Vampire novelist is ‘Bitten’ by writing bug

March 1, 2013
By

(Courtesy Photo) Novelist Uzuri Wilkerson.

Fans of paranormal fiction are sinking their teeth into a new series of Boston-based vampire novels penned by Uzuri Wilkerson, one of the managers of Harvest Co-Op Market’s South Street location in Jamaica Plain.

The “Bitten” series debuted last summer with “Sweet” and will continue with a sequel this June, Wilkerson said in a Gazette interview. The novels follow the adventures of Celia, a modern-day downtown bartender who gets into a risky love triangle with a vampire and a vampire-hunter.

Wilkerson said the series was inspired by her love of science fiction, a childhood spent watching horror movies with her brother, and her reading of the famous “Twilight” vampire novels.

“I enjoyed [“Twilight”] for the most part, but I said, ‘I can do it,’” Wilkerson recalled.

“Sweet” is the first novel sold by the 29-year-old Roxbury resident, but she has others still unpublished. They include “Chokehold,” a dramatic novel set in the Heath Street section of JP’s Bromley-Heath public housing development. The plot involves a girl whose mother’s boyfriend is “the drug kingpin of the project there,” Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson said that novel’s setting was inspired by times she visited high-school friends who lived in Heath Street, but that they did not have direct experiences with drug crimes there.

While Wilkerson briefly lived on Greenough Avenue in JP and has co-managed the Harvest location for about three years, JP does not play much of a role in “Sweet.” One exception is Wonder Spice Café on Centre Street, which is one of Celia’s favorite restaurants, Wilkerson said.

But there is plenty of action to go around Boston’s neighborhoods, as Celia works near Boston Common and lives in Dorchester.

“One vampire is a doctor who works at Beth Israel. She can only do the night shift,” Wilkerson said.

Celia’s adventures are both sexy and tragic as she gets involved with her vampire boyfriend.

“He drinks blood. He’ll outlive her. She tries not to think of these things,” Wilkerson said.

“Sweet” is often “steamy,” Wilkerson said, and its title came from vampire fiction’s tradition of sexual metaphors.

“I wanted something that has to do with the senses,” she said, and considered the question, “What do you taste like when bitten?”

Celia, it turns out, tastes sweet. But, indicating some upcoming tension, the sequel is titled “Sour.”

Wilkerson said that, as a fan of novel series herself, “You hate the wait” for the next installment. So she aims to get a new book out each year.

“Sweet” is published by Boston-based Aziza Publishing and is available at independent and online bookstores. For more information, see uzurimwilkerson.com.

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