Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Darkening Dream - PROMO, INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY

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.

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.


Q. Tell us something about yourself.

I’m a lifelong creator and explorer of worlds. As far back as first grade I remember spending most of the school day in one day dream or another. I had a huge notebook stuffed with drawings, story bits, and concepts for an elaborate Sci-Fi/Fantasy world I cobbled together from bits of Star Wars, Narnia, and BattlestarGalactica. By fourth or fifth grade not only was I loosing myself in every fantasy or Sci-Fi novel I could, but I was building Dungeons & Dragons castles and caverns on paper. Then from 1980 on the computer.
Over the following decades I wrote dozens of stories and created and published over a dozen video games all set in alternative universes. And as an avid reader (over 10,000 novels and who knows how many non-fiction volumes) it was no surprise that I eventually decided to write some books of my own.

Q: It is often said that if you can write a short story you can write anything. How true do you think this is and what have you written that either proves or disproves this POV?

I’m not a short story fan. I rarely read them and haven’t written them since my college creative writing classes. I appreciate the concept, and truth be told, it’s very challenging to structure an idea with a beginning, middle, and end that fits into a few pages, but I like more meat on the bones. I don’t order small sized beverages either, I’m more the big gulp kind of guy.

Q: How to you research for a book before you begin the writing process?

I write, research, write, research and so on. I started the book and then found that I needed to read dozens of books to fill in certain aspects of the story.

Q: What is the best part of writing for you?

Bringing scenes that I have in my head to life is my favorite part of writing. This can apply to first draft stuff or to substantial revision once I've done the planning. With publishing, getting art back from my artists is my favorite part. Nothing like seeing a new cover!

Q: Did you always have in mind to be a writer or it just happened?

From at least high school on I always intended to write a bunch of novels. Work 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. It’s no longer 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.

Q: Now since this Q&A is based on your latest book THE DARKENING DREAM, so the questions will be based on that book only. How would you describe THE DARKENING DREAM in a sentence?

As the modern world establishes itself and pushes the supernatural into the shadows, the supernatural fights back.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your book?

An ominous vision and the discovery of a gruesome corpse lead Sarah and her friends into a terrifying encounter with a fledgling vampire in 1913 Salem, Massachusetts. Eager to prove themselves, the young heroes set out to track the evil to its source, never guessing that they will take on a conspiracy involving not only a 900-year vampire but also a demon-loving Puritan warlock, disgruntled Egyptian gods, and an immortal sorcerer, all on a quest to recover the holy trumpet of the Archangel Gabriel. Relying on the wisdom of a Greek vampire hunter, Sarah’s rabbi father, and her own disturbing visions, Sarah must fight a millennia-old battle between unspeakable forces, where the ultimate prize might be Sarah herself.

Q: How did the idea of writing THE DARKENING DREAM sprang up in your mind?

It was a combination of the visceral and the cerebral. The visceral part was this image I had – and some might consider me disturbed – of a dead tree silhouetted against an orange sky, a naked body bound to it, disembowelled, and bleeding out. The sound of a colossal horn or gong blares. The blood glistens black in the sunset light. Bats circle the sky and wolves bay in the distance.
But sacrifice isn’t just about killing. It’s a contract. Someone is bargaining with the gods.
And on the cerebral side, I've always been a huge vampire fan and I've read and watched a large percentage of the oeuvre. But also as a history buff I wanted to write a supernatural story that was more grounded in real history and legend. 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 (Buffy-style)? 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.

Q: When you sit down and write do you know how the story will end or do you just let the pen take you? ie Do you develop character profiles and outlines for your novels before writing them or do you let your idea's develop as you write?

I’m a pantser who wants to be a plotter. I hate to outline, yet I must have a scene or chapter fleshed out before I can write it. If I do, it pops out at 750-1000 words an hour. If not, it doesn’t come at all. But I can only really outline a few chapters ahead. I have a detailed discussion of that here.

Q: What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about?

