We're proud to welcome Paul Comeau into the clubhouse for the first time to talk about his debut novel!
Hello everyone, and Happy New Year! Paul Comeau here and let me begin by thanking you for this opportunity to chat with you about More Things in Heaven and Earth. As you doubtless expect, the story generally follows the boy meets boy format, though it tweaks that format slightly insofar as it is a vampire meets boy novel. The sentiment expressed in the quotation from which the title is taken is at the heart of the story: to paraphrase, there are more things in heaven and earth than are contained in or embraced by traditional, conservative philosophies and cultural norms, whether religious, social, or political. The ability of one human being to love and commit to another transcends religious doctrine and dogma, social and political precepts, and traditional gender roles and expectations. Okay, so Damien isn’t a human being. The fact remains he was once very human indeed, and in some dark corner of his vampire psyche he retains vestiges of that humanity and ultimately discovers that against all reason and all odds he is capable of love. Not merely capable but desirous of love. Hence, in the fictional world of the novel, the love between a vampire and the young boy he meets is not only possible, but also as genuine and valid as any other love.
So what, you ask, do a vampire and a young boy have in common? What is the underlying basis of the bond that develops between them? To begin with, both are outcasts. Damien, by virtue of being a vampire, stands solitary and apart from the human world, his only interaction with it being of a predatory nature. He has assiduously repressed any feelings of empathy or guilt as he savagely drains his victims of the blood he needs to survive; he is a lone wolf and a vicious killer. Danny, by virtue of being gay, is rejected by his heartless father, Frank Crawford, and by his equally unsympathetic parish priest, Monsignor Monahan, neither of whom has the imagination to conceive that there could be different kinds of people, different kinds of love. In addition, both Damien and Danny have been sexually violated: Damien was raped by Monahan, when both were young altar servers, and Danny is raped by his own father, in Frank’s drunken attempt to punish and humiliate Danny for being gay.
Still, these commonalities are not what ignite the fire that burns between them. Danny is a beautiful, hormone-driven teenager and Damien is a hot stud of a vampire. And while Damien is initially reluctant to bare his heart and soul to anybody, let alone an insecure teenage boy, he is nonetheless captivated by and ultimately succumbs to Danny’s beauty. On a superficial level, therefore, it’s really the old story of beauty taming the beast. But there is more depth to it than is implied by that timeworn cliché.
What Danny finds in Damien is more than an invincible protector. He finds a friend and ally who accepts and loves him for who he is. What Damien finds in Danny, apart from those same things, is someone whose love gives purpose and meaning to his otherwise hollow existence. Damien marvels that he is wanted and needed in a way he has never been wanted and needed before.
Their ensuing romance is pure fantasy, of course, but only insofar as vampires like Damien are few and far between—okay, nonexistent! But part of the fun of writing the story was in supposing this and imagining that, to the degree that the characters became very real to me, with the result that I ended up putting something of myself in each of them, as I guess is inevitably the case with any writer. I hasten to add I do not drink blood, although I do shy away from too much sun, my dad is not a vindictive bastard like Frank Crawford, and I have never been sexually assaulted. Nevertheless, any writer can only work from and with that which she or he knows and that which she or he can imagine based on personal knowledge and experience. In that respect, a story, any story, can be absolutely true even though it never actually happened; in the same way that say Romeo and Juliet expresses fundamental truths about young love, and Othello about the green-eyed monster, jealousy, truths that transcend both the plays and the historical time period in which they were written. There were more things in heaven and earth than were dreamt of in Elizabethan philosophy, just as there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our own. The challenge for all of us is to view those things with an open heart and an open mind. Some characters are able to do precisely that while others are not, and Damien willingly and masterfully deals with the latter.
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.
DSP Buy Links:
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.