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!

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

“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

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

When did you first consider yourself a

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

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

6 thoughts on “Interview with contemporary novelist TS O’Neil

  1. Bernie Wallace says:

    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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.