Friday, September 7, 2012

An Interview With Stefanie J Pristavu

BioBorn and raised in Romania, the only girl with two brothers, Stefanie has spent her childhood playing pretend and inventing characters. Once she actually learned how to spell in English, she started writing the adventures of her alter egos, just to prove to a friend that she could do it better. Hundreds of thousands of words and thirteen years later, after two years of learning the craft of writing, Steph still tests the waters of her imagination, coming up with stories and characters.

Visit Stef's blog:

I'm tickled pink to have fellow Melange author and one of my best critique partners here for her first interview on Unwritten! Stefanie's debut novel, Hunters, was published this July by Melange Books' Fire & Ice Young Adult imprint. You can find my review of it HERE.

I had the privilege of seeing this novel unfold on one of my favorite writing sites, Critique Circle, where Stefanie, I, and others trade up critiques. I can't recommend the site enough for improving your writing and critiquing skills. If you're a writer of any genre, at any level, I recommend giving it a try.

On with the business of interrogation. Stefanie, for the unfortunate souls who haven't met you yet, tell us where you're from and what you do when you're not writing about quirky paranormal characters.

Hi, Mysti! Thanks for having me on you’re swoon-worthy blog. And I agree about Critique Circle. Three years ago I had no idea what POV, sentence structure or dialogue punctuation was, and now, look at me, I’m a published author. Still can’t get my head around that.

About me: well, I’m from Romania. That’s right, the country with Transylvania in it. It’s a pretty awesome place as far as landscapes are concerned. We have everything from mountains to seaside, which is awesome.

When I’m not writing paranormal quirky characters, I’m writing quirky non-paranormal characters. Okay, that was supposed to be a joke, don’t laugh. Well, I have a pretty busy life, but I mostly try to squeeze some reading in there. I’ve recently discovered the joys of beta-reading and I want to help as many of my friends out (since I’m kidding myself that I’m actually good at it). Other than that, I’m the normal girl. I sometimes go out with my friends, hang out with my hubby, go see a movie, watch TV, and waste a lot of time procrastinating on the internet.

Me: You mean you're normal? You don't camp out in Dracula's castle? Who knew?

Thanks to your beautiful Facebook pictures, I know you had a beautiful June wedding (Congratz!!!). How's married life going? Anything about it you didn't expect?

Aww, thanks Mysti! Cough*stalker*cough. (jk) Married life is awesome. It’s so nice to know you have someone who always has your back, and that he’ll always be there for you. My husband is a sweetheart, and the sense of intimacy and family we share is amazing.
Didn’t expect… hmmm. I can’t say there’s something I didn’t expect. Maybe I didn’t expect it to be THIS much fun.

Me: I like to see what's in your medicine cabinet and behind your shower curtain too, but who doesn't?

Having experienced this myself, I wonder...has your hubby yet accused you of basing your male characters off him?

Lol, no, because he doesn’t read my stuff. He understands English pretty well, but doesn’t really read. So he sometimes asks me what my books are about, but that conversation usually resumes to plot and action, not characters. What he doesn’t know is that I actually do base certain traits of my characters off him. Like, for example, the ability to drive and park anywhere. My husband is an awesome driver! He also has the biting humor and sarcasm of most male alphas, and I love that about him.

Let's talk about Hunters. It's definitely one of the better vampire novels I've read. No one sparkles, the characters are witty and you threw in a hefty dose of humor and passion. What prompted you to write this novel?

Ugh, this is a long story. I’ll keep it as short as possible. Thanks to a guest post I’ve done on Unwritten, you already know I’m up for a writing challenge. I was reading Interview with the Vampire AND I was in Prague when the idea just popped into my head. Why don’t I write something a bit different, where vampires are back to being the bad guys? This little beginning scene stuck in my head – the one of Rachel and Daniel in the tower I’d seen – the opening of the novel. And I took from there.

Oh, and I wanted to try writing romance, since a crit partner of mine said I might be pretty darn good at it ;)

What was the most challenging part of writing Hunters?

I never thought I’d say this, but the characters just wouldn’t come out the way I wanted them to. Initially, I thought it would be easy, since I’ve based them off two already existing characters that I loved. But, apparently, changing the names also changed their personality and they came out… not so great (you might remember how weak and whiny Rachel was and how much of a jerk Daniel turned out at first.)

Me: Yeah, they were downright terrible. *wink* Actually, I think we can share sob stories about uncooperative characters.

Other than that, I had to work with description. I personally don’t like it much, so it’s always a challenge for me to describe anything, especially with my limited vocabulary. 

