Who is Ian O'Neill?
He was born in Glasgow, Scotland but has no accent. He grew up in Mimico, the once-named town in southern Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada. Went to high school there and yadda-yadda-yadda, graduated from college then he got married, is father to a great daughter, got divorced, is still father to a great daughter, yadda-yadda-yadda, is married to an amazing woman and lives in Oakville, Ontario.
Q: Why writing?
A: I suck at everything else. Wait, let me turn that into a positive phrase: It's the only thing I'm good at.
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: My first paying gig was in high school. I wrote an essay for a buddy and got paid in beer. I ended up in advertising as a copywriter for a dozen years, then went freelance and I've been doing that ever since. I've written nature/wildlife, some science and sports, television and radio ads, P.R., speeches; pretty much anything that you need written, I'll write it for you.
Q: When did the fiction bug bite you?
A: Not too long ago, maybe four or five years. That bug bit hard and it left a nasty scar. I've been hooked ever since.
Q: I'll bet you get asked this question a lot; where did you get your idea for Endo?
A: All fiction writers face the 'idea' question and the answer is different for all of them. For Endo, there were two catalysts: a friend with a penchant for riding off cliffs on his mountain bike and a thought I had in the wee hours of a race.
My friend Tony has gone off a cliff twice, and lived to tell the tale. Both times a branch saved him from hitting the ground. One night, at a twenty-four hour mountain bike race, I was traversing a cliff edge, I was alone, the only light was from my headlamp, it was pitch black beyond the halo and it was eerily quiet. I thought, wouldn't this be a great place for a murder. That was all I needed to start researching, plotting, building characters.
Q: Speaking of characters, do they speak to you and lead you where they want to go or are you in charge?
A: If they were in charge then I'd need to be speaking to someone else right now; a professional of another kind. I know to a lot of writers, it feels like their characters are taking them on the journey, but it's not the case. I will always send my characters to explore plot avenues I uncover but I'll be the one deciding what to write. At least that's what they tell me to say.
Q: Humor is a big part of your writing, your life?
A: Oh yeah. Like my parents said, if you can't laugh at yourself others will, so, beat them to it. Well, they didn't really say that but we did do a lot of laughing. Humor is a big part of what gets me through the day and inevitably it makes it into my work. One of the biggest compliments I ever received was when a reader told me my writing made her laugh and cry. That piece was a comedy, so, I didn't want to know what made her cry.
Q: For anyone that hasn't yet read Endo, what book would you compare it to?
A: That's tough, but I'd say it has the pace and thriller elements of Greg Iles, 24 Hours. Endo is a whodunit that will take you on a thrill ride. It's got a real knock out punch. Please stop me. It will get your heart pounding. Stop me please.
Q: Okay, stop. We get it. Endo is a great read. How about a change of pace. Boxers or briefs?
Q. Let's change pace again, shall we?
A. Sorry, I can't help myself. Okay, pace changing. As a guy who worked in advertising for many years, I can tell you first hand that word of mouth is the best advertising. All I can ask is that anyone reading this give Endo a read--I know you'll have a great time. Then, tell two friendshell, tell a dozen because I have a daughter going to college next year and that'll help me buy her a box of fresh pens.
Q: Got any advice for writers out there trying to get published?
A: I have a single e-book title published so, I don't think I'm in a position to give any advice. All I'll say is if you write, keep writing. The only way good things happen for you as a writer, is if you keep writing. And read, too. Write and read, that's it. Oh, and eat all your vegetables.
Q: What does that have to do with writing?
A: Can't hurt.
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