Friday, August 10, 2012

Interview: Charles O'Keefe

Switching things up a bit today with an interview with author, Charles O'Keefe, whose first book is out in his Newfoundland Vampire series.  It's called THE NEWFOUNDLAND VAMPIRE.  Read on for a peek into this writer's brain!

1. What is your writing process like? Do you keep organized notes? Do you designate a set time for
writing each day?

I am an organized guy so I always work from an outline. I find that being at least 2 or 3 chapters ahead in terms of ideas really helps me to stay on track and avoid writers block. I have  notes from my editor that I keep in mind (from my first book). While I do sometimes write at night I find that my mind works best in the morning so my usual time to write is between 7am-9am or earlier if I'm not too tired :)

2. Do you have music that you listen to for inspiration?

Not while I'm writing but there are a few songs that I do find inspiring. "Say you, say me" by Lionel Richie,
"The show must go on" by Queen, "A good heart" by Feargal Sharkey and "I know you're out there somewhere" by The Moody Blues are a few that keep me going.

3. How do you celebrate finishing a book?

I can't say I really did anything when I finished the first draft. Even when I submitted the near final draft
I was on a cruise and already celebrating :) The real celebration took place in June (my book came out in April)
when I had a book launch. It was a wonderful night as a load of friends, family and co-workers came to a bar
for food, drinks and of course to hear me read a selection from my novel. I just had such a warm, wonderful feeling the whole night, it made me realize there had to be a book 2, if for no other reason than to have another launch :-)

4. Why did you choose the vampire as a character for your book?

I've loved vampires since I was 13. The idea of power, eternal youth and immortality is such an intoxicating
combination. Instead of a superhero I often imagined myself as a vampire. Then one day I realized that a vampire could be a superhero of sorts and it was time to let my imagination take flight. So I not only imagined myself as a vampire, I decided to explore how my life could have been different at 23 if I had chosen a different path and if vampires were real.

5. What is easier to write- the hero, the heroine, or the villain?

Well the hero is me so he is the easiest one to write. I just imagine how I would react in Joseph's shoes and go from there. I do love to write Cassandra, the heroine, though. She is my dream vampire/woman (mostly) is a huge amount of fun for me.

6. Favorite character that you have written?

Cassandra is my favorite right now. She is a combination of a real historical person and a fantasy woman, she's a person I'd love to meet but would never want to mess with ;) She is loosely based on Catherine Mandeville Snow who was the last woman hanged in Newfoundland in 1834. I found the circumstances
surrounding her death fascinating and she seemed a perfect choice for a sexy and mysterious vampire.

7. What vampire mythology do you use in your writing?

I invented my own mythology but it is a combination of Anne Rice and Bram Stoker's vampires. In terms of
personality/mentally my vampires retain their "soul" if you will and act knowing the consequences of their actions (just as much as any person does).
 Physically they are very tough, sunlight does not destroy them but does weaken them in so much as it takes away all their powers. I also clearly define that my vampires must drinking living blood (not necessarily human) to survive. Drinking blood from a blood bank or leftover from the butcher shop just doesn't cut it. Not to give too much away but I also give them just two weaknesses, a wooden stake through the heart is instant death and silver slows their regeneration and of course decapitation.
I have my own origin scene where the first vampire is made but you'll have to read it to get all the details :)

General Vampire Questions

1. Looking back in history, who is the one person you'd expect to find out was really a vampire? Why?

Excellent question! Well this is something I address in my book. My former English professor
Dr. Miller would be furious but I have to go with Vlad Tepes (otherwise known as Vlad the Impaler). He was
such an evil, twisted figure who was obsessed with blood and death. He would dip his bread in the blood of fallen enemies and of course impaling thousands of people on wooden stakes seems like a very cruel vampire joke of some kind.
I know Bram did not base the fictional Count on him but there is no way to resist the comparison.

2. What would you want to say if you met a real vampire?

"Please don't kill me! make me like you!" ;) If that approach didn't work I'd turn on my iPod, hit record and let him or her talk. The experiences of someone who lived for hundreds or years (or longer) would be the most incredible thing to hear.

3. If vampires existed should they stay hidden, or reveal themselves?

I would think stay hidden. As incredibly cool as it would be to visit or talk to a vampire whenever you want it
I think that if they did reveal themselves people would ultimately turn on them. It's a sad statement about humanity but thousands die now every year over money, religion or land. Can you imagine how many would die if vampires decided to fight against us? Or even worse choose sides in a human war or conflict? Very scary stuff.

4. Would you make a good vampire?

I hope so :) I am one in the book. I would use my powers at least mostly for good. I don't think I'd be very
creepy or scary but I always thought why can't vampires be geeky and
kindhearted too? I guess this comes down to what you mean by "good vampire". Would I be good at killing people, seducing women, causing terror? Probably not but I think I would be "good" at being a vampire in my own way :-)

Speed Round

1. Vampires- fangs or no fangs?

Fangs for sure! Very hard to get blood without them.

2. Blood- fresh, bottled, or synthetic?

Fresh only please! ;)

3. Romance or Horror?

My book is both but if I had to pick, horror.

4. One thing readers would be surprised to know about you?

Hmm another excellent question.
I think maybe people would be surprised to learn that I'm something of an amateur photographer.
I've taken thousands of pictures and 4 of them were used for the back cover of my book.

5. Favorite vampire book? Movie?

Favorite book, for a long time I would have said "Interview with the Vampire" but after reading Richard Matheson's
"I am Legend" I would have to pick that instead (in the book they are vampires).
It is an incredible book and a very fast read (I couldn't put it down :) So that leaves favorite vampire movie...
even though it's way off the source material I would have to pick "Bram Stoker's Dracula" everyone turns in great performances and the Count in particular is played masterfully by Gary Oldman.

What's on Tap

1. Any projects in the works? Sneak peeks you'd like to share with our VampChix/Bite Club audience?

Well the only thing in the works would be book 2 of my Newfoundland Vampire series (9 very rough chapters already done). Book 2 is tentatively called "Killer on the Road". Joseph and Cassandra will leave Newfoundland on a mission and their relationship will be tested again, that's all I'm prepared to say for now! :)

Thanks so much for the interview, excellent questions, it was fun!

If anyone would like more info (or even purchase it if you're so inclined) all of the info can be found at:;

[Interview by Anna Dougherty]


Charles O'Keefe said...

Hi Anna and Michele :)

Thanks so much for posting the interview and for having me on your blog. They were great questions and I had a lot of fun =)


Penumbra Publishing said...

Great interview! Thanks for the feature. Pat