One of the most exciting things since starting my blog have been the requests for me to review peoples books. Some I’ve had to turn down due to content matter (people write some very ‘different’ books), but the majority I’ve turned down have been for e-book reviews. Long term followers of this blog will know of my complete inability to read huge amounts of text on a screen (give it me on paper and I’m fine). My solution for this has been to try to incorporate different ways of showcasing books, other than a simple review.
Today’s Author Spotlight is Wendy. C. Garfinkle (fantastic name!) and her book Serpent on a Cross.
Wendy kindly answered my questions and sent a short blurb on what the book is about.
After reading her bio, I’m pretty sure her name isn’t the only cool thing about her!
Wendy C. Garfinkle was born and raised in South Florida. She moved to Northwest Texas in her early
20s, but returned to South Florida eight years later. She holds five degrees, including MA and MFA in
Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She’s a poet, reading addict, and collector of interesting clothing tags, which she recycles into bookmarks.
She has served as a copy editor and reader for Hippocampus Magazine, an online nonfiction lit journal, and as a reader for the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. Wendy is a crime analyst for a local law enforcement agency, and lives with her teenage son.
What is the book about?
Dennah Dubrovnika is a formidable hunter and talented healer. However, she cannot control her own powers, which have suddenly reawakened in the aftermath of her mother’s violent capture by a powerful warlord who destroyed their village in his wake. As she races to free her mother, Dennah is accompanied by Jeth, the man she loves. But she’s increasingly, inexorably drawn to the mysterious Skallon who is allied with her greatest enemy.
Will Dennah be able to gain a measure of control over her magic or will she lose everything and everyone she loves to its raging inferno?
Serpent on a Cross is Book One in a Jewish fantasy adventure series set in Medieval Eastern Europe.
What books/authors have influenced your writing?
Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind. I love his use of detail and his lyrical prose, and attempt to incorporate that style into my own books. Whether I’ve succeeded yet or not is up to the reader. It’s a work in progress.
And Nora Roberts is a celebrity of sorts for me. I aspire to grow in my writing to her level; that is, no matter the genre (as she writes in mystery and paranormal as well as romance), whenever someone reads one of my books, they’ll be hooked from the first page, subtly drawn into the story so much that the rest of the world falls away. I fell in love first with her “In Death” series, writing as J.D. Robb. Then The Witness caught my eye, and I became a Nora Roberts addict. I’ve been reading all of her new books and backlist that I can get my hands on ever since.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
One of the messages is about self-control, self-discipline. We all struggle with self-control and self-discipline in one or more areas of our lives. My protagonist, Dennah, must gain control of her powers and her temper; otherwise she faces the very real probability of destroying herself and everyone, everything she loves in her desire for ultimate revenge.
Summarize the book (in three sentences or less!)
Dennah Dubrovnika is a formidable hunter and talented healer who cannot control her own powers, which have suddenly reawakened in the aftermath of her mother’s violent capture by a powerful warlord who destroyed their village in his wake. As she races to free her parent, Dennah is accompanied by Jeth, the man she loves, but she’s increasingly drawn to the mysterious Skallan who is allied with her greatest enemy. Will Dennah be able to gain a measure of control over her magic or will she lose everything and everyone she loves to its raging inferno?
What book are you reading now?
Heart Fire, a Celta Novel by Robin D. Owens
What inspired you to write your book?
I wanted to mix fantasy and medieval, since I’m fascinated by both, and history is my first literary love. I also wanted to veer away from traditional Western European medieval and fantasy tales.
I’ve been researching my own history – genealogy – for the past several years and the Jewish branch, which is on my father’s side, has been giving me hiccups, as my great-grandparents assimilated so thoroughly into American life when they emigrated here from Russia, that records of their lives before, including what shtetls they came from, are almost non-existent. So I’ve been delving deeper into Eastern Europe Jewish history, Jewish tradition in general, and wanted to incorporate my research into the series.
I also wanted to mix in my love of herbalism and interest in medieval medical practices, as well as give my protagonist a mixed Jewish heritage, similar to my own, though with maternal Jewish parentage, so I wouldn’t have to touch on “you’re not really Jewish” mentalities in the story.
In addition, I wanted her to be a strong, spirited, independent woman, one who could think and do for herself; one who refused to be oppressed by the predominant “Christian” society around her.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
So, tell me, what do you think? Sound like something you’d want to read?