Thirty-three Days and counting … The Consultant, the first of the Jonathan Hunter Thrillers, releases from Oceanview Publishing—May 15th, 2018.
Oh, the anticipation … the endless nights rethinking every line, every plot point, the beginning and ending and middling (is that a thing? Nope.) These past couple months have been a rollercoaster rise as I count down the days until The Consultant hits the shelves. My many author pals know what I mean. It’s that second guessing and endless “what ifs” that plagues you when your pub date nears. Did I end it right? Oh God, a reviewer didn’t give me 5-stars! Was it too complicated… too easy … too … crap, brain, shut up already! Stop!
This book is particularly important to me. Oh, not just because every book scares the hell out of me and makes me wonder if it’ll be my last to ever get published. No, it’s more about the genre and the publisher. My first three books, regretfully called The Gumshoe Ghost series (clearly not my idea) were never meant for publication and written for my daughter. But poof, there they went. They were fun and adventurous, and as much a surprise to me, gained me a lot of fans. Not tons, mind you, but a lot and they are wonderful fans, too. They come to see me at book events and remember me in comments and reviews. A couple even stalk me here and there. Cool right? My fourth novel, written as the Gumshoe series was unfolding, was a standalone that I thoroughly enjoyed writing—and reading myself, oddly enough. My amazing agent, Kimberley Cameron, sold it to a good independent publisher and off it went. These four novels were a great way to cut my teeth on becoming a published author. I learned a lot, in particular from my now-amazing personal book doc, Terri B. While these first four books didn’t bring me fame or fortune or even so many fans I can’t give out my email address, they did give me a great perspective on the industry and my own writing (and a few small successes and some great fans, too). I will forever be grateful for Midnight Ink and Black Opal publishers for putting my novels out there in the land of mystery.
Still, The Consultant is very special to me above all the others. It’s truly my wheelhouse of writing—thrillers—and it has been a labor of love through three different drafts spanning ten years. While it doesn’t resemble in any way draft one, that draft certainly gave me the characters and the general story line. The Consultant is also in my professional world—terrorism. Though I’m not the swashbuckling character, Jonathan Hunter, that world has been mine since I was in my twenties in one form or another. It’s my entre from paranormal mysteries into thrillers, and it’s a genre that has held my heart since I was fourteen. Above all, it’s the start of the Jonathan Hunter Thriller series that I get to put Hunter in a myriad of action-adventure crises battling terrorists, spies, and general evil-doers while still joking and cajoling his way through the pages. What I love about Hunter’s new series is that he gets to tell it in the first-person—a favorite writing style for me—so that he can show you the inside of some of the threats he faces. Like what terror in a small town means to the town and its people, what losing his family does to him, and what having a crusty, curmudgeon mentor poking and slapping him around is all about. Sure, there’s a dark side to Hunter’s adventures, but there’s the human side, too. That’s my favorite part of his stories.
Perhaps the most special part of The Consultant for me is what it’s brought to my writing world. First and foremost, it has opened the door to Oceanview Publishing, an amazing publisher with some heavy-hitting talent in its stable like D.P. Lyle, David Morrell, TJ Turner, Carter Wilson, Patricia Gussin, and Matt Coyle—just to name a few I’ve met. How tough is it to be in their company? I’m honored. In the year since I signed on with Oceanview, I’ve had more support, more discussions, and more guidance than I ever hoped for. I couldn’t be more pleased with being part of this group and for the teamwork they’ve provided me. For a new author still trying to get a footing in this crazy business, it’s been an amazing year.
Then there are my heroes. I’ve told this story before so I’ll not belabor it. When I was a teenager, I fell in love with a small book called Six Days of the Condor. To this day, it’s my—and I dare say millions of other fans—favorite thriller of all time. It was written by author-rock star, James Grady. James became my book-hero for ever. When my first novel, Dying to Know, came out, James actually IM’d me to both congratulate me and thank me for a blog in which I credited him with inspiring me all these years to write. Not only did he not have to do that, but he was so gracious and supportive I’ll never be able to repay him the kindness. So how blown away was I when James agreed to blurb The Consultant for me! Not just blurb it but this…
… Tj O’Connor is that rare thriller writer with both talent and street time in the worlds he rockets us readers through. O’Connor’s stories will pull you in and race you through plots that come from behind the headlines in our crazy world.
Someone slap me! My first thriller, with a super publisher, and my lifelong hero James Grady blurbs my book. As Jonathan Hunter would say, Holy shit on a peanut butter sandwich! Thank you, James.
Oh … but that ain’t all. Another of my big-fav author-heroes is the incredible Christopher Reich. I had no way of contacting Christopher but I figure, hey, if James Grady didn’t get a restraining order on me, maybe Christopher wouldn’t either. Luckily, I had an ace in the hole—Tom Sloan, author of Bratva’s Rose Tattoo. Tom connected the dots for me and Christopher was both gracious and supportive with this blurb …
…The Consultant is a flat out, dynamite read. Fast paced, compelling, and all too real. O’Connor writes with authority and the pages fly by almost too quickly. My favorite kind of thriller, reminiscent of the best Ludlum and Forsyth.
Thank you, Christopher!
Perhaps those of you who are not authors don’t really see why this thrills me (pun intended). It’s because I can now die with a smile on my face. My first published thriller, with an amazing publisher, blurbed by two of my lifelong biggest heroes. How flipping cool is that?
Hence, why I don’t sleep at night. I fear I’ll let them down. Fear I’ll choke on the reviews or spin away into obscurity before I truly reach my writing-stride. I lie in bed with “What if … if only … Oh, shit …” on my brain.
The second book of the Jonathan Hunter Thrillers is with my editor. Book III has already begun. So, sure, I might not get the movie deal or the million-seller status we authors crave. But, I’m not done yet and won’t be until I’m dead.
We’ll talk again soon. Remember, Spring is coming …
A Rogue terrorism consultant.
His dead brother.
A beautiful Persian refugee.
Terror. Fear. Prejudice.
America’s heading back to war. Someone has to stop it …
… The Consultant.