Today, I welcome Romanian gothic and dark fantasy author, Oliviu Craznic, as my first guest blogger here to tell us about his writings, published works and latest projects. He is the author of many stories and was kind enough to give us a glimpse into his dark mind.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?
Well, I’m a legal adviser and a writer of gothic, dark fantasy and science fiction.
My first novel, ‘And Then The Nightmare Came At Last’ published by Vremea Publishing House gained the National Award “The Dream” in 2010 and the Galileo Science Fiction&Fantasy Award in 2011 for Best Novel.
The story is based on medieval archives, and follows a young, fallen nobleman, Arthur de Seragens, who is invited to a strange wedding at the Castle Of The Last Towers. There, he discovers the guests are brutally murdered by an inhuman enemy (don’t want to give away what the creature is), but the trail of blood leads him to his love interest, the gorgeous Adrianna de Valois and young daughter of the dark Chief of Police. Panicked, Arthur makes a fragile alliance with the powerful survivors, including the Grand Inquisitor and soon discovers what a mistake he made.
I also have a number of published stories in anthologies and magazines:
Last Hourglass, a steampunk story about a serial killer and a broken timeline
Then The Arising Bleeding Moon, a gothic story where mythical creatures called the Iele attract and kill people from a Transylvanian isolated camp
The Losers Masquerade, a dark fantasy story, about an intriguing young princess who uses her charms and wits for escaping the most dangerous situations – the first story in the Ermengaarde Saga
The Pass, also a gothic story, about Roman legions entering a road to death and destruction, a road guarded by the ever returning dead
In the Suspans Magazine I have a series of articles about mythical creatures, and in SciFi Gazette, one about Romanian SciFi&F authors.
I have recently been appointed as editor at the Millennium Books Publishing House Team, who play a crucial role in Romania’s literature because they are one of the few publishing houses who publish Romanian SciFi and fantasy authors.
What first inspired you to put pen to paper?
Lots of reading, I suppose. I’ve been writing ever since I was a child, but mostly fragments and pieces or poetry. However, I started to take writing seriously by a strange coincidence. Elena, a very dear and close friend of mine and a very talented poet, encouraged me to write a fiction novel. I did, more for the thought of pleasing her than for any other reason, and she loved the story so much she insisted I publish the book. And I did. The book was well received by some of my idols (writers Michael Haulica and Liviu Radu). They supported and encouraged me, along with other Romanian editors and promoters (Silvia Colfescu, Horia Ursu, Stefan Ghidoveanu, Mircea Pricajan etc.)
When did your passion for dark fantasy begin?
I was born in a small town in the mountains, called Lupeni (Valley Of The Wolves, in English), in Transylvania. I was raised with myths and legends, so it was natural for me to write dark fantasy.
What reaction would you like to receive from readers of your stories?
In Romania, there are very few writers of gothic and horror, and they are not very well-known, mainly because mass-media and literary critics pay no attention to these types of literature. Science fiction and fantasy are more popular genres, but they are still far from where we should be. Therefore, most Romanian readers believe we have no great books in fictionally literature. Before entering the fictional market myself, I believed this too. But upon discovering the great Romanian SF&F authors like Sebastian Corn, Liviu Radu, Michael Haulica, Florin Pitea and Mircea Oprita, I realize how wrong the Romanian readers are, or perhaps just ill informed.
So, I would like my readers’ reaction to be, “We DO have great gothic, dark fantasy and science fiction literature in the country!”.
What book are you currently reading?
At this very point, I’m reading Neither Torquemada by Michael Haulica, a non-fiction book about the Romanian Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror Literature, and about the struggles of the authors, promoters and fans to bring this literature in the attention of the great public, of the editors, of the mass-media and of the critics. Many Romanian readers read a lot foreign authors, unaware there are Romanian authors who write fiction. The last fiction book I read was by Mircea Oprita – The Sign Of The Unicorn, an anthology which reminded me of Lovecraft’s stories. The last foreign book was by Vernor Vinge – A Fire Upon The Deep.
What current projects are you working on?
There are a lot. Let’s hope I will manage to finish them before the end of 2012. Some of these include:
Fourty-Seven, a steampunk novel with Nicolae Voicu as a co-writer
Vampirism And The Rose, in English – gothic and dark lyrics, written with the beautiful and talented Elena Dobrescu as a co-writer
Ermengaarde Saga, a dark fantasy novel; stories in the universe of Ermengaarde Saga
Journey Through The Shadows, a dark fantasy novel about pirates, vengeance and traveling on sea
The Return Of Edmond Kayle, which is a sequel
The Black Path, the sequel to my Nightmare
Some of these stories are already written and I hope to publish later this year. Others are in progress. I will also edit a series of anthologies for Millennium Books, and will start translating and publishing some of my works in English.
If you could be one character from you books, who would you choose and why?
Well, in fact I AM most of the characters from my books, so it is not a matter of choosing. I always use models from real life for my characters, mixing their features with the ones of historical characters. Most of my friends are also there. Of course, the adventures are fictional, but the features, the temperament, the way of thinking, act or react, the opinions etc. are real.
Tell us a funny fact about yourself.
My last name, Craznic, means Incubus.
I also used to drink a LOT of Cola – but I managed to quit this habit and I am “sober” now.