To be on the other side of the pen




A few months ago, I was invited to give an interview for a local newspaper, Realitatea Teleormaneana, owned by the well-known author Elisei Virgil Dobrica. I finally got the time to translate it for my English-speaking friends. Here’s what we talked about:

1. Melinda, give us a little background for our readers.

A: I’m rather an odd mix of Romanian, Russian, Cossack, and perhaps some other genes as well. Most of my ancestors were intellectuals, both my great grandfathers fought in World War One, and my Russian great grandmother was well known as a witch. All that said, I’m pretty fond of my background and have promised myself to make my genealogical tree one day, as a legacy for my children.

As for myself, I have graduated a Mathematics and Informatics high school, after which I graduated Law School. I have been a professional target shooter for ten years, but I was forced to retire due to health issues.

2. How did your literary career start? What have you accomplished so far, at the age of twenty-eight?

A: It’s a funny thing that, although I’ve worked as an editor for several local newspapers ever since I was eighteen, I didn’t realize my vocation was of being a writer until I was twenty-three. In a difficult period of my life, with the prompting and unconditional support of my family, writing helped me find myself again and discover my true vocation.

My first novel, Rendezvous with Faith (initially Rendezvous with Hymera) was published by two American publishers in April and September 2013 respectively. My next two novels, Mirage Beyond Flames and Dante’s Amulet, along with a short story called Be My Valentine are currently published by Secret Cravings Publishing, an American publisher located in Tennessee, winner of several literary awards and holder of an impressive literary portfolio of over two hundred authors. To me is an incredible privilege I have become a part of the Secret Cravings Publishing and I am confident things won’t stop here.

3. What is the subject of your latest novel?

A: My latest novel, Chronicles of The Blood Countess, is a very special project, a combination of Thriller, Suspense and steamy Romance, based on a real historical figure: Erzsébet Báthory, a bloody countess of the fifteenth century Hungary, who was labeled the most prolific female serial killer in history.

4. Why Melinda de Ross?

A: My real name, Anca-Melinda Coliolu, is a bit too long and difficult to pronounce in English. Melinda De Ross is a sort of American-ish version of Melinda Drozd, my maiden name. My father came up with this idea, as he uses the pen name Chriss D. Ross for his international works, soon to be published.

5. As far as I know, you write your books straight in English. Aren’t you interested in a Romanian publisher?

A: So far, I wasn’t; however, this year I want to expand my horizons, especially if a Romanian publisher would want to translate and publish my works. I write in English because I find this language more expressive, suggestive and melodious. Personally, I express myself better in English.

6. What themes/subjects do you prefer?

A: So far, I’ve experimented from book to book with several genres: Paranormal, Suspense, Comedy, Thriller. The only element that will never miss from my books is a love story.

7. What is a good book, in your opinion?

A: Ah, the first tough question… A good book is a story that doesn’t allow you to tear yourself away from it, not only when it’s midnight and your eyelids are drooping. You have to turn the page. No matter the genre, this is my vision on what a good book means.

8. Do printed books have a future, considering E-books are cheaper and much more accessible?

A: The printed books will never die. It might be cheaper and easier to read an E-book, but real readers will always feel the need to have their favorite books in their libraries, to thumb through them, enjoy the texture of the paper and smell the scent of ink and tale.

9. What are your hobbies?

A: One of the greatest passions of my life, besides my husband, are books. Ever since I was four and my mother taught me to read, books have been my dearest refuge. Besides that, I adore spending time with my husband, taking walks in nature, I like travelling, shopping—we are both addicted to shopping— and I love old movies.

10. Favorite food and beverage?

A: I admit I am a huge gourmand. I love traditional Romanian food (sarmale, mamaliguta, papanasi, ciorba de burta, etc), but I am also addicted to fast food, and I never let a day pass by without eating something sweet. Natural fruit juices are my first choice of drinks.

11. What are your favorite books? What authors influence you in your career?

A: The books are too many to count. I could give only a few examples, starting with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, J.D. Robb’s In Death series, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. As for classics, I enjoy Charles Dickens, Mary Stewart, Agatha Christie, and a few Romanian authors I like are Mircea Eliade, George Calinescu, Nicolae Filimon.

I’m very much influenced by Diana Gabaldon, Nora Roberts, Jilly Cooper, Mary Stewart, Sandra Brown, and so many others.

12. Favorite song?

A: Still got the blues—Gary Moore, Lady in red—Chris De Burgh, and a few dozen more.

13. Favorite actor?

A: Gerard Butler.

14. The dictum that guides you in life?

A: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – Friedrich Nietzsche.



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s