Today I have a guest visiting me. Charles O’Keefe! Charles lives in the beautiful province of Newfoundland, Canada, with his wife and two feline ‘children,’ Jude and Eleanor. He is a co-owner of a Beauty Wholesale Business and enjoys many hobbies and activities that include writing, reading, watching fantasy/science-fiction movies and television shows, gaming, poker, walking, Pilates, martial arts and of course fantasizing about vampires. He is also a vegetarian, animal activist, environmentalist and Agnostic. His novel, The Newfoundland Vampire, will be available from Distinguished Press on April 24, 2015.
For anybody who doesn’t know him, Charles is very friendly and fun and it’s been great getting to know him. Please check out our interview below.
|JM: Tell us about your book.
CO: The a Newfoundland Vampire is my first novel and was originally published back in April of 2012 by Penumbra Publishing. It will be rereleased by Distinguished Press in March 27th of this year (2015 if you’re reading this in the future). It was a labor of love and something I originally thought of back in 2002 and wrote the first chapter only to leave it for a long time. Then, in 2010, I got inspired and finished the rough draft in about 8 months. But enough history – here’s the summary:“Like every other geek alive, Newfoundland native Joseph O’Reily secretly wants to be a superhero. At thirteen he fantasized about being a vampire, and ten years later he’s still fantasizing – but mostly about a beautiful redheaded woman who has eyes only for him. The one thing different about Joseph’s adult fantasy is that, amazingly, it comes true one night when he goes to a local university pub. Cassandra Snow, literally the woman of his dreams, invites him to her place for an evening of personal pleasure. Of course he’s not going to say no. But when strange things start happening afterward, Joseph quickly learns that not all dreams should come true.”
It’s a book for adults that tries to approach vampires from a different perspective. How does a regular guy cope with becoming a vampire? While I deal with lots of serious issues I still have a lot of fun with it. One of the main characters, Cassandra, is based on a real person from history, Catherine Mandeville Snow. She was the last woman hanged in Newfoundland and the twist here is that a hanging is not enough to kill a vampire. The other main character is Joseph is based highly on me as I was at 23. I couldn’t resist the temptation to put myself in and have fun imagining what I would do as a vampire. He gets to make a lot of choices I couldn’t make and of course does things that I never want to do. It’s a great exploration of a what if type fantasy for me, what if vampires were real and I was one? The rest you’ll have to read and find out.
JM: What made you choose your subject matter?
CO: I’ve loved vampires since I was around 12 or 13 and horror about since then too. To be more specific though, I think for me the idea of a vampire is so fascinating. You are immortal, forever young, powerful and (in some versions) still yourself in terms of your personality, feelings and memories. I think the vampire creature is familiar to everyone in the world (at least most of it) that it give you the ability to play around with, changes things but still have the reader have a good idea coming in how they work and at least partially what to expect. Plus for me someone who lives forever could be any historical figure from the past and this idea fascinated me as well.
JM: How is your approach to vampires different from other authors?
CO: I made a fair number of changes. First off my vampires are not destroyed by sunlight, rather just weakened. They are unaffected by any holy symbol, holy water or garlic. I gave them an origin story that explained why a wooden stake to the heart works and why silver can harm them. My vampires don’t sparkle and they certainly don’t go to high school for hundreds of years. I also gave my vampires the ability to change their appearance and even gender. With minor shape-changing abilities they can literally be anyone they want, so as to have many human lives without looking suspicious. I also defined how they can sense each other and how the creator and progeny relationship (as I call them) works.
JM: What was your a ha! moment? When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
CO: Excellent question! Well I had a few. First back in 2006 when my friend published a book and I got mentioned in the acknowledgements (I helped him edit it), I thought “I want more than that, I want to write a book, not just be mentioned in it.” Really thought it was just driving in the car one day listening to an interview R.A. Salvatore (who I’ll admit I’ve never even read). He talked about how great it was to be a writer and I just thought, “that’s what I want, more than anything.” So the next day I got writing and almost 2 years later I was published.
JM: Is there anything about you as a writer that you consider to be a part of your signature style?
CO: That’s a tough question! I think you pick up traits and ideas from writers you like, perhaps even on an unconscious level. I think for me though it would be I love music so much that I try to put songs (usually 10 or 11) in each book that fit the scene they are in. I have always imagined my books as movies, so I have tried hard to supply each one with a kind of soundtrack.
JM: Sound great. I can’t wait to check it out.
Check out more from Charles O’Keefe over at his website, http://www.charlesokeefe.com/.