It is a pleasure to have her on my blog. Today we are starting with an interview that I think you will find very interesting...
1. What about writing life and being an author took you by surprise?
How much else it involves. I found you have to be open with constructive criticism, yet stay true to your style of writing. I really thought I’d just write a story and be done with it, but there’s a lot more to do than I ever dreamed. Quite a learning experience with editors, websites, blogs, promoting, etc. It can be so frustrating at times, but I love it and I can’t stop.
2. You live in Romania. Can you tell us how this influenced your writing?
Before 1989, we had no Internet and the only thing all the Romanian newspapers or the two hour a day TV program did, was the glorification of communism and of the 'great leader'. Just talking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble. These things didn't help me, except the fact that I read, fervently, in Romanian, English and German. Reading meant a way of escape the grim reality. This extensive reading was, I think, an incentive for my mind, stimulating my own creativity. Everything I wrote remained just drawer projects. After the fall of the dictatorship, things started to change, a bit. Information came on various channels. The Internet became available for me, too, which meant the opening of a door to a new world. And I started on the steep, unknown but much dreamed of publishing path.
3. Why don’t you write and publish in your language, Romanian, and your country Romania?
As a teacher of English, and passionate about literature, I found it a challenge writing in English and finding my way to publication abroad. No publisher would have published Shadows of the Past, a paranormal/light romance/light historical/light horror, in another language in my own country. I didn’t want to follow the path of self-publishing, a much convenient and perhaps easier one in some respects. I wanted the opinion of professionals regarding my writing. If it had any value. It seems it has, as it was accepted by a professional publisher, even if it’s a small press.
4. How and when did you decide that you’d like to publish your book?
The moment I wrote the words The End on the manuscript I was determined that Genevieve's heartbreaking story must be shared with the other people.
5. In your book ‘Shadows of the Past’, Wiccan people and their practices are beautifully etched. Do you have personal connections with them? Any personal experience with such practice, if so then please share.
Not at all. I only read and did a thorough research about Wicca and their beliefs. An interesting thing anyway, be it fate or not, the submission editor, the one who accepted the manuscript was a Wiccan. I believe in the freedom of other people's beliefs and as long as they harm no one, I respect them. "An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will" as the Wicca will say.
6. What do you love most about writing?
I love when readers can relate to my characters.Nothing makes me happier than someone saying my characters felt like friends – or that they laughed, cried with my characters along the way.
7. How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
Well, I've always been fond of reading and watching everything linked to paranormal phenomena: books, documentaries, feature movies, (Ghost with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze being my favorite). I am fascinated by and believe in reincarnation, past lives, ghosts and I think that when our soul leaves the body it's not lost in the Universe. Could it be only my fear of the eternity of death? I don't know. There must be something more beyond this existence here.
8. Tell us a bit about Shadows of the Past, without revealing too much.
Shadows of the Pastis a paranormal/light romance/light horror/light historical/light mystery - so a bit for everyone. No vampires, though I live in Dracula’s country. It is a compelling story about love, hatred and the healing power of endless love and good magic. The story of two women living in different times but facing similar threats.
9. What is your next writing project?
My novel Dracula's Mistress is a paranormal novel, a historical one this time. The main focus is on Vlad III Basarab. As an inhabitant of his native places, I think my book brings a fresh approach, maybe an exotic one, to this controversial historical character, Vlad the Impaler, who has transcended culture, language, and generations to become the legendary Dracula, a tragic, night-dwelling specter. The infamous creature, one of the most terrifying characters ever created in literature.
I know that there are many novels depicting him as the wicked vampire. All are written by foreigners. So, why not a novel written by one of his country people? I dare say that my novel goes against the grain. But you'll have to read it to judge if I am right. I already signed the contract with the same publishing house, Wild Child Publishing.
And I have already finished and started sending queries for a paranormal/light mystery.
10. Do you have a message for my blog’s followers?
A last piece of advice: Get quickly Shadows of the Past and read it! If not, you don't know what you are missing!
Thank you for hosting me today! I really appreciate it, Susan.
My pleasure, Carmen. It was an honour to have you on board!
Publish date: 4thDecember 2012
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing
Genre: paranormal/light romance/light horror.
