Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Interview with Carmen Stefanescu

Shadows of the Past
Carmen Stefabescu

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? 
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. 

Welcome, Carmen. Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

My name is Carmen Stefanescu. I am a teacher of English and German, and lately an author. I was born and live 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. I survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books. 
            I have dreamed all my life to become a writer, but many of the things I 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 me. I started publishing. Poetry at first and now prose, novels.
             I am married, my husband is a teacher too; we have two grown-up daughters, a grandson and several cats.

What is it about the paranormal that fascinates you so much?

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 only  be my fear of the eternity of death? I don't know. There must be something more beyond this existence here.
So, naturally, I’m fond of paranormal stories. Both reading and writing them. Not  so much vampires, but ghosts, reincarnation, karmic retribution. I believe that our soul is immortal. I do believe in ghosts. I consider them to be wandering spirits who can find no eternal rest, the same as Genevieve couldn't, because they haven’t fulfilled their mission during their existence in flesh and blood on earth. 
            The mystery genre appeals to me, too, and I’ve just finished  a paranormal novel with elements of mystery.

What inspired you to write this book?

I came upon a small article in a Romanian newspaper, some years ago, about a haunted mountain in England. The souls of two sinners, a nun and a priest who broke their vows and eloped, can’t find their rest. The tourists visiting that area sometimes hear agonizing moans during the night. That was all. The moment I put down the newspaper I felt that I had to write about them. This is how The Ballad of the Priest and the Nun came to life, first. Later, I felt it was not enough. I felt Genevieve’s story must be presented in detail. As if the nun herself pleaded with me to tell the world about her fate. And thus I wrote Shadows of the Past.

Please tell us about your latest release.

            "Shadows of the Past" is, according to most reviewers, a truly gripping story about loss and grief, mysteries that go back to Medieval Times and dark powers that push people to commit unspeakable crimes. A story about  boundless love and the power of good magic, a haunting paranormal romance that spans the ages..
            Can Anne save her damaged relationship with her fiancée Neil and, at the same time, help Genevieve her eternal rest?
            It has reached 18 Amazon 5 star reviews, 17 Amazon 4 star reviews.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

I liked writing the whole story, but as you ask this, I think that writing about Genevieve was my favorite part. I have an attraction for tragically evolving characters. I remember waking up in the morning with new ideas buzzing in my mind regarding this heart-rending character.

Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?

 Two of my characters are Wicca and I did a thorough research regarding Wicca beliefs, traditions, meaning. I learned a lot of interesting, thought provoking things about Wiccan people. An interesting thing anyway, be it fate or not, the submission editor at Wild Child Publishing, the one who accepted my manuscript was a Wiccan. And now, among the friendly ladies who read my novel and even hosted me on a tour is another one.
I strongly 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.

Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?

Many of my female characters have something from me. They impersonate my feelings, thoughts. Sometimes actions. It depends.

Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?
            I like to have everything handy: paper, pencils, markers, ballpoint pens. And some background, low playing music, either classical or pop.
            My first drafts are longhand. Only after I finish the manuscript I transfer everything on my PC. I find it easier to make notes on the back of the sheet of paper regarding characters, inclusions, changes

What are your guilty pleasures in life?

             Drinking endless cups of coffee,  and playing computer games – role play games and strategy games.

What can readers expect next from you?

               I already signed the contract with the same publisher, Wild Child Publishing, USA, for my next novel, a paranormal historical. Dracula’s Mistress;  obvious Dracula as I’m  a native of his country, Romania. However this version goes against the grain. You’ll have to read it to find out more.
            A third novel is in the beta readers stage. A paranormal mystery.

Where can readers find you on the web?

            Author, Carmen Stefanescu's  Site:

Twitter      @Carmen_Books

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

            Gladly!  My pleasure.

                                      * * * *
                           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..."
                       * * * *
Thank you for hosting me today! It was a real pleasure. And for your followers and readers a last piece of advice: Get quickly Shadows of the Past and read it! Otherwise, you don't know what you are missing! Ha-ha-ha!


carmens007 said...

Thank you for hosting me!
Best regards from Dracula's country!

Paulette Mahurin said...

Love this author and thank you for featuring her. Can't wait for her next book.