Please welcome Krassi Zourkova to The Qwillery with the first 2015 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blog! Wildalone will be published by William Morrow on January 6, 2015.
Magic Is a State of Mind
Magic is for kids. We learn this early on, and it becomes a given, part of the price for growing up. If you’re old enough to drive, it’s time to give up fairy tales. And so, we do.
What’s left, then, is a rational, adult existence in which duty erases dreams, logic cancels passion, and our heart is told what it should or shouldn’t want, ad nauseam. Magic—if it survives at all—gathers dust on bookshelves, labeled “literature for children” and used sparingly, as a guilty escape. Wildalone began for me as an extension of this escapism. I envisioned a story very much rooted in reality and in my past, but also one that would contain everything my real life didn’t: myths, legends, witch powers and sex rituals, ancient riddles, murderous secrets, and immortal creatures capable of an even more immortal love.
But, as they say, be careful what you wish for. With every page and every plot twist, as I watched my fictional world grow complete, I also felt a certain penchant for magic lodge itself in my mind. I started to look for extraordinary potential in the everyday, to crave intricacies in life’s minutia and see each experience through a dreamy prism that earned me concerned headshakes from both family and friends.
Technically speaking, I was writing magical realism: a tale in which the fantastical blends so smoothly with the normal, it becomes impossible to distinguish where reality ends and myth begins. Put more simply, it was a fairy tale for adults. Not the sweeping fantasy recipes I had read as a child, boasting castles and magic objects and superheroes, but a world exactly as the one we live in, except now suddenly transformed by the ability of ordinary human beings to love and dream with an intensity most of us consider to be the stuff of fairy tales.
Over the past few weeks, as the book has reached its first readers, I have been called a hopeless romantic more than ever before. The “romantic” part I do love. But the word “hopeless” makes my skin crawl. It implies not that the romantic has given up hope, but that he or she is beyond repair. Why is the world so insistent on reforming those of us who dream? And why is romanticism viewed as a liability? Can—and should—we perhaps start speaking of the “hopeless pragmatist” instead?
It could be that finding the magic in our adult lives means reverting back to a certain innocence we had while still children. This time, though, it needs to be a conscious choice: to believe in the unlimited possibilities of our inner world. As the saying goes—we are all granted two childhoods, but the second one depends entirely on us.
William Morrow, January 6, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages
In this enchanting and darkly imaginative debut novel full of myth, magic, romance, and mystery, a Princeton freshman is drawn into a love triangle with two enigmatic brothers, and discovers terrifying secrets about her family and herself—a bewitching blend of Twilight, The Secret History, Jane Eyre, and A Discovery of Witches.
Arriving at Princeton for her freshman year, Thea Slavin finds herself alone, a stranger in a strange land. Away from her family and her Eastern European homeland for the first time, she struggles to adapt to unfamiliar American ways and the challenges of college life—including an enigmatic young man whose brooding good looks and murky past intrigue her. Falling into a romantic entanglement with Rhys and his equally handsome and mysterious brother, Jake, soon draws Thea into a sensual mythic underworld as irresistible as it is dangerous.
In this shadow world that seems to mimic Greek mythology and the Bulgarian legends of the Samodivi or “wildalones”—forest witches who beguile and entrap men—she will discover a shocking secret that threatens everything she holds dear. And when the terrifying truth about her own family is revealed, it will transform her forever . . . if she falls under its spell.
Mesmerizing and addictive, The Wildalone is a thrilling blend of the modern and the fantastic. Krassi Zourkova creates an atmospheric world filled with rich characters as fascinating and compelling as those of Diana Gabaldon, Deborah Harkness, and Stephenie Meyer.
Krassi Zourkova grew up in Bulgaria and came to the United States to study art history at Princeton. After college, she graduated from Harvard Law School, and she has practiced finance law in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, where she currently lives. Her poems have appeared in various literary journals. Wildalone is her first novel.