1 Mar 2013

WW4BB Presents: My Interview With Carmen Stefanescu!

Posted by Amanda Masters on 10:05:00 am

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.

English teacher 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 dreamt 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.


My Review of Shadows of The Past 

 

This book was amazing! I don't usually read books that aren't YA books anymore but occasionally I come across one that sparks my interest like this one did.The author Carmen Stefanescu did a amazing job on describing people and places and I felt like I was in the story from start to finish. I loved all the historical elements to the story and all the attention to detail that Carmen puts into the story especially when it came to the wiccan people and their practices. As a wiccan myself I really appreciated this aspect.I also loved the villain in the story I always say you can't have a good story without an good villain and wow I wanted to run...lol...I best part though was the tremendous love felt throughout the whole book that through all the tragic loss and pain there was still love.

Anne and her husband Neil are trying to rekindle their romance with a week long vacation and some hiking when they get lost in the woods. The woods are spooky and Anne begins to have dreams and visions of a woman who looks very much like her and leads them deeper into the forest. They soon learn that this may be the tragic restless spirit of Genevieve a nun from the local Abby with a most tragic and lost past and who is still being chased by the one thing she feared most. Can they save her and themselves before it is to late?

The book goes back and forth from the past to the present which in some books I have found annoying but quite enjoyed in this book. I was a little confused for maybe the first two chapters but quickly learned what all the back and forth meant. Genevieve quickly became my favorite character and I was hooked on her heartbreaking story! I just couldn't put the book down! I highly recommend this book to one and all! `


 My Interview

 

 Over the over the last month I have gotten to not only interview but gotten to know the wonderful Carmen Stefanescu. She is not only a wonderful writer but has become a great friend. Carmen created this world of historical beauty and intrigue of Shadows of the Past that touched our hearts and warmed our lives.

The book is beautiful and heartwarming, it brings everyone to its knees at the thought of loves lost and won and battles fought in the name of them. A truly epic tale!

I loved the book. It will be one of those books I will read over and over again through the years.

 Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I 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.     I’ve been writing since I was a student as reading and writing have been an intricate part of my life. Teacher of English and German in my native country and mother of two daughters, I survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books.

I have dreamt 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. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.


Q: Can you please tell us a little about your book and what inspired you write it?
    
Shadows of the Past is the story of Genevieve and Anne. Jumping from past to present and back, the story focuses on the lows and highs of the two, alternatively revealing the hardships, passion, truth or betrayal they meet. Their destinies seem to weave together, although they live in different epochs. Genevieve, from England around 1450, is torn between her sacred vows to God and her doomed love for Andrew the nuns’ priest. Anne, a well-to-do young English businesswoman in present day times, is trapped within a difficult mission - on the one hand she is desperately trying to rebuild her broken relationship with her former fiance, Neil, and, on the other hand she is drawn to fulfill Genevieve’s mute plea.

Q: Who was your favorite character and why?

Most people who read the novel say they feel connected to Genevieve and her heartbreaking story. For me, Old Bertha or Jennifer is the favorite.  A wise, insightful woman with a deep understanding and caring for everything that means humanity, turning a blind eye to the intolerance and prejudice many of her narrow-minded neighbors openly spit to her face.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

There’s something of my hurt and my success in each page as I share a piece of who I am when I write.  So, my characters are a combination of both imaginary and real people. This is what makes them credible, life-like, I think. If you want an example, Aunt Megan, Anne's aunt in Shadows of the Past is a portrayal of my mother's sister. A friendly, warm hearted person who, having no kids of her own, considered me as her daughter.

Q: What do you love and hate most about being an author?

Well, 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.

What I hate is the fact that instead of writing another story I now spend all my free time advertising my book. In the end, it's understandable if we consider the endless number of books released everyday; it seems I can't have any other choice.

Q: What is your favorite book?

A difficult question as I have many favorite authors and books. From the classics I should mention: Thomas Hardy with his Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Eminescu, the Romanian national poet. Modern time writers: Catherine Cookson and Stephen King. The works of fiction that awed and transported me the most powerfully were It and The Shining. They are the type of paranormal/horror stories with a strong psychological emphasis, I would have myself liked to write.

Q: When you are not writing what is it you do to unwind? Any Hobbies?

Except reading, my first and most favorite hobby, I also like to play computer games. Though I'm not a teenager (I wish I were), I am fond of Role Play games! I always select the Wizard who has the utmost power to defeat enemies!

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and what kind of tips would you pass on to make the journey easier for other writers?

Writing Shadows of the Past wasn't hard, though for details regarding Medieval England, especially life in monasteries, I had to do a thorough research. The same as I did for Wicca. What Wicca means and what do Wiccans do and what their view on existence is. I am not a judgmental person and I think we are born to be free, not to be constrained within the boundaries of this or that religion. I respect the other people's faith, beliefs. As about tips for aspiring writers, what can I say? Follow your dream! Read, write. Read and write. Swallow the bitter tears of rejection and go on querying. Be civil, good-mannered even towards editors who reject your manuscript. If they take the time to write you an explanation, be courteous and thank them. Never give up! In the end your dream will come true. It's what happened to me!

Q: What are you working on at the moment / next?

I’ve recently finished my second novel. A historical paranormal. Dracula's Mistress. It’s something linked to Vlad the Imapaler’s life. So again, the Middle Ages, as I have always found this time period fascinating. This time the setting is Walachia, present-day Romania. There are so many books on Vlad, written by foreigners who focus on the “vampire” idea, and I think it’s time for one of his country people to show what historical, political and social circumstances led to his being nicknamed Dracula. My submission was accepted by the publisher I'd sent it to, and I already signed the contract. Dracula's Mistress goes “against the grain”; it is the first novel to present the prince as a real human being - with his good parts and his faults - not as the infamous vampire.

Q: Thank you so much for your interview, Carmen. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and where everyone can buy your book?

I thank you for hosting my interview on your page within my book tour and for reading and reviewing my novel. Here are the links to my pages and where the book can be found. And as a joke, my advice, "Buy and read the book, please! You don't know what you are missing."

Author, Carmen Stefanescu's Site: http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/
Buy Link: Amazon

Buy Link: Barnes & Noble 

Find her on Goodreads:

5 comments:

What a lovely Interview!!! Carmen is so inspiring... Amanda Good job. Congratulations!!!

Thanks so much Ankita! she sure is! Carmen was such a pleasure to work with and I hope to do much more with her!

Carmen Rocks!! She is such a sweet person and I am so looking forward reading Dracula's Mistress. Thank you for doing this interview! =-)

Thank you all, dear ladies for your nice words!
And thank you Amanda for hosting me and becoming my friend!
Carmen

Liss

your totally right Carmen does Rock....lol...and I too look forward to reading her next book!

Carmen

The hosting went so well over 400 people in all to the blog yesterday that's more then when I did Lauren's interview!

I couldn't help but become your friend your Carmen your such a bright and beautiful soul and I was but captured by the light as I am sure so many others are. Blessings My Friend

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