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Meet the Author of THE IMPALER'S SHADOW, Alexander Delacroix!

Meet the first of two fantastic authors joining the Swoon Reads family, Alexander Delacroix! We were completely swept away by his gothic historical romance starring none other than a young Vlad the Impaler. Learn more about The Impaler's Shadow!

What inspired you to write The Impaler's Shadow?

I’ve been fascinated by Romania—Vlad the Impaler’s homeland—since I was a teenager. In fact, when I was fifteen years old, I bought a Romanian dictionary, hoping to teach myself the language and visit Romania someday. Until I started learning about Romania, I thought Transylvania and Dracula were fictional creations. It turned out that the real stories were far more interesting than the made up ones. The more I learned about Vlad Dracula III, the more I wondered what could motivate a young man to become so bloodthirsty that vampire legends would later be attached to his name. In The Impaler’s Shadow, I explore how Vlad might have slowly transformed into the infamous “Impaler Prince.”

What is your favorite moment in the book?

I think my favorite moment is when Ilona takes the crossbow from Vlad to show him she can shoot quite well without his help. It’s her way of saying, “I’m not a damsel in distress, and I don’t need a prince in shining armor to save me.” Later in the book, Ilona gets a chance to prove it.

What was the most surprising fact you discovered about Vlad the Impaler, the time period or the region when you were doing research for this book?

I was surprised by how dangerous it was to lay claim to the throne. Ruling Wallachia was a bloody affair. Some of the region’s 15th-century princes battled their way to power four or more times. Vlad himself took the throne by force on three separate occasions. To maintain control of his kingdom, Vlad purposefully cultivated a reputation for ruthlessness. In a time when monarchs were labeled for their most noticeable traits, Vlad, who skewered countless victims on sharpened wooden stakes, was aptly dubbed “the Impaler.” Also interesting to me was that in Romania, Vlad is considered a national hero. He played a significant role in repelling the region’s enemies, thus helping preserve Romania’s cultural identity.

What makes you swoon?

I swoon over novels that transport me to fascinating times and places. One of the joys of writing historical novels is the extensive research I get to do about languages, culture, and history. I also can’t resist samples of unusual and exotic foods. (Did someone say, “Smoked eel?”). And I love learning everything I can about almost any topic. (Except mathematics.)

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