Carmen Stefanescu has been with City Lights Press since 2017 and resides in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula. Currently, Stefanescu has one book out, Dracula’s Mistress. The second book in the series, Dracula’s Prodigy is set to be released April 27th.City Lights Press: Growing up, did you always know you wanted to write?
Carmen Stefanescu: As a child, I dreamed to be a writer like Agatha Christie. However, real writing, not occasional stories or poems in Romanian, came later in my life. My road along the path of writing, in English, started, in fact, with poetry. I won a silver cup for poetry and this triggered in me a desire to fulfill my dream- to become an author. Thus, I turned to writing long fiction. Though there are elements of mystery in my fiction, like in my mentor’s, my main focus is on paranormal, reincarnation, past life.
CLP: What is your favorite genre to read?
CS: I read almost anything in fiction, my favorites being thrillers, ghost stories, detective stories.
CLP: Are there any authors that inspire you?
CS: As I mentioned before, Agatha Christie was my first mentor and, later, Catherine Cookson and Thomas Hardy with their belief in fate and tragic characters, and Stephen King with his peerless horror elements.
CLP: What does your writing space look like?
CS: I write longhand so I have at hand pencils, a lot of writing paper, dictionaries of all kinds.
CLP: So, what is an average day like for you?
CS: Well, I’m not very organized or as much as I’d like to be. In the morning, after feeding our four legged “kids,” the cats and a dog, I go to my writing room, “the muse’s den” I call it and reread the previous day writing. It’s a warm up. It gets me back in the mood of the story, or even new ides spark. I don’t have a limit of words. Some days there are up to ten pages, other days just two or three.
CLP: Do you ever put yourself or anyone you know into your characters?
CS: Quite often. Many of the women characters in my books have something from me. They say things I say or I believe in. Some have traits or even names of women dear to me – my mother, grandmother, my daughters, aunts, friends. After all, life is the best source of inspiration, isn’t it?
CLP: You have two daughters, do they read your books/poems?
CS: Always. They are my first and best supporters. My husband can’t speak English and he only listens to summaries of what I write. Sometimes they contribute with a suggestion, an idea. But you know how it goes, most families try to be supportive even when your writing isn’t honed to perfection.
CLP: Besides writing what are some other hobbies you have?
CS: First and foremost reading. I read in all three languages I speak –Romanian, English and German. Then, one hobby that came later, after our country went out of the Iron Curtain and the Internet opened new paths to all Romanians, playing PC games. I’m worse than my pupils.
CLP: How did you come up with the idea for Dracula’s Mistress?
CS: There are many books having Dracula/Vlad the Impaler as main character. All written by foreigners. All depict him as a vampire. In his and my native country, he is considered a hero, a cruel but just man. So I thought why not a novel about him written by someone from his country? The book is strong on historical elements mixed with a tinge of romance and elements of paranormal. Customs and traditions specific to the place are interwoven along the story, which, I think, give it an original view on those times and people.
CLP: What can we expect from Dracula’s Prodigy?
CS: Dracula’s Prodigy is set in present day times USA and Romania, five hundred years later. Not aware she’s a descendant of the most infamous character of the Middle Ages– Dracula, fearful secrets disrupt Linda’s life that is already a rollercoaster that has no more breaks. Is Jody really trying to help her or is she another evil envoy of the past?
Get your copy of Dracula’s Mistress by Carmen Stefanescu today and keep your eyes out for Dracula’s Prodigy on April 27th.