I’ve been friends with Denyse for a long time. Back when were both dreaming of breaking into publishing and revealing our literary dreams to each other through pen pal-ing.
She’s been kind enough to allow me a few moments on her site to announce the publication of Ujaali, book 2 in the Chicago Vampire Series. I’m pretty excited about it, not only because the publication of a book can be exciting but because I never expected to have a book one in a vampire series let alone book 2.
Last year To Touch the Sun, book 1 was published after quite a curious start years before. I was chasing after the interest of an agent that I’d been in cordial contact with. Noticing on the agency website that they represented a vampire series, I decided to try my hand at that genre. While I enjoyed reading the genre and watching the films, I had no desire to write a novel. It was all an experiment based on two words: Vampire chef.
Cut to “the End”: After a lot of fiddling I came up with Narain Khan and his story as detailed in To Touch the Sun (TTTS).
Narain Khan, a young man from India, goes to fight in France during WWI hoping to study the European cuisine after the war. It’s his dream to become a famous chef. Falling to shrapnel during a push across No Man’s Land, later that night, he’s attacked by feral vampires that scavenge battlefields. He awakens as a sentient vampire, able to move about in society, with some restrictions. After a few years he meets a woman named Sophie and early on they discover that he can feed off her without her succumbing to vampirism. So with her help, he’s able to achieve his dream. The novel opens in present day Chicago with Narain reaching a crossroads. Sophie’s recent death has taken away his love and his food source. While it needn’t be fatal, Narain had always found hunting his sustenance a reprehensible act. But if he doesn’t feed, his body will make the decision for him and the last thing he as a popular chef and restaurateur and his normal business partner Dom Amato need is for him to lose control. Adding to his stress is his attraction to microbiologist Cassie Lambert who has a curious connection to his past, as well as the emergence of a ghost from his days in the war. Captain Reginald Jameson was a sadist when he commanded the troops in the trenches of WWI. Having also succumbed to the vampire condition, he’s infinitely more dangerous. He’s come to Chicago to chase down a mutant vampire of his own making and the presence of them both is a threat to Cassie. A threat from which Narain is uncertain he can protect her.
Once I had it all figured out, I fell in love with this novel.
The woman who had no desire to write a vampire novel now can’t stop writing the stories. I’ve since written books 3 and 4 and a spin off featuring paranormal investigators that appear in #3. In fact, the idea for Ujaali came upon me as I was writing the epilogue to TTTS.
It all flowed like water.
They say timing is everything and I guess mine was off. The agent liked the story idea I verbally pitched him at a convention and told me to send him a proposal when the novel was finished. By the time I was able to send him the proposal however I was told he’d left the agency (I’d find out later that he left the business altogether).
So I hunted for an agent or publisher for TTTS: the novel I was now obsessed with getting published. During this time I also saw the publication of Vampires Most Wanted: The Top Ten Book of Bloodthirsty, Stake-wielding Slayers and Other Undead Oddities, the second book I’ve written for Potomac Publishers’ nonfiction Most Wanted Series.
Then in 2013 came Dagda Publishers an indie publisher located in Nottingham, England. They were interested in TTTS and published it in 2014.
In October 2015, Ujaali, book 2 was released. Out of the books in the series that I’ve finished so far, I think Ujaali is my favorite. Partly, because it was unexpected. But also because of themes I bring up in the novel. With the series as a whole I’ve tried to put a new spin on the genre and I think that’s particularly evident in 2 in which Narain finds himself tested again, this time in a much more personal way and while he’s still slightly reeling from events of TTTS.
Not to give too much away, cause there are some surprises, in Ujaali, Narain finds his life finally getting back on track when the consequences of a careless act committed in anger and misery decades before come back to haunt him. The situation leads him to lie to Dom Amato who he’s never lied to, and to do the unthinkable to Cassie. At last to help the victims of his careless act he must turn to his greatest nemesis who is only too happy “to help” for a price.
It was fascinating to explore this dark side to Narain as well as his relationship to the other characters. Another reason the project excited me. My hope of course is that it will excite the reader as well.
Both TTTS and Ujaali can be found in paperback and Kindle formats at Amazon.
People can visit my Amazon Author Page. They can also visit and like the Chicago Vampire Series Facebook Page, where I hope to run contests occasionally for people to win free books. They can follow me on Twitter @laura_enright and visit my Website. And book trailers and chapter readings can be found at my YouTube channel.
And thanks Denyse for allowing me this chance to tell people about my vampires. (You are most welcome, Laura!!)