Robert (Bob) T. Reilly was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1923. During World War II, he enlisted in the Army and saw service as a First lieutenant with the 78th Division in Europe. He was a POW for six months, and received numerous decorations. After the war Reilly completed his Ph.D. at Boston University.
Reilly's Irish interests involve the American Committee for Irish studies and the Irish American Cultural Institute, where he held a national directorship. Reilly has lived in Ireland and has also led tours there since 1966.
It was when he was teaching Irish Literature at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, that he had the inspiration to write Red Hugh. "I did it as a bet with myself that I could write a book," he recalls. His first attempt at the story of Hugh O'Donnell was rejected by a publisher, so he tossed the manuscript out and started over. This time the tale was successful and became the first of several historical fiction books the author has written.
Having married Jean McKenzie of Omaha, Nebraska after World War II, Reilly and his wife had ten children and many grandchildren. Robert Reilly died in 2004.