In this weeks author spotlight I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming back Charles O'Keefe, author of The Newfoundland Vampire series. Today we discuss his third novel in the series, The Gathering Dark... oohh, sounds intriguing, doesn't it?
Since we last talked about your previous book, The Newfoundland Vampire, what have you been up to? (in the literary sense… not being nosey or anything.)
Hey TP no don’t worry I didn’t think you’re being nosey I actually like to ask a lot of questions too. First off thanks so much for having me on your blog again, I really appreciate it. So since the first book well there’s a second one but I believe hard talked about that Conroe. Well first a few other people were thrown a bit of a loop when “Distinguished Press” dissolved. I won’t get into the details now because it’s kind of a sore subject so and I’ll just say that we formed our own little authors publishing group called “Four Phoenixes Publishing”, composed of yourself, Joe Chianakas, Jennifer L. Gadd and yours truly. We help promote each other’s books, talk about writing and generally encourage and help each in writing and in life.
In the meantime though I was doing some editing my third vampire book, ”The Gathering Dark” and I’ve been getting up to speed on all the ins and outs of being a self-published author. I also had to find a cover artist and I've discovered that can be rather difficult. I have been with three different artists (one said I was too critical and quite, another said he was too busy and quit). Luckily the third time is the charm and I’m happy with the way my new cover turned out (it’s also the first time I’ve had original art from a local artist, which makes me happy). On the editing side it took about six months (with an editor for most of it who wants to remain nameless) before I finally got the book ready. I’ll say that just learning how to all the formatting/editing tasks to get a book ready for an Ebook and print is quite daunting but with help, patience and lots of hours I got through it. I’m happy to say The Newfoundland Vampire book III “The Gathering Dark” will be available as a digital book on July 22, 2016 and the paper copy should be in my hands (and hopefully on a few store shelves) by the end of August. Finally while waiting for my then editor I also got about half way through writing book 4 (I hope to have that done by early next year).
Tell me what The Gathering Dark is about and how you expanded it from the first two books?
I’m the kind of person who is always thinking ahead, to be honest shortly after I finished book 1 I knew the main story arc would end, I just didn’t know how long it would take me to get there. To answer your question, this book introduces several new characters, one I’m particularly fond of is Anne Bonny (based on the famous female pirate). She’s a good combination of fun/serious/sexy/adventuress/brave/intelligent. I enjoy the challenge of writing a realistic, powerful and interesting female character and I hope I done that here. There are a bunch of other characters who show in this book (filling up one half of the vampire council) that you’ll have to read to discover. I advance the timeline of the coming vampire war, for this first time in this book I skip time, something I felt was necessary for the story. Joseph grows and matures in this story, I also show how all of the terrible events he has both participated in and seen affect him. Cassandra also goes through some character growth and we also get to see how both her and Joseph do on their own. I love story arcs and I complete the arc of one character who has shown up in both the first and second book. I think in this book I show what lots of other vampires are up in the world not just Joseph and Cassandra and I even have something of cliff-hanger and a big surprise at the end.
Is there another Newfoundland Vampire book in this series?
If you’re referring to book two then yes, it’s called The Newfoundland Vampire book two “Killer on the Road”. If you meant book IV, the answer is coming soon. My tentative title for what could be the end of the series is “War of the Fangs”, I know that’s corny though and it may change. Look for book four sometime in 2017!
How many hours a day/week do you spend writing?
I’d love to say I do it 30-40 hours a week but sadly I still have a day job. I usually write a moderate about, three to four hours a week (unless I’m on vacation when it can expand to twenty or more). If I have a lot to get done editing/promotion wise I up it to ten hours a week, I usually do a little five days a week and often take the weekends off.
Do you have any rituals or habits that help you write?
I am a creature of habit so yes. I often like to write in the morning once I’m finished breakfast, so it usually in the timeframe of 7:30-9:30am (I don’t go to work early as I’m a co-owner). It’s always at my kitchen table and I often take breaks to check my phone or look out the window. I always try to do any writing where I can see out the window, it helps be calm, focused and inspired.
What was the best thing anyone has ever said about your books and which one was it about?
Excellent question! I actually have a short story about the nicest thing anyone ever said about my books (and it was book one “The Newfoundland Vampire”). I was at a book signing in a local mall and towards the end of it a young woman came up and said, “I noticed you’re selling your book. I’m sorry I don’t have any money on me but I wanted to wish you luck and I wrote this note for you.” I said “Well thank you.” She smiled, waved and left and I was left with the note. I kept it and will share it with you now it said, “Every writer starts off with one word, one phrase, one book. Then builds their success on passion and love for their stories and imagination. Don’t be discouraged at what people say if negative. Write for yourself.” I was touched, I immediately got up to go and thank her again for the lovely sentiment but she was gone. It’s the little moments like that which make being a writer all worth it.
If there was one thing you’d like the readers to know about your characters, that isn’t obvious in the text, what would it be?
I’d like the readers to know how much I’ve come to care about Cassandra in particular. I’ve tried really hard to make her a realistic, fun and interesting character. She is the first character that truly felt alive to me. I’d also like to add that for every character I did research and tried to get the way they act and speak in my books to be as close to how they act in real life as possible.
Excellent questions TP, thanks again for having me, always a blast!