Mystery meets romance in 'Another Man's Treasure'
Loyola alum to launch novel with Book Stall event
September 13, 2011 | 02:44 AM
As a professional home organizer, James O'Connor certainly has enough experience to write a detailed how-to book.
But when O'Connor visits The Book Stall in Winnetka next weekend he'll share a different story, one with thrilling twists instead of de-cluttering tips.
O'Connor, a Loyola Academy alum who grew up in Wilmette, will launch his novel, "Another Man's Treasure," with a book signing at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at The Book Stall, 811 Elm St.
O'Connor first entered the book world in 2000 with "Cuss Control: The Complete Book on How to Curb Your Cursing," which landed him on more than 100 TV shows, including "Oprah," "The View" and the "Today" show. The 67-year-old, however, said he actually had "a lot more fun" writing "Another Man's Treasure."
"You create the characters, they do whatever you want them to do and you tell the story," O'Connor said. "But it's also much more difficult. You have to keep continuity of character and get people to read the next chapter."
With its complex character relationships and mystery-romance style, O'Connor is hopeful "Another Man's Treasure" hooks readers from Chapter 1.
Keeping his organizing background in mind, O'Connor tells the story of Ted McCormick, a home organizer in Albany, N.Y., who is hired by a man to "purge his father's decaying Victorian mansion." The man, O'Connor explained, is convinced his father hid something of great value in the mansion and wants Ted to find it.
"The mystery in the story plays on everyone's fantasy of finding treasures in their grandparents' attic or somewhere in their own forgotten storage," O'Connor said.
Then there's Ted's relationship with another client, a "very flirtatious divorcee" who throws passion and romance into the mix.
"The two plots combine," O'Connor said. "I can't tell you how 'cause that would give it away.
"Part of writing a novel, you have to have conflict, trouble."
O'Connor injects plenty of humor into "Another Man's Treasure" and said while neither the characters nor their situations are based on any of his clients, he has discovered some interesting things through his home organizing business, Clutter Control. In the attic of one Wilmette home, where he'd been told by the owner that "nothing was really up there," he found valuable coin and stamp collections the owner had forgotten about.
O'Connor said he's always enjoyed writing, and it was during his sophomore year at Loyola University that he "had an epiphany" that he wanted to be a writer.
"My dad told me that's a great skill to have for a real job," laughed O'Connor, who later worked in communications before starting his public relations firm, O'Connor Communications, with wife Lynda.
O'Connor said he has several ideas for other fiction and nonfiction works and looks forward to seeing how his latest book is received.
"Another Man's Treasure," published by Post Mortem Press, is available at The Book Stall, Barnes and Noble and online at Amazon.com.
Author Visit: James O'Connor
What: Launch of "Another Man's Treasure"
When: Saturday, Sept. 24, 2 p.m.
Where: The Book Stall, 811 Elm St., Winnetka