Frank O’Keeffe All Fired Up About Harry Flammable

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Frank O’Keeffe All Fired Up About Harry Flammable

Posted on April 29 by caitlyn
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This week’s theme is YA titles and to kick off the week we have a guest blog post from Frank O’Keeffe, author of the new release Harry Flammable. Today Frank tells us what excites him about his new book.


Harry Flammable (Dundurn Press) is my eighth juvenile or Y/A novel but there has been a long gap between books. Not because I wasn’t writing. I was. For a year, I wrote a humorous fiction column for the Edson Leader, the local weekly newspaper of the town where I lived, and when I moved to Peachland, B.C. with my wife, I wrote skits to entertain the staff at staff parties at a local nursery where I worked selling trees, shrubs etc. That’s how I actually started writing when I first emigrated to Calgary many years ago – writing skits for entertainment at the annual Christmas party at the insurance company where I worked. I also completed a huge historical fiction adult novel which has taken me years to write and research. I’m looking for a market for it right now. And I completed Harry Flammable plus one other Y/A novel. I’ve always enjoyed writing humour and Harry Flammable is no exception.

In Harry Flammable, high schooler Harry Flanagan earned his nickname in second grade when he attempted to ride his bike through a burning refrigerator box.  I was able to use a stunt my wife’s father often did on a motorcycle.  I first saw him do it, and it was a surprise to me, at a Calgary Stampeders football game half time show, except he rode through a burning outhouse. In Harry Flammable, after Harry’s stunt, fires seemed to pop up wherever Harry goes. Harry dreams of being a movie star.  When a school shed has burns down along with school councillor Shamberg’s new mountain bike, Harry is in trouble.  Mr. Shamberg is in charge of assigning jobs in the work experience program and Harry’s dream job with Pocket Money Pictures is given to another student. He is forced to take a job he hates, toiling in the kitchen of Ritz Hotel under Chef Antonio. I enjoyed writing some of the funny bits in the Ritz kitchen based on one of my son’s experiences working in hotel kitchens in Vancouver.

This book gives me a chance to do a little touring, doing readings in schools, libraries etc., which was difficult to do without a new book under my belt. I think this book will be enjoyed by teens and adults and it excites me to think that maybe the readers of some of my previous books like Guppy Love, Weekend at the Ritz or Nancy Nylan, Ordinary Farm Girl, Explorer Extraordinaire will find me again. Like the x-ray technician in the Okanagan who told me I had the same name as her favourite author, who had come to her school in Spruce Grove, Alberta. Or the young woman in the art gallery in Calgary who remembered me visiting her school in Rock Glen, Saskatchewan. Re-connecting with readers of my previous books, and perhaps with their children who are now young adults, is an exciting possibility.