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The dark, eerie lands of 19th century Constanta, Moldavia, bordering both the home of Dracula, and the Black Sea, set the stage for the story of Prince Mihai Sigmaringen, the ill-fated young hero of award-winning author S.G. Cardin's new book, "The Wolf's Torment." A\s Prince Mihai prepares to assume his royal duties as heir to the throne of Moldavia, a werewolf bites his best friend Viktor. Viktor was like the brother Mihai never had, but the wolf bite changes their friendship forever. Slowly, Viktor begins to lose his humanity, turning into a werewolf, while Mihai takes on his royal duties as prince of Moldavia. Unlike many horror novels and films, "The Wolf's Torment" focuses on Viktor as a human, not just as the beast he becomes each month during the full moon.
Interview with S.G. Cardin
The Wolf’s Torment
Reviewed by for Reader Views (9/07)
Today, Tyler R. Tichelaar of Reader Views is pleased to be joined by S.G. Cardin.
S.G. (Stephanie Gloria) Cardin grew up in Manchester, NH. She graduated Manchester Central High School in 1986. Her first attempt at writing was called “The Gemini Saga,” a story about a female superhero from the future. Following high school, she entered the military and served as an MP (Military Police) for eleven years. She then moved to California and became a 911 dispatcher. She is the author of several novels, including “Are Your Dirty Little Secrets” which received the iUniverse Editor’s Choice award. She also received an Honorable Mention in the 75th Writer's Digest Competition. Today she is here to talk to us about her new novel, “The Wolf’s Torment.”
Tyler: Welcome Steph, and thank you for joining me today. To begin, would you tell us a little bit about the plot of “The Wolf’s Torment”?
Steph: Thank you for having me today, Tyler. “The Wolf’s Torment” is a coming of age story. The story takes place in Moldavia, during the 1860’s. As it opens, the reader meets Prince Mihai Sigmaringen, as a young boy. He’s made some poor choices, but he’s determined to make better ones as he matures. It becomes challenging for him when a werewolf bites his best friend, Viktor.
Tyler: Steph, Moldavia isn’t a place most American readers are familiar with. Did you have to do a lot of research on the country and why did you choose to set the novel there?
Steph: I wanted to choose a place that was spooky because of the supernatural elements I used in the story (werewolves, witches, and vampires) and there’s no place spookier than Romania, the home of Vlad Dracula. Moldavia borders Wallachia, the original home of Dracula. I decided on actually setting the story in Constanta, which borders the Black Sea because it would add to the romantic elements of the story, as well as the supernatural ones. Most of my research was done online, but I did read a couple of books on Romania, including one about the Black Sea.
Tyler: Many supernatural novels, and even novels about werewolves have been written before. What makes “The Wolf’s Torment” stand apart from the rest of them?
Steph: Most of the books I’ve read, and even the movies I’ve seen that tackle werewolves, mainly deal with the character’s actions during the two or three days they’re a werewolf when there’s a full moon. What makes “The Wolf’s Torment,” different is that it takes a good hard look at the man Viktor is during the other 28 days he’s not actually a wolf. Viktor doesn’t immediately lose his humanity. It happens slowly, over a period of time.
Tyler: That’s a wonderful statement about werewolf fiction and films, Steph. I had never thought about it that way. What inspired you to give a more in-depth look into a character who is also a werewolf?
Steph: I wanted to tell a very human story with emotions that readers would connect with. My goal was to make readers really come to feel for Viktor and the challenge his faces.
Tyler: Tell us a little bit about the two main characters, Prince Mihai and his best friend, Viktor. What about these characters and their friendship will make them attractive or interesting to readers?
Steph: Mihai grew up as an only child and when he meets Viktor in London, Viktor is like a kindred spirit. They share many common interests. For Mihai, Viktor is the brother he never had. Viktor had two brothers who mistreated him. Mihai treats Viktor with that brotherly respect Viktor’s yearned for. Mihai values Viktor’s opinions, thoughts, and ideas. In that regard, Mihai is the brother Viktor never had.
Tyler: I also understand Mihai is engaged to Theresa, but he soon discovers there are complications in their relationship, involving both the supernatural and Viktor. Will you tell us a little bit about these complications?
Steph: Theresa is a witch, but she’s not aware of it. Her family has hidden that secret from her. After Mihai has his heart broken by Alexandra, his mistress, he doesn’t want to fall in love again, and certainly not with a witch. In fact, Mihai even suspects Theresa might be a witch, which she denies. It’s Theresa’s compassion and kindheartedness that draws Mihai to her.
