We’re so pleased to welcome author, and first time visitor to The Novel Approach, Paul Comeau. He’s joining us to chat about his new novel, More Things in Heaven and Earth, published by Dreamspinner Press.
Greetings all, and Happy New Year! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas! More Things in Heaven and Earth is my first novel, so this is all very new to me. Add to this the fact that I’m not terribly good or confident with technology, and you’ll understand how much of a challenge the whole process has been for me from the outset. I’m not on Facebook, I don’t Tweet, I don’t blog, I don’t have an iPhone, or any phone at all, for that matter, preferring to spend my time reading, writing, and doing jigsaw puzzles.
When I sat down to write More Things, all I knew for certain was that I wanted to write a story about a vampire and that if I were to do so, I’d need a novel approach. How appropriate that my intention coincided perfectly with the title of this website. So what was novel about my approach?
Well, for one thing, I didn’t suppose anybody would expect a vampire to masquerade as a Catholic priest. For another, I couldn’t imagine anybody had ever heard of a vampire who consistently quoted Shakespeare and who for a time even saw himself as a character from one of the plays. Finally, I thought it novel to have a vampire be a partner in a gay romance. A novelty hat trick, assuming each innovation scores with readers!
As for Damien’s vampire characteristics, there weren’t many new angles I could introduce that hadn’t already been suggested or portrayed in books and on film before. What I could do, however, was to have Damien confront issues related to my own experiences, give expression to some of my own views if you will, while performing the standard vampire actions after meeting and making it his mission to protect Danny. From that point on, I was able to make love the motivating factor at the heart of virtually everything Damien does.
He kills Frank Crawford out of love, Monsignor Monahan out of love, Jared and Matt out of love, though it is love spiced with a healthy dose of vengeance for what they’ve done or plan to do to Danny, and in Monahan’s case, for what the reprobate priest had once done to Damien. Sitting by Danny’s hospital bed, Damien is acutely aware of the strength and depth of his love for Danny and of how greatly he differs from the traditional Shakespearean villain in that respect:
“Alone at last, Damien sat holding Danny’s hand and watching the rhythmic rise and fall of his breathing. At least he was breathing, thank God! God? Funny the things one said out of habit. How could he still believe in that delusion, given what he was? How could anyone, for that matter, believe in a power that stood idly by and allowed this to happen to Danny? Some Heavenly Father he turned out to be, Damien reflected bitterly. No more a loving father than Frank Crawford had been, and by all appearances just as twisted and vindictive.
The age-old problem of evil in the world. He recalled Sister Mary Mercy persuading his grade
five religion class that God permitted evil to test the righteous, to build moral fiber, to make us worthy of heaven. But if you didn’t survive the test, what then? He’d naively believed the elderly nun at the time, but not now, not after all he’d seen and done himself. He thought of Shakespeare’s Iago, the embodiment of evil, motiveless malignity, in the words of one critic. He wantonly destroyed people and lives for the sheer pleasure of doing so and went to his death refusing to explain why. Damien knew why. Iago destroyed souls because he could, because evil was what he was and who he was. He couldn’t change his nature, even as Damien couldn’t change his. Iago couldn’t love. That was the single difference between them that made all the difference. In spite of what he was and the suffering he’d inflicted, Damien loved—deeply. And the object of his love lay helpless on the bed before him. That’s all the motive he needed.”
A novel approach? I think so, or rather I hope you think so. What I’m also hoping is that you simply enjoy the story. Dare I say it? It is what it is!—a threadbare phrase that would undoubtedly prompt Damien to smirk sardonically. For although he enjoys puns and is highly attuned to verbal irony, he would rightly point out that of course it is what it is, as it could hardly be what it isn’t.
About the Book
When young Danny Crawford’s father and a priest conspire to subject him to conversion therapy, Danny only sees one way out. But little does Danny know he’ll soon have a sentinel watching from the darkness, a guardian angel in the most unlikely form imaginable.
Damien, a vampire, is inexplicably moved by Danny’s plight. He takes it upon himself to make sure Danny’s father and the priest can never hurt him again, giving Danny a chance at a normal life. As Danny grows up, Damien struggles to keep the boy—and later the young man—from harm. He does not dare go any further, no matter how much he wants to. To do so would ruin everything he’s tried to do for Danny. He doesn’t realize that as Danny embarks on a successful modeling career and begins dating, Danny feels empty, longing for something—or someone—just beyond his reach: a shadow, a presence he despairingly believes forever lost to him.
When brutality and violence threaten Danny again, Damien must make a decision—risk revealing himself to Danny, or leave Danny to his fate.
About the Author
Paul is a proud Canadian, who has recently retired from teaching high school English and is relieved to have finally traded the drudgery of lesson prep and essay marking for the pure joy of writing fiction. He is addicted to paranormal investigator shows, horror movies, all things vampire, mystery novels, long morning walks, and jigsaw puzzles. He is blessed with a loving and supportive wife, who keeps him grounded in reality while helping him navigate the intimidating world of technology, and a daughter who understands the highs and lows of the enigmatic writing process, being herself an accomplished writer and poet. When he is not compulsively tapping the keys of his laptop, he can be found at the dining room table matching the shapes and patterns of his latest jigsaw puzzle or in the kitchen roasting, stewing, grilling, and baking. He views cooking as a creative activity, like writing fiction, with the outcome often as interesting and unexpected. He imagines his characters, plots, and dialogues in the process of doing any or all of these things.