Monday, October 18, 2021

Meet author Joe O'Neill

Joe O’Neill was inspired to write the Red Hand Adventures while on safari in Sri Lanka. As he was driving along in an old jeep, under the full moon casting silhouettes of wild elephants against the jungle wall, the image of a rebel orphan in old Morocco popped into his head. While he wishes he could take credit for the idea, it was a story that was already out there, waiting to be told. Joe is the CEO and founder of Waquis Global Services. He is also the founder and owner of an independent middle school focused on a next generation approach to education that connects students to their community and then to the world. Joe loves soccer and is a fanatical supporter of Liverpool FC and his local team, the Portland Timbers. He lives in the Columbia Gorge in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, daughter, dog, and 3 cats. There are 5 books in the Red Hand Adventure series, available on Amazon at 


Q: The first book features 4 main characters. Do these 4 appear in all of the books in the series?

A: Yes, the books feature all four characters, but they end up having very different storylines. They grow with the books and, I hope, each character matures with their experiences.

Q: What is the recommended age range for each of the books and why?

A: Well, most kids aged 10 - 12 love the books. But, we’re finding that a lot of adults read the books as well (which is what I’d hoped for). Many booksellers and librarians have found that, as kids kind of get tired of books about wizards, dragons, and wimpy kids, they want to move onto to something a bit more mature before the YA market (which is inundated with books about romance, high school misery, zombies, and vampires) and there just isn’t a lot out there. These books are good old-fashioned adventures and that resonates with a lot of kids, parents, teachers, and librarians. It’s interesting because a few parents are a bit concerned with the level of violence but we’ve never had any complaints from the kids. A lot of what happens in the first book (about slavery and camel racing) is completely true and still takes place in this day and age. I wanted kids to understand there is still tremendous inequality in the world and the reality is far, far more violent and brutal than what is described in the books. 

Q: Which parts of the books were the most fun to write?

A: Great question. I really loved developing Sanaa because she’s so capable and fearless. I love it when then boys have certain escapades because I get to inject some humor into those chapters. Overall, I just love writing these books and introducing new characters. I’m halfway through the sixth book and I thought that’s where the series might stop, but I’m already gathering ideas for a completely new storyline. For me, researching historical events has been very rewarding. I’m learning about passages of histories that I never studied in school and that has been very rewarding. 

Readers can visit to learn more about the author and his books. By signing up on the site with an email, readers can access a  fun activity page which features, in addition to crosswords and search a word puzzles, neat cryptogram puzzles and downloadable extras.

No comments: