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From Transylvania To Dublin And Back by Daniela Stoian Crowe

Writing.ie | Magazine | Tell Your Own Story | Writing & Me
Daniela Stoian Crowe

Daniela Stoian Crowe

When I moved to Ireland in 2006 from my native Romania it quickly became clear that the Irish were fascinated with my so-called vampiric descent; everywhere I mentioned I was Romanian, a vampire pun would pop its head in the conversation and a question about Transylvania would be asked. Transylvania is, of course, home of the renowned Count Dracula who was created by none other than the Irish born Bram Stoker.

I couldn’t leave this coincidence to go to waste. Holding a major in Romanian and English Literature from the University of Bucharest, having worked as a journalist and broadcaster and forever wanting to write a book, I saw this as an invitation, an opportunity I shouldn’t pass.

Upon re-reading Bram Stoker’s original novel, I realised that although the vampire is, according to the title, the book’s main character and according to critics and fans, the primordial vampire, Dracula himself had only a scarce presence throughout Stoker’s novel. His lack of self-affirmation allowed a hiatus which had been filled by many followers with poor sketches of a personality that lacked motivation and consistency and was mainly dominated by fangs.

At a time when the world’s fascination with vampires and their Transylvanian cradle was as intense as ever, I strongly believed I could be the one to set the record straight.  Drawing on my strong knowledge of the folklore around vampires in my country which I had studied in my university years, I felt compelled to investigate, restore and enrich Dracula’s image, to give him depth, background and purpose, to give him a voice. A Transylvanian voice.

I DraculaSo, I set myself to work. After doing a lot more research, watching a lot more vampire movies than I should have and successfully avoiding any actual writing of the book, I took some advice from one of my all time favourite authors, Neil Gaiman. “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy and that hard.” Well, that was clear enough. How hard could it be? I decided it was going to be easy.

Armed with the innocence of the beginner I put my first words on paper (figuratively speaking): ‘The Birth’ and nothing was going to stop me after that. “I’m trapped in this wooden box and I miss my home…” Oh dear, what was I thinking!

After seven months of waking up at five in the morning to dedicate a couple of hours to writing as opposed to mothering my four still very young children, I finally got to type the words ‘The End’. My husband was so very proud and relieved that the alarm won’t go off anymore. A bottle of the finest champagne was purchased and consumed with gusto. My children were so delighted I was going to bake cookies again. They all called me a writer… but was I?

Days later I went to one of Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin’s seminars called “How to get published”. It seemed like the logical thing to do. I have written a book, haven’t I, that I wanted to see published. It was 2013 and I suddenly became aware, sadly but thankfully, that I was way ahead of myself. By about nine years…

Life had its way of getting in my way and I stopped writing for a while. Every now and again I would hear of another Dracula movie or book or computer game that took the world by storm and I would sigh. My Dracula was hidden in a folder in the internet cloud. He wasn’t even getting out at night, but he was sucking the life out of me. I wanted him out!

I stopped then and reflected on my writing journey. Here is what I learned:

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CcGAC3Vj6uP/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

After that I took classes in the Irish Writers Centre with Conor Kostick, Lisa Harding, A.L. Kennedy and Belinda McKeon. I participated in The Novel Fair and Date with an Agent and my drafts were getting better and better with each rejection and with each word of encouragement. I kept going. I didn’t know what else to do.

In 2021 I knew I had arrived at the end of my journey and I had a good book. I released my Dracula from its cloud and sent him into the publishing world but, sadly, nobody wanted him. Nobody had been waiting for him and nobody cared. The heartbreak was growing and my self-confidence was reaching lows I hadn’t experienced before. I cared about my book as I would for one of my children, Dracula was my baby too. I desperately wanted what was best for my book.

In the end it turned out to be self-publishing. When I took the decision and regained control of my work it felt liberating. When I set eyes on the art-work I commissioned for the cover from one of my best friends it felt like I really saw my Dracula for the first time. When I read the editorial reviews for the first time it felt like people could see my Dracula the way I saw him. My book was coming full circle and it felt good. When I wrote my acknowledgements I felt for the first time like a writer.

I, Dracula came out on Friday 13th of May. Champagne was drunk and cookies were baked and I could see the pride in my family’s eyes.  There was a big party. There will be an even bigger party at the Romanian Embassy where my book will be launched on 26th of May, 125 years after Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published. There is a huge sense of achievement. And there is a second book on the way. There is incommensurable joy…

If you want to find out more about I, Dracula please visit https://idraculabook.com/

If you want to support an indie author and get a great book in the process, please don’t hesitate to click the link below.

(c) Daniela Stoian Crowe

About I, Dracula:

I DraculaA gripping gothic tale of war and destruction, passionate love and desperate betrayal brought to life as Dracula’s most unique confession by a Romanian born author leaving in Stoker’s land.

A visceral, gripping tale of life, blood, loss, and painful self-discovery. Dr. Madeline Potter – Dracula scholar

Atmospheric, wonderfully detailed and beautifully written. Jason Figgis – Film Director

A powerful reimagining of Dracula as a tragic characterConor Kostick – best-selling author of Epic

The modernity of the psychology embedded in the character of Dracula is intriguing. Fidelma Kelly – author of Sweet Lemons

Dracula’s captivating portrait as a monster and a relatable damaged being. Vanessa Pearse – author of Beneath the Image

A beautifully woven gothic tale about a tumultuous life lived in pursuit of love and acceptance. Ulrike Ascher – author of Magic of the Elements

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Daniela Stoian Crowe is a native of Romania and a graduate of the University of Bucharest with a joint major in English Literature and Journalism. The study of folklore during university years gave her a strong knowledge about vampires in her own country and a solid understanding of the fascination the western world holds for them. She has worked as a news broadcaster, magazine publisher and TV producer. Daniela moved to Dublin in 2007 and lives there now with her husband and their four children.

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