Today’s guest is Francesca Pelaccia, author of the historical fiction/paranormal, The Witch’s Salvation. The Witch's Salvation is Francesca’s debut novel and the first book of The Witch's Trilogy. A teacher and now at long last an author, Francesca has written in other genres but enjoys creating and writing time-travel fantasies. Francesca blogs on the craft of writing especially as it relates to genre and reviews books. Currently she is working on the second book of The Witch’s Trilogy entitled The Witch’s Monastery.
Thank you for this interview, Francesca. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Writing is what I do when I’m not working as an ESL teacher to adult immigrants, being a mother to two kids in university, a wife, and trying to stay active by walking and re-learning yoga. I have been writing as long as I can remember. I used to write everywhere, and quite often where I shouldn’t—at work, on the bus, at coffee shops, at my kids’ soccer or hockey games, any place I could comfortably use a piece of paper and a pencil.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
The Witch’s Salvation is a tale about restoring humanity to the last surviving witch of the Carpathian Mountains. The only people who can restore her humanity are Anasztasia and Matthias, two eighteen-year olds born mortal to two immortal families of royal lineage. If they go back in time and retrieve the Golden Cup that holds the mystery to regaining the witch’s humanity, she will make them immortal. She will also dissolve the curse that keeps Matthias’s family imprisoned in the ancient boundaries of Wallachia, present day Romania, and Anasztasia’s family exiled from it. But Anasztasia and Matthias must return to Easter Sunday, 1457, the day Prince Vlad III, aka Dracula, massacred nobles. Anasztasia and Matthias return to the past, where they experience life and death adventures toward saving the witch, unravelling their families’ secrets, and coming into their own.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
The Witch’s Salvation is a paranormal historical fiction. I actually set out to write a contemporary paranormal, but the historical myths associated with the time I was researching were so interesting, I felt compelled to use them. The novel then turned into a historical paranormal.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
Historical accuracy was my biggest challenge. The Witch’s Salvation was weaved around one historical fact. On Easter Sunday 1457 Dracula invited the nobles and their families that had had a hand in the death of his father and older brother to celebrate Easter with him. After an elaborate religious ceremony and feast, he impaled the older nobles in the courtyard of his castle and forced the others to trek to a mountain top where they built him another castle. They all died during the construction. The details surrounding this historical event were sketchy or available in Romanian, a language I didn’t understand. Making sure the details about this one historical event as well as the other details, such as the town, homes, castle, clothes, and people were correct was challenging. The last thing I wanted was some East European medieval scholar, pointing out to the world how inaccurate my details were. To make sure this didn’t happen, I read everything I could find in English about the time, the people, the history, the clothes, etc. I also joined several medieval historical forums and contacted various experts. However, answers in the forums could be conflicting and experts rarely replied. Then I stumbled on one young Romanian historical scholar, who was more than willing to answer all my questions and give me much needed peace of mind. What I couldn’t find an answer to or the scholar didn’t know, I worked around. For example, I couldn’t find what wealthy Saxon merchants wore to feasts. But I could find what wealthy Venetian merchants wore. So, I made my Saxon a textile merchant, who often travelled to Venice. What he wore to feasts became Venetian clothes.
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
I self-published The Witch’s Salvation through Createspace.
Was it the right choice for you?
After years trying to find an agent or a publisher, self-publishing was the right choice. I wanted The Witch’s Salvation to be out there and getting attention.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
I’ve done book blog tours, gotten reader reviews, opened a fan Facebook page, joined a number of clubs, started a blog on the craft of writing genre, and begun reviewing books for a website that will post information about me and my novel.
How is that going for you?
I’ve garnered attention and reviews. It’s a lot of work trying to be an author and a promoter. It’s challenging but exciting.
Can you tell us one thing you have done that actually resulted in one or more sales?
Putting the ebook on sale for a day or week has resulted in sales.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Yes, I teach English as a Second Language to adult immigrants.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
While doing a book promotion, such as a blog tour, discount your ebook for the duration of the promotion or tour. It will generate sales. You can return the ebook to its regular price once the promotion or tour is over or shortly after.
What’s next for you?
I’m writing the second book of the Witches’ Trilogy, entitled The Witch’s Monastery. I am also plotting a fun and fast-paced romp tentatively entitled Moses and Mac. It’s an adventure to find Moses’ rod. The main character is the female version of Indiana Jones meets Stephanie Plum.
Thank you for this interview, Francesca. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
Pick up your copy of The Witch's Salvation at Amazon.