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Interview: David Gittlin

View Full Size Image Prize-winning citizen journalist David Gittlin visits the monster to talk about his novel Scarlet Ambrosia. We talk about the third most popular profession for Jewish men, the emotional turmoil of his characters, and how he discovered the meaning of life, the universe, and everything (alright, maybe he didn’t figure it out, but it would be cool if he did).

I liked the idea in Scarlet Ambrosia that there was a workable cure for vampirism. How did you come across this idea and why was it important in the story?

I wanted Devon to have the possibility of reversing his condition because he didn’t choose to become a vampire. He has three major conflicts to resolve in the story. One of these conflicts involves his relationship to his parents and his business partner and friend, Nadine Van Zandt. If he fails to find a cure, these relationships will be seriously compromised or worse; lost entirely. The stakes keep getting higher as the story unfolds. If Devon fails in his struggle against Egon Schiller, Devon has a lot more to lose than his small circle of friends and remaining family members.

Devon is an accountant in the book. How does this play into his characters’ development and your writing for his character?

When the story begins, Devon is attempting to take more control of his life by becoming an independent entrepreneur. Accounting was not his first choice as a profession. He went to law school and then spiraled into a self-destructive habit of cocaine addiction. In psychotherapy, he discovered that his behavior stemmed from an unconscious desire to avoid the shadow of his highly successful father, a prominent defense attorney. With no desire to practice medicine, Devon chooses the third most popular profession for upwardly mobile Jewish men. Devon’s conventional background makes his transition into vampire hood even more shocking, stark, and frightening.

In Scarlet Ambrosia, there is a ruby that magnifies the vampire’s powers along with other mystical things. Where did you get the idea for this? Was it through research or a flash of inspiration?

It was the result of both research and imagination.

Devon goes through some dark and difficult emotional turmoil in the story as he grapples with being a vampire. Are there any parallels to your own life in the story or is his character purely fictional?

A year after writing Scarlet Ambrosia, I see the story through a different pair of eyes. At the core of the novel is a young man’s struggle with darkness and light. The vampire archetype, I now realize, is a metaphor for my heart’s dream to realize its divine nature. The supernatural powers and ramped up energy level Devon acquires as a vampire make him half-human and half-god, something like the mythological Greek gods. He can choose to use his new powers for good or evil purposes. I believe everyone has the potential to become a divinely human being. I’ve been a spiritual seeker for most of my adult life. Awakening isn’t easy, but I’ve found it’s worth the effort.

In the book Devon must choose between being a vampire and being human, which would you choose? Devon also has to choose between Mathilde and Nadine, which would you choose?

That’s a great question. I’d have a tough time as a vampire, but on the other hand, I think Mathilde would be too good of an option to pass up.

Are there any other books that you’re coming out with that your fans should be on the lookout for?

Yes. For fans who like speculative fiction and an imaginative premise, check out my first novel, Three Days to Darkness.

Can’t get enough of David Gittlin? Well, here is his website http://www.davidgittlin.com/

Review: Scarlet Ambrosia

 Scarlet Ambrosia: Blood Is The Nectar Of Life

3 StarsDevon Furst leads an ordinary life as an accountant when one day a mysterious and alluring woman approaches him in a bar and asks for a one night stand. Not being one to say no to a beautiful woman, Devon agrees, and one night of passion leads to an eternity as a vampire. Devon is thrust into a deadly underworld of vampires led by a centuries old vampire named Egon that is the head of a criminal empire. Egon kills Devon’s family members and leaves him a lone fledgling vampire. To rescue the woman he loves Devon must learn to harness his new powers, find new allies, and take Egon head on.

Devon is a smart guy, he gets into Columbia Law School, but flunks out three semesters in. He’s restless, his two competing drives, security and adventure, keep him from finding the right woman. Until one day Mathilde walks into his life. She’s an old and powerful vampire that’s seeking an escape from her tortured life and finds it in Devon. What is supposed to be one quick fling turns into love and the choice is made for Devon to turn him into a vampire. Devon finds that Mathilde is involved with a powerful vampire named Egon that she loved decades ago, but now is stuck as his prisoner. Meanwhile, Devon struggles with being a vampire and turns to his friend Nadine who has a cure for vampirism. Through the novel Devon struggles with the pros and cons of immortality and it’s an interesting mental battle he has with himself that examines what it means to be human and what one cherishes about it. Devon is trying to save Mathilde from Egon who is devoid of any moral responsibility and is constantly seeking, but failing, to win Mathilde’s affection. These are the more interesting aspects of the novel, but the book often swerves between building an in depth contemporary vampire novel and Devon’s meandering attempts at building a holistic spa business with his friend. This detracts from the quick pacing and development of the story and leaves me wanting more of the superb world building that is often hinted at. At the heart of the story is a great concept that adds new layers to the vampire mythology, but it often extensively explores side issues and is side tracked by large blocks of scene description and character backstory that diminishes the tension that was built organically by telling Devon’s story of loss and transformation. In this story, like many other vampire novels, it builds its own vampire lore. The vampires are young, beautiful, and sexually active along with other selective powers they choose to cultivate. All vampires have super strength, speed, and can heal quickly which all serve to deliver hard hitting action scenes, but leaves the vampires unbelievably powerful. A distinctive use of dialogue and diction is what separates Devon and Mathilde or really; Devon from the rest of the vampires, but it’s inconsistent and jarring at times. Scarlet Ambrosia is a great fit for readers looking for the next vampire novel, not a bad entry into the genre. An interesting take on vampires and an action packed ending provides for some entertaining reading.

Pages: 231Buy Now From Amazon.com

ASIN: B00PBCA0HU

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