Interview with Andrew Dudek

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Monmouth County, which is in Central New Jersey. (A lot of people will tell you that there's no such thing as Central Jersey, but they're wrong and should be disregarded.) As for how it influenced my writing...well, that's tough to say. It was a pretty typical suburban existence, I think, which left me a lot of free time for reading. So I'd say that it wasn't so much the town that influenced me, but the fact that I read a lot of books growing up. I will say that my hometown is about an hour away from New York City by car, so as a teenager and a young adult my friends and I spent a lot of weekend nights cruising around the city. I love Jersey and I wouldn't trade it for the world, but New York's got an energy that no place else can match, which is part of the reason I decided to set the Dave Carver series there.
When did you first start writing?
I've been writing my whole life, really. One of my earliest memories is my dad coming home with a hardcover printing of a silly little story I'd written and illustrated. I can't remember the title of it now, but it was about a young bald eagle who was picked on by his friends because he couldn't fly.
How'd you decide to go the indie publishing route?
It's hard out there, man. I spent a few years writing and submitting short stories to various magazines, all of which rejected me. It was discouraging and there were times that made me want to quit. And that was for the shorts. I couldn't imagine sending out any of the novels, most of which I've put a year or more of my life into, out into the world only to have them come back with a metaphorical big red stamp on the cover page. I've had a vague idea for a while that Kindle and other ebook retailers might be the way to go, so when I discovered Smashwords, it was like a bolt of lightning. Boom! This is the way to go!
Top five books. Go!
God, this is a tough one. I'm assuming I can't just list, say, the whole Harry Potter series as one entry.
I guess I'd have to go with these (the order is fluid):
"Slaughterhouse-Five" by Kurt Vonnegut
"American Gods" by Neil Gaiman
"The Red Tree" by Caitlin R. Kiernan
"Proven Guilty" from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" by J.K. Rowling

Ask me tomorrow and it'd probably be a completely different list.
Where'd the idea for the Dave Carver series come from?
When I was a kid, my brother and I used to play an imaginary game where we were the ringleaders of a gang of suburban teenagers who fought a bunch of monsters. I'd been introduced to the classic Universal Studios monster movies--Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, etc.--at an age that was probably a little too young, and it inspired the part of me that wanted to be a hero. So in that sense, Dave Carver's been with me, in one form or another, basically my whole life.
As for how I came up with the idea to tie it into the Arthurian legend and the knights of the Round Table? I'm not really sure. It happened organically. A few years ago I was rereading "The Once and Future King" by T.H. White and it just sort of clicked.
So is it safe to say that none of the characters from "First Kill" will make appearances in the main series going forward?
Not necessarily.
In fact, not at all. [Spoilers for "First Kill" ahead]

