Friday, June 29, 2012

HUGE Giveaway, Interview & Feature of The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin

A Vampire Novel with Actual Bite! 

As the modern world establishes itself and pushes the supernatural into the shadows, the supernatural fights back. The Darkening Dream is a chilling new dark fantasy novel by Andy Gavin, creator of Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter. The book has received rave reviews and is on sale for only 99 cents on Amazon Kindle from June 25th-29th! Download your copy here. In addition, Andy is doing a big giveaway, including a $100 gift certificate to Amazon, signed copies of his books, video games, posters, and more! The Darkening Dream Rafflecopter Giveaway Tweet, like, follow, share, blog and grab a copy of his book to enter.

Get your 99 cent copy of The Darkening Dream today on Amazon only.

Long-time readers of dark historical fantasy (Tim Powers, Guy Gavriel Kay, Katherine Kurtz) will appreciate the weaving together of mythology, occult, and religion, while younger readers and fans of HBO dramas (True Blood, Carnivàle) or urban fantasy (Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher) will be drawn to the twisted imagination, graphic action, and romantic tension.

About The Darkening Dream 

Even as the modern world pushes the supernatural aside in favor of science and steel, the old ways remain. God, demon, monster, and sorcerer alike plot to regain what was theirs. 1913, Salem, Massachusetts – Sarah Engelmann’s life is full of friends, books, and avoiding the pressure to choose a husband, until an ominous vision and the haunting call of an otherworldly trumpet shake her. When she stumbles across a gruesome corpse, she fears that her vision was more of a premonition. And when she sees the murdered boy moving through the crowd at an amusement park, Sarah is thrust into a dark battle she does not understand. With the help of Alex, an attractive Greek immigrant who knows a startling amount about the undead, Sarah sets out to uncover the truth. Their quest takes them to the factory mills of Salem, on a midnight boat ride to spy on an eerie coastal lair, and back, unexpectedly, to their own homes. What can Alex’s elderly, vampire-hunting grandfather and Sarah’s own rabbi father tell them? And what do Sarah’s continuing visions reveal? No less than Gabriel’s Trumpet, the tool that will announce the End of Days, is at stake, and the forces that have banded to recover it include a 900 year-old vampire, a trio of disgruntled Egyptian gods, and a demon-loving Puritan minister. At the center of this swirling cast is Sarah, who must fight a millennia-old battle against unspeakable forces, knowing the ultimate prize might be her very soul. 

The Reviews Are In  

"A vampire novel with actual bite." ~The Kirkus Reviews 

"A gorgeously creepy, strangely humorous, and sincerely terrifying tale." ~Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) 

"Mr. Gavin has brought something refreshingly new to a genre now suffused with poorly-concealed bodice-rippers which have more in common with Fabio than Bram Stoker: depth. His big baddies are scary, not romantic interests, and the added religious lore is complex and engaging. Don't expect another Twilight -- the story can get downright creepy, so be prepared for a return to the old horror sensibilities of supernatural fiction." ~Amazon Review 

"With Mr. Gavin's video-game pedigree, I was expecting something aimed squarely at the 18-25 year old fanboy contingent; what I got in The Darkening Dream was something wholly unexpected: A period novel with a female protagonist, a crash-course on Judaism in the colonial years, and multi-layered series of plot arcs featuring a crazy cast of natural and supernatural characters populating turn of the century America." ~Amazon Review 

"…A perfect blend of mystery, magic and myth. A grown-up Grimm's fairy tale... emphasis on grim." ~Amazon Review

Read the first two sample chapters here.

Get your 99 cent copy of The Darkening Dream today on Amazon only.

Naj Asked:  I'm curious, How did you move from being a creator of famous video games to writing a unique YA Paranormal about vampires/egyptian mythology?
Andy Said: From at least high school on I always intended to write a bunch of novels. Work (i.e. making video games) just got in the way. 

And the thing about making games is that you can no longer do it mostly by yourself. These days, most games are big teams of over a hundred people, with budgets over 50 million dollars. All that means that it’s not about your creative expression (most of the time), but about getting it done, well, on time, and on budget. And the roll of team lead is largely about fire fighting and resource (achem people) wrangling. 

So, I really wanted to focus directly on the creative aspects. Dozens of story ideas have been bouncing around in my head for years, and I felt it was time to let a couple of them out. 

The Egyptians worked their way into the story because I wanted a shadowy meta-villain who’s been lurking around for thousands of years. It seemed natural that he might be either Egyptian or Chalcedonian (Babylonian). Now, this might not seem “obvious” to most people, but those two cultures provide the basis of most Western occult traditions. Later my researches dug up the fascinating figure of the Comte de Saint Germain, a crazy alchemist at Louis XVs court who claimed knowledge of the “elixir of Osiris” and it’s resultant immortality. He’s sort of a wandering jew figure and boasted of being Sir Francis Bacon and other historical occultists. I merely take him at his word. And it’s reasonable – if true – that he’d have “friends.” I have a write up on my magical researches here

Naj Asked: What first sparked your interest in the genre (YA) ?

Andy Said: When I started writing the book I wasn’t thinking YA/adult, I was just thinking about my story. I find this age based slotting to be a recent and artificial construct of the big chain bookstores and marketing departments. Regardless, I like to read books with young protagonists, and you write what you like to read. In some ways, the meta idea of The Darkening Dream is a twisted gritty historic reinvention of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which is my favorite television show of all time). I wanted to emulate the angst and wonder factor of dealing with newly discovered weirdness as a young person, but also ground the entire story in researched and “real” magic and occult, and “sell” it via a very hardboiled and matter of fact style. 

As a history buff, I'm always thinking, "that could have been so much better if they didn't make up the historical backstory" so I started with the villains. What kind of ancient evil creatures might still be around? What do they want? And what legitimate human reason would they have to destroy the world (which is so Buffy)? I don't exactly answer the question in TDD, because the motives of 5,000 year old baddies should be mysterious. But trust me, they have a plan, and the sheer audacity of it will literally shake the foundations of the heavens. 

Naj Asked: Why the time (1913) & place (Salem, Massachusetts)? Half the time it's Salem = Witches.

Andy Said: I chose 1913 for a number of reasons. I wanted a time before mobile phones and the internet and a time when people’s knowledge of the world left a little more room for mystery. Additionally, as I always intended this as a series with long lived (achem… immortal) characters, I wanted some runway to cross through history. A also loved the idea of a “vampire in the trenches” so I stuck it right before World War I.

Naj Asked: Finally, Why Vampires?

Andy Said: I’ve been obsessed with vampires for decades. Not because they are romantic, but because they are undead – and I really mean undead – and because older ones are creatures that have stretched across the centuries. But it always bugs me in stories full of supernatural where they touch on the historical roots of superstitions but don’t bother to do the research. I always felt that, as they say, “truth is stranger than fiction” – if, like me, you count myth as truth – and so I wanted to write a fast paced supernatural action story where the spooky stuff is all based on real spooky stuff. And truly, the real deal is much more creepy.

I'd like to thank Andy for answering these questions! It's an honor having you on my book blog! And I do hope to see you more all over the book blogosphere soon (unless you already are and I'm missing a lot). :DD

Mini-Note on the Book: I'm currently reading the Darkening Dream. I would have been finished with it already but Uni got in the way (as usual). So far its great. The dialogue is unique (excessively) and so is the whole plot. It is incredibly dark and slightly-explicit. Lets just say its for the older Young Adults. :D 

About the Author

Andy Gavin is an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There he created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. He sleeps little, reads novels and histories, watches media obsessively, travels, and of course, writes. Find out more here. 


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