Serpent on a Cross by Wendy C. Garfinkle‏

Wendy C. Garfinkle was born and raised in South Florida. She moved to Northwest Texas in her early 20s, but returned to South Florida eight years later. She holds five degrees, including MA and MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She’s a poet, reading addict, and collector of interesting clothing tags, which she recycles into bookmarks.

She has served as a copy editor and reader for Hippocampus Magazine, an online nonfiction lit journal, and as a reader for the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. Wendy is a crime analyst for a local law enforcement agency, and lives with her teenage son.

Dennah Dubrovnika is a formidable hunter and talented healer. However, she cannot control her own powers, which have suddenly reawakened in the aftermath of her mother’s violent capture by a powerful warlord who destroyed their village in his wake. As she races to free her mother, Dennah is accompanied by Jeth, the man she loves. But she’s increasingly, inexorably drawn to the mysterious Skallon who is allied with her greatest enemy.

Will Dennah be able to gain a measure of control over her magic or will she lose everything and everyone she loves to its raging inferno?

Serpent on a Cross is Book One in a Jewish fantasy adventure series set in Medieval Eastern Europe.

Available at Amazon and BN

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
This book started out as a 10-page response to a fiction writing prompt when I was earning my MA in Creative Writing.

When I had to choose a topic for my thesis in fiction, I wanted something that combined my love of magic, mythology and history. That 10-page writing prompt held bits of those elements. When I approached my mentor with the idea, he suggested that instead of writing Western European (British, Irish, Scottish) fantasy, I pull from my own heritage, which gave me several different choices.

Since I’ve been researching my Jewish roots for the past several years, I decided to go that direction. I also wanted to write a strong, spirited, female, Jewish protagonist; one who refused to be oppressed by the predominant “Christian” society in which she lived. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
From its inception as the aforementioned writing prompt response, when my writing mentor (who is himself a prolific, published author) took the story and me under his wing and whipped us into shape, until he pronounced it to be of publishable quality, was about two and a half years.

This included the foundation for the story – outlining every chapter, researching any and all historical references for accuracy (such as medieval medicine, Jewish esotericism, daily life in medieval Poland and Kievan Rus, etc.), creating character profiles, as well as the usual “down and dirty” editing and proofreading.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Other than the writing itself, research is my favorite thing about writing. Especially when writing medieval anything. Researching the people, places and language and dialect you’re going to be writing about is very important. You want to be sure to not only do those things justice, you want your book to at least APPEAR that you know what you’re talking about.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Outlining. I hate outlines and they’re not too fond of me. When I had to write essays in college and turn the outline in prior to the final due date, I’d write the essay first then write the outline based on the essay. It’s backward, I know, but I’m more of a pantser in my writing than a planner. The only reason I plan NOW, is because my mentor basically drummed it into me for two and a half years.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
I’d like to be Rhonda Tollefson, Oded Fehr’s wife. Because I love Oded Fehr and am jealous of his wife.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
I clean out the fridge pretty regularly. At least every couple of months. Just now, organic peanut butter that expired March 12th, 2014, is the oldest thing in the fridge.

(And now it’s not in there anymore because I just threw it out. So thanks for that.)

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I’m currently working on the sequel to Serpent on a Cross, working title: Veil of Menace, and have plans for a third book in the series. I also have a few other Shiny New Ideas percolating.

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