Author of vampire book series visits Darien
Denise M. Baran-Unland
Author Denise M. Baran-Unland
Book signing for Bryony series books
Frugal Muse Books, 7511 Lemont Road, Darien
1-3 p.m. Saturday, April 21
Updated: April 17, 2012 9:17PM
Denise M. Baran-Unland read Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre at age 10, and eagerly consumed other works of literature throughout school. By eighth grade, she was sneak-reading tales like Bram Stoker’s Dracula during classroom time, and that book inspired her love of vampire stories, and likely influenced her debut novel and follow-up books.
“In 2007, I was reading a book of short vampire stories, and wondered if I could write something like this,” said Baran-Unland, “and I had a skeletal idea of a teen-age girl that falls in love with the romanticism that surrounds Victorian vampires. You know, you get ideas, you get tired of them, and they go away. This one didn’t go away.”
Baran-Unland, who lives in Channahon, will sign her books and greet fans on April 21 at Frugal Muse Books in Darien.
Dream or life?
Baran-Unland’s Bryony was published in 2011, a 348-page paperback about a teen-age girl who makes a deal with a vampire to exchange her blood so that she can go back in time as Bryony, his 19th-century love interest and former wife. Or was it all a dream?
The girl seems to shift back and forth from her present 1975 at a small town high school in Michigan, to the century before with its odd foods, clothes, and customs, as she falls deeply in love with pianist John Simons, a man who is incapable of loving her back as a human.
The story is a true page-turner, incorporating many intriguing characters and bits of folklore. It leads to a nail-biting conclusion, a reader not knowing if what is happening is real or a bizarre series of lucid dreams. And, while the end satisfies, it suggests a chilling continuation involving the paranormal.
“I like books with a lot of layers,” said Baran-Unland. “My favorite books are the ones that are so good that I want to read them again, to find things I missed the first time. And that’s what I wanted to write.”
Baran-Unland’s fluid storytelling deftly moves from one time period to the next, incorporating sub-stories about family members and schoolmates. The descriptions of 19th-century life were based on research, and Baran-Unland provides “Works Cited” and “Works Consulted” sections at the back of the book.
“I wanted the time period to ring true,” said Baran-Unland.
Bryony is the first in a series of four books published by Baran-Unland. The others are: Visage, Staked and Before the Blood.
“I wrote drafts of two and three following the first one,” said Baran-Unland. “When I started doing the second one, I saw I had too much story. The story does end in book three, and the fourth is a prequel.”
A companion cookbook
of both ’70s-era and Victorian recipes is being released this spring. A candle line
and a CD of original piano music are optional accompaniment items to the books. The Bryony series is available at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and at bookstores.