Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Rebekah Armusik, author of the epic series, 13 Gothic Memoirs!
Rebekah is joining us today to answer some questions for us and to share with everyone her great series.
Ms Armusik is offering all of you a giveaway you don’t want to miss! Two lucky winners will get ebooks of the first 3 titles in the series. A third winner will receive an autographed print copy of the soon to be released Vlkolak King, the 4th in the series! Simply leave a comment after the interview and you are entered to win! The winners will be chosen at random on 10/29/12.
And now, without further ado, I give you Rebekah Armusik!
Hi Rebekah! Thank you for stopping by VRB today! We are so happy to have you with us!
Will you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in an area that was predominately Slovak. Growing up in this environment, surrounded by the rich culture, supernatural fascination, and folklore, truly molded me into who I am today and had a huge impact on my series. My grandmother, who lived one house down from me growing up, is a gifted story teller and her legends and tales became the very inspiration for my novels.
As a child, she would gather the neighborhood children on her front steps and tell us stories of the “old country”. Often, they were dark, morbid, and deeply romantic – I was enthralled. I was so enraptured by the darkness and beauty – the conflict and desire for redemption, that even as a young child, I knew I wanted to write and began dreaming of the world I have created.
What do you enjoy when you aren’t writing?
Well, my husband is a well-known classical painter with a demanding clientele and we have three young children that we home school. Most days, we are either running around dropping off paintings, hosting dinner parties, or assisting Barbie in another costume change while trying to avoid stepping on a Lego. Life in the Armusik home is never dull and certainly never boring. But I enjoy working in my herb garden, antiquing, cooking, and watching my husband paint – even after 16 years, the process leaves me breathless.
From reading your bio I understand writing has always been a passion, was there ever anything else you wanted to be?
I never wanted to be anything but a writer! By the time I was 11, I was writing short stories and dreaming of being published. My mother has an MA in Literature and always read to my brother and me. My parents enforced and encouraged an appreciation for literature, education, and social graces – in my family, they were as important as air. I am truly grateful for my childhood and the life my parents gave my brother and me.
How do family and friends respond to your writing?
My family is extremely supportive! My mother and sister-in-law take the time to read my drafts and offer advice that I greatly appreciate. I know for certain that my mother, a writer and educator herself, is very proud of what I have accomplished and is continually encouraging me to keep going. I am very blessed.
My husband is my biggest supporter – he creates all the artwork for my novels. Each cover is actually an oil painting that he takes the time to create especially for me. We’ll sit and discuss the subject matter, come up with a sketch, and allow it to grow. I love that my vision, no matter how complex, can come to life – I’m very fortunate to have this luxury.
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
For me, the dream was simply telling my story – the story that has been developing, growing and maturing since I was a child. I love receiving fan mail because I enjoy hearing how the work has impacted the lives of my readers
What is your first work to ever be published?
Book one in the series, Memoirs of a Gothic Soul.
I am a fan of the Gothic Memoirs series, when did the idea for it first come to you, and what inspired it?
The title and concept first came to me when I was 16. At that time, it was more of an autobiographical novel about my life growing up in a Slovak area and my grandmother’s fantastic tales. However, slowly, it began to change. By the time I was finishing college, I decided to change the concept of the series to a fictional novel with an autobiographical tone. In other words, I would put myself in the tales that I dreamt about and bridge the gap between reality and fantasy. I believe this is what is so different about my work from other paranormal fantasy because there is a deep level of believability – nothing is manufactured and I never follow a template or formula. In my opinion, the work is organic and sincere because it reflects my life experiences, rather than distancing my readers by creating a wall of fantastic fiction. When writing, I chose to engage my fans on a personal level and do that easily and effortlessly through Nadija – she experiences life as a real person, not a work of fiction which is so appealing and refreshing to my audience. I meant for the series to read as a journal, a memoir that allows the reader to engage with Nadija on a very intimate level. You are privy to her thoughts, fears, and doubts enabling the reader to know her so personally; she becomes a close and cherished friend.
I believe when we are stripped naked of all our inhibitions, we are the most honest and beautiful. That is why I chose to write the series in first person. We never have to surmise or assume what Nadija is feeling because we are always inside her head – eager witnesses to her raw and uncensored emotions and thoughts.
Will you tell the readers a little bit about the series?
The series is difficult to summarize even under the most ideal circumstances – I always find this question to be terribly daunting. How do you simply describe an epic adventure, and without ruining the surprises and allure of the story? I never feeling comfortable describing it as a vampire series because my vampires are fallen angels and not the stereotypical vampires that most expect. Though it’s deeply romantic, that is not the primary focus either. The novels are so layered it’s difficult to give it one clear explanation.
I have always been fascinated by Jewish mysticism, Catholicism, and witchcraft – and not necessarily in that order. All of these passions shaped the novels and somehow, I was able to make it all work.
