Today I am chatting with author Carmen Stefanescu, thank you for taking the time to answer some of my questions Carmen, and for those of you wanting to know more about Carmen’s novel, Shadows of the Past be sure to check out her Book Promo!
1. You are a published author! What made you succeed where others may fail?
Hard to tell. I’m not self published, and it took me a long time and renewed determination with each rejection letter I received from publishers. Also willingness to rewrite, reword, delete, “kill” characters or create new ones, as the assigned lady editor told me to do, afterthey accepted the manuscript.
2. Where does your inspiration come from?
I read a lot and learn from other writers. I also think, in my humble opinion, that writing, whatever its influences, comes naturally and as a result of accumulating life experiences. We don’t create from nothing. Life touches us and our writing reflects this. So, life is my most valuable source of inspiration, my muse whispering into my ear.
3. What attracts you to your genre?
I am attracted by paranormal stories. Both reading, and writing them. Not vampires, but ghosts, reincarnation, karmic retribution. I believe that our soul’s immortal. Should it be my fear of the eternity of nothingness? May be! I can’t really say. I do believe in ghosts. I consider them to be wandering spirits who can find no eternal rest because they haven’t fulfilled their mission during their existence in flesh and blood on earth. This happens to Genevieve, one of the main characters in Shadows of the Past. The mystery genre appeals to me, too, and I’ve written a paranormal novel with elements of mystery.
4. Which one of your characters do you most identify with? Why?
Well, I identify myself with most of my female characters. Each and every one of them has a bit of myself. Desires, dreams, disappointments, failures, expectations,feelings and thoughts. Sometimes, things I did or I’d have liked to do. I often interject real facts into my stories.
5. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I can’t really say. I loved to read all my life. Each book was an additional brick in my conscience wall and contributed to my formation. I grew up reading classical literature and detective stories. An eclectic mix. As a teenager I dreamed to become a writer like Agatha Christie. Later, I admired Somerset Maugham and Thomas Hardy. Catherine Cookson and Stephen King too. I think these are my “gurus” in a way of speaking.
6. Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My editor and mentor, Shawn Howen, a dedicated and talented writer too. She gave me a lot of good advice, and taught me much, especially about marketing. And also my publisher Marci Baun.
7. How do you react to a bad review?
You know, that’s tough. The very first thing that comes to my mind regarding a bad review is the Latin maxim : De gustibus non est disputandum, “In matters of taste, there can be no disputes.” A bad review, at first, floors me. Then I remember what my editor and mentor taught me. I read again all my 5 and 4 stars reviews, and think that not everyone will enjoy my story. Take my word. It works! In fact, there’s a bit of controversy on Shadows of the Past. On the one hand, there are people accusing me of trying to drive people away from faith, as the story is focused on a girl that goes to a monastery and then falls in love with the wrong person, on the other hand, there are others who object and say God and church are mentioned too many times in the story, and consider it a pitch on religion to attract people to the church. The two different groups are mistaken. Both. It’s fiction and has nothing to do with pushing people towards any faith or away from it.
8. What advice would you have for someone who is just starting out?
Follow your dream! Read, write. Read and write. Be civil even towards publishers who reject your manuscript. If they take the time to write you an explanation, be courteous and thank them. Swallow the bitter tears of rejection and go on querying. Never give up! In the end, your dream must come true. It’s what happened to me!
9. Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely not! If you aren’t the next J K Rowling, Dan Brown or Stephen King give up dreams of a career as a writer. I mean something that earns you money for a decent living. Now that many people choose to go self-publishing, it’s difficult to rely only on writing as a career. My opinion. I am a teacher of English and German in my country, Romania. This is my career.
10. What do we have to look forward to in the future?
Except Shadows of the Past, my paranormal romance released in 2012 by Wild Child Publishing, USA, I have finished two novels. Both paranormals.
One is historical – Dracula’s Mistress, (big grin). Living in Dracula’s country, I couldn’t resist the temptation to write a book on this topic. Anyway, my novel goes against the grain. You’ll have to wait a bit though, till its release, to see why I’m saying this. I already signed the contract with the same publishing house, Wild Child Publishing, as for Shadows of the Past. The second novel I’ve finished, in my opinion a paranormal light mystery, is in the betas stage for the moment.
Thanks again for taking the time to talk to us today Carmen!
Thank you for hosting me today! I really appreciate it.
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.
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Trailer: Shadows of the Past