Tell our readers a little about your experience on Critique Circle. What are the pros and cons of this online critique website, in your opinion?

I love CC. Even now, when I’m crazy busy, I try to get there and crit as often as possible. I’ve learned so much about the craft of writing there. And, to be honest, only from there. I haven’t touched ONE book on the subject of writing. It’s just my gut and the knowledge of my crit partners and others on the forums.

The pros are definitely that anyone, from anywhere (including little ole me) can join. Plus, not being face to face with people, you don’t get that shy.

The cons – for me, so far, it’s not getting to see any of you awesome people I’ve befriended. I’d like to go out for coffee with each and every one of you. We’d get so much talking and plotting done! It would be amazing.

Me: I couldn't agree more!

I know this already, but for the sake of the Unwritten fans, what are you working on now, and what can you tell us about it?

Right now I’m editing the life of an UF I’ve written for NaNo last year. It’s called ‘Saving Grace’ and it’s a 100k monstrosity which gets bigger and bigger with each edited chapter. Should probably do something about it.

It’s one of the trickiest things I’ve ever written, since it actually has a moral sub-current which I’m trying to make VERY subtle, so that people would enjoy the book and not feel like I’m preaching (which I am, just a little.)

Also, it’s pretty tough to write and Angel-Demon book and keep religious beliefs out of it. I kinda tried to do that, even if I even bring The Creator in as a character.

Random question comin' at ya: What would your spouse say is your most annoying habit?

Lol, I should ask him. I guess I’m pretty lazy and like to just vegetate on the couch/bed and read and sleep from time to time. He’s a pretty active guy, so he kinda hates the lack of enthusiasm I show occasionally.

Now, Ms. Pristavu, would you mind sharing a short excerpt of your work?

Very well, Ms. Parker. Here we go. This is a short scene from chapter 7 when Rachel and Daniel first escape the Council. And might I add, it’s the easiest escape in the entire book ;)

Every step Rachel took along the runway felt heavier than the last. She couldn’t believe she was doing this. Walking obediently between two buffed up Hunters who seemed to live off steroids. Her strength hadn’t fully returned. It was the only reason she wasn’t trying to escape. That and the hope that the Head Hunter hadn’t lied to her. But the closer they got to the small jet waiting next to a metal hangar, the more she doubted it. 
Where was Daniel? 
Her pace slowed and her breathing hitched. There was no was way she was getting on that plane. 
“Come on.” One of the guards nudged her forward. 
Rachel dug her heels into the gravel and stood her ground. “I just changed my mind.” 
“It’s not up to you.” The other guard wrapped an arm around her waist and hoisted her off the ground. “You’re getting on that plane and going home.” 
Rachel kicked him in the shin. The man gasped and dropped her. She sprinted toward the exit, running as fast as her legs could carry her. It still didn’t feel right. The wire fence wasn’t getting closer at the rate she would have liked. There were a good fifty meters left between her and the gate. She forced her muscles to obey, trying to squish the remainder of the tranquilizer effects. 
“What are you waiting for? Shoot her!” 
A blast sounded behind her. Rachel threw herself forward and rolled on the gravel path. A second shot cut through the silence. She couldn’t believe they missed her twice. She got to her knees and looked over her shoulder. Her breath caught in her throat. Daniel was running toward her, holstering a gun. 
“Come on, Rach.” He yanked her up and pushed her toward the exit.

Thank you so much for being here, Stef, and I wish you a ton of sales!!

Awesome to be here, Mysti. And I wish myself a ton of sales, too. Okay, just kidding about that last part. Or maybe I’m not.


  1. Excellent interview, Mysti. And Stefanie, I applaud your success. I loved the Vampire Chronicles and have always longed for their return or another vampire novel where they are creatures to be feared instead of what they have become. The short exerpt you provided left me intriqued and I will have to put Hunters on my "to read" list.


  2. Great interview, girls. Pleased to meet you Stephanie, and best of luck with your first novel.

  3. I enjoyed the interview, Stefanie and Mysti. I'll look your book up, as I enjoy romance and vampires. My favorite vampire would have to be Barnabas Collins wayyyyyy back in Dark Shadows, a daytime soap opera series. Probably few remember that show.

    Lots of luck with your writing.


  4. Awesome interview! Count me in on the coffee and plotting date!

    1. That would be awesome. Too bad the States are a 10 hour plane ride and 1000 dollars away :(

  5. And, of course, thanks a ton, Mysti for having me. Sorry for the late note, but I've been away again. :P


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