Interview and Giveaway with Andy Gavin

Andy Gavin

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.


The Darkening Dream

(and coming soon) Untimed

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Chose 5 words that describe your book

Steampunk Lovecraftian Horror with Bite

What gave you the inspiration for THE DARKENING DREAM?

There are two answers to that, 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, disemboweled, 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 sheeraudacity of it will literally shake the foundations of the heavens.

How did you come up with the characters? Do you see yourself in any of them?

There are elements of myself in many of them, even the villains. Just a sliver. Who wouldn’t want to exorcise indiscriminant power like al-Nasir, the 900 year-old vampire? But there’s more of myself in Sarah and her father because their both obsessive and focused.
The origin tale for each character is different. I knew I wanted a strong female protagonist. She needed a particular dynamic of friends (I wanted a bit of a Scooby gang thing and there had to be at least a loosetriangle). Someone needed a younger sister for my warlock to harass. Speaking of him, I really like the twisted priest thing, but I wanted to spin it a little so I made him a Congregationalist (Puritan) and a ritual warlock. I modeled him after serial killer profiles so he needed a warped sexuality. For the old vampire I sought out an exotic time and place, one with a very different morality, so he’s from eleventh century Cordoba. The list goes on.

If THE DARKENING DREAM was to become a movie, what would be your dream 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.

What type of music do you like listening to? Is there are particular song that fits your novel?

I’m a very eclectic music listener. 70s and 80s rock. Some new stuff (including Lady Gaga and Katy Perry). Lots of classic Jazz (like Miles Davis), lots of classical. All sorts of weird stuff from Ottoman court music to Tibetan monastic chants to medieval Spanish tunes.
Lyrics interfere with serious writing or editing so trance techno is one of my favorite genres for that. Or something spacy like jazz or Tangerine Dream if I don’t want to pound.
If I was picking the soundtrack to the film version of the book I’d use mostly period music. Scenes with the villains might be different. Al-Nasir begs for a remix of Nasirid court music, or sufi music, both are  pretty weird and exotic sounding. Instrumental when he’s in normal mode, then blending to an amped up electronic remix when he gets “aggressive.” Parris might have as his tune something like Loreena McKennitt’s “The Mystic’s Dream.” Which if I had to pick a single song that typified the mood of the book, would be it.

Did you always want to be a writer?

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 Battlestar Galactica. 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 manynon-fiction volumes) it was no surprise that I eventually decided to write some books of my own.

What are your favorite book(s) of all time?

A Game of Thrones, Hyperion, Carrion Comfort, Dune, The Anubis 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.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

Crab brain, live shrimp, nato, congee with grubs, crickets, cicadas, and lots more.

What do you do when you're not writing?

Spending time with my family. Reading (mostly speculative fiction and history). Food and wine. I’m an incurable gourmand. Photography, video games, technology, history, travel, and archeology are a few of my other passions. I’m particularly fascinated by the ancient western world.

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And that's all folks! Thank you so much to Andy Gavin for answering questions on himself and his book, The Darkening Dream, which is AMAZING.

The Darkening Dream is the chilling new dark fantasy novel by Andy Gavin, creator of Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter.

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 herself.

Want to win a copy of The Darkening Dream? Here's your chance!

  • You MUST comment on this blog post– this is the only required entry!
  • One Winner.
  • Must be 13 or above.
  • Open Worldwide.
  • Ends June 30 at 11:59 pm.
  • If you win, you have 48 hours to respond before another winner is picked. 

Enter in the rafflecopter below: 

Good luck!


  1. Thanks for the great giveaway, Rabiah!! I can't wait to read The Darkening Dream, and Andy seems awesome!! <3

  2. Thanks for this giveaway. I can`t wait to have my copy of this! :)

  3. Thank you for this amazing giveaway! I'm crossing my fingers for luck!!! :D

  4. 5 words describing book were enough for me to WANT TO READ IT SO MUCH! *__*

    And things that author ate were really weird...

  5. Thanks so much for this giveaway, especially for making it open worldwide.

  6. Thanks for the giveaway, I will defiantly check out the book, sounds interesting !

  7. A world with vampires, the Archangel Gabriel, witchcraft, and Egyptian gods. What more could you ask for.

  8. Thank you for telling what songs would fit the book best. I like to listen to music which inspired the books I read.

  9. love the interview, amazing giveaway, book sounds awesome :D Even if I don't win it, I can see myself buying it.

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  11. Thanks for the awesome Giveaway! The book sounds cool!


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