Character Spotlights are a (bi)weekly Wednesday series where I talk about some of the characters from the novels I’m working on, or have already completed. They’ll just be little snippets of their lives so that you can get to know them a little, and hopefully one day read about them in a published book! For the five weeks of October, we’ll also be doing spooky-themed Spotlights, so prepare yourself for witches, vampires, the underworld, and demons!
This week, we’re chatting about the only vampire I have ever written (and likely will ever write). I actually wrote a Thursday Thousand for Andrew way back in March, but I thought it’d be fun to follow the Halloween theme and give you some insight to everyone’s favorite monster. And, fair warning, he doesn’t sparkle.
Guarantee I’m about to have way too much fun writing this, and then want to start writing his story. Andrew Levi is an interesting character for me. I originally wrote his story waaaay back in the day, and it’s even online, but since you’ve got the latest and greatest from his Thursday Thousand, I’m not linking it. His name used to be Lucien, it was basically Underworld fanfiction because I’m bitter, and we really don’t need to talk about it.
He became Andrew Levi a couple years back when I was thinking about maybe starting his story, but alas, it wasn’t the right time for it. One of my friends helped me flesh out his character and his story, though, until I actually had a more than basic understanding. Because the interesting part? I know all the characters. I know most of the plot. I’m just not interested in the story enough yet to write it.
(That’s a lie. I’m always thinking about it. I don’t know why I’m not.)
But, much like my faery story, Andrew has been percolating and forming on his own until, without a whole lot of active thinking, there’s a story waiting to be written.
However, Andrew’s also a vampire, and vampire’s have a really bad rap (that I understand completely), so in creating his story, I wanted him to be different. I wanted him to stand out. For some reason, that meant he was a detective. Great, I thought, I’m going to run with that. It’s clearly an adult novel, and since I definitely don’t believe in weird age gap romances, it’s mostly going to be about police procedure, but with a vampire spin.
Oh, how naïve I was.
Here’s the thing you have to understand. When David Mitchell started piecing together his masterpiece and absolutely blew my mind, something sparked. Here was a man that was threading together seven books that weren’t under a series catch-all, but that all kind of existed in the same universe.
Not only did he have no idea how old he was, he couldn’t remember anything beyond waking up in Boston one day twenty years ago.
Oh hi, did someone ask for an amnesiac vampire who gets his roots in one of my other novels (stay tuned for the last Spotlight of the month), who also has an Easter egg in his story that links to another novel (what’s up, my boys)? Buckle up, kids, it’s finally time to talk about my masterpiece.
Unlike most of the Character Spotlights, this one is going to be riddled with redactions. I mean, I’m not going to actually redact things, but I’m also not going to tell you Andrew’s story from the very beginning. I’ve known, for a while now, that most of my novels exist in the same universe. I know that the Pen boys make a brief appearance in Andrew’s story. I know that Mason is referenced in the second sister witches book. I know how bookstore boys somehow factors into this world of magic. But what I didn’t know was where Andrew fit in. And that? That’s the masterpiece part of it because holy shit. Someday, when several novels have been published and you start to see the threads, I’m going to write Shri’s book, and it’s going to knock you clean off your feet.
Until then, just know that Andrew’s got no memory before Boston, but that he’s definitely got some wild history.
It was a fine, bright day when Andrew Levi woke up in Boston, MA. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the streets were dry from a stretch of drought. Boston had long since woken, and when Andrew peeled his aching eyes open, it was to the typical city sounds: a truck backing up and cars honking their fury. He could smell trash nearby, and burgers farther than that. As he laid there, staring up at the blue sky clear of any clouds, he took stock of his body.
Fingers and toes wiggled. Arms stretched a little, legs bent at the knees. Head dipped side to side, but with no dizziness and no other ache than that of sleep deprivation, Andrew sat up.
It seemed odd, the feeling of sleep deprivation, considering he’d woken up, but what was more pressing was that he had no idea where he was, or, more importantly, who the hell he was.
He started to stare around, to take stock not just of his body, but of the world around him. He was in some kind of big, wide awake city, but that could be anywhere. The street signs were in English, so that was helpful, though as that thought came, Andrew realized that English was the least of his concerns.
He blinked in confusion, opened his mouth, and tried out a few words.
“Onde estou?” Apparently, he knew Portuguese.
“Qui suis je?” That sounded French.
“Ce naiba se intampla?” The Romania was odd enough that Andrew climbed to his feet, turned around, and nearly fell over again.
There were three enormous dogs behind him, and that didn’t seem foreboding at all. But as Andrew’s fear drifted beneath an undercurrent of wait, something started to shift in him.
His name was Andrew Levi.
The city around him was Boston.
These were his dogs.
And, most importantly, he was a vampire with no memory.
After the initial shock of being dropped unceremoniously in one of the busiest (and least friendly) cities in the world, Andrew approached the three dogs. They were Doberman’s all of them, and they sat patiently until he was just before them, and then one of them–Nyx, a voice in his head said–greeted him with a soft, wet bump of her nose.
Hellhounds, he realized, and that was where Andrew Levi’s new life began.
Over the next few weeks, he pulled together a life from nothing. His first order of business was to find a bank and see if his missing memories included money. It would forever be one of the weirdest encounters he could remember, that bank, but it was the first of many, as well. For when he gave his name and lied, saying he’d experience a head trauma and was trying to figure out who he was, the teller stared back at him with wide eyes before squeaking out for him to wait a moment and then dashing into the back.
His missing memories did include money, it turned out, and quite a lot of it. He had no recollection of where it had come from, but when the manager of the branch sat him down and said that his father had passed on a story about a young man with unimaginable wealth who might come in one day saying he couldn’t remember quite exactly who he was, the manager had never believed it and still wasn’t sure he did. But a few fingerprints and questions Andrew wasn’t sure how he had answers to later, something became very clear: this was not the first time he’d done this little dance.
There was an address, he discovered, listed on every piece of paperwork they asked him to sign, and when he went later to break in through the back door, it was to find dog food packed away in one of the cabinets and sheets covering all of the furniture.
And somehow, with no memories, Andrew began to build a life.
He spent the next several years pursuing a career as a cop, slowly working his way up until he settled in as a detective, and, bit by bit, Andrew’s life started to find its footing, started to spark meaning.
There was still everything missing from before that morning in Boston, still questions he had about being a vampire–it seemed odd, though he never questioned it, that he could walk in the sun–and with this new life, there were also new gaps in his memory. Sometimes, he would wake up in his house covered in blood with no recollection of the hours before, and by the time he made it into the station, bodies had dropped from an elusive serial killer they started pulling out their hair about.
It became evident fairly quickly that he was the serial killer, though he couldn’t remember the how and the why behind the bodies. He understood that he was killing them for blood, but not why them specifically, and not why he couldn’t remember. He generally got his blood from the morgue or through his contacts at the hospital, and so Andrew expected to be unnerved by this behavior, but he was so accustomed to gaps in his memory that he decided to investigate it on his own, which meant that he began pushing away partners in little ways until each of them left.
He was never prepared for Sam Baker.
When the sergeant assigned her to him twenty years after he’d first woken up in Boston, Andrew was a seasoned detective, they all thought he was somewhere in his 40s, and he knew it was the sergeant’s last straw snapping that threw Sam Baker’s file down on his desk. “You be nice to her,” the sergeant said, “Or I’ll have your head, Levi.”
The next day, Andrew scouted out Sam’s new desk, propped himself against it, and waited for her to wander in. He watched her startle and nearly turn around until she realized he was watching her, and then she marched up to him, all five foot three inches of her. She started to scowl, so he gave her a smile and fished out a coffee cup from behind him.
“Tastes nasty to me, but your coworkers seem to think you’re a straight black kind of person,” he said, and Sam’s scowl stuttered into an eyeroll, which just made him like her even more.
He intended to let her hang around for a few months, give her time to actually learn a thing or two, before he tried to push her away, keep her away from his mess, but then two years had gone by before he realized it and she was holding a gun to his back after watching him buy blood.
And all he could think was that this might ruin their friendship.
He hadn’t realized he’d come to depend on her in his life, but the idea of tomorrow without Sam Baker wasn’t worth it, so Andrew turned around and told her the truth. He expected her to scare for a second before she gathered herself because that was Sam at her core, and she didn’t prove him wrong. In fact, she started asking questions, and then told him she was too hungry to process his answers, so he took her back to his place intending to make her an early breakfast only for her to commandeer his kitchen with a quick, “But you go outside. During the day.”
He had known she would react this way, but he’d still been braced to lose her, and as Andrew settled in to start answering her questions, he felt something like relief sliding through him.
Maybe he didn’t have to do this alone.
Andrew Levi towered at six foot two, but he never used it to his advantage until about two years ago, when he dropped his forearm on her head and pretended to use her as an armrest. Sam retaliated without thinking, jabbing him quickly in the ribs, and didn’t bother with feeling mortified because Andrew was already laughing and flinching away.
Let me be the first to disabuse you of the notion that Andrew and Sam have got any kind of romantic feelings toward each other. Andrew is either ace or gay, I haven’t decide, and Sam is 100000000% in love with her best girl (human) friend. Their story is about friendship and justice and sometimes vampires, and it’s a heck ton of fun. It also gets pretty dark, so like, watch out for that.
And that’s my vampire detective! I could definitely go into more detail and give you the low down on Pendulum and the serial killer gang and Dmitri, but that spoils the fun, so what do you think, based on this? Would Andrew be someone you’d follow into the jaws of death?