Sunday, December 29, 2013

Shadows of the Past by Carmen Stefanescu: Character Interview, Tens List and Excerpt



from Shadows of the Past


Where do you dream of traveling to and why? 

       I would like to visit my author's country, Romania. I've heard a lot of things. Sometimes controversial ones and it would be interesting to see where Carmen grew up. I understand it is also called Dracula's country. Hm! Interesting, isn't it? I can't imagine anyone else being more cruel and vicious than Sister Clementa, my Abbess was.

Who is your favorite author?

        Oh, no need to ask. Carmen Stefanescu. Without her I wouldn't be your guest today and answer your friendly questions.

What do you think makes a good story? 

        I agree with my author that a good story is the one where the readers regret, when they turn the last page, that it ended so fast; a good story is the one where the readers can imagine they are like one of the characters; a good story makes the readers cry and laugh with its characters. The more the characters suffer the more the readers are involved emotionally.

What books have most influenced your life?

        It shows you haven't read Shadows of the Past.

HA-Ha. It's obvious: The Bestiary and the Leech Book. The very books on which old Bertha taught me everything she knew.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

        You know, I've never thought about this at that time. During the Middle Ages girls had no 'career'. Their only 'future' was a husband. And they kept fingers crossed for him to be, at least, a kind man.

        I never thought I would become a nun. If the cursed forest hadn't turned my father into an evil person, things might have been different. For me and my whole family.

What are you passionate about these days?

        I look over Carmen's shoulder and try to understand the big luminous frame she keeps looking into all day long. She says it's called computer. I don't know how anyone can spend so much time glued to the chair, punching at some letters, and doing all kind of odd things. She promises she'll teach me how to play some games on it. I am fascinated by the many things you, the people of these modern times, can do just pushing some buttons.

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?

        Well. (Sigh!)  First to my mother. If I hadn't left home, that unfortunate day, to find old Bertha, perhaps things would have taken another turn. You have to read the book to see what happened.

        And then to Andrew. I was his curse, it seems. Or was it the other way round? I don't know. Only the readers can decide

Who should play you in a film? 

        I'm not a choosy person but my author says she would like Jordana Spiro, who plays in The Mob Doctor series, to have my part. She looks frail but is a very determined character. Yes, I would love to see the book screened one day.

What makes you happy?

        Well, difficult to say. As a character in a book, the fact that readers most often say they can relate to me, or enjoy my evolution within the story gives me pleasure. They all feel sympathy for the predicament I had to suffer because of the prejudice and attitude of people towards me in those times. So, readers saying they like me makes me happy.

What one word best describes you? 



When Anne and Neil leave on a one-week holiday hoping to reconcile after a two-year separation, little do they know that destiny has other plans for them. Their discovery of human bones and a bejeweled cross in the hollow of a tree open the door to the supernatural realm and the anguished life of Genevieve, a nun from medieval England.

Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve 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.

         "Come, we should leave at once," she said and glanced nervously over her shoulder. "Something terrible happened after you left for town. I think the Abbess found out about us. Our meeting in Uncle Ryan's cabin is no longer a secret. We have been overheard. For all I know someone spies on us even as we speak. I think the Abbess, or one of her 'friends,' is hovering somewhere nearby and listening to every word."
Andrew pulled Genevieve to his chest. "Do you regret you've come with me?"
Passion smothered Genevieve's doubt and guilt. "Never," she answered, aware of her body's response to his touch, and she succumbed to his embrace.
Calming the gnawing unease in her mind and the thought of Sister Dominica guessing she was the dough of a sinner, Genevieve repeated, "Never."
With her eyes closed and their bodies touching she became, for the very first time, simply a woman. She melted in his embrace in spite of the invisible vicious threat breathing around them. Aware they might never be alone again, she fought hard to silence the voice of conscience berating her.
"Oh, God. Please forgive me," Andrew muttered under his breath when he bowed his head to kiss her. Their lips met in a passionate first kiss.
Genevieve's spirits fell and her heart skipped a beat when, a couple of seconds later, she opened her eyes and her gaze fell on a knot strangers.
                             … . . . 
            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..."
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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What are your 10 favorite songs?

1. Happy Birthday to you, especially when my family and friends are with me. It goes without saying that gifts are welcome, but not compulsory. 

 2 Hit the Road Jack - Ray Charles
used to be on my list of favorites. I have almost forgotten about it for a while. But it was simply heaven to my ears when I heard it hummed. When? In October I stayed for quite a long time in hospital because of an emergency surgery. Then, one day, during the routine daily visit, the surgeon, knowing I was an English teacher, found this funny way to tell me the good news that I was finally allowed to leave home.

3 Queen - The Show Must Go On
Whenever something unpleasant or bad happens to me I keep repeating to myself the words of this beautiful classic.

4. Verdi - Aida - Triumphal March
I am a big fan of Verdi's divine music. The melody brings to my mind the childhood years. I used to spend my school holidays in Bucharest with my mother's sister. Having no kids, she loved me as her own daughter, and inculcated in me the love for opera and fine arts.

5 Santa Barbara -Charly

            reminds me of the youth days; it is the song I and my husband danced on for the first time. Very romantic.

6. La Piovra
The soundtrack of this mob movie defines so well the atmosphere in my corner of the world.

7 Liza Minnelli - Money Money

             No matter how idealistic I tend to be sometimes, this is an article life can't exist without, unfortunately.

8 Hevia - Busindre Reel

            It's the type of music I like to listen to while working on my stories.

9 Tabuk

            It is the background song of the trailer I made for my novel Shadows of the Past. Very suggestive for the atmosphere of mystery, suspense and drama of the story. You can listen to it here, and watch the trailer too:

10 And something from my country, Romania:
            Noi suntem Romani - We Are Romanians

            I hope that my answers help you, and the readers of your blog, get a tiny idea about me. 
Thank you for hosting me today!
 I wish you and everyone reading this post:

 A New, Prosperous, Peaceful and Happy 2014 Year!





Paulette Mahurin said...

Thank you for featuring one of my favorite paranormal authors and her great book. I love the way she writes.

carmens007 said...

Thank you, Paulette, for your praise which is valuable to me!

Whispers said...

It sounds a tempting read. Congratulations!