I am a native of Romania, born in the largest city of the country, Bucharest, but the origin of my family lies in Transylvania, that legendary “Land beyond the Forest” which has inspired so many gothic novels.
My family had deep roots in the history of the land, with the early ancestors living there as far back as the 14th century. Sometime in the 15th century, perhaps during the reign of the most notorious character of Medieval Europe, known in history as Vlad the Impaler and in literature as Dracula, they moved into the mountains separating Transylvania from Wallachia and established a couple of villages on the southern slopes, not far from where the story in my novel begins. In saying that, I don't mean to imply that the family was of noble blood or of any historical importance, but they were very prosperous merchants of a potent moonshine, a plum brandy which helped those living in Transylvania and Wallachia keep an optimistic outlook throughout their calamitous history.
Like the decade in which I was born, the one that inspired George Orwell to write 1984, my life was harsh, but I was fortunate to spend a good part of my childhood in the same mountains where the ruins of Dracula's Castle remain to this day. At a very young age, I developed an avid interest in the Middle Ages and became a lifelong student of history. Throughout the Lyceum and College, my fascination with the Medieval Era evolved into a real passion for history in general and I expanded my knowledge with many years of study and research.
1968 was the year when a wind of freedom was in the air, a feeling of trust and hope inspired by Alexander Dubcek’s Socialism with a human face. But it was short-lived. When news of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the armies of the Warsaw Pact, in which the Romanian government declined to participate, reached Bucharest, many students took to the streets and demonstrate in front of the Soviet Embassy. I was one of them and I was arrested. Marked as a subversive element by the Securitate, the state secret police, what followed was the bleakest period of my life, which I would later describe as my “struggle years” … read more at www.sapientus.com
After a ten-year hard-fought battle to escape the repressive regime of Ceausescu, I emigrated to the U.S. in 1977 as a political refugee. In 1984, I became a United States citizen. My struggle as a political dissident and as a survivor of the Cold War Era is an extraordinary story in itself and I have plans to put it down on paper …