Thursday, February 20, 2014

To Touch the Sun Book Launch Soon

The poster on my wall says it all!
Well this is pretty exciting. The big day is coming up and Dagda Publishing will be having a Facebook book launch for To Touch the Sun Feb. 25. I'll be popping in as often as I can during the day and am looking forward to meeting people and discussing the novel. And those who attend will have the chance to win a copy of the novel. 

She's on the case!
As I've stated often before, this novel is my baby. I've even taken publicity photos for press releases and I do NOT take photos.

Finding a publisher for it was like finding gold. I've been doing some interviews on it and writing a few guest blog pieces. It's given me a chance to reflect on the story and the various inspirations that went into it. I've been covering that in this blog. 

I remember when I was writing Chicago's Most Wanted: The Top Ten Book of Murders Mobsters, Midway Monsters and Other Windy City Oddities (My first book published in 2005 by Potomac Press). The day I signed the contract for that was the happiest and scariest day of my life. Happiest of course because I was finally going to be published. Scariest because I wasn't sure if I could pull it off, especially since I'd never done anything like that before. Once it was published, and I looked back on the writing of it, I have a lot of good feelings (even though I was going crazy while actually doing it). I guess it's all hindsight.
On the left you'll see Lake Point Tower, home to Narain Khan
It's a bit like that with this book. Slightly different though because I didn't have a contract for it and it was a work of fiction, so there was nothing pressing on me in the way of deadlines. But I remember, once I had fallen in love with it, being very concerned that I'd never find a publisher for it. I really wanted that story out. And as I say, looking back on it, I can see things perhaps I didn't realize as I was writing it. For example, I didn't realize how vital the character of Sophie is to the plot even though she really only appears in a few reminisces. Sophie helped Narain live a relatively normal life (in light of his condition) for decades. When she died, his motivations were colored by trying to retain that normalcy. 

The trenches of World War I
I used World War I as a backdrop for Narain's conversion to vampirism. I was inspired when I read that Albin Grau, producer of the film "Nosferatu" served in Serbia in World War I and heard the locals tell folk tales of vampires. It's what inspired him to produce a vampire movie. Narain left that war a very changed man. But it wasn't until I was writing up a blog entry that I stopped to consider that even if the feral attack hadn't occurred to so drastically alter his life, Narain would probably have returned to his family a very changed man. As most veterans of war do. Whether they wear that change on their sleeve or keep it buried deep inside, there's no way that the violence of war wouldn't change them in some way.

On a more personal note, and this is something I realized shortly after writing it, Narain's family dynamic somewhat mirrors mine. There were four siblings (though we had two and two). There's a wonderful scene in It's A Wonderful Life where Mr. Baily tells a young George, "You were born older." That's how I feel about Narain. He was actually born 12 years before the next child Aziz comes along, 15 before their brother Zaheer and a full 20 before their beloved sister Ujaali. So in some respects, even before he goes to war, he's on his own among the siblings. 

Denny and old time radio
It was such with my siblings. My older brother Dennis was only two years older than my sister Barbara (I came along seven years after Barb, my brother Robert a year after me). Yet from an early age, he was off working on jobs with my dad, an electrical contractor, while the rest of us had more to do with each other. Often, he came home very late at night, whether he was off working late, or with his friends. When I was ten, he had moved out of the house and popped in infrequently. I'd never even been to his apartment. Consequently, I knew very little about him. So while the age between us wasn't as expansive as Narain and his siblings, Dennis was just as apart. And sadly, as Narain was "lost" to his family (though he survived the war), my brother died at the relatively young age of 42. 

It's possible that's why I wrote Narain with so many regrets (and why he feels he needs to see if his sister, who would be in her late 90s, is still alive). He regrets never taking the chance to try to reunite with his family and help them understand what he'd become. It's that stuff that was left unsaid, for whatever reason, that makes loss difficult.

So reflecting on the novel for pieces to publicize it has led me to consider what went into writing it. Some of it done without even thinking about it. Which can be some of the best kind of writing.

And as I say often, I hope people get as much enjoyment out of reading To Touch the Sun as I got out of writing it.

My reaction to finding a publisher.
Visit on Feb. 25 to stop in at the launch on Facebook and say hello. The novel will be available on Amazon for Kindle and paperback format. There have already been some wonderful reviews on Goodreads for it also. 

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