Books And Bites: Congratulations on the publication of Rebirth! Tell me a little about it what’s your pitch?
Ravin Tija Maurice: Thanks for talking to me! Rebirth is my debut novel, the first in my young adult paranormal/historical series, The Afflicted.
Katrine only ever had thoughts of a normal life. One fateful night all of that changes. Her life is torn apart when she learns she is related to the famed Countess Erzsebet Bathory, and that the events of that fateful night have turned her into something she could never have imagined. Who is Countess Bathory? She is believed to be one of the world’s most prolific female serial killers, rumoured to have bathed in the blood of virgin girls, and suspected of being both a vampire and a werewolf.
Rebirth is currently available in ebook from most ebook retailers including Kindle, Smashwords, B&N and Kobo.
BAB: No two authors seem to take the same route to publication, but almost every author has an interesting story about their journey. Care to share yours?
Ravin Tija Maurice: My road to publication was full of dips and turns. Rebirth was originally published under a different title by a small niche press (I won’t name any names, the past is the past!). Things did not work out, and I found myself with a book that needed a home and readers that I did not want to disappoint. So, after some soul searching and unsuccessful agent pitches I decided to put the book out myself. I wanted to get back to my readers and get back to what I love to do so it made sense.
BAB: How did you get the idea for your novel?
Ravin Tija Maurice: I’ve always been interested in history, and historical fiction is one of my favourite genres. The idea of writing something historical was always in the back of my mind, but I needed the right idea. Queen Mary I of England, Henry VIII’s oldest daughter, has been a bit of an obsession for many years and because of her I became fascinated with the label of ‘bastard’ and what it could do to a person’s life. I am also a huge lover and supporter of vampire fiction. Vlad the Impaler had always fascinated me, and when you read into some of the cultural history of vampires the name Elizabeth Bathory is side by side with Vlad. So, when I found out that Bathory was believed to have had a ‘bastard’ daughter before her marriage, the idea came into my head almost fully formed. Finding out that you were the ‘bastard’ child of someone so infamous is a story in itself but add in the possibility that she was in fact a vampire and to me, that’s just amazing.
BAB: Do you have another book in the works?
Ravin Tija Maurice: I am quite actively wrapped up in writing other books in The Afflicted series. I wrote Rebirth and the second, Ikon, back to back and I am editing it now while I am working on the third and trying to plan the fourth.
BAB: Your current novel, Rebirth, is marketed as a young adult novel. Did you originally set out to write a YA novel?
Ravin Tija Maurice: I did not set out to write a young adult novel, and in some ways I don’t feel like Rebirth is entirely young adult. I think it’s a lot of things, and trying to give it a genre label was very hard for me. But I love the young adult genre and I am pleased to be involved in it. I started writing Rebirth thinking that I wanted it to be the sort of book that I would want to read, combining elements that I love. I wasn’t really concerned about genre, and I hope that people from all walks of life can enjoy it.
BAB: How did you get the inspiration for writing about the Bathory family?
Ravin Tija Maurice: For years Countess Bathory had come up in my research about vampires, along with the legend that she bathed in the blood of virgins. I’d toyed with other ideas for stories about her, and some may come up in later books, but the real story came together when I found out she’d had a secret child before her marriage. I hope that I can tell more of her story, I find her so fascinating.
When I began writing Rebirth I had originally not thought much about putting other members of the Bathory family in my stories. As I kept writing I had this ‘future vision’, where I saw what could happen to Katrine and some of the other characters in our time. Gabor Bathory was there, along with some other members of the family who’s names I won’t mention because I don’t want to spoil anything. This future vision is where I would like to end up with the series, so I made sure that all of those who were present ended up in the story. It wasn’t forced, they fit quite well into the natural flow.
BAB: Who is your favorite character? Why?
Ravin Tija Maurice: That is a complicated question! I have so many favourites for so many different reasons. I know this may seem kind of cliché but I do feel quite deeply for my main character, Katrine. She and I have been through a lot together and her story is very close to my heart. I hope that I can do it justice.
With the other characters I love Vincenzo Amori and Grisela Delphine. Vincenzo has such a deep and complex story that I haven’t been able to really get into yet that I am quite excited for, and Grisela has so much history that even as I do research I find things that tie to the back story I have built for her and to me that’s exciting.
BAB: When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
Ravin Tija Maurice: I knew I wanted to be a writer very young, around six years old. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. When I was little I used to write myself into classic stories. I recently found my retelling of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with myself in Charlie’s place that I wrote in the fourth grade…it was pretty funny!
BAB: In writing, Rebirth, what was your most surprising discovery?
Ravin Tija Maurice: The whole premise behind my series, The Afflicted, is that there was all sorts of paranormal things going on in history that no one knows about. I was surprised when I would do some research on a time period, a person, or some other historical detail how easily I was able to incorporate paranormal elements throughout. It’s always amazing, and sometimes surprising, when you have an idea and it really works.
BAB: What’s your writing routine? Do you write in the mornings, nights, daily, or when the mood strikes you?
Ravin Tija Maurice: It’s generally when the mood strikes me but that seems to happen at night. I do my first draft the old fashioned way, writing it out by hand, and I can do that pretty much anywhere but I find I am the most productive sitting outside in the sun.
I started writing things out by hand when I was in college, because on more than one occasion inspiration would strike during class and it was easy to pull out a piece of paper and just start writing and it really worked for me so I kept doing that and now its turned into a habit.
BAB: You write many wonderful and graphic scenes that makes the reader feel as though they are actually participating in the scene. One of my favorite scenes in the novel is; When Anastasia is tied to the tree and changes into the beast. What are your favourite scenes?
Ravin Tija Maurice: I have several, but some of my favourites are when Katrine meets Countess Bathory and the events surrounding the Countess’s arrests in 1610. Because of the fact that the Countess was a real person and the events are such a key part to her story I was concerned about not only keeping it consistent and truthful but I wanted my representation of the Countess to ring true for those who love her. I tried to show a bit of who I thought she would be, and how she would sound.
BAB: What experience did you have with your publisher? Good? Bad?
Ravin Tija Maurice: Since the book is self published this is a totally new experience for me. Ebook distribution sites like Kindle and Smashwords make it incredibly easy to do, but also incredibly easy to screw up. Making my own cover has probably been the most out of the box experience for me but I really enjoyed it. It’s been an interesting process but at the same time fun and exciting so I would say good.
BAB: If you had to pick one author as your favorite, who would it be?
Ravin Tija Maurice: I have so many I’m not sure I can pick just one! For vampire fiction, Laurell K Hamilton and Charlaine Harris are my favourites. For historical fiction, its between Philippa Gregory, Susan Fraser King and Sandra Gulland. For young adult its Ally Carter. I am also a huge fan of Lisa Lutz.
But my favourite author of all time would have to be Stephen King.
BAB: Finally, thank you for taking part in this interview. Before you go, what message would you like to send to your fans?
Ravin Tija Maurice: For my fans, thank you for reading. Thank you for sticking with me when things got rough, and thank you for your support. I greatly appreciate it, and I look forward to sharing more of my work with you. There are some exciting things on the horizon!
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