My tale begins before time was recorded, during the first celestial war when God threw Lucifer into hell and separated his army. Some remained neutral and God felt that He could not trust these angels to remain in heaven and serve Him well, so He banished them to Earth as punishment. The fallen had to adapt and because they were not born, but created, their bodies adjusted and mutated – hence the need for blood.
Without ruing the story, I also have incorporated the legends of Lilith, the first wife of Adam. Throughout history, Lilith has been demonized; she has been called the first vampire, a succubus, and sadly, the cause of stillborn deaths. But, I never liked or bought that idea. She simply didn’t dig Adam and in my opinion, that’s not a sufficient reason to make her the origin all things rancid and foul. So, taking some artistic license, I made her an ethereal goddess who catches the eye of Samuel- the Arch Angel of the elements and master of the wind. They fall in love and have 7 daughters with angelic blood and gifts. Thus, the Guardian race is born and is, eventually, critical in helping the fallen adapt to their life on Earth.
However, the story is told in present day through the voice of Nadija, a young woman from the line of Lilith. She is not aware of her linage because her grandmother has kept it a secret for own selfish reasons. Though it’s rooted in the past, it’s relatable because it’s told in a present and modern voice. I want to engage the audience, not distance them, and I achieve this by welcoming them to be part of the story, to be present on the journey. Consequently, the reader learns most of the dramatic back stories from the characters that assist Nadija on her adventure to becoming the active Guardian Queen.
Do you have a favorite book in the series? If so, what is it and why?
Personally, I love them all for different reasons but I have to say that my favorite so far is Lucifer Rising. I just love Lizzy and her love affair with the first Vlkolak King. When I finished writing that story I was a mess and needed a drink. I become so involved and entwined with my characters, it’s utterly maddening!
If Gothic Memoirs were to be made into a movie who would you choose to play Nadija, Alexei, and James?
God help anyone who has to work with me! I am so attached to my characters and the tone and feel of the work, that it’s almost sickening. I take being a control freak to a new and unhealthy level!
For Nadija, I would choose Jessica Brown Findlay – I love her work on Downton Abbey and knew immediately that she was perfect to play Nadija. Dija is complex; she is strong, elegant, well-spoken, sarcastic, and terribly self-deprecating and it would take an actress who is multi-faceted to do her justice.
For Alexei, I would choose Henry Cavill. Primarily because Alexei has such a sophisticated charm and a sense of humor that needs to be interpreted properly and I think Henry Cavill could easily translate that.
James is the worst and is probably the most difficult to cast. I have yet to find someone that could do him justice. I’ll keep looking!
I am really starting to love the character of James, who is your favorite and why?
I love James too! He is so tragic and easy to pick on but my favorite character will always be Nadija – I know her the best. But I love writing each character for different reasons.
Do you know how many books are going to be in the series?
There will be 13 in this series – they are mapped out and loosely written. After I finish, I plan on telling the entire tale from the beginning from Lilith’s point of view. So, in the end, the entire story may have 26 to 30 books.
The series seems to be such a massive undertaking. Do you ever feel intimidated or overwhelmed while writing it?
Never! I write in my head all day. Then, after the children go to bed, I sit and purge. Most times, I feel like I’m channeling the story, almost as if it all took place in some other time and dimension and I’m just the conduit and translator. It’s really hard to describe. Often, I just let the characters tell me what they want and need and though I don’t always agree, I allow them the respect of knowing what is best for them.
Do you have any rituals you go through when preparing to write?
This is where I can lie and tell you I make a pot of tea and put on some old magick sweater but I’ll tell you the truth. I always write in full make-up – I can’t have my character’s see me looking awful and I always write in bed. This is the sad and crazy truth – I swear. I’ve tried to write in my husband’s office, at the dining room table, and the kitchen table and it just doesn’t happen. I end up re-arranging the furniture, dusting the fireplaces, and picking up Barbie shoes, or half eaten candy. But, in my bed, I’m a writing wizard. It’s just nuts.
Is there anything you have written that you were fond of but never came to be published?
I have books upon books of poetry. Someday I may publish it and include graphic work. I have entertained the idea of having some artist friends interpret a piece and translate it visually. I never stop working, so I’m sure it will come to fruition someday.
What are you working on now? Can you tell us about it?
I am currently writing the 5th book in the series titled, In the Shadows of Eden. This novel goes even deeper into the past as Nadija and Alexei are given their memories back by the Arch Angel Michael. The readers will get to know the main characters in a completely new and more intimate way – if that is even possible to fathom. And again, without spoiling it for future readers, this book really begins to turn the story around because now, we can understand the past, through Nadija and Alexei first hand. In my opinion, this is the novel that will change and shape the series – it is truly beautiful and utterly romantic.
Rebekah, I’d like to thank you again for stopping by VRB today. Is there anything you would like to add or say to the readers out there?
I just wish to express my gratitude for the invitation – I am deeply honored!
I also want to let everyone know that in celebration of the Vlkolak King’s release, I am lowering the KINDLE version of Memoirs of a Gothic Soul to 99 cents for the rest of the month. For further information on the Gothic Memoirs series, go to rebekaharmusik.com.