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.
Can you tell us 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 life and death adventures begin toward saving the witch, unravelling their families’ secrets, and coming into their own.
Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?
My female protagonist is Anasztasia, an urban princess born mortal to immortals, who can bring the family down if her mortality is revealed. She upholds her family’s values in order to feel that she belongs, finds the good in people and in situations, and believes in love and innate goodness as the all-conquering factors.
My male protagonist is Matthias, also born mortal to immortal monarchs. Raised in England, away from his family, Matthias is the angry, almost dark, rebel prince, who blames the family’s high regard for honor and history for the loss of his father.
The witch of the Carpathian Mountains is the Strigoaic. She is over 550 years old and longs to regain her humanity.
In the historical section, there are several important secondary characters.
Renata is a spirited gypsy girl, who has just had a baby and been betrayed by a noble.
Friar Gavril is a sword-wielding but holy-water touting holy man. He is always happy and never allows his club hand to stop him from doing anything.
Andrei is the disillusioned warrior on his own mission of redemption.
Petru the Proud is the prince’s number one henchman with a killer soft-spot for Anasztasia.
Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?
I am a plotter and re-plotter and re-plotter. I need to know where I am going so I can write in that direction. But when writing, something better tends to come up that leads me to a better place, so I have to go back to re-plotting. I use the Writer’s Journey to plot.
The book is set in several locations. Can you tell us about that?
The Witch’s Salvation is set in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. In the historical sections it is also set in the Carpathian Mountains but of what was then referred to as Wallachia.
Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?
I chose the setting because of its historical authenticity. The Witch’s Salvation is weaved around one historical fact. On Easter Sunday 1457, the historical Dracula invited nobles and their families who had had a hand in the death of his father and older brother to celebrate Easter with him. After an elaborate ceremony and feast, he impaled the older nobles and forced the others to trek to a mountain top where they built him another castle. They all died during the construction.
Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?
Yes. The story in both the present time and in the historical section takes place in the Carpathian Mountains and the ancient city of Tirgoviste. The Carpathians are mysterious, dark, and foreboding. The protagonists must learn to survive them in order to achieve their goals.
Is it hard to get an historical/medievel paranormal book published?
Yes. There’s lots of competition and it may not be what the market wants and publishers are looking for. Dystopias can be in vogue one year, then urban fantasies, followed by gods and demons fantasies, and so on.
Which holiday is your favorite and why?
I love Christmas mainly because I can bake and give my goodies away to friends and families as added gifts.
If we were to meet for lunch to talk books, where would we go?
We would definitely be meeting at a small outdoor café on the Left Bank of Paris. Since this would be a long lunch (we both love to talk books), we would start with an appetizer of pates and crusty baguette, followed by salmon crepes. We would then top the lunch off with a delicate pain du chocolate and a hot cup of café au lait.
What do you like to do for fun?
I’d love to say parachuting but I bake. I love to bake desserts, especially cakes, and I’m very good at it. It relaxes me. Also, I don’t eat anything I bake. I just like to create them and then get family and friends to eat them—which they do with pleasure. Baking is like writing. In baking I get to see what I create within the hour whereas with writing it’s sometime in the future.
What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?
Just do it! I have been writing all my life. I used to write everywhere—in the locker rooms of summer jobs, in buses, at coffee shops. It was fun just letting my imagination go and writing. There were no worries about plot, or character arcs, or historical accuracies. Then life got in the way—work, family, and of course all those bills. I wrote but when I had the time. Also, the rules of how to write became paramount. They were drilled into me by everyone and anyone connected to writing—agents, publishers, other authors, critique partners, teachers. Writing became difficult. Now, I’m back to writing as I started off. For the joy of it, but enriched with what I learned. For all you authors out there: believe in yourself, never give up, and go for it!