You all have patiently waited to hear about my book (at least, I assume you want to hear about it; that may be hubris on my part) for three days, so here it is in a nutshell—and without giving away too much.
In the prologue we learn a little bit about what makes vampires vampires and we also find out that some of them worked for the government on the Manhattan Project. This explains why the main setting of the book is in Lenoir City, Tennessee (it’s next door to Oak Ridge).
If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that Incarnation Number One—aka the short story—was set in east Tennessee. Why? Most people find the idea of vampires in Tennessee funny, as if it’s not cosmopolitan enough for the undead. Which is kind of ironic, considering that the vampire myth originated in some of the most rural parts of Eastern Europe.
I chose to put my vampires in Tennessee because one of my creative writing teachers admonished us to “write what we know.” I have since learned that many writers subscribe to that idea. That’s why Laurell K. Hamilton’s vampires live in St. Louis; Laurell K. Hamilton lives in St. Louis. I was born in Tennessee, and with the exception of a year or so when I was a toddler, and four years in college, I have lived in Tennessee all my life. So it’s a place I know well.
Anyways, back to the story. The first chapter starts out one year ago in Charleston, SC. Which isn’t a place I’ve ever lived, but I had my honeymoon there, and it is quite possibly the best city in the entire South. You meet Anselm, who is one of two main characters, our romantic male lead, and a Canichmeh vampire. He’s apparently there on vacation (tough work being a vampire). You find out that there is a different kind of vampire on the loose. No one knows where they came from or what they’re up to, but they’ve killed humans, which is worrisome. They are being called Imuechmehah, which simply means others.
Anselm happens to stumble on one of them who has been badly injured. He takes him to a friend and they patch him up and then start asking him questions. Turns out that Ciaran is a decent guy and that his own kind are trying to kill him, apparently because he is too decent. Anselm ends up taking him in, both to protect him and to find out more about the Imuechmehah. This is the catalyst for the storyline in the rest of the book.
In the second chapter we’re brought up to the present day (actually May 2009) and we’re introduced to Kalyn, who is our other main character, our female romantic lead, and human. We find out that vampires live in groups with humans who willingly feed them, and Kalyn, who is just turning sixteen, is about to be officially Accepted into the group; she will now be treated as an adult—and be expected to feed the vampires. Anselm is chosen to be the first person to bite her. This sets up their future relationship.
After this, the book happens. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, because I want there to be some suspense as you’re reading it (because I worked very hard to build suspense; it’s not something which comes to me naturally as a writer), but I will say that something of a silent war breaks out between the two different vampire factions. There’s some killing and kidnapping on both sides, although it’s clear that the Imuechmehah have the upper-hand. The Canichmehah (Anselm, et al) are clearly on the defensive. They don’t even know why they’re being attacked. And their own solid, ancient culture is starting to crack around the edges as things take a turn for the worse from the inside.
So, speaking of vampires, what sort of vampires are the Canichmehah? What can and can’t they do? How are the Imuechmehah different? And how the heck do you pronounce either of those words? Tune in tomorrow, same vampire bat time, same vampire bat channel. Zot!