Character Issues by Rob Roy O’Keefe
Posted on December 30, 2022
by Jeyran Main
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Maya Small is a main character in Rob Roy O’Keefe’s new book, Small Stories: A Perfectly Absurd Novel. She has agreed to interview the author.
Maya: Couldn’t you have found someone else for this? You of all people should know how busy I am thanks to –
Rob: Maya, stop! Don’t give away the story.
Maya: Sorry. Okay, let’s start with something simple. How did you come up with my name?
Rob: It’s a modest homage to Maya Deren, an amazingly creative and influential experimental filmmaker from the ‘40s and ‘50s.
Maya: But I’m a science reporter. I’m nothing like that.
Rob: Oh, I don’t know. You’re both effective communicators. You just work in different mediums.
Maya: And Small? Where did that come from?
Rob: It’s my clumsy attempt at emulating Dickens. In this case, it applies more to Duncan, your husband in the novel. He’s kind of a powerless everyman.
Maya: Author’s personal attributes often find their way into their characters. What traits do you and I share?
Rob: I’d like to think we’re both extremely curious about the universe at large. And that we enjoy writing. That’s about it, though. You’re better with people. You can also be quite fierce.
Maya: Thanks. Now what’s up with the narration? Your narrator yo-yos from arms-length chronicling to breaking the fourth wall by sharing opinions about characters directly with readers.
Rob: Yeah, that’s a postmodern thing. I first encountered it when reading Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. He went so far as setting characters free.
Maya: I like the sound of that.
Rob: Forget it. You’re under contract for two more books.
Duncan: Hey, how’s it going?
Maya: Duncan, what are you doing here?
Duncan: I wanted to see how the interview was progressing. Burt and Sasha are with me.
Burt: Hmmph. I’m the one you should be interviewing.
Sasha: Don’t you love interviews! All those questions, answers, and more questions! This is so exciting! I’m going to get the others!
Maya: You’re losing control of your narrative.
Rob: (Sigh) Looks like I’ve got another rewrite ahead of me.
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