Monday, 21 January 2013

My Yarn with Charles O'Keefe

When D.R. Racey closed his book after reading his riveting tale of werewolves of Blood Rites, the by's were left wide eyed and scared and had nightmares the whole night long after D.R. had left.

I however, glory in these kinds of tales, because I, myself dapple in the supernatural and slept soundly.

That is why I was very excited to have Charles O'Keefe, a fellow Newfoundlander on my wharf, sitting on a milk crate in my shed of solicitation. 

Terrance, Gerard, Frank and Jack stumble into the shed, their eyes blood shot from lack of sleep and carrying large mugs of coffee, as they watch me lit the fire and set about preparing for Charles arrival, making sure to have stocked his favourite beverage. 

I warned the by's that Charles is a very passionate animal activist and vegetarian, so no offensive language or gory tales of the big bull moose that they shot last fall or just how good he tasted in a big pot of beef and fresh vegetables. 

They scowled at me, but commented that it was nice to have a Newfoundlander in the shed so they have someone who understood what they were saying!!!

I had just finished pouring myself up another cup of coffee when I see Charles pop in around the corner.

He startled me just for the moment, but I greeted him and led him to my most expensive piece of furniture to sit on.

Followed by a back of the shed chorus of "Good morning Charles, me son, how is it hanging?"

"He is good, now shut up, will ye?" I snapped, offering Charles a silent apology.

"Welcome, Charles O'Keefe have a seat, sorry that it is not more comfy, but a poor fishing season has forced me to reduce my furniture  to two milk crates, but I have plenty of refreshments, care to have one?"

"Sure I’d like a Growers apple cider please" 

"Certainly, I heard through the grapevine that you loved apple cider as a treat, so here you are, enjoy!"

"Thank you for coming, Charles, though I have known you for years, this yahoos are unfamiliar with you, share a little about yourself."

"You’re welcome, thanks for having me. Okay, well I’m Charles O’Keefe, I’m 36, married, no kids and 2 cats. I work as an inventory manager at my parent’s business. I am a vegetarian, agnostic and an animal activist. I also like reading, writing, walking, Dungeons and Dragons, Pilates and movies. Recently (last April) I became a published author and I also write move reviews for a website (and my own blog). Aside from those things I love to travel, go to concerts, listen to music and play a little piano."

"Amazing, Charles! You certainly have a lot on your plate, but life is short, got to fit in what you can! I want to talk about your recently published book.. I have seen  The Newfoundland Vampire  on Amazon and I would love to pick it up, but before I do, could you tell me a little about it?"

"Sure be happy to. “The Newfoundland Vampire” is a tale of a geeky guy who meets the woman of his dreams. She just happens to also be a vampire. She turns him secretly and the rest of the book is Joseph dealing with his new vampires powers and the threats and challenges his new life brings him."

"Wow, Charles , that  sounds intriguing, is there a particular part of the story that you really enjoyed writing?"

"Thanks! I did the best I could with it and put a lot of myself in the story through the main character. There is one chapter called “The Game is on” it is based on my all time favourite D&D session that I played in real life. I’ve talked about joked about the session for years and it was a complete joy to write that down, edit it and have it come out exactly the way I wanted it for the final edit. It made me smile and laugh more so than any chapter when I read it just before the published copy came out."

When I see Jack saunter over, pulling me off the milk crate to sit down, I knew what he was going to ask.

It is like they got some kind of script or something.

 "Hey dude, tell us who your favourite characters are!"

"Hi Jack, sure I can do that. Well this may make me sound like a guy with a big head but number one would be Joseph, since he is me almost exactly as I was at 23. Number two (and a very close second) would be Cassandra. I think she’s a great combination of a real historical person and a very sexy, mysterious and dangerous vampire. She’s always a joy to write and I found she was the first character I made that seemed real to me (Joseph didn’t count since I knew I’m real ;)"

I smacked Jack on his arm and pulled him off the seat he so brazenly stole from me.

He just winked, smiled and went back to his back of the shed buddies.

"Sorry about that, but Jack's question brought  another question to light, "If The Newfoundland Vampire were to be optioned for a movie, who do you see playing your main characters?"

"Oh no problem, I don’t mind. Well for Joseph I used to think myself but I’ll admit I can’t pull off 23 anymore. I think I would choose Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Joseph, he’s an amazing actor and I think he could do it. Yes I know he’s never played a vampire but no one from “True Blood” or another vampire movie appeals to me and is the right age.

For Cassandra though I think Deborah Ann Woll from “True Blood” (she plays Jessica) would be perfect. She already has the vampire (and sexy) part down part, she just needs to be a few years older."

"They will be perfect, Charles,  I could really see Joseph playing his  name sake and Deborah playing Cassandra. I was wondering, as a person who writes on the side, during my down time, my writing process starts with forming the story in my head before I put pen to paper, what is your writing process like?"

