About Charles R O’Keefe:
I’m currently living in the beautiful province of Newfoundland where I am a co-owner of O’Keefe Agencies.
As regards to my personal life I’m happily married and we have two furry children named Jude and Eleanor. I enjoy many hobbies such as walking, Pilates, writing, reading, movies, gaming, television, poker, martial arts and of course vampires (not the sparkly kind!).My first novel, ‘The Newfoundland Vampire’, was re-released April 25, 2015 from Distinguished Press, with book II (Killer on the Road) to follow in July. I have the third book written and am currently working on number four.
I believe in animal rights and I have been a strict vegetarian for many years. I also believe in helping to save our planet and trying to help people whenever I can. I would also describe myself as Agnostic. I have a BA in English along with Masters in education which provided me with a brief teaching career.
What inspires you to write?
I am inspired by different ways to explore my imagination, putting myself in strange situations and then figuring a way out. I love to travel and people and places are often a source of inspiration. Of course reading other books (not just vampires) is a constant source of inspiration, along with comic books, movies and TV. Another big thing would be role-playing. I started role-playing (Dungeons and Dragons) when I was 13 and it really stoked the fires so to speak. I have always had a desire to be in a control of characters, the story, the whole world really. Maybe that means I have a big ego but the ability to create a story and have it turn out how you want, to turn your ideas/scenes into words and write them down always held so much appeal. I love to reflect on things in my life and writing (whether it was a journal, poem, short-story or later novel) was also a huge draw for me.
Tell us about your writing process.
I have a distinct process for writing. I get up in the morning, have some breakfast and try to write just a page or two. That way I never push myself or tire of it but it gets done. I also am a big believer in planning. I do an outline for every chapter (sometimes I plan out the whole book before I even start), then I make sure that my outline is always 2-3 chapters ahead of my writing. I find for me this eliminates writers block and it gives me a goal to work towards (and I know how the book will end). That doesn’t mean I don’t make changes, move chapters around, delete some, radically change others but still the structure of it helps me a lot. I also do a detailed outline as a I go, which explains point by point what happens in every chapter. I’ve been lucky that I’ve never suffered from writers block, once the ideas flow I can just keep going.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I really can’t say I listen to my character (or talk to them). I find through careful contemplation, thought (and of course editing/revising) I know what my characters will say and what they will do. I think it’s a sign you’re created a good character, they feel real and almost take on a life of their own.
What advice would you give other writers?
I would say that you need to be persistent and patient but most of all, write what you love! If you enjoy writing than keep doing it, getting published is hard, you might have to submit to 20 publishers before you get accepted. Develop a thick skin, writing is something you produce and that makes it personal but to everyone else it’s just part of their job or their opinion. So you have to separate yourself from your writing, if you get too involved you’ll just get your feelings/ego torn apart and ultimately your writing will suffer, I learned that the hard way. I ultimately think writing is a wonderful hobby or passion (if you have the time) but never count on it as a way to make a living, it’s a very rare person who can write and do nothing else. Think of it as a wonderful way to express your ideas and explore your imagination, treasure the feedback you get ( both good and bad) and always try to improve your craft.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had a big concern about doing a self-published book. While I have read a couple of good ones, sadly most of the self-published stuff I’ve read has been terrible. I think that many writers have good ideas but when they have no one to help with the editing, no one to bounce ideas off and get feedback, well the results can be disastrous. So I went to a great website (Predator’s and Editors) and I picked out 5 good publishers to submit to. Then I waited, got some rejection letters (a couple that hurt my feelings), did more editing (with the help of a editor) and sent off my improved manuscript to about 15 more publishers. I finally heard back from one publisher (Penumbra Publishing) which I choose to go with for my first two novels. Later I left Penumbra (for reasons which are better left unsaid) and now I’m with Distinguished Press (who have been wonderful and I plan to stay with as long as they’ll have me). So I would tell a new author treat your books as a business and not just a personal hobby once you are involved with a publisher. I’ve learned the importance of connections. I’ve been active with Twitter , FB and my website. I see know the importance of promoting/helping out other authors. It was because of Karyn Pearson (and her mentioning me to Jen) that I got on with DP and I’m very grateful. My point is if I had not made a connection with Karyn, then I would have had a much harder time getting a new publisher. I’ve always learned that, unfortunately in my case and I’m sure most other authors, writing isn’t a way to make a living at least not as an author. I know you need to get discovered or have some smash hit but realistically that has very little chance of happening. I’ve learned that you write because you enjoy it, you love to meet fans and get good reviews (and try to learn something from negative ones) and go to cons and everything else that comes with being an author. When someone comes up to me and says they enjoy one or both books, it makes me feel great. So I’ve learned that while writing is a mostly solitary activity, for me it’s the interaction with other people that makes it worthwhile. I’ve met some amazing people at conventions and book signings and it’s why I do them even though I make little to no money (one con in Halifax I sold near nothing but still had a great time). I’ve learned to keep your expectation low, then when you have a few sales or a good convention or great compliment, it’s a nice treat and a surprise. I’ve learned that writing is a journey and while it’s one you can take alone, it’s a hell of a lot better to have people to help you on the way and guide you in the right direction.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that print books will continue to lose ground to ebooks but not disapear entirely. There is nothing quite like the feel of a book in your hand and it’s just way easier to flip through any kind of reference material than click back and forth on a compute (or swipe on a table). I think the lines are blurring as time goes by. With Ebooks and sites like Amazon, Kobo, Chapters, iTunes and Smashwords books are so easily available (and cheaper) that I always judge each book on it’s own merit. With that said I do like how indies book are generally cheaper than Big 6 ones and it’s nice to know you’re supporting someone like yourself (and the great people who work at the company.)
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: supernatural, vampire, sci-fi, romance
What formats are your books in?: eBook
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.