Monday, September 29, 2014

Interview and Giveaway: Serpent on a Cross by Wendy C. Garfinkle

Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

The series I’m currently writing is medieval fantasy. When Serpent on a Cross was released strictly as an ebook in 2012, it was under the pseudonym Darya Asch. My publisher at that time (before Booktrope), recommended that I choose a name more suited to the fantasy I had written. When I signed with Booktrope, I wanted my own name on the cover. It just feels more “mine” than before.

Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.

Serpent on a Cross is the first book in a Jewish fantasy adventure series set in medieval Poland and Kievan Rus, in which a young woman, Dennah, a healer and archer just beginning to learn about her magic, goes on a quest to rescue her mother who has been taken captive by a powerful nobleman who raided their village.

Are you a mom?

Yes, I have a 13-year-old son. I’ve been a single parent for about 8 years, so my mother is my right hand in that respect. My son is a brilliant, energetic young man, who keeps me on my toes.

If yes do you find it hard to juggle writing and parenting?

Sometimes. But he’s getting older and becoming more independent, so it’s not as much of a juggle as it was four years ago when I first began writing this book. As a matter of fact, as I write this, I’m on a research trip to Europe, visiting various places, gathering material for my writing. That I can take this time away from my parental responsibilities is due to my mother’s generosity as my support.

Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

Some of the (unpublished) stories I have written notes for and that continue to percolate in my head are loosely based on events in my own life. But the time period, persons and places have been varied to protect the guilty.

When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?

Buy books. Read. Travel. Watch TV. Hang out with my bestie or other friends and family. Travel. Buy books. Read….

Which romance book or series (or other genre, if you don’t write romance) do you wish you had written?

I wish I had written the Outlander series (by Diana Gabaldon). It has everything in it - fantasy/time-travel, adventure, romance, mystery - it has delighted and entertained millions worldwide, it’s a (so far) never-ending series, and now a major TV series. It’s an author’s dream come true.

Is there a genre(s) that you’d like to write that you haven’t tackled yet?

I would like to write a mystery series, and in fact, already have some material for that, inspired by my travels abroad.

If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?

The sequel to Serpent on a Cross is tentatively titled Veil of Menace, and is in the writing stage. Hopefully it will be ready for release by Booktrope before Summer 2015. It delves into the mystery of who is (or are) allied with Tarkan Maksimov, and what challenges that combination holds for Dennah and her allies, as well as their attempts to successfully free the Jews from all of Tarkan’s silver mines.

What is in your to read pile?

I have a rather large “pile” of books to read, so I’ll just give you a short list: Son of No One by Sherrilyn Kenyon; Rav Hisda’s Daughter & Enchantress, both by Maggie Anton; Blood Red by Mercedes Lackey; Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon; Shadows by E. C. Blake; and The Dark Heroine: Autumn Rose by Abigail Gibbs.

Serpent on a Cross       
Book One
Wendy C. Garfinkle

Genre:  Medieval Fantasy/ Jewish Fantasy

Publisher:  Booktrope Publishing
Date of Publication:   September 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62015-507-3
ISBN: 978-1-62015-523-3

Number of pages:  176

Cover Artist:  Loretta Matson

Book Description: 

Dennah Dubrovnika is a formidable hunter and talented healer. However, she cannot control her own powers, which have suddenly reawakened in the aftermath of her mother’s violent capture by a powerful warlord who destroyed their village in his wake. As she races to free her mother, Dennah is accompanied by Jeth, the man she loves. But she’s increasingly, inexorably drawn to the mysterious Skallon who is allied with her greatest enemy.

Will Dennah be able to gain a measure of control over her magic or will she lose everything and everyone she loves to its raging inferno?

Serpent on a Cross is Book One in a Jewish fantasy adventure series set in Medieval Eastern Europe.

Available at Amazon and BN


Stomach churning, a sour taste in her mouth, Dennah hovered above the massacre from her nest in the ash tree she’d climbed at the edge of the forest.

Guilt twisted a knot in her belly as she remembered Mamen’s order to flee, but she couldn’t leave; she might be needed. So she’d climbed the tallest leafiest tree she could quickly find, its branches extending almost to the roof of their cottage. She fastened the leather bracer on her left forearm, finger guards on her drawing hand, in case she was forced to shoot the ash bow. After stringing it, she set it and the bag of arrows in the cradle of two limbs a little above her and out of easy reach so she wouldn’t be tempted to fire down upon the invaders.

From her perch she saw the soldiers enter the shtetl, thundering over the ramparts as if they were fagots; they crushed the golden fields of barley, and wheat, forcing the defenders to give way or be trampled beneath hammering hooves. Seeing the guardsmen attack the horses to unseat the soldiers, her heart raced. Get them! What right have they to attack our home?! Anger boiled just under her skin. Her gaze sharpened and the branch grew warm beneath the grip of her fingers. Though there was no breeze, the limbs of her tree swayed gently.

Almost without thought, as if her hands had a will of their own, she pulled bow and quiver within reach and nocked an arrow. With precise aim, she inhaled, drawing the cord back, hearing the soft familiar creak as it stretched. She released on the exhale. Gracefully, the arrow sped toward its target, a soldier who’d edged up behind Marek and raised his sword. The shaft caught him in the throat, sunk deep and broke through the skin at the back of his neck. He fell with a thud, blood mixing with fertile ground in a muddy pool beneath him. Relieved of its burden, the soldier’s horse veered away from the melee.

Marek, eyes narrowing, seemed to find her hidden in the ash. He nodded slightly and turned to face another foe. A surge of pleasure warmed her at his wordless approval. Then there was no more time for thought; only action. Again and again her arrows flew true; but she was careful to watch for enemy soldiers looking in her direction. Her stomach dropped when she saw first Yuri, then Selwyn, and finally Yakkov surrounded and disarmed. A quick inventory of her quiver yielded only four arrows. Not enough to free the guardsmen. I’m sorry.

About the Author:

Wendy C. Garfinkle was born and raised in South Florida. She moved to Northwest Texas in her early 20s, but returned to South Florida eight years later. She holds five degrees, including MA and MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She’s a poet, reading addict, and collector of interesting clothing tags, which she recycles into bookmarks.

She has served as a copy editor and reader for Hippocampus Magazine, an online nonfiction lit journal, and as a reader for the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. Wendy is a crime analyst for a local law enforcement agency, and lives with her teenage son.

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