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Interview with TJ O’Connor

Interview with TJ O’Connor

Interview with TJ O’Connor
Tell us about your latest book.
The Consultant is my debut thriller—the first of the Jonathan Hunter Thriller series from Oceanview Publishing. I’ve published four paranormal mysteries previously, but The Consultant is where my heart lies. The story has been developing over the years in five previous versions that finally came together last year. Time and other book commitments kept me from finishing it sooner. It’s the story of Jonathan Hunter, a rogue counter-terrorism consultant called home by his estranged brother. Hunter’s been gone for nearly two decades and returns to mend fences with his brother only to watch him die a violent death in his arms. Hunter sets out to find his killer but stumbles into a series of horrific terror plots that threaten to ignite another Middle East war. Along the way, Hunter has to learn to be ‘home again’—connect with a family he never knew existed, come to terms with his brother’s secrets and murder, and settle into a new life in a world he left behind so many years ago. Along the way, Hunter is guided by his long-time mentor, the spymaster Oscar LaRue, and an old FBI pal, Artie Polo. While chasing a killer and trying to stop more terror attacks, Hunter faces his own demons that haunt him.
But don’t think this is a dark “the sky is falling” novel. Hunter is a charismatic, witty character who is the antithesis of the J-Heroes—James Bond, Jack Reacher, Jack Bauer, and Jason Bourne. He’s funny, flies by the seat of his pants, is often unlucky, and a “poor spy.” Readers will connect with Hunter and his ill-thought comments, hip-shooting schemes, and his view on the world. He is anything but politically correct.
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
What don’t I do? I blog, do book store signings and talks, attend trade shows and conventions, and participate in charity events where I’m key note speaker. I love these virtual book tours and any place I can talk about my books and connect with readers. The best thing about writing books is interacting with your readers.
I love to do charity events the most, though. I do a lot of public speaking for business and my books and whenever there’s a charity where I can speak, count me in. My favorite charity event is the Scares that Care weekend in Williamsburg, VA. The format is the horror genre and the proceeds benefit children’s charities. This year, it’s August 3rd through the 5th. I’ll be on hand talking books and doing signings. Some of my favorite fans and readers will be there.
I also love to do smaller events such as the Mechanicsburg Mystery Book Shop in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania—I do it about every year. Each time, there’s a theme and some great authors participate. It’s generally small, up to a hundred or so fans depending on the venue, and I get to spend quality time with the readers talking about my books and their likes/dislikes. I just completed an event there called “Before the Book” where three of us—R.G. Belsky and Bill Rapp and myself—talked about our careers outside of writing. Small audience but a fantastic few hours. Then there’s the annual Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival. This one’s a great one-day event in Suffolk Virginia. They cater to mystery authors (now including thriller guys like me) and it’s fan-centric. We do panels, have a luncheon with the fans, and spend the day talking and signing and mingling with a hundred or more fans. Last year, I sponsored a murder mystery for the fans that lasted all day. The fans had to solve a stage-crime (yes, a pal-author of mine was murdered on stage in front of everyone) and the fans sought interviews, clues, and puzzles to get the answer. In the end, we gave out a kindle with my books, and many other authors donated prizes to three winners. What a blast!
Who are your favourite authors?
So many … they start with the amazing James Grady of Six Days of the Condor fame. James is one of the most magnanimous authors I know. He’s been my author-hero since I was in my teens, and after a chance encounter with him a few years ago, he actually blurbed The Consultant for me! Then there’s Christopher Reich, another great author and genuinely good guy. He also blurbed my book and has been one of my fav reads for years. Can’t not mention Nelson DeMille, either, and Sandra Brown… some oldies like Raymond Chandler and Alistair MacLean.
I’ve got a list of others I never pass by, but these days, I’m writing more than I have time to read and it’s tough to find the time to catch up on all the great books out there.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Here’s a list:
Web Site:  www.tjoconnor.com
Twitter: @tjoconnorauthor

Interview with TJ O’Connor
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?

