My friend and fellow paranormal writer Daven Anderson has agreed to stop by and visit on my blog today! He’s the author of The Vampire Syndrome, a fun and funky take on the vampire mythos. Daven (say it like Davenport) gamefully answers 8 somewhat random questions. Enjoy!
Devlin: You were motivated to write a novel by someone else’s bad writing. Whose bad writing will motivate you to write your next novel?
Daven: More like motivated by a bad ending. Stephenie Meyer herself re-wrote the ending of Breaking Dawn for the movie. I think that says it all. Vianka Van Bokkem could inspire me for a lifetime, and she has some really intriguing story lines.
Devlin: Your pitch-a Down Syndrome vampire-is one of the best ever. How did you come up with the idea?
Daven: One of my brain-storming sessions was “Imagine all your co-workers as vampires.” When I conceptualized how my special-needs co-workers would be, things got really interesting! I knew right then that I could write a story about a dignified, wise special-needs protagonist, without the maudlin, cloying sentimentality of Forrest Gump (which is still a great novel, don’t get me wrong). I emphasized this even more by creating Damien and Lilith to act as foils to Jack’s inherent goodness, to prevent the story from becoming sappy and saccharine. It’s been a while since War Of The Roses and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry. The time is opportune for another pair of nihilistic, combative spouses. After all, what will happen to Edward and Bella 250 years down the road? “Blissfully into our perfect piece of forever?” Not how I see it through my War-of-the-Rose-colored glasses…
[War of the Rose-Colored glasses…Nice! Ed.]
Devlin: Describe your experiences getting your book into print. Any advice to would-be authors?
Daven: I think independent publishers such as PDMI (my publisher) are more willing to sign for a book because they believe in it. I also believe that the Big Five’s tradition of paying authors advances now handicaps them as much or more than sticking to set formulas. When their rejection letters praised the quality of my work, this means they felt they could not take a risk paying an advance on an “un-proven formula” book. Which left me wide open to be picked up by an independent publisher who isn’t shackled by these old business models. Since they do not pay advances, they can take more risks. And really, the author is also better off not taking an advance, because you’re not on the hook to pay it back. To sum up, the author needs to honestly ask themselves how “big” they think their book is going to be, and adjust their approach thereof. Even if the Big Five offer you a contract, you may still be a lot better off with an indie publisher. Another factor to keep in mind is that the Big Five are still quite dependent on shelf space allocation in Barnes & Noble, whereas an indie publisher might (naturally!) focus on indie bookstores. The indie bookstores themselves are much more likely to promote works by a new author than Barnes & Noble. B&N going belly-up would be far more devastating to the Big Five than to indie publishers.
Devlin: Explain the inherent relationship between vampires and really cool cars.
Daven: It seems quite obvious to me that vampires would choose fast cars to be able to make quick getaways from normal persons. Also, using a greater percentage of fossil fuel than hybrid owners is entirely in line with their vampiric nature. Quicker reflexes and greater resistance to injury also remove the “fear factor” of high-speed driving.
Devlin: Your Amazon author page says you wrote a better novel than Twilight. Any backlash from Twi-Hards?
Daven: No. First of all, it’s basically a matter of personal opinion if my book is “better” than Twilight. I didn’t write it with that kind of audience as the target. Any “backlash” would probably boost my sales enormously!
Devlin: What’s been the most surprising thing about becoming a published author?
Daven: How it silenced everyone at work. Every workplace of a certain size has that person who’s “going to write a novel”, but when you’ve actually done it and become published, people don’t know what to say!
Also, I have yet to fully wrap my head around the concept that I can, in fact, autograph a book.
Devlin: Where’s the best place to eat in Forks?
Daven: Outside the city, in the dense forest, when the Twi-hards are out at night looking for vampires.
“Pardon me, young ladies. It appears you’re looking for vampires. Forgive my impertinence for asking this question, but what exactly were you planning to do if you found one?”
Forks isn’t a great restaurant town, but Pacific Pizza is quite decent and has a nice salad bar, so you can’t go wrong there.
Devlin: Any questions you wish I’d asked?
Daven: *Damien has a 1960 Plymouth, and so do you. Is this a Mary Sue?
Daven: Yes, a little bit. Of course, Damien is not a tan station wagon kind of guy, so he gets a black two-door coupe. Of course, a “cooler” version of the author’s car adds to the Mary Sue-ness. But part of crafting a good story is knowing when to break the rules. I added a pinch of Mary Sue for seasoning. What’s more important is that my main character is not a Mary Sue. I ran Jack through the Mary Sue Litmus Test and he scored three out of 100. Authors tend not to Mary Sue themselves into being special-needs characters. But maybe they should!