"For book 1 I let the ideas form in my head for a long time, probably 8 years all together. Then I did an outline and started writing. I find it very helpful to have an outline that is at least 2 or 3 chapters ahead of where you are. So the process for me is write, think about it constantly, plan ahead, keep writing until the book is done and then edit many, many times. For book two the ideas came a lot quicker, once summer was nearly over I just got the urge to write and got going. I should say though that before I got past chapter 3 I had the whole book planned out, that’s just the way I like to do it. I’m lucky that I haven’t experienced writers block and I find I can do at least a chapter a week most of the time."

I do not know at what point during the conversation that I was having with Charles, but somehow Terrance had snuck in a few beer and now was lit up brighter than the midday sun. 
He spills some beer on Charles, as I bite my tongue, to keep from screaming and crudely asks him:

 "All of this sounds fascinating but I heard writing is a hell of a lot of work, why do you do it, what do you get out of it?"

Cool, calm and collective, Charles rises from his seat and wipes off the beer from his clothes with the handkerchief I handed him, before he made sure Terrance did not fall on him and  sits back down. 

However, by the expression on his face, Charles looks annoyed to have gotten wet.

I am seriously considering a beer ban, this has been happening too often! 

"Having a good time here huh Terrance? I get it, I’ve certainly had plenty of times like that. Yeah it is a lot of work but it’s like that saying, anything worth having takes effort I do it because it’s great feeling of accomplishment to finish a book and then ultimately to be recognized and hopefully enjoyed by others. I’ll admit it is a huge boost to your ego and it’s also been a great way to meet new people and make a little bit of money." 

"Thanks for the awkward segue,  Terrance, now go over with the rest of the b'ys and let me and Charles  have our yarn. Terrance asked you why you like to write, now I want to ask you, is there anything about writing you don't like?"

"Oh sure. I’ll be the first to admit editing is a nightmare, at least for me. It’s boring, repetitious, stressful and can be really hard to cut who sentences, paragraphs, pages and even chapters from a book. “The Newfoundland Vampire” went through 16 drafts and 2 editors, I honestly started to think the editing would never end."

"I can totally relate, my first novel went through so many rewrites and edits that I swore it was a completely different novel by the time it was done, I had to check to see if the same characters and plots were in tact!  However, it is worth it in the end. With that said, when you write, what is it that you hope your readers take away from your story?"

"I hope that people will think about moral choices, the difference between right and wrong and the idea that it is not our nature that defines us but ultimately the path we choose in life."

"Do you have any other stories you are currently writing or are planing to write?"

"I have the rough draft of book 2 (tentatively called “Killer on the Road”) submitted to my editior, I’m just waiting to hear back from her to start the editing process. I also just wrote a short screeplay for a local Star Trek webshow I am in called “Star Trek: Reliant”. Aside from that I’m regular on for movie reviews."

"Thanks a million for answering all my questions…and the others, Charles,  it has been a real pleasure. As I said before, I have seen The Newfoundland Vampire online at  Amazon is there anywhere else your book is available and what formats?"

"Oh you’re welcome, thanks again for having me! They were great questions and I had a lot of fun answering them. Sure you can get it here locally at Coles in Village, the Avalon Mall (and the one in Corner Brook) and Chapters on Kenmount Road. Right now it’s just available in Kindle format aside from print but just until the end of January. I keep a list of all the places both online and in person to buy it on my website "

"You must be frozen solid by now, Charles,  my mates have been pretty greedy with the heat, so I am going to let you go so you can toddle on home and warm up, but before you go is there anything else you want to add?"

"I’m getting a little chilly, it is winter after all. Well I’d just like to say that if you want to get a signed copy you can come into my work at O’Keefe Agencies weekdays and I announced any Flea markets or other appearances on my website. Oh yeah I also run a blog called “The Cro’s Nest” if you’d like to read about reviews and some other wacky stuff."

"Thanks again Tina it was a pleasure. Oh if anyone wants to chat about my book or just life in general my e-mail is "

"The pleasure is all mine, Charles, while I throughly enjoyed my other guests from different parts of this big wide world of ours, it was also nice to have a local boy here in the shed with me! "

I sigh as I return to the shed after seeing Charles safely to his car, determined to limit drinking in the shed until after sunset.

I have endured too many embarrassing moments with my guests to keep on going with the status quo.

However, as I stand and silently watch my friends in the back of the shed, singing and laughing joyfully at 7 o'clock in the morning, when most people are just finished their breakfast, I know deep down it would be useless. 

I just pray that they will improve with each new guest.


  1. Hi Tina :)

    Great interview and I enjoyed the unique format, thanks for having me!

  2. You are so welcome! Come back again anytime!


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