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  • Writer's pictureJessica Cantwell

Deadly Obsession by Sarah O'Neill

Updated: Jan 23, 2022

I am so excited to be talking to Sarah O’Neill, author of Deadly Obsession

I had chills from the start. From the first chapter, you know a deadly storm is brewing. O’Neill paints a very realistic picture of Lilly’s abusive relationship. The character development and word building was so strong you would never guess that the author is from South Wicklow, Ireland - not Kansas! The story came full circle and I hope book two takes us on another investigative adventure where Lilly steps into the “family” business.

Before we begin, let’s read the synopsis for Deadly Obsession:

Lilly Mason has always run from her problems, this time, she’s running for her life…

When word of a family bereavement reaches Lilly, she flees an abusive relationship in California and returns to Kansas to face her fears – the family she abandoned and the man she ran away from four years ago.

Donnie O’Malley knows that Lilly is hiding something. She’s terrified, on edge, and she’s got bruises she can’t explain.

Lilly’s new chance at life is threatened when her past refuses to let her go and she and her family are forced to fight for their lives against the enemy that threatens to end them all...

J.C. - Hi Sarah! Let’s start by having you introduce yourself to our readers:

S.O. - I'm Sarah and I live in a small town in Ireland with my fiancé Chris and our three daughters Millie, Ellie and Evie. We love animals in this house and have three dogs, two rabbits, two cats, and a pygmy goat. I'm obsessed with Marvel and Supernatural and my biggest wish is to have more time to read so many more books.

J.C. - Deadly Obsession is such a gripping thriller. What made you come up with the idea?

S.O. - It actually started as a completely different story but the fundamentals were the same - Lilly was always the standout character for me so I kept everything about her. Donnie was always her love interest but he was a much different character than the one we see now. I started writing it in college and I knew I wanted to write about a dysfunctional family that were so loyal to each other that they would do anything to protect each other and so the story changed and evolved to what it is now.

J.C. - The story takes place in Kansas, yet you are from Ireland. What made you choose Kansas as the location for the story?

S.O. - Kansas was actually a very random location choice that worked out quite well, especially the area of De Soto because it's quite a small town with very remote locations that work well for the cases Mason Investigations work. Sunflower Road is a very remote area, a long strip of empty road with lots of fields around, which will be an important location in book two. I've used Google maps and street view to make sure that my details are as authentic as possible.

J.C. - Lily finds herself in an abusive relationship. She is smart and strong and takes every precaution to get out safely, yet she still finds herself in trouble. Sadly, this thing happens in real life. How would you handle a situation like this?

S.O. - Personally, I would try to be like Lilly in that situation - get out as quickly and safely as possible and I wouldn't worry about packing my stuff, you can always replace your belongings but not your life. Abusers will always try and stop you leaving because they have to have that power over you. Its never about love and always about control. Always let someone else know what's happening, a friend or loved one, someone on the outside that can help you or know when something may be wrong.

J.C. - Enter Donnie, a man from Lily’s past. He’s ex-military and a force to be reckoned with. Was Donnie’s character inspired by anyone you know?

S.O. - He's a complete figment of my imagination. He's the type of character that I love to read about - the flawed alpha male with the soft side for the right woman. I don't have experience with U.S military personnel but I have the highest respect for what they do for their country and I wanted my characters to resemble the strength that the real life heroes have so I chose to write them as ex-military.

J.C. - Mason Investigations does what they have to do to solve a case. Do you agree with this?

S.O. - In real life I believe that things should be left to the proper authorities to deal with, but I love reading and writing about vigilantes. The Mason Investigations team have their limits - nothing will stop them solving a case and they do what they need to do to keep both their clients and their family safe but they don't just take it upon themselves to get rid of all wrongdoers and any person that they do decide to eliminate is not a decision taken lightly.

J.C. - Who has been your biggest support system while on this writing adventure?

S.O. - My family and friends have always been behind me, no matter what. Without their support and belief in me, I don't think I would have ever come this far.

I come from a small town and the support of those people has also been phenomenonal. I was so nervous announcing that I was publishing a book but lots of people from my town came out to my book launch to support me and purchased books.

J.C. - Finish the sentence. In ten years I’d like to…

S.O. - I'd love to be writing as a career, just making enough to pay the bills and continue writing. I'd really love my girls to see that whatever dream they set their mind on is possible, to be that role model for them and show them anything is possible is my biggest hope.

J.C. - You have been hard at work on book two. What can you tell us about it?

S.O. - It's almost finished. I have gotten delayed in getting it finalised but I'm hoping to have it out to beta readers very soon. I don't want to spoil too much but the team will be facing something that they've never encountered before. This time they will be investigating a cult that is much more sinister than they appear. This book will take a darker turn but I think it will be worth the wait after Deadly Obsession.

J.C. - Lastly, where can readers find you and your work?

S.O. - I'm most active on Instagram at @sarahoneillauthor and you can find my work on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and The Book Depository. I also sell signed copies which can be purchased directly from me.

Book two is on its way. Now is a perfect time to pick up a copy of this fantastic thriller. You won't regret it!

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