bird species, from the mechanics of flight to the mythology of birds in modern and ancient cultures.
Marcás became enamored of music at a young age when he first picked up a Cello. He earned first-chair status in high school, and held onto that achievement until he was in his twenties. Knowing music would somehow always be with him, he moved into DJing for both radio and nightclubs. He was on the forefront of the rave scene in the midwest, and traveled extensively around the world. He maintains a keen interest in music, and creates remixes and curates playlists on several music sites (below). He opened for Sasha & John Digweed in an arena holding more than 80,000 revelers, and has managed and owned his own clubs. He continues to engage with music in meaningful and fulfilling ways up to and through today.
The OM Project: ambient, psychedelic, trip-hop, chillout, and experimental
Thee Retro Collective: retro remixes from the 80s, 90s, and 00s in-the-mix
Glitter & Funk: Nu-disco, funky house, dance, edm, and club music
Electric Messiah: techno, deep techno, melodic techno, and progressive house
Lo-fi Cafe: Lo-fidelity, trip-hop, and downtempo grooves
*Note: ” Pádraig” is the Gaelic form of “Patrick,” and is pronounced accordingly. The last name is pronounced “Oh-DAY.” The “ea” is a digraph representing an “ay” sound in English.