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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Author Interview with Sean Keefer!!

I want to thank Sean Keefer for allowing me to do this interview, it is an honor having you here!!

Short Bio: 
Born in North Carolina where, he has been told, he lived for the first year of his life.  He was raised near the coast of South Carolina.  After graduating from a small high school in the north east corner of the South Carolina and, following college at The University of South Carolina, he knew he had to get away from South Carolina.  After two years of traveling the US and Canada in the employ of Phi Delta Theta, he knew he had to get back to the South Carolina coast. For more information on Sean you can go to his website.
 
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-How did you start writing?
I started writing when I was in high school.  It was really really bad, but I kept at it and it kept getting better.  I started getting published in smaller publications and continued on to larger outlets and even national trade magazines. 
This was almost all non-fiction, but I also wrote short stories and had a few published along the way.  I've always loved fiction and then one day I realized I was writing a book.


-Where did you come up with the idea for your book?
It's interesting the way ideas come to me.  If I just sit down and try to come up with an idea about the only thing I can be sure of is I'll get nothing.  The best way I've found to come up with ideas, and this is how I came up with the idea for The Trust, is to be doing something else, running, scuba diving, taking a shower, playing guitar, pretty much doing anything other than thinking about writing.  If I can occupy my mind with something else, somewhere up in my head I'll start to think about plot and character ideas. 

-On your page you said you have traveled--what is your favorite place you have visited?
There are several places I really like.  I love Costa Rica.  St. Martin/St. Marteen, a small Caribbean island that is half French and half Dutch is just amazing.  I love upstate New York and anywhere in the Carolinas from the mountains to the Beach.  And, for some reason, I love Cleveland. 

-What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
There are writers out there that are natural talents, but there are a lot like me who have had to work at it.  The best advice I could give is to keep writing, expect a lot of what you write to need work, but to keep working on it.  Listen to criticism and always try to improve.  The more you write, the better you will write. 

-How did you name your characters?
I get asked that question a lot and don't have a good answer.  When I am writing and I need a character, I try to get into my idea zone and push the idea of a name to the back of my mind and pretty soon one comes out.  Every so often though I will name a character after a friend or even a friend's pet as a nod to them.

-Do you have plans for a sequel to The Trust?
A sequel for The Trust, tentatively titled The Changing of the Guard, is in the works.  However, The Trust had about 5 working titles so this may change.  As I get further along with the book I'll be posting excerpts on the website - seankeefer.com.  Of course finding time to write has been tough.  I didn’t realize how much work it was having a book published!

-How long did it take you to write your book?
From the first letter to the last period it took about 7 months, but then the editing and revisions took about a year.

-What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Oh, that is an easy one.  My favorite place to write is in a busy hotel lobby.  I like to find a big hotel with a large lobby, nice couches and electrical outlets (amazing how many lobbies don’t have easy access to outlets).  I plug in and start writing.  It’s easy to get lost in plain sight and no one bothers you.  If you need character inspiration you can just look around.

-How did you get published?
I have a stack of rejection letters from agents and publishers that’s thicker than my initial manuscript.  Pretty much I just kept trying.

-What does your family think of your writing?
They’ve been very supportive and they were very helpful in providing initial feedback on The Trust when I first finished it.  They were my biggest fans and harshest critics.

-As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I always thought I would be a vet.  When I was in high school I wanted to be a lawyer but sort of got away from that and was a photojournalist for a while before I went to law school.  Now I tell people I’m a starving musician and writer who supports himself by practicing law.

-What do you think makes a good story?
I think as long as the reader wants to turn the page you have a great story.  Sometimes it’s because the writer is a great storyteller, sometimes it’s because of a really amazing character or storyline, but whatever it takes to get the page turned will do it.

-What are some of your favorite books?
My all-time favorite is a book called A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  It gets my vote for the best book ever.  I reread it at least once a year.  I love Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  I’ve always loved to read Stephen King.  I’ve recently read two books I just loved - Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin and The Last Child by John Hart.

-Do you have a specific author that might have inspired you to write?
I read loads when I was younger and can't say there was one writer in particular that I could say but for them I would not have been a writer.  I try to learn something from every book I read.

-Did you learn anything while writing you book, if so what was it?
Though it may sound a bit obvious, I learned I could write a book.  I also learned that good dialogue is tough to write.  Even when two people are sitting around talking, engaging in real-time dialogue, it may not actually be all that good.  Ultimately I learned that editing is perhaps, at least for me, the most important part of the process.

-How do you write, did you prepare an outline for the book or just let the characters lead?
I started with a basic idea in a single scene – pretty much the first chapter of the book - and then it was off to the races.  I loved learning what the characters were going to do as I was writing.

-Are you reading any books now, if so what are they?
I am finishing a book called Knife Music by David Carnoy.  The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer is on deck.

-Did you write your book on the computer or did you prefer to use pen and paper?
I can't read my handwriting after about 4 hours so it was all done on a laptop.

-Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really.  I wrote the book to be a quick and enjoyable read.  To be a story with characters that people would enjoy and, hopefully, would not want to put down.

-Do you think you character, Noah R. Parks, is similar to you in any way?
A lot of people have asked me that and I have to say that I probably took the easy way out and put a lot of myself into him, but he is not me.  I would say that both of us being attorneys and loving dogs is probably the closest similarities.  Oh that and we both live in a similar houses in the same city.

Again I want to thank Sean for being here, he is welcome anytime, and don't forget to check out his novel The Trust!

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Sean Keefer's debut novel The Trust came out January 21st 2011 published by Old Line Publishing, LLC. Don't forget to check out my review HERE, and Sean Keefer's site HERE.

 The Trust Summary--

“To attorney Noah Parks, the probate of a will should be a simple task. But the Last Will and Testament of Leonardo Xavier Cross is anything but simple. Though Parks has never heard of Cross, he learns that the will directs him to provide the legal representation for the estate and as part of his fee he will receive the contents of a safety deposit box – a safety deposit box no one knew existed. Intrigued, Parks undertakes the task. But after the body count begins to rise, the otherwise basic task of probating the will becomes more complicated as each day passes. Despite all of Parks’ skills, the answers he seeks remain elusive and force him to delve deeper into the shocking and deceptive Cross’ family history, which sets the stage for an explosive finale that Parks can only hope to survive. Set in Charleston, South Carolina, The Trust is the debut novel from Sean Keefer. Blending elements of traditional southern literary fiction, suspense and mystery; you won’t be satisfied until the final page is turned.”


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