Author Interview with Julie Ann Dawson

Posted by on Aug 27, 2011 | 1 comment

Today I’m sharing an interview with an author by the name of Julie Ann Dawson. She’s doing a blog tour promoting a charity fundraising event that she’s hosting on her web site, called Operation Backpack. (Details of other stops in the tour available here.) I would really encourage you check out what she’s offering. For just ten bucks (100% donated to the charity) you get a huge assortment of stories. One of the included books is the collection Beneath the Surface of Things, which I reviewed a few weeks back. Don’t delay too long, this bundle is only available through the end of the month of August!

Here’s the description for her novel, A Game of Blood, which is available as part of the Operation Backpack Bundle.

What would you do if a 300 year old vampire decided that you would make the perfect Van Helsing for his own twisted game?

A series of bizzare kidnappings leads detective Mitch Grogan to the home of the wealthy and eccentric Darius Hawthorne. What he discovers there unleashes a chain of events that not only threatens his life, but also his sanity. Grogan finds himself caught up in a deadly game with a three hundred year old vampire looking for a worthy adversary. But how can a burnt-out cop with a crumbling marriage compete against a centuries’ old immortal with unlimited resources and supernatural powers?

More than boredom drives the cunning Hawthorne, however. His attempts to push Grogan to the breaking point are more than cruel entertainment. They also serve as a test to see whether or not the mortal is ready to help him hunt an even more deadly foe:  one that would see the whole world burn to remove the vampiric corruption from it.

Now, on to the interview:

1. What’s the first word of your book? (You can exclude articles, pronouns or prepositions.)

Vampire

 2. Tell me something about your book that I can’t find in the blurb.

Though the focus of the book is the battle of wits between Mitch and Darius, there are a lot of secondary themes addressed as well.  Pop culture, the role of technology, politics, racism and prejudice, religious fanaticism: all these elements come into play at various points.  The story isn’t just about the two main characters, but also their place in the world and how they interact with (or seek to control) the world.  Their actions, whether deliberate or accidental, have repercussions to each other, to other people, to the local community, and in a way, the modern world.

 3. In one word, describe your main character.

For Mitch:  Dedicated

For Darius: Sociopathic

 4. Where does your book take place? Tell me about why you picked that location.

The location is an unspecified county in New Jersey, not far from Philadelphia.  The setting is sort of a hybrid of several actual locations.  It doesn’t actually represent any real county, but it borrows bits and pieces from several real places.  There were a few reasons for choosing the setting.  First, it was sort of an inside joke to my fellow geeks.  Particularly if you read a lot of comic books, all sorts of bad things always original or end in New Jersey.  So it made sense, in my warped mind anyway, to set the story in New Jersey.

Second, New Jersey is unique in that it is the only state where all its counties are designated as metropolitan areas, and we have something like 566 distinct municipalities in this state, and almost all of them have their own police departments, school boards, fire departments, etc.  Now there has been a push for years to consolidate some of the municipalities in order to cut costs, and each little town has resisted consolidation.

This actually is one of the running themes in the book, as Mitch deals with, and at times takes advantage of, the holes left when you consolidate.  The events in the book are taking place while the municipalities in this county are consolidating law enforcement under one county system.  So a lot of Mitch’s investigation is handicapped because suddenly the forensics lab is backed up, or evidence placed in storage gets lost, or various resources get cut.  There is one scene in the book where the mayor is complaining about why the evidence room doesn’t have cameras after an alleged theft, and the police captain has to remind him that he refused the budget request to digitize the system so they were still using VHS tapes (which only record a couple hours at a time.)

 5. Tell me about your favorite character that you’ve written.

To be honest, Darius is probably my favorite, even if he is an undead homicidal sociopath.  He’s just so much fun to write.  He’s simultaneously charming and evil, friendly and villainous.  He considers Mitch a “friend” even as he routinely makes Mitch’s life miserable.  He’s fascinated by humanity even though he has a complete lack of empathy in regards to the suffering he causes.  He’s both easily distracted and dangerously focused simultaneously.

 6. What’s your favorite verb?

Write.

 7. What’s the last book you read?

Family Ties (Corporeal Daughters) by Jazmyn Douillard.

 8. Who was your favorite fictional character as a child?

Wonder Woman.  Yeah, I’ve been a geek all my life.

 9. Tell me about an event that contributed to your decision to become a writer.

When I was in eighth grade, I found a copy of Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot in the school library.  It was at the time the scariest thing I had ever read.  Hell, it’s STILL one of the scariest things I’ve ever read!  I remember very distinctly thinking two things.  First, this was an amazing story.  Second, hey, I can do that.  I haven’t stopped writing since.

10. What would you tell past you, if you could send a letter back in time?

Don’t listen to people who tell you what you want to hear.  I made a lot of mistakes in my early twenties (professionally, personally, and writing-wise) that would have been avoided if I was the cynical bitch then that I am now.   It is very easy to follow advice that we want to believe is true.  It is much harder to ask tough questions and examine a person’s motivations for offering that advice.   Ask the tough questions.  Look at people’s motivations.  Ask if you are agreeing with something because it makes you feel good, or because it follows some sort of actual logic.

One Comment

  1. Thanks for the interview. I like the idea of this story. I think it’s an interesting twist.

    As for Darius being Julie’s favourite character to write, I can relate. I think there’s something about characters like that that just make them so much fun to both read and write.