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Interview: Majanka Verstraete

Monday, December 26, 2011
Today, I'm interviewing Majanka Verstraete, author of Mirror, Mirror.

Piper is nearly as obsessed with antiquities and century-old houses as her mother is. It's no surprise that she immediately falls in love with the old mirror she discovers on the attic of their new home. Despite the warnings of her best friend Alison, who senses something isn't quite right about Piper's newest discovery, she puts the mirror in her bedroom. Tormented by nightmares and haunted by eerie voices in the middle of the night, Piper realizes she has made a terrible mistake. But is it really the fault of that antique mirror, or is her imagination playing tricks on her? Maybe the truth is even more terrifying....

You both write and manage a book review site. How do you balance reviewing books and writing a novel?
It’s unbelievably hard to combine the two, I can assure you. On top of that, I also design websites, not only for myself, but for other people as well. I’m a busy bee. The real problem is that, when I’m writing a novel – and with that, I don’t mean the outline or editing, but the actual writing – I can’t read other books. They distract me. Sometimes because they give me inspiration for other books, which is a big no-no when I’m in the writing stages, or because they make me waste too much time.

However, I often give in anyway and read the book. Sometimes reviewing and reading other books also helps me write my own books, because I spot clichés in those books and then avoid using them myself. However, it remains difficult to combine the two. But since I love doing both, I can’t possibly see me not doing either one of those.

It's sounds like you have a lot going on. I'm impressed! I noticed that you’ve previously published another supernatural horror novel. What draws you to the genre?
That’s difficult to say. I’ve always enjoyed telling scary stories to my peers, even when I was just a little kid. I remember that when I went camping over the summer, we used to turn the lights off and crawl under a blanket together and I would tell my friends the scariest stories I could come up with. We were usually too scared to go to bed afterwards. I also love watching horror movies and pinpointing the clichés in those movies. However, horror wasn’t the first genre I started to write.

When I was thirteen years old, I started on my first big, epic fantasy book, so epic fantasy is the first genre I ever tried. Afterwards came vampires, vampires and well, more vampires. I think I’ve recently outgrown the vampire crazy a bit, and I’ve fallen in love with reading paranormal mysteries and supernatural horror books. I like to get scared. And I like to write in the genres I currently love to read, so supernatural horror it was.

Will you continue to write supernatural horror novels, and will you be trying out other genres in the future?
I’m currently working on two books. One of them, The Thirteenth Hour, is currently in the editing process, and again, it’s supernatural horror. Except this time, I’ve written a number of horror short stories and combined them in a collection. The book I’m currently writing however is a young adult paranormal romance novel with the working title Soul Thief. It features angels mostly. Other ideas I currently have involve other paranormal romance books and an epic fantasy series. So it’s unlikely that I’ll stay in the supernatural horror genre, but I’m not completely done with it yet. I will stay in the young adult genre though.

If you were a character in Mirror, Mirror, what role would you play?
What an interesting question! I’m not exactly sure, but I would probably be Piper. I can actually relate quite well to my main character. She lost her father to a fatal illness, and my father died when I was seven years old. Not exactly in the same circumstances, but the result is still the same. It’s just Piper and her Mom, and they have a special bond I can relate to quite well, since it closely resembles the bond I have with my Mom. On top of that, I’ve put a lot of characteristics of myself in Piper when I wrote down her personality traits.

Piper is intelligent, open-minded and eager to solve the mystery. However, she’s also a bit too trusting and naïve and fragile. She isn’t one of those brave heroines who always face danger head-on, but she isn’t exactly a person who runs away screaming all the time either. Plus, Piper hates mathematics, and I hate them as well. Additionally, I like to be the main center of attention, so of course I would like to play the main character. ;)

If you created a fantasy world for yourself, what would you put in there?
This is a difficult question to answer. If I were to be transported to a fantasy world right now, I would definitely like one that includes dragons. But not evil dragons that kill humans to pass the time, but the kind of dragons you can fly on and use as means of transportation. Additionally, I would like a magical library that instinctively knows what you’re looking for and where books fly right out of the shelves whenever you need them. I would also put some bad guys in there, like demons and boogeymen, to keep the balance between good and evil and such. And of course, a possessed mirror can always be added to keep things interesting.

