Tim ONeil

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 an IT Architect and lives in Seminole, FL with his beautiful wife, Suzanne. 


1.Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Tim O’Neil and I use the penname T.S. O’Neil.  While publishing Tampa Star, I noticed a lot of authors were using their initials instead of their first name like J.K. Rowlins. I resurrected T.S. and followed suite.

I am 54 years old and originally from Newington CT. I went to undergraduate school at Northeastern University in Boston and have an MBA from the University of Phoenix in Technology Management.  I spent a good amount of time in the military; first as an enlisted Marine in the Marine Reserve, then about ten years on active duty as an officer in the Military Police Corps of the U.S. Army and I finished out my career in the Army Reserve.

During that time, I traveled a lot of the world, picked up Spanish as the Army sent me to language school and managed to have a lot of fun and while mostly avoiding combat.  While most sane people view being shot at as merely a life threatening situation, those in the military look at it as an opportunity for career advancement.

Well, based on that, I was a miserable failure as I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Meaning wherever I happened to be, peace was breaking out like mad.

I was supposed to jump into Omar Torrejo Airport with the Rangers during Operation Just Cause, but instead I went on to the MP Officer Advance Course. The invasion took place in December of 89, as I drove home to Connecticut for Christmas break and members of my former unit parachuted into glory.  Later, as I sat in Panama enjoying the new era of peace and prosperity, Operation Desert Storm took place. My luck finally caught up with me and I spent part of a tour in Iraq. Other than a couple of nights of rocket fire, the period in Iraq was relatively peaceful.

I got out of the military and eventually gravitated to the IT Field.  I am currently an IT Architect for a healthcare company. I live in Seminole Florida with the love of my life, Suzanne and we are getting married on Oct 4th of this year.

2. Describe your book Tampa Star (The Blackfox Chronicles) in 30 words or less.

It’s the story of a father and son that’s told in two parts. The first part of the book starts in the early seventies in the aftermath of the war in Viet Nam. The father, Char, is a Seminole Indian and former Green Beret who is wounded by a dead guerrilla in the aftermath of a firefight. He is subsequently evacuated and discharged with a bum leg.  Char moves to the Florida Gulf Coast, gets a job, meets a girl and life seems to be going his way, until he falls in with the wrong crowd and things spiral out of control from there.

The second part of the book picks up in two thousand and four when the son, a former Recon Marine Officer, is discharged and travels to Florida in search of his father.

The story has a host of villains that you will love to hate, including a corrupt cop, a Mafia Capo and a Russian ex-CIA interrogator.

3. What was the hardest part of writing your book? 

Actually, there were a lot of hard parts. I had no idea how to really write a book. I think I got the idea of writing a novel along the lines of the way James Michener writes; lots of background material and character development before the action starts. While that’s not a bad way to write, if you’re trying to lure readers of the Action Adventure genres to read your book, you might fail to engage them because the plot development is too slow. Luckily, I’ve caught on and have made adjustments going forward.

4. What books have had the greatest influence on you?

I think books written by Elmore Leonard influenced me more than anyone else. That guy could tell a story. The dialog he develops is so realistic; I can absolutely see the characters saying it in real life. I was very sorry to hear he recently passed away. He will be missed

One notable book that I think influenced me is Tough Guys Don’t Dance by Norman Mailer. It’s a book that I loved reading and a movie that I loved watching. The protagonist watches his world crumble all around him; his wife leaves him, he can’t stop drinking and oh yeah, there’s two heads in a bag in the basement and he is left trying to figure out how they got there. I would always watch the movie when my life was at a low point and it would allow me to say: “Well, at least I don’t have it as bad as that guy.”

5. Briefly share with us what you do to market your book?

Lots of Tweeting, use of Facebook and targeted Internet marketing, such as BookBuzzr . I have selectively posted ads and sponsored giveaways on freado and Goodreads.

6. How do you spend your time when you are not writing? 

I’ve recently developed my golf game a bit and love spending time doing that. I also like to travel. My wife and I recently returned from Puerto Rico and will be visiting Key West were part of my next novel, Mudd’s Luck, will take place.

7. What are you working on next? 

My next book, which will be published on March 1st of this year, is titled Starfish Prime. Briefly, the synopsis is as follows: Michael Blackfox thought he'd left the Marine Corps, but they had other ideas. The best trained man for a high risk mission is dead and Blackfox is uniquely qualified to be the heir apparent. Trouble is, he and his father are currently fugitives on the run from the law.

Marine Special Operations roughly brings Michael back into the fold, while allowing his father to be arrested and extradited. If Michael cooperates, the government will go easy on his dad.

A Russian arms dealer recovers an ICBM from Iraq during the invasion and sells it to the Iranians. They commission him to reconfigure the missile as an electromagnetic pulse weapon that, if fired, will destroy all electronics in the United States--effectively plunging the country back to the nineteenth century.

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