As debutantes in 1890’s New York City, cousins Dacia and Lou know little about their Romanian relations, the mysterious Florescus. Now, upon turning seventeen, the girls must journey to Romania to meet their cousins and their tyrant of a grandmother and learn the secrets of their family—secrets spoken of in whispers . . . known only as the Claw, the Wing, and the Smoke.
But as dangerous as those secrets might be, even more dangerous is the centuries-old bond between the Florescus and the royal Dracula family. It seems that it’s time for Dacia and Lou to give up their life in New York society and take their places among the loyal servants of the Draculas, an inheritance more treacherous than the girls could ever have imagined. Do they have the courage to break the shackles of their upbringing and set the course of their own destiny?
Why I Wrote It
It’s an interesting story, really.
I was watching a terrible movie that was based on a really fun book. The book was set in America, and is about a family of werewolves who run a bed and breakfast. The movie was set in Romania and was about a family of werewolves who run an absinthe factory. There was absolutely no reason for the change, and I kept yelling at the screen (I was at home, by myself, not yelling in a movie theater) that they were wasting the setting. There were a number of lovely shots of Bucharest, and the Romanian countryside, and no reason for them to be there. I started to say to myself, if I was going to set a story in Romania, I would use the setting better . . . And I had an idea. An idea about a teenage girl from America, going to Romania to meet her long-lost cousins. I originally planned for it to be a modern story, and the whole thing would be emails, texts, and diary entries from one cousin in Romania, back to her best friend, an American cousin, home in New York. I was telling this idea to my friend Amy Finnegan (that same Amy Finnegan who helped me put the kissing in Dragon Spear!) and she said, You know what would be even crazier? What if it were a hundred years ago, and these were proper young ladies? Can you imagine the shock when they find out that their family has magic powers?
We had both been reading the Luxe series by Anna Godberson, and I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. It would be strange enough to travel from high fashion New York to Romania, as a young debutante circa 1890. But imagine “roughing it” AND finding out that you’re part of a legacy of magic that involves ickily transforming into a wild animal? I started to do some research, and the idea really began to take root when I realized that Bucharest in the late 1800’s was hardly some uncivilized backwater, but was in fact one of the crown jewels of Europe. The Orient Express stopped there. Wealthy Parisians vacationed there. I had no idea! My husband, the long-suffering Webmaster Mikey, agreed to give up our planned vacation to Iceland that year (2010) so that we could take a private guided tour and see all the sights and do all the research. It was amazing, and writing this book was one of the most awesome experiences I have ever had!
Uncle Horia is named after our tour guide, Horia Matei, from Adventure Transilvania. I highly recommend Adventure Transilvania, and Horia, if you are thinking about traveling to Romania!
The scene in which Dacia realizes that the only one of her aunts with a bust has padded her gown was the first thing that came to mind when I started to brainstorm this book. The book went through a lot of edits, but I always kept that scene because it was the first thing that popped into my head (originally though, it was a modern scene where she emails Lou about their aunt’s push up bra stuffed with Kleenex), and it’s just hilarious to me.
Photos of Romania
Jessica has posted some of the photos from her trip to Romania that inspired locations in Silver In The Blood.
The King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, carries signed copies of Jessica's books. You can also have them personalized by Jessica and shipped directly to you. Contact The King's English for details.