ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Trisha O'Keefe calls herself a gypsy scholar, having lived and traveled at home and abroad for most of her life. "Until my mother asked me how I was actually going to make a living." Back in the States, she has published ten books.
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SP: What does your typical writing day look like? How do you work in your writing and promoting?
Trisha: When I came home after fourteen years of living abroad, my mother asked how I was going to support myself now that my practice-husband and I were divorced. Without any hesitation I answered, ”I’m going to write for a living.” We all know how that turned out. Instead I taught secondary school for twenty riveting years. That’s why my first book was called The Bard Rocks: Shakespeare For Kids in the hope of making them like Shakespeare more. More? I had one kid ask me why Shakespeare didn’t talk like his friends. So giving up on the Bard, I switched to mystery thrillers such as Hanahatchee and Poseidon’s Eye. After all these years I decided to write a sort of chronicle of adventures abroad called Trippin’. I got the title from a student of mine when he told me I was trippin’ when I accused him of being high. My reply was “I wish I was.”
SP: Tell me how and why you got into writing fiction? How long have you been doing it? And how do you go about creating a story? Elaborate here.
Trisha: It takes me anywhere from one to two years, maybe three if I have to do research. I write a lot on weekends which puts a damper on my social life. (What social life?)
SP: Tell me about the protagonist and antagonist of your latest book. What are their goals in the story?
Trisha: My latest book is Quicksilver Man due to come out in December and it’s part of the Landshark series. Poseidon’s Eye is the first in the series featuring Alex Carreras, a young attorney who works for one of L.A. most prestigious law firms. He stops to help a girl who’s been shot in a van and gets blamed for the murder himself . Pursuing him is Detective Murray Schmitz who takes a waitress job in order to trap him. In spite of herself, she finds herself attracted to Alex especially after he saves her life and that attraction extends to the sequel Quicksilver Man.
SP: Which do you prefer, character driven stories or plot driven stories and why should readers care? Which do you write?
Trisha: A combination of both character driven and plot driven as befits a bifocal genre like mystery thrillers. Why should my readers care what happens to a stick figure who isn’t fleshed out and about whom they don’t know anything?
SP: Tell me about your story point of view preferences, tense preferences, and any other thing of interest to you along these lines as we delve further into the mechanics of creating a story.
Trisha: I always like a story has one point of view – the protagonist’s. Bad things happen to good people. Stuff happens - except when you’ve got people aiming at you in particular. Now you’re the target and how are you going to deal with that? I don’t do flashbacks because I’m not good at it. Sure as I say something, I’ll get a lot of emails saying you did this in whatever book. I’m saying that as a rule but aren’t rules meant to be broken?
SP: What are your all-time favorite books – top three? Why? Don’t skimp here. Explore it with us? Tell us what genre they are. Who is your favorite author, if different from your favorite book?
Trisha: When I’m not writing I read a lot. If I had to pick favorites I would pick Jane Austen’s Sense And Sensibility, John Grisham’s The Pelican Brief and Leo Tolstoy’s War And Peace. Austen because I love dialogue and that’s about as good as it gets; Grisham because it kept me hanging on by my toenails until the very end and Tolstoy’s War And Peace because he detailed the sheer panoply of Russian history in one volume. It took me a summer to read it in high school and I haven’t picked it up since but I still remember what Prince Andrei was thinking when he met Natasha. Now that’s writing.
SP: What do you find is the most difficult thing about writing fiction? The easiest thing? Elaborate.
Trisha: Beginnings. There’s an old adage that says if you don’t catch the reader’s interest in the first five pages, don’t expect them to hang in there for the next forty. The easiest thing is about writing fiction is you get to make things up. Names of towns and places especially, not states or countries of course. But events and dates related to the story or characters. I’ve always had a boundless imagination. I remember as a kindergartener winning a Halloween contest with a scary story about The Emerald Eye that roamed around the cemetery at night scaring the pants off the tombstone-tippers.
SP: Tell me about your travels. Where is an interesting place you’ve been? Do you travel to research your stories, or is research important to you for your stories?
Trisha: As I said in the beginning of this interview, I spent 14 years traveling from country to country so I felt like I was on wheels. The longest I ever lived in one country was six years in Egypt, the shortest was one year in Greece. I’ve been to Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Tunisia, Germany, France, Italy, Romania, Yugoslavia – in short, I haven’t been to Iceland, Norway, or China. I lived in Venezuela for two years, England for four. My passport looked like it need an extension. And no, I didn’t travel for inspiration for my stories because I was too busy trying to find disposable diapers in countries that don’t have them.
SP: What kind of stories do you refuse to read?
Trisha: None. I do find graphic sex too much information sometimes or I just skip over pages that have those details on them. If the whole book is like that, then I just skip it.
SP: Finally, the most important question – DC or Marvel? Or does that even matter to you? What is your favorite comic book character ever? If none, just make something up!
Trisha: Definitely Archie & The Gang! In high school, I couldn’t wait to find out who Veronica and Betty were taking to the prom. My maiden name was Jones so that leaves Jughead as my favorite character. Poor Jughead!
The Gator Hunter
Grover Moss is bored. A former big-city detective, he misses the mind-numbing parade of bums, drug dealers, prostitutes, murderers, and violence only big cities can provide. He has followed the beautiful but capricious Chantal West to her hometown buried deep in the thickets and swamps of South Georgia where he feels buried as well—until he discovers an old mill and a reclusive wraith of a man who says he’s murdered his father and buried his body under the floor of the mill, that is. As the Julia Springs Police Chief, Moss is intrigued enough to follow up on the story. But as he digs for the truth, he gets a bagful of shocks and discovers corruption on a massive scale…