The Witch's Salvation is Francesca Pelaccia’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. Visit Francesca at www.francescapelaccia.com.
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life! Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more aboutthe process. Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning? Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?
The Witch’s Salvation was supposed to be a light-hearted vampire novel about two adolescents born mortal to immortal shape shifters of royal lineage. But while researching Dracula, I was drawn in to his ignoble history and deeds and all the myths and legends built up around them. What was to be a fun and lively romp with misfired connections and improbable romances turned into an expansive time-travel filled with action, adventure, and romance. It also became a novel that was both plot and character driven.
Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
Historical accuracy was my biggest challenge. The Witch’s Salvation was weaved around one historical fact. On Easter Sunday 1457, Prince Vlad III, 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, if available, in Romanian, a language I didn’t understand. Making sure the details about this one historical event, as well as all the other details, such as the town, homes, castle, clothes, people, and so on, 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.
My advice to anyone who is going to write a historical or anything outside his or her area of expertise is to find someone who will validate the details. If you can’t find an answer, then work around it.
Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?
I spent many years trying to find an agent and a publisher but without success. I finally decided to self-publish The Witch’s Salvation and I’m glad I did. The novel is garnering reviews and gaining exposure. It’s giving me credibility as an author.
Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
Publishing the book was easy. There was always some expert along the way to offer advice or steer me in the right direction. The difficult part is the marketing and promotion. Most of us authors don’t look past the publication date—or at least that was the case for me. But without marketing and promotion, the book isn’t going to go further than the webpages of online distributors and all the free book promo clubs you’ve joined. When making a budget, authors should keep marketing in mind, and it should be a good portion of your budget.
Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?
Right now I am working on two other books. The first is the second book in the Witch’s Trilogy entitled The Witch’s Monastery. I’m halfway through the book but haven’t been actively writing it as I should. I’m aiming for summer 2015 to have it completed. The second book is 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. I’m hoping to have this book completed by the end of the year. Publishing dates for both books are still up in the air.
Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?
I’d like to say it’s an author’s forum, but it’s Food Network and Joy of Baking. I love to bake and I’m very good at it. If I’m looking for something to bake, I always check both sites out and usually find something that intrigues me or works for the occasion or the guests. Sometimes, I just check the sites out to look at the pictures and unwind. I’m into French baking right now. Tarte de Pommes a la Normande (French Apple Tart) is up for the next holiday get-together.
Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
The message is never what authors of genre aim for with their novels. The message is secondary and discreet. The first is entertainment, and if authors can entertain readers, then, they’ve succeeded with their writing. However, if I had to discuss message, then for The Witch’s Salvation it’s all about redemption. Redemption for the witch who wants to become a girl again, redemption for the two royal families that turned the girl into the witch, and redemption for the male and female protagonists, who just want to be free to live their lives on their terms.
Q: Thank you again for this interview! Do you have any final words?
Pick up a copy of The Witch’s Salvation. You’ll be swept away in its story and forget all about sleeping. The characters will also live with you even after you’ve finished reading the book.