A warm welcome to author Paul Comeau joining us today to talk about his first release “More Things in Heaven and Earth”.
Hello, my name is Paul Comeau and I’m pleased to meet you all. Happy New Year! First off, I can’t think of a more appropriate website to talk about a vampire romance than Love Bytes. Damien would approve, as he loves word games and puns and finding the obscure derivation of phrases and idioms. Paradoxically, love puts the bite on Damien when he least expects it.
Confronting that which is unknown and that which is different can be challenging for all of us, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. My daughter works as an education assistant in a high school in New Westminster, working with students with special needs. In her role as teacher-advocate for her students, she has taught me a great deal about compassion and understanding and acceptance. She insists, for example, on person-centered language, and when I slip up, she is quick to remind me that this or that student is not an autistic child, but rather a child with autism. I have reached the point where I now automatically self-correct, and each time I do so, I am conscious of seeing the person rather than the challenge that makes her or him different.
At the heart of More Things in Heaven and Earth is the idea of confronting difference, and characters are measured by the degree to which they exhibit compassion, understanding, and acceptance in doing so. Damien is markedly different in every possible way. He didn’t choose to be a vampire, to look startlingly pale and to need blood in order to survive. But even as he initially grows to accept who and what he is, he comes to view the human world from the sadistic perspective of a consummate killer.
Danny is different, as well, and likewise didn’t choose to be gay. The world around him—his dad, Frank Crawford, and his priest, Monsignor Monahan, among others—tells him he’s bent and twisted for being attracted to boys. That Danny meets Damien is pure chance, but that chance meeting sets them both on a course of mutual understanding, acceptance, and love. Ultimately, Damien and Danny need each other. Danny gives Damien companionship and love, bringing an end to his loneliness and isolation. And Damien gives Danny the love and acceptance he so desperately craves, as well as the courage to believe in and accept himself for who he is.
Perhaps Damien puts it best after Danny agrees to stay with Damien, having no place else to go:
“‘You have to stop apologizing for who you are and what you do and say. You have to be yourself! Believe it or not, at this moment I’m probably more nervous about all this than you are. No, scratch that, I’m scared as hell. I’ve lived alone for a long time, and despite my best efforts, I’ll probably do things that frustrate and annoy you. You have to promise to let me know when I do.
‘I don’t want you to feel trapped either. You’re free to stay for as long as you like. Trust me, money’s not an issue, so if at any time you decide you’d like your own place, we’ll get you an apartment somewhere, anywhere, your choice. But I’m hoping you’ll stay, for a while at least. If you do, I swear I’ll respect your privacy. Your room’ll be out of bounds to me. Every couple of nights I’ll have to leave for a time, and I understand if the thought of what I do freaks you out, but I don’t want you to be afraid for yourself. I promise I’ll never harm you or let anybody else harm you.’ Damien paused. He’d endlessly gone over in his mind what he wanted to say, but now the words came tumbling out, until he found himself saying more than he’d planned. He just hoped it was enough to set Danny at ease. ‘I told you I was nervous,’ he added apologetically. ‘These past few days have reminded me how much I always wanted a little brother. I’d forgotten how much. I really don’t want to screw this up.’
Danny reached across the table and clasped Damien’s hand, which felt as cold as it had before. He didn’t flinch. ‘Some tough vampire,’ he whispered teasingly. ‘Yesterday, when you left,’ he went on, ‘I lay there for a while thinking about you.’ He saw Damien’s smile and quickly added, ‘Not in that way. Okay, maybe a little in that way… okay, a lot,’ he conceded, grinning. ‘But don’t you see, I can feel that way and talk about it with you and not feel I’m a freak. That’s the whole point. For the first time in a long time I don’t feel trapped or alone.
‘That night, holding the knife in my hand, all I wanted to do was make the hurting stop. I didn’t really think it through, you know? I’m not very brave, as you’ve probably guessed already. Sensitive, my mum always said, thinking she was defending me, but it only made my dad hate me more for not being the tough guy he wanted me to be. He’d just sneer and tell me to grow a pair, for chrissake. I could never measure up, no matter how much I wanted to or how hard I tried.’ He looked directly at Damien and held his gaze. ‘But you accept me for who I am, and you don’t judge me,’ he said earnestly. ‘If you hadn’t been there yesterday, I’d have signed up for that therapy, because I was scared and wouldn’t have known what else to do. Then I’d probably have cut deeper the next time. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is I think I’m lucky you came into my room the other night… even if I was on the menu.’ He paused and stared into his hot chocolate, groping for the words to express his feelings without giving too much away, unaware that Damien already knew.”
From this moment on, the die is cast, as difference becomes linked to difference. What Damien already suspects, is that Danny is falling in love with him. What he doesn’t yet foresee, is the extent to which he will grow to love Danny.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 30, 2016
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.
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.