Robert Liparulo has splashed into the YA fiction market with his highly successful Dreamhouse Kings series which launched with House of Dark Shadows and Watcher in the Woods. His latest instalment, Gatekeepers, finds Xander and David desperately searching for their mum while the evil Taksidian thwarts their every move!
Thanks, Bob, for giving us a special insight into the tenacious and impetuous, David King!
Brief physical description
David is a pretty typical 12-year-old. He’s shed the baby fat and hasn’t quite reached that lanky teenage state. He eats whatever he wants, but his youthful metabolism (oh, how I long for those days) and time practicing soccer keeps him fit. He has dark hair, straight and a little long. Hazel eyes, like his mom.
Your inspiration for the character
I didn’t realize it until I finished House of Dark Shadows, but David is exactly who I was at that age: inquisitive and fairly adventurous; afraid of dangers, but willing to try new and wild things anyway. He knows himself and is comfortable in his own skin. At the same time, he’s caught between the innocence of his nine-year-old sister and the rebelliousness of his 15-year-old brother, so he exhibits a bit of both. It was actually my mother who pointed out how similar David’s behavior is to the way mine was. She was surprised when I told her I hadn’t consciously written myself into the story in the character of David.
My eleven-year-old son, Anthony, is very similar to David, as well. He’s strong willed, very caring about people, highly adventurous. But I try not to model my characters after family members. Most of the main characters in my books—certainly these books—go through terribly tough situations. They’re put in grave danger and are often roughed up quite a bit. I grow so attached to them, my heart sometimes aches while I’m writing these scenes, and for a long time afterward. I mean, it really hurts. If I built my family members into these characters, I’d be even more attached and protective; I don’t think I’d be able to write those frightening, painful scenes at all.
Actor who might resemble David
When I wrote the first two books, I didn’t have anybody in mind. Then an actor friend—Slade Pearce, who starred in Air Buddies, Yours Mine and Ours, and the TV series October Road—said , “Hey, I want to play David!” Since then, whenever I’m writing about David, it’s hard not to think of Slade. He just turned thirteen, and I keep telling him that at Hollywood’s snail pace, he’s going to be too old for David—if the Dreamhouse Kings ever gets made into a movie. I’m trying to convince him that he’d really fit the role of Xander, the older brother. I just hope Slade’s not old enough to play Dad before the cameras roll.
Strengths and weaknesses
His age and temperament lets him understand his parents’ point of view, as well as his brother's, so he’s often the mediator between them. However, too often he’ll let Xander, whom he idolizes, convince him to do something his conscience tells him not to do. Also, his adventurous spirit sometimes gets the best of him, and he leaps without looking (or thinking). In House of Dark Shadows, for instance, he wants to experience time travel, the way Xander did—even though his brother’s going back to the Roman Colosseum almost ended tragically. So he jumps through one of the portals, smack into the middle of three hungry tigers.
The most endearing aspect of David, which is both a strength and a potential weakness, is his heart. He truly loves people. He cares about them, even people he doesn’t know. As Toria says in Gatekeepers, “He’s sad when people get hurt on TV.” It drives him to help people, when he can, as he did in Watcher, risking his own life to save the little girl from a German tank. But it also makes him emotional, which he sometimes acts on, when logic favors prudence. As the story progresses, we learn that David’s sensitivity is crucial to fulfilling their purpose in the house.
Quirk (if any)
I’m not sure if it falls under the category of quirkiness, but David likes to talk to his brother
at night, after they’ve been in bed a while and should be sleeping. It’s his way of processing the events of the day (which, for him in that house, are usually chaotic and stressful) and prepare for the next day. He’ll even wake Xander to get his nighttime-chat fix. It’s something I used to do with my older brother.
More quirky is what he does when he’s stressed. His father had once said that getting the family together for dinner was a sort of tether to the important things in life, especially in turbulent times. It was like “backstroking through the day’s travails.” When David had asked what that meant, Dad had said, “It means staying calm when troubles hit.” Since then, David sometimes rotates his arms as though he were backstroking to remind himself not to get too freaked out. He finds it’s a little more difficult to do with the broken arm he sustains in Watcher, but he still does it.
Background to the story
The King family moves to a small town in northern California, so Dad could take a job as principal of the local middle and high school. They move into a run-down Victorian home, where they find a hidden hallway of doors.
Each door leads to a portal to a different time in history. Trouble is, not only can they go from the house to the past, people from the past can come through into their house. Someone does—and kidnaps Mom, taking her into some unknown place in the past. The Kings—primarily David and Xander—begin a quest for Mom, which takes them to many dangerous and incredible places throughout time. We slowly learn that the family is in the house for a very specific purpose and they must do much more than “simply” find their mother.
Fantastic, Bob ~ thanks so much for revealing more about David - what a great character.
Bob will be spotlighting another of his characters at Relz Reviewz to coincide with the next DHK book, Timescape, when it releases in July, 2009 and my readers get to choose which character it will be!
Who would you like spotlighted? Vote on Xander, Toria, Dad,Taksidian, Jess, Keal, Mom or Nana by posting a comment here and enter the monster giveaway at the same time!
Monster Giveaway ~ exclusive to Relz Reviewz
Thanks to Bob's generosity we have cooked up an amazing giveaway that you don't want to miss! Tell your friends and family about this one and go for it!
Firstly, the prize:~
- A set of all three DHK books ~ signed and personalised by Bob
- DHK T-Shirt
- A set of Bob's adult thrillers, Comes A Horseman, Germ & Deadfall ~ signed and personalised by Bob
- Aussie Gift Pack from me ~ 2009 Australian Wildlife Calendar, Aussie Tea Towel & Aussie Cap
Secondly, how to enter. Gain one entry for doing each of the following, on or before Sunday 15th February:~
So if you do all four, you have four chances to win!
- Post a comment here telling me which DHK character you would like spotlighted when Timescape releases in July, 09
- Answer one of Bob's trivia questions, found here, mentioning Relz Reviewz
- Post a comment on any of Bob's blog posts, mentioning Relz Reviewz
- Send Bob a "Dream the Scene" scene, details here, and yep, you guessed it, mention Relz Reviewz!