As a supernatural fantasy author who loves all things vampiric, I just had to make a pilgrimage to Romania – an inspiration for supernatural writing. In particular Transylvania, The Beyond Series of books would eventually take my readers to Poiana Brasov, high in the Carpathian Mountains and then onto the Rasnov citadel. I thought it only fair to do the research for the settings in the series. After all, every place I take you to in my Beyond Series, I have actually visited.
Poiana Brasov is a ski resort that wouldn’t look out of place in a Heidi movie in Switzerland.
The Hotel looked like one huge log cabin, although the interior did look like something from the 70’s in décor. The swimming pool looked very basic and was like stepping behind the Iron Curtain and back in time to 1940’s/50’s Eastern Bloc style. The Night Club Lavka I described in the first chapter of Vampire Sorceress was a 80’s style discotheque my friend and I went to and partied whilst we stayed in Poiana Brasov, I loved the blue velour décor reminded me of roller disco rinks, glitter balls and cheesy Euro-pop blaring through the speakers.
Rasnov is a beautiful fortified Citadel with a grisly past and I felt it was the perfect location for Amethyst and Michael Romanov to meet their distant relatives, Ursula and Abraham Romanov, who seemed to be much more informed on their families illustrious, gypsy past than themselves. They also seemed far too knowledgeable of Elemental Demons living in Egypt! it was a natural choice to choose Romania as an inspiration for supernatural writing.
I did sit out on my hotel room balcony as the mist crept in over the pine tree tops, and I did hear dogs howling at night. Whether they were wolves or not, I don’t know, but it was very atmospheric and although cliché it was the perfect location for my Romanov Witches to travel to for answers about their history, and for the great Galleano Vampire along with his hapless sidekick, Lucas, to follow the witches there to spy on them.
Bran Castle was part of a sightseeing tour we went on and as it was the castle Bram Stoker claimed to use for his Dracula tale, I did leave it out of Vampire Sorceress, but I may go back to it in my writing at some point. It was a beautiful fairy tale style castle, rather than the dark and mysterious picture painted in modern day films.
Bucharest was less impressive and it took a very long taxi drive to Nicholae Ceausescu’s palace, which was ridiculously large, floor to ceiling white, Italian marble and a ballroom the size of a football pitch. It cost so much money the Romanian people are taxed extra to pay for it! Unbelievable.
We took a trip to Sighisoara and other old citadel where they claim Vlad the Impaler was born. This reminded me of the city in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang where the child catcher skips through the streets with lollipops.
There was also a stately home, Peles Palace in Sainai which was incredibly beautiful and we had to wear special slippers to walk through the palace to preserve the delicate flooring. Although the palace was very beautiful, it was actually the ski resort and hotel we stayed in that inspired me to write my third book Vampire Sorceress
A local taxi driver took us around a gypsy ghetto. Over the years the nomadic tribes have been forced off the roads and into houses by Ceausescu. My fascination with the gypsy life and history began at an early age, because their lives are so secretive and they lived in caravans, didn’t have to go to school and I used to holiday with my family for one week a year in a caravan. I pretended to be a gypsy girl, but my fascination greatly increased when I moved to a small village in Cambridgeshire where we were surrounded by fruit orchards and during the summer months the travelling folk would come to fruit pick and I would make friends with the gypsy children. And so my fascination in gypsies, witches and the country they and their folklore originates continues… Romania – an inspiration for supernatural writing.
All this inspired me to write just three chapters of a book. I didn’t want to overkill the ambience I created for the place, but I think I did it justice. And hopefully I can use the Bucharest and other experiences for some other series or trilogy I intend to write in the future.