First and foremost, it’s written from “the know.” I’ve been in the anti-terrorism business nearly my entire life. It’s my specialty today as an international consultant. I tried to keep Jonathan Hunter grounded and real. As I said above, he’s a name like the J-Heroes—Bond, Reacher, Bauer, and Bourne—but he’s the antithesis of them. He’s a rogue adventurer who operates by the seat of his pants, often at his own peril. He is coming to grips with losing a brother, finding a family he never knew existed, and rejoining life in the US after being gone nearly two decades. He’s a terrible judge of the ladies, and he’s never had any luck with them. He’s also a little reckless at times and causes fits for the car rental people when he returns his rentals full of bullet holes and smoking tires—“But I took out the extra insurance!” Hunter is a real guy, not a superhero. He faces real pain and fear, too. He’s not unstoppable like many of the other J-Heroes, but he takes his lumps well.
I also think readers will find a question looming in the pages as terror rekindles hate and prejudice around Hunter’s home town. “Is this who we’ve become?” lingers on the pages and even Hunter has to find his own answer.

But, above all, the plot is fast moving, lots of action and twists and turns, and the characters all come from my real world.

Where can a reader purchase your book?

Any bookstore, chain or independent should have it. Plus:


How do you research your books?

I do research but much of the character and plot comes from my own life’s work in anti-terrorism and investigations. But, I update my storylines like all authors probably do. I love to get on my Harley and go scouting out homes and locations, towns, countryside for my scenes. It’s also fun to find restaurants and pubs for backstories.

For the more complicated issues, I rely on a stable of consummate professionals I work with, too. I have the distinct honor of working with some of the most amazing and talented people anyone could ever wish to know. They are scientists of all disciplines (yup, even rocket scientists), ex-cops and intelligence folks, Special Forces, doctors, nurses, emergency people, engineers, you name it. If I need to know, oh like how to fly a small plane from here to Cuba, then I have someone in my bag of tricks that can teach me. These folks are not only pros, but they are genuinely great people, too. They share their wisdom and insights over a cup of coffee or a meal whenever I ask. I am truly a lucky guy to have such talent around me.

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.

I’ve just completed the first sequel to The Consultant. It’s in review now.

The sequel, the second in the Jonathan Hunter Thrillers, follows Hunter in the wake of The Consultant as he literally gets blown up into the hunt for a Cuban Intelligence provocateur sneaking into the US to thwart peace initiatives between Washington and Havana. Hunter is trying to save a Cuban agent seeking asylum who spills the beans on this provocateur but things don’t go his way. Hunter must travel to foreign shores to thwart Cuban G2 or everyone he knows will be killed. But things are not what they seem—they never are for Hunter—and he has to deal with a wayward NYPD Police detective on his tail, an unidentified assassin stalking him, and his mentor, the infamous Oscar LaRue trying to reel him in before Hunter creates an international incident of his own.

Fun stuff!

Recently, I’ve started Book III of Hunter’s adventures. Can’t tell you the plot yet, Hunter is still deciding how he wants it to play out.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

I had a tough childhood and escaped into books like the Hardy Boys, Mystery of the Witches Bridge by Barbee Oliver Carleton, and Gordon D. Shirreffs’ Mystery of the Haunted Mine. I started writing short stories and plays about my own “I wish” adventures in the fifth grade. Then, when I was a young teenager, James Grady wrote Six Days of the Condor. That did it. I decided to pursue writing and intelligence work. Over the years, I was a military policeman, a military federal agent and anti-terrorism agent, and a private international consultant. I’ve lived and worked around the world doing things in places most only read about in books. James, Gordon, Barbee, and many others like Ludlum and MacLean inspired me. But, it was the men and women I’ve worked with along the years that truly gave me the stories I write about now. I’ve been so fortunate to have done the things I have and had the honor of working with the most amazing people anyone could ever wish to know.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Well, like most authors, I work for a living. I’m an international security consultant in the anti-terrorism world. I consult, do investigations and risk analysis, and support our nation’s homeland security programs. I also love to ride my Harley Davidson, spend time with my kids and grandkids (No, I’m not that old, but my kids procreated fast). I love to cook and adventure, and love to spend time with my Labs—Toby and Annie-Rose. Oh, and in those few remaining hours, I’m very involved with my Kiwanis Club children’s charities for which I dearly love the mission and the people. There’s not much time left, though, so I sleep a couple hours here and there!

The Consultant has been chosen by Amazon to be a July Kindle Monthly Deal for $.99. 


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2 comments:

  1. So many thanks for doing this interview about The Consultant, Jonathan Hunter, and me! It was a blast and I look forward to more in the future!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I enjoy learning about the author behind the book, especially this one since I thought it was such a good read.

    ReplyDelete

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