Remember, Dave never finds the vampire that killed his mother. Though at the end of the story he seems to have accepted the there's more to life than revenge, you have to imagine that it's still on his mind. The vampire that killed his mother is still out there, and you can bet that that eats at him. So that at least needs to be dealt with.
Other than that, most of the rest of the Family is dead. Maria's still alive, and so is Squirrel, but their fates are left somewhat ambiguous. They both think that Dave's dead, so they're not likely to go looking for him. Still, never say never. Dave can use all the help he can get.
I understand that "Thicker Than Blood" was written before "First Kill. Why'd you switch the publication order?
This is one way that being an independent author is advantageous over the traditional route. I wrote the first draft of "Thicker Than Blood" (then called "Thicker Than Water," which I decided was a little too boring) three years ago. As I was revising and rewriting it, though, I decided that some of the stuff that had happened during Dave's backstory was too complicated and, in some ways, tragic to leave to the imagination. I wrote "First Kill" to fill in those gaps.
Simply put, I decided to publish "First Kill" first because it takes place first.
I like "First Kill," and I like some of the characters in it--Nate, Squirrel, Maria--but I don't think it's strictly necessary to read it before you start in on the series proper. I did my best to make sure that everything you need to know about the backstory is explained in the text of the novel.
Looking forward a bit, how long do you plan to continue the Dave Carver series?
As long as I keep having ideas, and as long as it keeps being fun. I'm still in the early days of my career and the early stages of the series, so right now I can't imagine burning out. Book Two, "To The Dogs," is almost finished, as is Book Three, "Sword for Hire." I'm almost done with the first draft of Book Four, which is called "Out For Blood." After that I have a loose outline of Book Five and general idea for Book Six. Beyond that I don't know for sure, but I imagine I'll have a few more ideas by then.
What are you working on now?
I always have three or four (or more) projects in various states of completion. Right now I'm putting the finishing touches on "To the Dogs," the second full-length in the Dave Carver series, which I think is a lot of fun. It's going to really open up Carver's world and expose readers to something different. Not so many vampires this time around. More werewolves, though. And at least one three-headed hellhound.
I've also got a book of short stories in the pipeline. A couple of them star Dave, and they function as bridges between the novels. Mostly though they're pretty traditional ghost stories. With, y'know, my personal twists. "Best Friends and other Stories" will be available soon.
Finally I'm working on a novel that's completely unconnected to Carver. It's part science-fiction, part detective story, and part conspiracy theory nonsense. I'll be moving that to the front burner soon, so you can look for that one in early 2016.
Last question: If you could be a member of any of the supernatural races in the Dave Carver series, which would it be?
Hmm. This is a tough one, because I've purposely done my best to make sure the supes in the Dave Carver series aren't glamorous or anything. You know, my vampires don't sparkle. I guess if I had to pick one, I'd go with a werewolf. As you'll see in "To The Dogs," with a little training and discipline, it would be possible to live a semi-normal life that way. Plus, you get to turn into a wolf once in a while, and that'd be pretty cool.
Published 2015-10-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Down The Shore
Series: Dave Carver, 5. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 86,100. Language: English. Published: October 30, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Horror » Occult
It seems like a simple job, a breeze for an experienced warrior like Dave Carver: his friend Krissy's boyfriend is missing somewhere in the town of Violet Bay, New Jersey and she needs Dave to help find him. But there's something dark beneath Violet Bay. Something old and hungry. And it seems like Krissy's boyfriend may just have woken it up.
Best Served Cold
Series: Dave Carver, 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 84,790. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Horror » General
Dave Carver, New York's chief knight of the Round Table, is about to do battle with his greatest foe yet: the vampire who killed his mother. Along the way, he'll encounter fundamentalist ghouls, zealous werebears, and an overpowering blizzard which has shut down New York. None of that matters, though, because for Dave, revenge is best served cold.
Sword for Hire
Series: Dave Carver, 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 71,140. Language: English. Published: October 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Horror » Occult
The dead are walking in New York City. When tragedy strikes in the suburbs, Dave Carver, Knight of the Round Table, is called into investigate the scene of an apparent zombie attack. Along the way he uncovers a secret conspiracy involving a familiar strain of black magic. Zombies are coming to New York. All in a day's work for Dave Carver, but this day at the office is turning into a killer.
To The Dogs
Series: Dave Carver, 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 72,400. Language: English. Published: April 26, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Horror » Occult
Dave Carver, New York's Knight of the Round Table, finds himself the prey of a three-headed hellhound. To protect his city, he'll have to contend with a reluctant teenage werewolf, a seductive young sorceress, a squad of half-demon zealots, and an evil witch with a strange connection to his past. Will Dave be able to save New York without becoming a human chew-toy?
Thicker Than Blood
Series: Dave Carver, 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 79,560. Language: English. Published: October 27, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Horror » Occult
The Knights of the Round Table are fighting a war against the vampires--and they're losing. Dave Carver is a retired knight, but when the war finds him in his solitary life in New York City, he must once again pick up his sword to defend his home town. If Dave can't figure out how to stop the legions of vampire spies and soldiers, the world is about to get a whole lot bloodier.