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Victor T. Foia on 'Empire of the Crescent Moon'

Empire of the Crescent Moon
Empire of the Crescent Moon

1. What would you like to share with us plot wise about your new book, "Empire of the Crescent Moon" in the Dracula Chronicles 7 Volume Series?

"Empire of the Crescent Moon", Book Two of the Dracula Chronicles, finds Vlad/Dracula uprooted from Wallachia and tossed into the Ottoman "lions' den". There, evil, ever-present and ferocious in its determination to destroy him, takes forms unfamiliar to Vlad. Though as courageous and undaunted as back in his homeland, Vlad can no longer count on either his friends or his familiarity with the places and customs of his environment. Instead, as threat after threat pile upon him, all he's got to keep him alive and from sinking into the murky waters of the vast empire is his wit. "Empire" is an emotional roller coaster that some of the early readers have declared already more satisfying than the "Son of the Dragon". And like in "SotD", readers will have no idea where Vlad's adventure will take them or whether indeed their hero will remain in one piece by the time the last page it turned.

2. Would you share some of your personal perspective on Vlad the Impaler with us? Do you feel he's been haunting you on some level when writing the Dracula Chronicles?

Several readers have said that I seemed obsessed with telling Vlad/Dracula's life story. To this I plead "guilty as charged". Vlad/Dracula has entered my consciousness when I was only six (61 years ago), and has never left it. I've always been in awe of his courage, his determination to fight evil in all its forms no matter the price, and his sense of loyalty to those unable to defend themselves. I was 23 when I learned he was known the the West only as the grandaddy of ALL vampires. That windy April 1970 day in Chicago, I made a vow to bring his real persona to life one day if it damned me. It's taken me 40 years to begin that process, during which time I had to learn English, build a career, raise a family, and LEARN all I could learn about this mysterious man's life. With such a long-term commitment it would be hard to say Dracula has not been haunting me. In these past forty years there have been times when fatigue and disappointments seemed ready to sap my determination to pursue my self-imposed objective. And there have also been numerous moments when the distractions of the life of an international CEO, with all its more-or-less guilty pleasures, attempted to wrestle me away from my research task. But in those moments of self-doubt and dereliction of duty, I would always hear Vlad's voice whisper, with not too light of a threatening overtone, "A real man keeps his promise". That persuasive reminder has returned me to my work desk again and again until the story matured enough to be told.

3. What can you tell us of the Sultan Murad II of the House Osman regarding his character in your book?

As a foe of Christendom, Sultan Murad was one of the most effective Muslim warriors. He mounted the throne of the Ottoman Empire at the age of 17 and for the next 20 years conducted a singularly effective and successful campaign against the neighboring Christian countries. Under Murad's able military leadership, the Ottoman Empire appeared ready to subjugate most of Europe and transform it into another region of Dar al Islam, or the Abode of Islam. Yet, by the time Vlad met Murad at the Edirne court (formerly Adrianople) in the summer of 1442, the sultan had undergone a dramatic transformation. The pleasures of the hunt, wine (yes, wine), women (he had over 300 hundred concubines), and young boys (not an unusual diversion for a Muslim ruler in those days) had made Murad lose interest in fighting the Christians. For the first time in a hundred years it appeared that a long term peace could be established between Islam and Christendom. Vlad's role in bringing this unexpected "gift" to Europe has its roots in Book Two and will be fully developed in Book Three.

4. What advice would you give up and coming struggling writers based on your own life experience and obstacles you have endured yourself?

After I had been deep into the writing of my series, which is the FIRST and ONLY book I've ever written so far, I came across some advice given to aspiring novelists by a famous author with many books in his body of work. To paraphrase, he said,"Start with a short story, then write a longer one, and slowly-slowly, over the years, work your way to a full-fledged novel. Don't EVER begin your writing career with a series. Writing a series as your first literary attempt is like trying to climb Mount Everest, after never having climbed a mountain before." I do not dispute the wisdom of such advice. But, as far as I am concerned, start writing whatever is in your heart and damn the torpedoes. The best advice for a new writer, in my opinion, is the one she misses hearing until she has already bloodied her knuckles fighting and overcoming the writing demons that keep her awake at night. Then, no advice meant to discourage risk-taking, the very ESSENCE of writing, IMO, will stop her.

5. What is your next book in the series and when can we expect it?

Book Three of the Dracula Chronicles is "House of War", and I plan to publish it in spring 2015.

6. Do you have any links you'd like to share? Thanks for this interview and pleasure to have you back with us again, Victor.

I invite readers to visit my website to learn details about the book, read blog posts, learn about the author, etc.: http://www.draculachronicles.com/

If they wish to get publication updates and other posts related to the series they should "Like" the book FB page: https://www.facebook.com/DraculaChronicles

I also welcome readers to follow me on twitter: @VictorFoia

I will accepts anyone's Friend Request on my personal Face Book page: https://www.facebook.com/vtfoia

A final note: In the summer of 2015 I will be undertaking a 6 week long research trip to Transylvania, in preparation for Book Four. Readers who follow me on one of the venues listed above will be able to keep in touch with me throughout my journey. I will be posting daily blog entries from Transylvania, tentatively called "Postcards from the Dark Side". You might consider how we could work this trip into your show, with daily updates and/or LIVE calls from Transylvania.