Cate: Please welcome Carmen Stefanescu to my special Halloween celebration. Carmen, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Carmen: I 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.
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’ve 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, especially the Internet, meant a new beginning for me. I started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.
Cate: How fascinating. What do you love most about Halloween?
Carmen: In my country we have no Halloween. I mean, we have a tradition, celebrated one month later than your Halloween, on 29th November night, called St. Andrew’s night. St. Andrew’s night is, in some ways, the equivalent of Halloween. It has a lot of traditions and superstitions. Ghosts come out in the human world, wolves speak the human language and people protect themselves against evil with garlic and spells.
I’ve always been attracted and fascinated by everything paranormal, odd. So both your Halloween traditions as well as ours have a certain appeal to me.
Cate: Very cool. I'd never heard of St. Andrew's Night. Have you ever had an unusual experience you couldn’t explain?
Carmen: I had a kind of foreboding before my beloved grandmother died.Or, as a student at University, I dreamed, twice my maternal grandfather. He was dead at that time, and he told me in my dream the grade I was going to get at my next day exam. And it was exactly that very grade! (I was very close to my maternal grandparents.)
Cate: I love when family crosses over to visit in dreams. :) What frightens you the most?
Carmen: Storms and snakes.
Cate: Ever gone on a ghost tour? Or ghost hunting on your own?
Carmen: Never and I don’t think I’ll ever do it. I’m not so brave.
Cate: Any favorite Halloween recipes you’d care to share?
Carmen: Yes, I have a tasty one. It includes garlic, which is a universal remedy against evil. It’s nothing complicated even for inexperienced housewives:
Mayonnaise mixed with crushed garlic (4 – 5 cloves of garlic), 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 2 – 3 tablespoons of tomato paste or ketchup. Mix all the ingredients and you get an excellent dressing for any kind of roast – fish, pork, chicken.
Cate: Love it. :) Tell us about your latest release, and where readers can find it online.
Carmen: It’s a paranormal/ light romance/light horror Shadows of the Past, released by Wild Child Publishing, USA.
Cate: Care to share a blurb or excerpt?
Carmen: 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.
Buy Link: Wild Child Publishing
Buy Link: Barnes & Noble
Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Carmen: I read a small article in a Romanian newspaper about a haunted mountain in Britain. The souls of 2 sinners, a nun and a priest who broke their vows and eloped but were caught and killed, couldn’t find eternal rest. At first I wrote a ballad, and then I thought it wasn’t enough and so the novel came to life.
Cate: Anything else you’d like to share?
Carmen: As a native of Dracula’s country I couldn’t resist the temptation and wrote a novel based on the historical character Vlad the Impaler. It’s called, guess how? Well, you guessed it right: Dracula’s Mistress. Hopefully it will be released until the end of 2015. I signed the contract with the same publisher. To while away the time until its release, read Shadows of the Past. If not, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Cate: Congrats, Carmen! Readers, you’re in for a treat – Carmen has a giveaway for you!
Carmen: I offer a free copy of Shadows of the Past to everyone who leaves a comment here and, important, also joins my blog by Google Friend Connect on my blog page.
Please, leave your email in the comment.
Thank you Cate for hosting me today! I really appreciate it!
Cate: Thanks so much for joining the party, Carmen!
Readers, be sure to check out Carmen's links: