Welcome to the twentieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. Today is with romance author Cristina Istrati aka Christina Wittelsbach. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found at here.
Morgen: Hello Cristina. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Cristina: My name is Cristina Istrati and I write under Christina Wittelsbach pseudonym. I began writing four years ago. I’d say my entrance into the world of writing is a bit uncommon, because it happened due to a… dream. In one summer night, back in 2007, I had a dream in which I saw myself writing books. The next day, I grabbed the pen and with some white sheets, I started writing. As I was doing that, the pleasure and joy were coming over me minute by minute and the outcome of that was my first book, a romance novel called Seductive Ambiguity. Today I know that everything that started with a simple dream, turned out to be my biggest passion and love. Today I know that writing is my vocation.
Morgen: That’s great (and how I feel). What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Cristina: I generally write romance. This is my favourite kind of literature and I have to say that it expresses me the most. I love to write romance. Of course, I’ve considered to write other genres and as a matter a fact, I’m quite looking forward to starting. I’m curious about finding out how is it to be writing drama, psychology, history or any other genre.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date? How much of the marketing do you do?
Cristina: I published in 2009 my first romance novel. It was a 28-chapter novel and I wrote it in six months. I don’t really do all that marketing part but I have my site and I’m managing that.
Morgen: And it’s clearly working as you have approaching 5.000 friends on Facebook (the limit, so I found out when visiting your site). Six months for a book is impressive too. I’ve completed http://nanowrimo.org (50,000+ words in a month) three times but that’s where the hard work begins. 🙂 Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Cristina: No, at this moment I don’t have an agent but I’m in the search of having one. I already sent queries to the literary agencies and hope to hear from them soon. To have an agent is a good thing nowadays and surely helps you in your writing career. I think every respectful writer should have one. And yet, I don’t think that an agent is vital to an author’s success. A writer can very well write without having an agent too. If we look to mankind’s biggest writers from a century or so ago, they didn’t had an literary agent and still they wrote amazing, everlasting books. Victor Hugo didn’t have an agent, William Shakespeare didn’t have an agent and yet they became famous writers. I think it’s all about how much you invest in yourself and how serious you are regarding your writing.
Morgen: Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
Cristina: No, my books are not available as e-books, at least, not for the moment. Yes, I read e-books.
Morgen: What was your first acceptance and is being accepted still a thrill?
Cristina: My first acceptance was good, didn’t even expect to be like that. I was given a beautiful surprise. Of course, being accepted will always be a thrill. Maybe not like the first one but definitely, it is a continuous thrill.
Morgen: Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Cristina: Yes, I had rejections too. It’s a part of the process, you can’t stop or avoid them. At first, I was getting upset when I faced them, as I wanted for all the people to love what I was writing but that period is gone now. I understand now that people are free to do and say whatever they want and really, it`s not something personal. Some of them won’t like what you write. What’s the problem? None, as long as you see it that way. Don’t let that get to you and keep on writing.
Morgen: Exactly. It’s very easy to let negativity take over but it’s just one person’s opinion, and not the person for that particularly project. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Cristina: I finished writing my second book, which is a 50-chapter romance novel. It will be published in September. Having this done, I’m enjoying now a small break and after this I will start my third novel. Don’t know exactly the whole story but I’m pretty sure I’ll place it somewhere in the Oriental part of the world. I’ve just returned from Austria 🙂 (this was the country where the second novel was set) now, I’ll go to a sunnier place. 🙂
Morgen: All in the name of research. 🙂 Do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Cristina: No, I don’t manage to write every single day as I have also classes to attend and sometimes I simply don’t feel like writing, don’t have that natural, abundant flow and at that moment, I know it’s better for me to do something else instead. The most I’ve written in a day was four hours.
Morgen: What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
Cristina: Writer’s block is a very common thing among writers and I know it can be so annoying at times. I remember I had it once, for about five days. I couldn’t write anything and I was so upset as I was getting so close in finishing the novel on which I was working at that time. Eventually, I let it go, I embraced my lack of inspiration and soon after, I could write again. That was the first time I’ve “suffered’ out of writer’s block but that experience didn’t repeat itself again. Usually, inspiration comes easily to me. If I see something beautiful or looking for reasons to praise, it’s enough to trigger my desire to write. When I write on a book, it’s that eagerness and excitement to see what’s the next step of the story that keeps my inspiration flowing.
Morgen: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Cristina: Usually, I get the idea and run with it. Everything else unfolds to me as I write.
Morgen: Doesn’t it just (and isn’t that great?). Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Cristina: When it comes about my books, I’m sure all of them will see daylight. But, I also have a notebook where I write and it’s that that I’m not sure it will see it because there are works very close to my heart, very private. It’s the place where I literally write whatever I’m feeling and I think I should keep it in a more hidden form.
Morgen: What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Cristina: My favourite aspect of my writing life is that I can create my own stories, places and characters. I love to create destinies and to play with my imagination. The least aspect is the typing process. It’s like reading the same book twice.
Morgen: 🙂 What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Cristina: If they love to be in service for others, have a burning desire to do a hard work but rewarding and mostly, an unshakable wish to write, they should do so. Otherwise, they will give up on the first moment when writer’s block comes.
Morgen: What do you like to read?
Cristina: I like to read good books, related to history, self-improvement, spirituality, romance. Also, I like to read well-written novels, almost on any subject.
Morgen: Are there any writing-related websites and/or books that you find useful and would recommend?
Cristina: Yes. There are several writing sites: http://www.writers.com, http://www.fictionfeedback.co.uk/index.php, http://www.everywritersresource.com and http://www.pw.org/magazine. As for the books, there are three that I particularly like: Brian Tracy’s ‘Eat the Frog’, Allan Pease’s ‘Questions are the answers’ and Donald Trump’s ‘Think big and kick ass’.
Morgen: Ooh, lots of new websites for me to check out. 🙂 In which country are you based Christina, and do you find this a help or hindrance with letting people know about your work?
Cristina: I am from Romania. Yes, it can be helpful in letting people know about my work.
Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how invaluable do you find them?
Cristina: Yes, I am on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace. I think they are a great way to promote yourself and your books, to tell the world who you are.
Morgen: Where can we find out about you and your work?
Cristina: You can find everything you want to know about me from my site, www.christinawittelsbach.com.
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Cristina: I’m most happy for taking part in this interview. I had a good time answering the questions and I hope they will be an advantage for those writers that already have a background, as well like guidance for those that are at their literary beginning. Thank you!
Morgen: You’re very welcome. I’m sure they will, thank you. 🙂
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
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