Today, I have another guest with me…my fellow PDMI author, Daven Anderson. It’s been a privilege getting to know him over the past year, and it was a privilege to meet him in person at the 2014 Birmingham Author Expo. I’m proud to call him a colleague and a good friend. And now, here’s Daven.
What year did you first begin writing the first book in your saga, “Vampire Syndrome?”
June 13, 2009. A friend lent me the four Twilight saga novels and I read them all in sequence. Upon finishing “Breaking Dawn” that afternoon, my first thought was “R-rated movie.” My second thought was “I can write something better than that.” By the time I went to bed that night, I had my characters Jack, Zetania, Damien and Lilith fixed in their present forms. A few days later, I attended a UFO expo, to flesh out the details of the alien Pure Vampires.
Other than the Big Five’s reaction of wanting to reduce Jack’s role in the saga, what have been some other reactions people have had to the idea of a vampire with Down’s Syndrome?
Some thought it was a clever gimmick to draw attention, including a few people in the industry. Reactions and comments about Jack from readers have been universally positive. A few of my readers have Down Syndrome, and others have friends or family members with Down Syndrome. When a woman who has known her brother for over 45 years says Jack’s voice and mannerisms are right on the mark, THAT is a good review! When a woman with Down Syndrome (who is an avid reader) says I “nailed it”, that means more to me than all the money in the world.
Did you read a lot of vampire novels prior to beginning to write your own? Who are some of your favorite vampire authors?
First vampire novel I read (at 10 years of age) was Dracula. At 17, I read “Interview with the Vampire.” Obviously, my 17-year-old self did not think “I can write something better than that,” so I went on to read other vampire novels over the next three decades. Too many to list, but some highlights are classics such as the rest of Anne’s The Vampire Chronicles series, “The Hunger,” “I Am Legend,” “Let The Right One In,” the early “Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter” novels; to novels such as “The Historian,” “The Reformed Vampire Support Group,” “The Traveling Vampire Show,” and “The Radleys.”
What, if anything, do you have in common with Jack Wendell?
Jack left a 1992 half-dollar coin in the middle of a cattle field, and so have I.
We are both nice guys, and each of us work in our own way to raise awareness of the wisdom and dignity of those with special needs.
For those who want to write their own novels, what is the most important habit of good writing?
Write the story first, ask questions later. You can always edit later.
When you’re actively working on a project, how many hours a day do you spend writing?
Not enough! Rather than time, I set targets of “X” amount of words per session, per week, etc.
Do you have a favorite author or book? What is it?
“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.” My leather-bound volume was given to my great-grandfather on Christmas Day 1908.
Do you think it would be fun to be a vampire?
One of my human Vampires, in particular. No big problems living in the normal world, except that they cannot be vegetarians. Even there, red meat has blood at the molecular level, so my human Vampires can live indefinitely off a normal food diet that includes meat. It would also be very cool to age at one-tenth the normal rate, a much more appealing scenario than being stuck for eternity in a body that never ages (I’ll refer any doubters to “Interview’s” Claudia…).
What is your favorite thing to do besides writing?
I am a lifelong car enthusiast who attends all the car shows and races that time permits me to.
What do you think is your strongest point as an author?
I endeavor to have balance in my writing; Simple enough for the “average reader” to have an enjoyable reading experience, yet with nods and “clues” for the enrichment of the “hardcore reader” crowd. With “Vampire Syndrome”, I think I have achieved a proper balance where the average reader and the “core vampire novel reader” alike can both enjoy my work.