Anne's relationship with her boyfriend Neil has disintegrated. After a two-year separation, they pack for a week vacation in hopes of reconciling. But fate has other plans for them.
The discovery of a bejeweled cross and ancient human bones opens a door to a new and frightening world--one where the ghost of a medieval nun named Genevieve will not let Anne rest. This new world threatens not only to ruin Anne and Neil's vacation but to end all hopes of reconciliation as Anne feels compelled to help free Genevieve's soul from its torment.
Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve find her eternal rest?
A touching, compelling story of tragedy, loss and the power of endless love and good magic.
The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love.
No sooner had Andrew swung off his horse and tied the reins of both horses to a tree than Genevieve, managing to break out of her petrified state, hurried from behind the gates.
A warm smile brightened his face upon seeing her. His smile melted away. Something about her expression must have warned him all wasn't well. His gaze, worried and questioning, lingered on her face.
"What's wrong, my darling? Have you changed your mind? Why are you here by the gate? I thought I’d find you in the old man's house? Someone could have seen you and alerted the Abbess," he said.
He pulled an ivory wood anemone from his saddlebag and gave it to Genevieve. "I picked this along the way. It looks like you: pretty and delicate.”
She heaved a sigh and accepted the flower. "Oh, Andrew, how sweet of you." She managed a smile.
"Come, we should leave at once," she said and glanced nervously over her shoulder. "Something terrible happened after you left for town. I think the Abbess found out about us. Our meeting in Uncle Ryan's cabin is no longer a secret. We have been overheard. For all I know someone spies on us even as we speak. I think the Abbess, or one of her 'friends,' is hovering somewhere nearby and listening to every word."
Andrew pulled her into his arms and tightened her in his embrace. "Calm down, please. Tell me what’s wrong."
"No, please, let's leave. There's danger all around us. I know what I'm saying."
“Then you can tell me what happened along the way." Andrew took hold of her hand as if trying to instill courage and confidence in her. He untied the reins of the horse he'd brought for her. Placing a tender kiss on her forehead, he helped Genevieve up and then swung himself into the saddle. He turned his head as if to hide the worried frown across his face. "A scorned woman is worse than an unleashed hurricane," he said. Then he addressed Genevieve, "We'll follow the most direct route through the forest."
The forest. The very cursed forest. The main reason for the tragedy in her family.
He nodded, saying, "Don't worry. We’re together. Have faith my love." He led the way into the forest.
Genevieve wrapped the dark mantle covering her shoulders more tightly around her and swallowed her fears as they began the cautious ride through the silent forest, through the silent night, enveloped by their own silent guilt.
Tears welled in Anne's eyes, blurring her vision. She couldn’t explain them, or the sudden sadness seeping into her heart. This should’ve been a moment of happiness or, at least, contentment. She was with Neil again, and the outcome of their trip together should, very likely, bring their reconciliation. Why then did she seem detached from where she stood?
Anne shivered. Why the deep feeling of having seen this place, this forest before? And why the eerie sensation of being present here only in the body, while her mind was far away?
Away from the forest.
Away from Neil, the man who'd betrayed her trust and her love.
An onrush of sensations unfamiliar to her followed. Dizziness and a malevolent feeling of unreality suffocated her.
Anne edged cautiously closer to the rim of the bare cliff. Her foot tapped the edge. It seemed solid. She stared into the darkness of the abyss at her feet. It echoed the shadows in her heart. An unusual curiosity took hold of her. Should she step ahead? What was down there? Other human bones? Another mystery? The presence of evil, creeping up and enveloping her, became almost palpable. The vines of fog folded around her, dragging her to the depth. Her throat turned dry, and she gasped for air.
Megan's face contorted, the voice no longer pleasant. A hoarse gurgle, spluttering distorted words, "Yes, come... I'm waiting... I've been waiting for you for such a long time..."
Carmen Stefanescu was born in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble - the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.
Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books.
She has dreamed all her life to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote during those years remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989 and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.
Carmen Stefanescu's Site:
Buy Link: Wild Child Publishing
Buy Link: Amazon
Buy Link: Barnes & Noble
Trailer: Shadows of the Past