Friday, May 31, 2013

Bob O'Connor Speaks!

Today we learn a little more about Bob O'Connor, author of The Return of Catesby, in this author interview. Bob is currently on tour with Walker Author Tours. Enjoy, and pick up your copy of the book at
Tell us about your book.
My book is the continuing story of Catesby – a real colored blacksmith who lived originally in Charlestown, VA as a slave to Colonel Lewis Washington, a descendant of George Washington.  In the first book Catesby struggles to find his freedom. He runs away from the operation of a blacksmith shop under a cruel owner who permanently cripples him. He flees on the Underground Railroad to Pennsylvania.

This book follows Catesby’s new adventures leading up to his teaching position at Storer College, a new school to teach newly freed blacks to become teachers. Ironically, the students’ first day in the classroom was Catesby’s first day too, because he had been taught at home by his mother. Catesby’s vast experience is helpful in encouraging his students and helping them believe that if Catesby, a man with a bad leg who had been a slave could accomplish greatness, they could too.

Where can we find out more about you and buy your book? On my website at

What have been your most successful marketing techniques? I send out an e-newsletter. I have a website.  I send out a post card with each new book to persons who have already purchased other book. I have great signage at events.

Who is your favorite author of all time, and why? Michael Shaara who wrote “Killer Angels”. He changed Civil War writing to be about people not the battles or the troop movements.  I follow that same technique as I write. That way people get to know the emotions and feelings of the soldiers even if they don’t give a hoot about what the generals or the regiments did.

Is your family supportive of what you do? Absolutely. My two biggest supporters and fans are my sister,
Joanne, and my daughter, Kelli. But it was my parents (both now deceased) and my early teachers who encouraged me along the way that made the most difference.

What other books have you published? “The Perfect Steel Trap Harpers Ferry 1859”
“The Virginian Who Might Have Saved Lincoln”
“Catesby: Eyewitness to the Civil War”
“The US Colored Troops at Andersonville Prison”
“The Centennial History of Ranson WV -- 1910 – 2010”
“The Life of Abraham Lincoln: As President”
“A House Divided Against Itself”
“Countdown to West Virginia Statehood”

Do you find it hard to share your work with others? No. Not at all. I love sharing my work, especially with book clubs, school groups and others.

What is your opinion on people who post bad reviews? They should get a life. A friend wrote a book about Varena Davis. Someone posted a review of 1 on because they said Varena was a traitor to the cause of the Confederacy – which had nothing to do with the book, which was well written. DUH!

Are you an independent writer, or are you represented by an agent? How does this work out for you, especially if you have done it both ways? I am independent. I do not have an agent. I do not have a publicist. It works great for me. I have not done it both ways, but prefer the way I do it anyway.

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