Today’s Vampire Month Victim is Anila Hoxha who hails from Albania, the home of the Dhampir and the lugat (don’t know what they are, find out below). Today she tells us all about herself and on Friday she is going to tell us a very personal tale of how she came to be a writer…
You would probably find her disguised in a dark corner of her library, reading a book, trying not to make any noise, afraid that she might disturb Dracula, who is hiding at the third floor of her house in Albania. Now, don’t even ask about how he came from his castle in Romania, to Anila’s house.
Anila is a horror writer, a bookworm and Dracula’s number 1 fan. When she was little, she wanted to be a vampire hunter, but now that she found out the world was so boring and without vampires, she decided to be a vampire writer. Her book “The Demon Child” it’s something between gothic horror, dark fantasy, urban legends, paranormal romance and mythology. Find her on twitter.
1) What is the earliest memory you have of writing? What did you write about?
The earliest memory I have of writing was when a seven years old me decided to write a book with short novels. The first novel I started writing was about a depressed girl who hallucinates about some creatures of horror movies and at the end she is eaten by them. Unfortunately I couldn’t publish the book, because my parents thought it was too scary. Well, I was only seven, of course they were terrified from my fantasy.
2) When did you decide to become a professional writer? Why did you take this step?
I decided to be a professional writer one year ago, after I was diagnosed with cancer. I have always been afraid of what people would think of my books. I am only a sixteen years old girl with a strange passion about horror literature and a wild fantasy. People used to laugh when I told them that I wanted to be a horror writer. But when I was diagnosed with cancer, I decided to make my dreams come true without worrying what people say. At the end it’s my life, and not theirs. If I do mistakes, those are my mistakes, and I will pay for them. God give me a second opportunity, a second life to live. I wanted to show people what I was capable of.
3) What would you consider to be your greatest strength as a writer? What about your greatest weakness? How do you overcome this weakness?
My greatest strength as a writer is my creativity. I can make up a whole story in a matter of hours. But my greatest weakness is finishing the book. It’s very hard to overcome this weakness, and I have to use all my will power, but I do my best. That doesn’t mean I have overcome this weakness. If somebody discovers how, please contact me.
4) Tell us about the place where you live. Have you ever derived any inspiration from your home or from anywhere you have visited?
I am born in Albania, Balkan, and my homeland has always been an inspiration to me. In our folklore, it’s very in common to find tales about dead people who rise, or dead people who talk to animals. We also have the fairies, the giants, the vampires. Also the famous word “Dhampir”, who is a half vampire- half human, is an Albanian word. So as you can see, I am grown up with these legends. I live in a huge house with three floors. The third floor looks very ancient and scary. That’s my favourite place.
Which book, if any, would you consider to be your greatest influence and inspiration?
I read a lot, and I have a lot of favourite books. But the book I adore the most is “Dracula”. This book scares me and in the same time amazes me. Every time I read this book, I feel inspired. I don’t know why, though.
5) What drove you to write about Vampires?
As I said before, vampires (or in Albanian “lugat”) are part of Albanian folklore. I remembered my parents used to scare me with this word, so this way I would behave well. But I start to like them when I saw the horror movie “Blade”. Later I became addicted to vampires after I read “Dracula”. These mysterious creatures have always been my favourites, so I couldn’t do otherwise but write about them.
Whether we are talking about “Dracula”, or “Twilight”, or “Interview with a Vampire”, there are the same creatures, beautiful, mysterious, cursed, immortal. These words are stuck in our head. Well, everyone want to be beautiful and young forever, but immortality has a price. It’s tempting, you know. That’s why we like these creatures. They are tempting.
7) In a fight between all the greatest Vampires of fiction, who do you think would come out on top?
I love all kind of vampires, but I think that Dracula owns the top. He’s elegant, mysterious, dangerous. He doesn’t have feelings. I mean, he doesn’t have to do anything, just to say “I am Dracula”, and we faint from fear.
8) What about in some other contest such as sexiness or dress sense? Who would win that one?
Why would sexiness or dress sense mattered to vampires when they can use their supernatural power and speed to track their next victim. But Dracula had some dress sense anyway.
9) How well do you think one of your characters would fare against the winner(s) of the above?
Well, my character Billy Smith, who is the successor of a vampire hunter priest, does have an amazing dress sense . There might just be tiny problem. We can’t compare him with Dracula, because they come from different ages.
Tell us the basic premise behind your latest novel.
After her mysterious disappearance, everyone thought that the six years old Anne Marie Bordeleau was a victim of the “animal” attacks that was terrorizing New Orleans lately. Only her big sister thought otherwise, because of the terrible visions she had at night where Anne called her for help. But looking for Anne isn’t easy. There are secrets revealed, ancient prophecies, and legends. It’s a dark world, where even angels can fall.
How can she save her sister from the evil, if her sister is the evil itself?