Spicettes, the funny flavored gumdrops. And Skittles. I love Skittles.

Q: In your opinion, what are the best and worst aspects of writing for a living?

The best part is as Stephen King once said, writing is a magic in of itself, being a form of telepathy. You attempt to paint the story as you see it into the reader’s brain.

The worst is the waiting. You wait on story editors, on agents, on editors, on proofreaders, on artists, on reviewers… on everyone J And the worst bit about that is that the waits are often infinite.

Q: How similar to its principle protagonist and the main cast are you?

I have certain qualities in common with Sarah, Alex, Joseph, and perhaps even Constantine. Virtually none with al Nasir and Parris. At least I hope not.

Now some simple questions and more fun^^

-Your favourite books and author?

I can’t pick just one. A Game of Thrones, Hyperion, Carrion Comfort, Dune, TheAnubis Gates, A Fire Upon the Deep, Consider Phlebas, The City and the Stars, Time Enough for Love, Great Sky River, Wizard and Glass, To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Wyvern, Assassin’s Apprentice, A Horse and His Boy, The Silmarillion, and many more.

-Your favourite band/singer?

Pink Floyd.

-Twitter or Facebook?

Both. A lot of both.

-Favourite place in the world?

Italy. I’ve spent perhaps 8-9 cumulative months there.

-Last movie you watched at the cinemas?

Snow White and the Huntsman. My review is here.

-The last book you’ve read?

A Princess of Mars. Again, review here.

-Have you ever googled yourself?

Certainly. I used to lose out to a heavy metal guitarist with the same name. Now, because of my popular website, I win by a large margin.

-If you wouldn’t be a writer, what you would be?

Besides being a video game creator and computer programmer, I’m a certified Sommelier. Haha.

-And last one....print or ebooks?

Both. But I usually read on my iPad.

Q: The cover of THE DARKENING DREAM is really awesome. Did you have any inputs in it?

The cover photo-illustration is by award winning fantasy artist Cliff Nielsen. In deciding what to do about the cover I combed through the more recent books in my 10,000 novel collection and put aside ones with covers I liked. Going through those I found like eight (including the new edition of Narnia!) with covers by Cliff. But it was really the Map of Time cover that totally sold me. I had to have him do mine. So I called.
I produced the cover. Cliff did all the hard work.

Q: If it ever gets turned into a movie then who would you like to see on the cast?

I don’t actually spend much time thinking about that as I see them as their own people. But… The girl we cast for the cover nails Sarah’s look. A young Rachel Wiess would’ve been perfect. Failing the time warp, perhaps Nina Dobrev, but she’s too tall and by the time it got made too old. Constantine: Christopher Lee for sure, but we can only hope he’ll still be around J. And while we’re going for dream cast, I think George Clooney could actually carry al-Nasir. He has the intensity and Nasir sees himself as charming. Steve Buscemi might make a great Parris. Paul Giamatti as Joseph. Chloe Grace Moretz as Emily. And last, but not least, perhaps Anton Yelchin as Alex.

Q: What next after this?

I have a second finished novel (it’s been through four major drafts and a full line edit). It’s calledUntimedand is a YA time travel novelthat chronicles the crazy adventures of a boy no one remembers, who falls through a hole in time and finds himself lost in the past. It’s very different with an extremely immediate first person present voice (in this book the only thing anyone can hold on to is the present). It rocks. Seriously rocks.

Right now (as of mid June) it’s out on submission to New York and London publisher’s via my agent, Eddie Schneider of JABberwocky. I’m very interested to see what the publishers have to say about it and if they can make an offer that is overall more compelling than publishing it myself.

Q: What advice would you like to give budding authors or those who want to start writing?

Read, read, write, write, edit, edit, edit. And hire good professional help too. Friends and family can give you a sense of how the book reads, but they can't usually tell you how to fix anything serious. I've read a lot of half-decent Indie books on my Kindle that are at their core good, but just need some serious tightening and polish. Hell, I've read plenty of big-six bestsellers you can say this about.


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