Books and writing have always played such a huge role in my life. As a young child, I devoured Harry Potter and every Jacqueline Wilson book. As an older child, I loved writing my own stories because I was always the shy child and writing was a way to express myself. Writing has always been special to me so it always made sense that some day I would write a book myself.
I started college and it was there that Deadly Obsession was born. It was a much different story back then but the bare bones of it remained the same. I knew that I wanted to write about a dysfunctional family overcoming big problems together. I worked on it for a long time but it got pushed to the side because I worked full time while also attending college so time was scarce and it was only picked up again a few years later and I finally got to finish it.
The book centres around the Mason family and their unorthodox private investigation company headed by Marty Mason and the ex-soldiers that have become part of the family who work cases for the desperate and hopeless.
The main protagonist, Lilly Mason thinks she has escaped her worst nightmare when she left Kansas four years ago only to find a bigger demon in California in the form of Sam Carver. Possessive, abusive, and dangerous, Sam makes her believe that her only hope for survival is to stay quiet and not fight back. Donnie O’Malley breaking her heart four years ago was nothing compared to her relationship with Sam.
When she hears word of a family bereavement she knows that she has no other choice but to return home and she carefully devises her plan to escape and is thrust back into her hectic and dangerous family life.
Lilly thinks that she is finally safe but Sam makes an appearance back into her life in the form of threatening messages. Soon after, there are murders in her hometown of pretty, young women that look just like her, and it’s too much of a coincidence. She tries to bury it until it gets out of control and she has no other choice but to tell her family the truth.
Truths are revealed when Lilly finds out just why Donnie broke her heart when she overhears her uncle make the same threat to Donnie that he did four years ago. She feels like she can’t trust the people in her own family but when Sam finally makes his move and kidnaps Lilly, Donnie proves that he will do anything to save her. But Sam is much more than they ever expected to encounter and he could be the end of them all.
I had this finished manuscript and I really didn’t know what to do with it. So I researched publishers and agents, spending weeks trying to find the best way to get my book published. I submitted it a few times but unfortunately it never got much further than that. I was disheartened but I didn’t want to give up. I was determined to see that this book that I had poured my heart and soul into was published, one way or another.
I met a fantastic author called Lauren Gilley through the powers of social media. She is a self published author and her books were the kind that made you stay up into the night just to read one more chapter. Her passion for writing and her incredible storytelling abilities motivated me even more. Reading her books and talking to her made me think that maybe I could do this myself. I reached out to her and asked for advice and she was so incredibly helpful. Her help and advice pushed me in the direction of self publishing more and more.
I attended talks by Catherine Ryan Howard on self publishing for more information, I researched and studied the process, weighed up the pros and cons, and the idea became more and more appealing. So I made my plan. I knew that I needed to have an editor because I didn’t want to put a book out without a professional polish so I searched until I found the perfect fit and I found that in my fantastic editor Emma Mitchell who worked with me tirelessly to make Deadly Obsession the story it is.
A cover is also so important, we’re always told never to judge a book by its cover but we are all guilty of this. Catherine Ryan Howard had recommended Design for Writers in one of her talks to I contacted them and they helped me to create the beautiful final cover and it was more than I could have ever asked for.
Self publishing required a lot of hard work and it required money to be invested but it was so worth it in the end because I finally had this book in my hands that I was so incredibly proud of.
Deadly Obsession was published on Amazon on 13th December 2017 and was launched in Tinahely Library in January 2018. My college lecturer Derek Coyle launched the book for me which was a proud moment because it all started in college so it was humbling to have one of the lecturers that inspired my love of writing be there to launch it for me.
Through a family friend, I got to meet Fionnuala Flanagan and gave her a copy, which she requested to be signed so that was a big moment for me – there was a celebrity holding my book and asking me to sign it for her!
Thankfully self publishing is starting to lose its stigma and it was the best option for me at the time. The most important thing to me was that my book was in the world and people could finally read what had taken years to accomplish and it’s something that I am so incredibly proud of.
(c) Sarah O’Neill
About 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…
Order your copy online here.