Do you collect antiquities like Piper?
I don’t really collect antiquities, but I love old houses. And with love, I mean that whenever I see a house that’s over a century old, I go totally crazy. It doesn’t matter if the house is already decaying, missing a roof, doors or windows, or if it’s still well taken care of. I just love old houses. I love castles as well, actually. Whenever I travel somewhere, I always look up whether or not there are castles or old mansions in the area, so I can visit them. One of my dreams is to go urban exploring into old, decaying houses and discover treasures left behind by the previous owners.

I love old houses! If I could design my dream house, I would want it to look like it was transported from the past. I'm not brave enough to explore decaying houses though. Is there something you would like to collect?
I would love to collect doll houses. Antique doll houses. But they are ridiculously expensive, and my budget, being a poor university student and sometimes author, is unfortunately very limited.

What can readers expect from you next?
On June 1st my next novel, a horror short story collection called The Thirteenth Hour will be released on Amazon, Smashwords and Lulu. I’m currently working on my next novel, Soul Thief. I estimate I will be finished writing and editing that one by the end of February. However, since I’ve decided not to self-publish Soul Thief, but look for an agent, etc. it might take a while before it ever gets published.

Good luck with publication! Anything you want to add?
Well, of course I would like to add that everyone should try out Mirror, Mirror. Not only because you would be helping a poor university student out, but also because a lot of time, effort and especially love went into writing the story. It isn’t just supernatural horror, it focuses on a lot of other themes as well. Additionally, people who want to get a taste of my writing, can always check out my free horror short story "The Crossroads." If you want to know more about me or my writing, feel free to check out my website. And thank you, Kris, for the fun and interesting interview questions and for hosting me on your blog today.

Majanka's Website | FacebookTwitter
Majanka Verstraete is a twenty-one year old female from Belgium. She’s currently studying law at university. Her greatest passions in life are writing and reading. She especially enjoys writing books in the young adult genre, ranging from young adult horror novels to epic fantasy and paranormal romance. She has currently published two books, The Blood That Defines Us and Mirror, Mirror. She’s working on a collection of horror short stories, The Thirteenth Hour, which is due for release on June 1, 2012. Her current writing project is a paranormal romance series under the working title “The Angel of Death Series”. Volume one will be entitled Soul Thief.



Giveaway

Majanka is offering 3 e-copies of Mirror, Mirror in the format of your choice.

Details:
Open internationally
Ends January 24th, along with the tour
To enter, fill out the form below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



9 comments on "Interview: Majanka Verstraete"
  1. Ha! I would definitely want do ride dragons! xD I haven't heard of this book before but it sounds great I love horror/thriller mysteries like these. Great post Kris!

    Giselle
    Xpresso Reads

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  2. A magical library would be perfect in a fantasy world. I would also add to that the ability to speed read and still appreciate the whole story. Thank you for the fun interview :)

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  3. I would love to ride a unicorn or pegasus. I think they are beautiful animals. I think a magical library would be great too. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. It sounds very good. Tore923@aol.com

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  4. Wow! The cover of this book just draws you right in, doesn't it?! And then the description seals the deal! I really can't WAIT to read this book! Thanks so much for the awesome giveaway:)

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  5. Very informative interview. I'd love to see more books about Dragons too. They are my favorite mythical creatures! Slayers by Janette Rallison has some great scary dragons:)

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  6. Loved the interview. Now I feel like I have to read the books. Thank you!

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  7. I love old houses and castles as well and I actually do own an antiques mirror that I paid $40 for at an estate sale. No scary dreams though but that might be because it's still in my garage...haha

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  8. Thank you for the giveaway!

    ladra.di.anime@hotmail.it

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  9. I love old houses and castles as well. I would love to live in a world where there were dragons and i want that library! That would be so cool!

    yleacy(at)yahoo(dot)ie

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