Ian A. O’Connor is a retired USAF colonel who has held several senior military leadership positions in the field of national security management. In his page-turning thriller, The Barbarossa Covenant, released in August 2015, it’s the author’s expertise in neutralizing nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare threats against the United States which provides the backdrop for the story’s compelling reality, and electrifying sense of urgency.
He is also the author of The Twilight of The Day, This debut novel garnered high praise in a lengthy review in the Military Times for its realism and chilling story line. It was soon followed with the publication of The Seventh Seal by Winterwolf Publishing Company, a thriller that introduced readers to retired FBI agent Justin Scott. Both were re-released worldwide in 2015 in Kindle and softcover formats.
Ian co-authored SCRAPPY: A Memoir of a U.S. Fighter Pilot published by McFarland & Company to rave reviews in the military aviation community. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America, and lives in South Florida with his wife, Candice, where he is hard at work writing the next Justin Scott thriller, The Masada Option, due to be released in late 2016.
Book description: The Wrong Road Home – A story of treachery and deceit inspired by true events is the larger-than-life story of a surgeon who successfully practiced his craft for 20 years—first in Ireland and then the United States—girded with nothing more than several counterfeit medical diplomas. Impossible, would undoubtedly be any reader’s initial reaction—and understandably so—but the tale is based on a Miami Herald Sunday Edition front page exposé that was the talk of South Florida two decades ago. Oprah’s producer pursued the imposter to appear on her show, as did Bill O’Reilly, then the host of Inside Edition.
The Wrong Road Home combines two cautionary tales. The first warns how a Faustian bargain once struck, allows for no turning back. Desmond Donahue’s impossible dream of becoming a ‘doctor’ was indeed realized over time, and a ‘doctor’ he remained despite several close calls in the ensuing years. The second cautionary message details the terrible cost in human terms of a life lived alone: of having to forgo marriage and children, of never having a close friend, of having to keep everyone ever met at arm’s length so the day would never arrive where he would inadvertently expose the awful truth about himself.
Always an avid reader, I decided to learn the fine art of fiction writing. I immersed myself in college writing courses, and then attended many writers’ workshops and seminars around the country honing my craft under the tutelage of some of the thriller genre’s most successful authors—David Morrell, Steve Berry, and James W. Hall, to name a few. I am a retired USAF colonel who has held senior leadership positions in the field of national security management, and it’s my expertise in countering nuclear, biological and chemical warfare threats that adds a sense of reality to my thrillers, such as The Barbarossa Covenant and The Seventh Seal. I also co-authored of Scrappy: Memoir of a U.S. Fighter Pilot in Korea and Vietnam; a 2008 release by McFarland & Company.
Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?
I started reading at about age 6, and haven’t stopped. My parents did not allow comic books in the house so my two sisters and one brother got library cards and carted armfuls of books home every Saturday. I remember reading all of The Hardy Boys series; books by an English author named Enid Blyton who wrote for pre-teens; and the prairie books by Laura Ingles Wilder. By the time I was fourteen I was reading Earle Stanley Gardner, and at sixteen I discovered Harold Robbins, Clive Cussler, James Michener, and Irwin Shaw, and, of course, Ian Fleming.
Who is your target audience?
Thriller readers are my target audience for my books with a series character named Justin Scott. Justin is a retired FBI agent who gets caught up in larger-than-life situations that propel him onto the world’s stage where he faces in do-or-die scenarios while pitted against an ever-ticking clock. But my target audience for this new book, The Wrong Road Home, will appeal to that broader audience of fiction readers who like stories inspired by true events with compelling characters such as my surgeon imposter named Desmond Donahue, every patient’s worst nightmare.
What will the reader learn after reading your book?
Actions have consequences, and there are no shortcuts in life.
What types of scenes give you the most trouble to write?
Writing realistic action scenes in my thrillers are by far the hardest to write. For example, when Justin Scott finds himself with his back to the wall and seemingly no escape, I have to choreograph the scene with absolute precision. My readers demand that whatever takes place in the story is true to life, and no nonsense stuff like jumping from one airplane to another, for example, and, also, when Justin finds himself in a fight for his life he gets hurt, and sometimes very badly.
Do you have another book on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?
There are two books I’m currently working on. The first is a story with my continuing character, Justin Scott, and the book is titled The Masada Option. Without a doubt this will prove to be Justin’s biggest challenge to date, mainly because the background and technical details have taken me over two years to research in order to get the story line correct. The second book is a stand-alone thriller called Point Option. It’s a story of the world’s newest and biggest aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford, finding itself thrown back in time, and the attendant inadvertent consequences of such a journey. I also invite everyone to visit my website at www.ianaoconnor.com.
As an author, what is your greatest reward?
That’s an easy question to answer. Hands down it’s hearing back from my readers to say how much they have enjoyed my books and can’t wait for the next one to be published. Nothing beats the sound of that music, period.