Tim O’Mara’s top-selling debut mystery, Sacrifice Fly (Minotaur 2012), has been nominated for the 2013 “Best First Novel” Barry Award. (Editor’s Note: Deservedly so.) The novel introduced Raymond Donne, a Brooklyn public schoolteacher who was an up-and-coming police officer until a tragic accident destroyed his knees and the future he envisioned on the force.
Tim was inspired to write Sacrifice Fly and create the character of Raymond Donne after making home visits while a schoolteacher in the poorer section of the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn. Further moved by his many interactions with the Youth Officers of the NYPD while he served as a middle school dean and his brother’s stories as a police sergeant, O’Mara believed that a character with experience in both worlds would make a great protagonist.
For the past 13 years, Tim has hosted and produced a bi-weekly reading series of poetry and prose in New York’s East Village. He lives with his family in Manhattan, where he currently teaches math, and is a proud member of Mystery Writers of America, Crime Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and several teacher unions.
Tim’s second Raymond Donne Novel, Crooked Numbers, is currently available. He’s currently writing the third book in the series, Dead Red.
I met Tim at the bar during the Cleveland Bouchercon, where he literally asked me for the shirt off my back.
One Bite at a Time: What made you decide to come to Albany?
Tim O’Mara: I was anxious to go to a convention where I was not a “debut author.”
OBAAT: What’s the most important aspect of Bouchercon for you? (This year, or any year?)
TO: Meeting with other writers and indie bookstore people.
OBAAT: Were you on any panels?
TO: Yes. “You May Be Right,” which was about getting the police aspect of our crime novels as accurate as possible. With a brother who’s a Sgt. in the Nassau County (LI) PD and a brother-in-law who’s an NYPD detective, I think I was a good a choice for this panel.
OBAAT: To you, what makes a good panel, from a panelist’s perspective?
TO: Panelists who were chosen because of their knowledge/expertise of the panel’s theme. I’ve actually heard panelists say things along the lines of “I’m not sure why I’m on this panel.”
OBAAT: What do you look for when deciding which panels to attend?
TO: Authors I respect or know personally and topics I’m interested in.
OBAAT: What makes a panel good for you when you’re in the audience?
TO: A moderator who allows the panelists do most of the talking and panelists who’ve thought out what they want to share with the audience.
OBAAT: Would you like to see more or fewer questions from the audience?
TO: Some panels should be longer to allow more time for Q&A.
OBAAT: What’s your favorite Bouchercon story, from this year or any past years?
TO: Last year in Cleveland, Mystery Mike informed me that he had sold out of my debut novel, Sacrifice Fly, after I was introduced at the debut authors breakfast. He added, “We never sell out. What the hell did you say to them in there?”
Bouchercon Interviews Schedule
November 15 – Tim O’Mara (author)
November 22 – Ali Karim (firmware)
November 27 – Zoe Sharp (author)
December 6 – Jack Getze (author)
December 13 – Walter Colby (reader)
December 20 – Michelle Turlock Isler (reader)