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Tensions in Salem with Rory O’Brien – The Salem Witch Podcast Episode 4




What’s it like to be a tour guide and fiction author in Salem, Massachusetts? I had these questions on the mind when I asked Rory O’Brien on the show. He’s a fiction lover, native New Englander, walking tour guide in Salem, and the author of the Lennox series, a fictional cop procedural/thriller saga set in the witch city.


My Conversation with Rory O’Brien

Our conversation covered a whole wide range of topics, which you can check out via the questions below. Generally, we talk about writing Salem fiction, what it’s like on the ground in Salem these days, and the many tensions that are at play in the Salem tourism industry. It’s a fascinating conversation with an equally fascinating guest.


Listen on: Spotify | iTunes/Apple | Google | Amazon Music | TuneIn/Alexa




Timecodes for Specific Questions with Rory O’Brien

Skip Intro: 00:04:40
How did Rory end up in Salem? 00:04:51
When did Rory start doing tours in Salem? 00:05:50
What is it like to be a walking tour guide in Salem? 00:06:10
What is Rory’s tour like in Salem? 00:08:02
What is it like being in the Salem tourism industry? 00:09:58
What era of Salem’s history is the most appealing to you? 00:12:20
What are some of the most common misconceptions about the Salem Witch Trials? 00:013:53
As a skeptical person and author, what enchants you about Salem? 00:15:38
What about Salem’s history is so fascinating? 00:18:38
What’s surprises you about Salem’s history? 00:19:33
How are Salem’s tour guides dealing with the Coronavirus? 00:21:06
What long-term changes are Salem’s tourism industry seeing as a result of COVID-19? 00:22:32
How could tours operate safely in the age of the Coronavirus? 00:23:12
What’s it like to do video tours of Salem? 00:24:05
Will there be more books in the Lennox series? 00:24:58
Was “Gallow’s Hill” Rory’s first novel? 00:28:16
What is it like being a fiction writer in 2020? 00:31:22
How does Rory approach writing the Lennox series? 00:34:35
Does Rory use real Salem crimes to influence his writing? 00:35:13
Which other authors are influencing the Lennox series? 00:36:45
Where do you love to take people in Salem? 00:39:49
Is there a tension between “authentic” Salem attractions and the more alluring, dramatic ones? If so, how does it manifest? 00:41:57
Why isn’t there a great Salem history museum? 00:45:52
Where to find out more about Rory 00:48:53




Discover More About Rory O’Brien

For more about Rory, his blog, books, or to book a tour, check out

Rory O’Brien’s Books:
Gallow’s Hill:
The Afflicted Girl (Sequel to Gallow’s Hill):


Check out a sample from Rory’s upcoming short story collection here:


Find way more about all things Salem on:




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