Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Interview with contemporary novelist TS O'Neil

Author TS O’Neil is here today. We’re talking about his new action and adventure novel, Mexican Hat Trick.

During his virtual book tour, TS will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

TS O’Neil graduated with Honors from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts with a Degree in Criminal Justice and graduated with High honors from the University of Phoenix with a Master’s in Business Administration in Technology Management. He served as a Rifleman with the Marine Corps Reserve, an Officer in the Military Police Corps of the United States Army, and retired from the Army of the United States (AUS) as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2012. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. TS is currently employed as a Senior Security Consultant, specializing in Information Security. He lives in Seminole, FL with his beautiful wife, Suzanne. He has written four books, Tampa Star, Starfish Prime, Mudd’s Luck, and Mexican Hat Trick.

Welcome, TS. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Mexican Hat Trick is the fourth book in the Blackfox Chronicles. In this book, Eidetic Eddie Doyle, a retired Police Detective, and Private Investigator heads to Mexico to investigate an apparel counterfeiting case and finds a dead informant instead. Eddie has appeared in all of my novels and is a favorite character for many readers. He has an eidetic or photographic memory and is, therefore, good at solving mysteries.

What inspired you to write this book?
In a former life, I used to be a corporate security director involved in trademark anti-counterfeiting work. I was responsible for all of Latin America and I had a small group of private Investigators that worked for me. We used to do undercover operations, and we were able to orchestrate the seizures of loads counterfeit jeans and other apparel. We worked in concert with federal and state investigative agencies in places like Colombia and Mexico to seize counterfeit goods and shut down the factories that produced them. It was an interesting job, and I thought I would share a fictionalized version of the experiences with my readers.

Excerpt from Mexican Hat Trick:
Chapter Four - Eddie Doyle

O’Bannon thought the mission was important enough to dispatch his personal jet to take Eddie to Torreon. The jet had just reached a preliminary cruising altitude and the young male flight attendant returned with his cocktail. The kid’s name tag said, Josh. He sported a diamond earring and blue tinted hair, apparently having not yet realized that both affectations were career limiting.

Eddie sat back in the jet’s plush leather seat and relaxed—his PI business had taken him to some interesting places, but this is the first time he had graced the passenger compartment of a Gulfstream G650. He took a sip of his Belvedere Vodka and Tonic served in a heavy crystal glass and smiled. A fella could get used to this, he thought.

He had been called ‘Eidetic Eddie’ since joining the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department half a lifetime ago. His uncanny ability to remember minor details about crimes over time helped solved many cases. Like the time, he was called to investigate a streetwalker’s death—apparently due to a hit and run. Eddie found a small silver dollar sized welt on the woman’s forehead with two tiny puncture wounds from which Eddie retrieved an even tinier red ruby. Years previous during a police roll call, Eddie, then a patrolman, had sat through a briefing about a violent pimp who carried a cane with a gold skull on the handle that sported two raised ruby eyes. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Eddie could have used his skill to be anything he wanted to be, but nothing excited him as much as catching a perp. He had a 100% clearance rate for major crimes, and his reputation was well known throughout Pinellas County. One wanted felon serial burglar presented himself for arrest after learning that Eddie had been asking around about him, famously announcing, “If Eddie is on your tail, you might as well turn yourself in.”

His most famous case involved a local mafia capo known as Sally Boots. Eddie had spent the better part of his career trying to bring the mobster to justice, finally bringing him down in a hail of gunfire as Sally committed suicide by cop. Eddie had become acquainted with Char and Michael Blackfox during that period. Char had conspired with Sally to rob a casino boat loaded with gold. Honor among thieves being what it is, Sally double-crossed his co-conspirators in order to abscond with the loot. It was hidden before he could do so and lay undisturbed for over thirty years—until Char and Michael returned to recover it. They had appropriated Sally’s eighty-foot yacht in the process and escaped with over a million dollars in gold coins. Eddie had almost caught them in the process but had to settle for shooting Sally Boots to death.

Char and Michael had managed to receive state pardons for all past misdeeds. Eddie was never sure of the predicate actions that engendered the pardon, except that it involved Michael’s military expertise—he being a former officer in Marine Force Recon and it took place somewhere in South America. He and Char were returning to the U.S. via the Keys after several years of traveling the Caribbean, in the aforementioned yacht, ironically renamed the Good as Gold. During that time, Michael had fallen in love with Sophia, a Colombian doctor, whose was callously murdered by an Irish hitman she had treated for a grievous stab wound.

Michael and Char sought revenge and hired Eddie to assist in the effort. Past adversaries became allies and then fledging friends. Michael was a good man thrust into a difficult situation by his father, a guy known for playing fast and loose with the law—at least, in the past. Now in his early sixties, Char had rekindled a relationship with his ex-wife, and they were both presumably, living the good life as owners of an art gallery in Key West. Both of these men were good to have on your side in a firefight. Anything short of that, however, proved challenging. Their training had made them both ball peen hammers, perpetually in search of nails—lacking in the finer arts of dialogue and diplomacy, but effective at hammering the shit out of things.

Eddie finished a drink, and the steward brought him another. “It’s another two hours to Torreon—might as well have another. Lunch will be served in a short while. Medallions of Beef in a sauce of red wine and mushrooms with fingerling potatoes. It’s from the flight kitchen, but it’s usually pretty tasty,” said Josh.

Eddie nodded, unsure of what to say. “Better than what I had planned.”

“Yeah, the pilot told me to make sure you’re comfortable, so let me know if you’re not.” Josh retreated to the galley. He was right--the food turned out to be pretty good. He drank some strong Italian coffee after dinner and felt relatively sober upon landing. There was a car waiting for him planeside—the formalities of immigration and customs apparently dispensed with via proxy. Eddie turned on his phone and sorted through the voicemail messages. He listened to the call from O’Bannon and returned it.

O’Bannon didn’t mince any words. “The guy you were supposed to meet turned up dead.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m thinking of writing a dystopian Sci-Fi novel about the earth after a disaster befell it—a comet or something. A group of survivors—some military and government officials, try to reconstitute the government, but to do so, they have to journey to Alaska using no modern technology.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Although I’ve written four novels, I still don’t consider myself a writer as I’ve yet to be able to earn enough to consider myself a professional writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
No, I don’t write full time. I’m actually a Cyber Security consultant for a full-time occupation and like to do woodworking projects in my spare time.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I had to ask my wife. We came to the following conclusion: In all my books, I like to write about food. In lots of books, you might read that the character sat down to eat, but in my books, you’ll read what he or she actually ate, how it was prepared and perhaps whether it was any good. I believe that a writer should try and appeal to as many senses as possible.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I grew up wanting to be a Special Agent, like my father. I was planning on going into the F.B.I. and my father arranged for an interview as he was a career Special Agent with the Intelligence Division; now called the Criminal Investigations Division of the IRS. I was offered a job as a Fingerprint Examiner; an entry level position that would have allowed me to eventually become a Special Agent, but I would have had to move to Washington and live like a serf, so I turned down the position.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Please buy my first book, Tampa Star, and that will hook you in the series.


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

Congrats on the tour, the book looks great, and thanks for the chance to win :)

Victoria Alexander said...

Great post - I enjoyed reading it! thanks for sharing:)

Bernie Wallace said...

What is the best book that you read recently? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

Unknown said...

Great post!

Ally Swanson said...

Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!