The lead character of my new vampire book, Black Market Blood Drive: Santa Ana, is Duke. He isn’t charming, he isn’t warm. You would think that he isn’t very likable either, but for some reason, people end up liking him.
What I would like to do, is let you get to know him a little bit, without spoiling anything in the book. That might be tricky, but here it goes.
First of all, I would like to say, that the character of Duke, is based upon myself and my two roommates that I had about 14 years ago. We were in a band together and we were complete idiots. I was the oldest at 21 and the youngest of us was 19. We were complete dicks and oblivious to most things. With that said, a lot of the things that Duke goes through in the book (besides all the vampire stuff) really happened to some extent to one of the three of us at one point or another.
Duke doesn’t have many strong characteristics. The only two things that he seems to have going for him is that he is an ass-kicker. He doesn’t take crap from anybody and can completely hold his own. The second thing he seems to have going for him, is that he doesn’t have a hard time getting laid. No matter how awkward or awful the act might be, he can at least get his foot in the door. Both of these things tend to get him into trouble.
Duke’s fighting spirit is what got him stuck working for the biggest vampire clan in southern California in the first place. In my life, that’s how I got the job at the bar that the story is based on as well.
When the story starts, Duke just found out that the girl he was with, wasn’t his anymore. Geographically speaking, if you read the book, he had to drive almost an hour away, in the rain, to get dumped. Again, in real life, that was me. That always pissed me off. I know that the girl (I can’t remember her name to save my life at the moment) wanted to be the bigger person and tell me face-to-face, but honestly, I would’ve thought more of her if she would have just done it over the phone and save me the gas money and the time from making the trip.
I’m not even sure why I put that in the book other than when I was making the rough notes for this back in 2007-ish, it seemed important. I guess it adds to Duke’s hard luck.
The apartment that Duke lives in with his roomy Jon, is based on the actual apartment that the three of us lived in, in Cypress, California, about 30 minutes or so from Santa Ana. The Jon character is based on the “fourth roommate” of those days. He never really lived there. He was our friend who always ended up sleeping on our couch. He didn’t have a job, so he was always there, eating our food, and doing who knows all over the place.
One of us, not me, actually did live in the walk-in closet in the hallway. He made a really nice little room out of it. It was so tragic though, that I needed to make that Duke’s room.
Duke is a great character when it comes to the ladies. He never can get the ones he wants, the way he wants them, and the ones he doesn’t want, he gets too often and too much of. No matter how he puts his foot in it, he always seems to come up on the winning side of things, but for some reason, he looks at those victories as defeats. He cracks me up.
Another slightly charming thing about Duke, is that he seems to be the only human who can get away with killing vampires. He always needs to somehow talk his way out of it, but I don’t think that Duke thinks it will ever work. It just does and he breathes a sigh of relief and then does something else horribly stupid.
In this first book, Santa Ana, Duke is learning the ropes of how to be a human, who is terrified about being around these vampires, that by the way, he just found out exist. Because he knows they are real, if he doesn’t work for them, he will be their next snack. So, if you can’t beat them, join them.
As he learns the inner workings of what they actually do at the bar called The Trap, he realizes just how screwed up things are getting in the world of vampires. There is a sickness that is spreading through the vampires that is killing them off slowly. The sickness, is causing tensions between the vampire clans. Duke, just sits back, like you, the reader, and takes all of this in and tries not to get killed in the process.
To add insult to injury, while all this is going on, Duke ends up in a confrontation with the head of a Santa Ana street gang that ends up putting a target on his back. So now, besides having to behave around the vampires, Duke has to watch out for angry humans. In real life, this was also me.
I had some problems.
Anyway, this is a really fun story that has a lot of really exciting places to go. Besides the horror / action / crime element that is going on in it, the romance (or lack there of) is pretty prevalent. Basically, Duke has some rather smutty interactions with some of girls. If you like sex comedies, then the situations Duke gets into when it comes to the ladies will be a nice breath of fresh air between all the death and blood.
I hope that gives you a good idea of Duke and the world of Black Market Blood Drive.
Be sure to leave a review for it when you are done! Thanks!