Not long ago, I reviewed Daven Anderson’s first book in his Vampire Syndrome trilogy. Well, here is the man himself, who agreed to let me interview him for my “One Faith, Many Paths” project.
1. What was your childhood like?
Excellent! I wish I could go back as an invisible apparition and observe myself and my family
back then. There are many things adult me would notice that child me never did.
2. What would you give as evidence of a creator?
Someone beyond the universe had to set off the Big Bang. God is infinite, and infinity.
3. What denomination do you consider yourself, if any?
I believe in the Supreme Being, the Supreme Intelligence, The Supreme Wisdom.
4. What is your favorite Bible passage and why?
Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, lest ye not be judged.” Leave the judging of others to God.
5. Who are your favorite writers and what books by them do you like best?
Kurt Vonnegut’s “Breakfast Of Champions” is becoming more in sync with the times every time I
re-read it. John Kennedy O’Toole’s “A Confederacy Of Dunces” is the book least likely to sire a
successful movie adaptation. Only the basic elements of Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream Of
Electric Sheep?” were translated to film, but the resulting cinematic adaptation, “Blade Runner”, was
enough of a milestone to change the path of science fiction films from that point on.
6. Why are you an advocate for Down’s Syndrome and other disabilities?
The only form of “disability” one can really suffer from is the prejudice of others. I have worked
closely with differently-abled individuals for over twenty years. As Yogi Berra said, you can learn a lot
just by observing. One thing that always struck me is how WISE individuals with Down Syndrome
really are. They just do the right thing, and don’t over-intellectualize about their actions, unlike most
other people. The main point made by the Vampire Syndrome saga is that quick wit and cunning do not
equal wisdom. Never have, never will. Many times, cunning and over-analysis just get you in trouble.
Wisdom is not complex, and the most profound observations can also be the simplest. As much as I
appreciated the lessons of Fred “Mister” Rogers and Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Giesel as a child, my
perception of their true genius is far deeper as an adult. This is also why I answered your Question One
as I did.
7. What is it about vampires that fascinates you? Why do you write about them?
The challenge. Taking millennia worth of worldwide folklore and making sense of it all in
scientific, rational terms was the writing challenge of a lifetime.
As great a work as “Forrest Gump” is (both novel and film), the treacly sentimentality and lack of
tension makes it hard for a lot of people to swallow. In a sense, “Forrest Gump” (especially the film)
was “preaching to the converted”, attracting an audience who were already sympathetic to people with
The people who needed to have their minds opened were not reading or watching “Forrest Gump”,
or anything resembling it. What will open THEIR minds is reading about a new vampire with Down
Syndrome outmaneuvering the lethal Venators out to terminate him, then realizing that Jack may in fact
be wiser than his quick-witted pursuers. To many of the people who need a new perspective on those
with special needs, “Forrest Gump” was as exciting as watching paint dry.
8. What book made you want to be a writer?
My whole writing adventure began when I finished reading the four Twilight saga books on June
13, 2009. Probably a million people said they could write something better. I did.
9. Who inspires you to be a better person?
My co-workers with special needs, who inspired my hero Jack Wendell. I write for them. I write to
change people’s minds and perspectives. As my character Ron Pepper (Jack’s Special Olympics coach)
says, “Don’t worry about the things you can’t do. A champion is the best at what they can do.”