An Interview With David Carrico
Alex Wallace, a longtime friend of mine, was kind enough to spread the word about my blog to authors that he knows, and David Carrico was one of the first to reach out to me. His latest book, The Blood is the Life, releases tomorrow. David is a science fiction and fantasy fan and author full of compelling book recommendations. His vampire coming-of-age novel offers a new twist on the genre and will entertain fans of modern fantasy.
1. If you had to describe yourself as an ice cream flavor, which would it be and why?
Spumoni. It's not a single flavor, so it doesn't get boring. The flavors are unique and
pleasantly challenging. And it's a bit of an acquired taste, so not everyone likes it, but those
who do usually love it.
2. What books do you feel have made the biggest impact on your life?
So many books, so little time. I'll pick two. First, Catseye, by Andre Norton. Back in sixth
grade, it was the first real science fiction book I ever read. It was my gateway to the
multiverse of science fiction and fantasy, and I plunged in and never looked back. Second, The
Lord of the Rings. I first read that in eighth grade, and over the next nine years I read it twelve
times cover to cover. It sucked me into one of the greatest story universes ever created, and
to this day it's my desert island book.
3. Similarly, what books have made the biggest impact on your writing? Why?
Again, so many to choose from. First, again The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien's world building
captured my mind and heart and was perhaps the greatest influence in eventually pushing
me to become a writer. Second, Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny is a fascinating science fiction
novel that reads like a fantasy and introduces non-Western mythic elements told in a very
literary style. Zelazny was a superb writer whose stories were always elegant. Third, A
Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin, another elegant story that was the first book I recall
that showed it was possible to tell wonderful fantasy stories that were neither barbarian
blood and thunder stories nor lengthy epic quests. Fourth, The Mote in God's Eye by Larry
Niven and Jerry Pournelle, a superb novel that straddles the line between space opera and
military science fiction and offers some of the most alien aliens and fantastic world-building
you can find. Finally, The Pride of Chanur, by C. J. Cherryh, who may be the greatest living
creator of aliens today but also produced a superb space opera in this book.
4. Tell me a little about your writing and publishing journey!
First, I'm not an outliner. I call myself a discovery writer because I think that's a little more
dignified than calling myself a seat of the pants writer or pantser. But my stories and novels
all follow essentially the same creative process. First, I get an idea for one or more characters,
then somewhere between minutes and weeks later I get the issue or problem the story will be
about, and again somewhere between minutes and weeks later I get what the ending will be.
Once I have all three pieces, I can start writing. Sometimes I get all of that in a few minutes.
Sometimes it takes a lot longer. But I have to have all three pieces to get started. Everything
else I discover along the way.
5. What writing tips would you give to new writers? What about publishing tips?
As to writing, I have very little advice other than you must write. Write frequently, write
consistently. Make the time. Make it a priority, even if it's only thirty minutes a day. If you
put down 500 words a day, in six months you will have written a novel. Finish what you write.
If you have a file drawer full of half-written stories but nothing is completed, you're not a
writer, you're a dilettante. And don't spend a lot of time revising. Stop at three drafts, unless
an editor asks for revisions. In the end, though, everyone does it their own way. As long as
you write, as long as you finish what you start, and as long as you tell good stories, you're a
As for publishing, I managed to make my way in the traditional publishing model, whereas
today most folks are doing indie publishing. All I can tell you about that is be prepared to
spend money and time marketing your work. Regardless of which road you take, consider attending the Superstars of Writing Seminar, founded by Kevin Anderson, Eric Flint, and David Farland. It's the best tutelage on the business side of writing that I know of.
6. Why did you choose to make your main character of The Blood is the Life an Orthodox Jew? What kind of research did you need to conduct to bring this character to life?
Now I have to give you a little history on how The Blood Is the Life came into being. In late
2009 I had just finished a writing project, and I was sitting in my home office one evening
brainstorming to figure out what my next project would be. Like almost every writer I know, I
was a reader first, and the scope of my reading was both omnivorous and eclectic, so my mind
was filled with lots of odd facts and bits of information and factoids which were bubbling
around that night. In the middle of the session, I had a Bible verse come to mind. It's from
the 17th chapter of Leviticus, and it paraphrases something like "You shall not eat blood,
because the blood is the life and is sacred to the Lord." Now I'm not Jewish, nor am I any kind
of expert on Jewish religion, society, or culture, but I did know enough to know that that
verse is the cornerstone of what's usually referred to as the kosher laws, the Jewish religious
regulations on how meat is to be slaughtered and how food is to be prepared. Immediately
after that, this thought crossed my mind: "Wow! That would be a problem for a Jewish
vampire." And that was followed by a vision of an Orthodox Jewish man having an existential
crisis because he wanted to obey the laws, he was adamant about obeying the laws, but now
he's a vampire and he can't even exist any longer without consuming blood and thus breaking
a major law.
That was the inspiration of the story, so Orthodox Jewry has been a consideration in the story
from the very beginning. Because I didn't delve a lot into the details of religious and social
practice, I didn't have to do a ton of research, but it was important to me that what aspects
became story elements were treated right, so I did some research. I read a couple of books
and several articles, I talked to Jewish friends and acquaintances, and I ended up having
several of them read the early drafts and make comments and suggestions.
7. What drew you to the idea of vampires?
I'm certain you'll find this humorous, but I'm really not much of a fan of vampire stories. I
don't care for the original gothic/horror style of stories like Dracula, I don't much care for the
paranormal romance vampire stories, although I do make an exception for Robin McKinley's
novel, Sunshine, and I really don't like the so-called glittery sparkly vampire stories. About the
only vampire stories I've ever liked was a series written by Barbara Hambly a number of years
ago. The first novel was titled Those Who Hunt the Night. I connected with that series and its
characters. There was a plausibility about those stories that just resonated with me, and I
suspect it influenced how I wrote The Blood Is the Life. Plausibility was one of my goals for
8. Who was your favorite character to write and why?
I identify with the protagonist, Chaim Caan, very strongly, but the character in the story that I
enjoyed writing the most was Mordechai Zalman. As I mentioned, I'm a discovery writer, and
he's one of the discoveries I made in writing this story. He was just supposed to come on
stage, deliver one piece of information, and then fade into the background. Instead, he
became the most important secondary character. Bringing the viewpoint of a 280 year-
old vampire into the story I think gave it a depth it would have otherwise lacked.
He's also the lead character in a short story titled "Dark Angel" which was published on
Baen.com in August 2022.
9. When you're not writing, what can you usually be found doing?
Well, if I'm not writing and not at the day job, I'm usually reading. My big complaint about
being a writer is it really cuts into my reading time.
10. What else should I know about you?
One of the things that often does surprise people is that my bachelors degree is in Music Theory and Composition. To graduate I had to write and rehearse the music for an hour-long recital. Once I graduated, though, I never used that as my vocation, only as an avocation. But the degree itself, once you strip away the notes and rests and the other musical trappings, turned out to be intensive training in logic and process flow, as well as training in the discipline of being creative, both of which proved to be valuable skills both in my day jobs and as a writer.