One of the basic “laws” of the supernatural in the book is that a wolf needs a witch. Once Viktor becomes a wolf, he doesn’t understand the desire or longing he has for Theresa. Viktor needs Theresa, but Theresa, who hasn’t been raised as a witch, longs to be with Mihai. It makes for a very complicated relationship between the three players.
Tyler: Steph, it certainly sounds as if you like to make things complicated for your characters? How did you come up with this idea of a love-triangle?
Steph: I thought the love triangle would bring out the emotions I wanted to explore in the book. I also thought the readers would connect more to the characters than just writing straight up horror scenes.
Tyler: Steph, why are you interested in the supernatural? What about it attracts you?
Steph: I always thought vampires were interesting. They could live forever, but the price was unreasonable. There’s been so much written about vampires though. I wanted to tackle other elements of the supernatural, werewolves and witches, and expand on their legends and myths.
Tyler: Yes, I’m aware of plenty of novels about vampires and witches, but have there been any major treatments of werewolves in fiction before your book and did those works influence you?
Steph: I believe Sheryln Kenyon writes a werewolf series, but I haven’t read any of her books. I’m really not aware of any other werewolf novels. I saw the movie, “Underworld,” and I was impressed with its take on the supernatural. It was fresh and something different.
Tyler: Steph, what made you decide to become a novelist?
Steph: I suppose the seeds were sown when I was a teenager and I was drawn to comic books. The stories in comics always had wide arcs. They still do. When I finally sat down and began fleshing out my stories, they took on the form of novels.
Tyler: Do you see yourself writing within a Gothic or horror literary tradition?
Steph: I certainly enjoy the gothic, and I’m more of a traditionalist in genre writing. I really liked Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches Chronicles.
Tyler: What kinds of difficulties do you experience in writing horror or supernatural tales? Do you have difficulty establishing laws for your supernatural world that you must abide by so it appears like the real world to readers?
Steph: I think horror/supernatural writing requires an author to tap into an element of fear. For me, it was getting used to writing the short, concise sentences that allow readers to experience that fear.
Tyler: I understand you’ve done other types of writing besides novels and have created “fan fiction.” Would you explain a bit about what it means to be a “fan fiction writer”?
Steph: Fan Fiction, to me, means taking existing characters that belong to someone else and writing them in stories you want to see them in. Probably some of the best fan fiction out there are the Star Trek novels. For me, fan fiction was an easy way to get the creative juices flowing.
Tyler: What kinds of fan fiction and about what characters from other known stories have you written?
Steph: About ten years ago, I got “hooked” on the daytime drama, “One Life To Live.” I wrote a satire about what it would be like to work for a soap opera. It took a look at the stories and plots that go in front of the camera and the shenigans that occur backstage. It was called simply enough, “The One Life To Live Satire,” and it was well received on the Internet. Jonathan Reiner from TV Guide was even a fan. I had a chance to meet him in New York City back in 1999.
Tyler: I understand there is going to be a sequel to “The Wolf’s Torment.” Would you give us a little glimpse of what will happen in it?
Steph: I’m working on “Twilight Over Moldavia” now. In the sequel, Mihai and Theresa’s son, Prince Stefan, has been cursed to become a werewolf. He’s not aware of this. Stefan is engaged to the daughter of King Mikos and Queen Aurora from Carpathia, Caroline. Caroline must save Stefan from his fate.
Tyler: Do you have plans for any more books? Will you write more supernatural tales or books about Moldavia, or will you try your hand at another type of fiction?
Steph: I do have plans for more books. One is a supernatural romance involving a werewolf that takes place in Hungary 1901. One is a period romance that takes place in Nova Scotia, Canada in the 1930’s. The heroine is a young Canadian woman has been brought up in a strict environment and the male love interest is a Hispanic man who runs illegal booze to the United States. I also have one more story plot for a modern romance involving a baseball player and a reporter. I guess I’ll be going back to the romance genre for a little bit.
Tyler: Thank you so much for joining me today, Steph. Before we go, would you tell our readers where they can find out more information about “The Wolf’s Torment” and where to go to purchase a copy?
Steph: Sure. You can visit my website http://sgcardin.tripod.com for information on the book, and you can purchase a copies from Amazon.com or from the iUniverse bookstore at http://www.iuniverse.com. “The Wolf’s Torment” is also available as an ebook through iUniverse.