Press Release and Q & A with Jane Congdon

Q & A With  Author Jane Congdon

Q:    I’ll start with the obvious: What started with Dracula?
JC:    So many things started with Dracula: My lifelong love of Count Dracula and vampires, my desire to see Transylvania, the trip I finally took at age 59, this book, and the complete transformation I experienced as I realized how Dracula had impacted my own life. The other thing that started when I fell in love with Dracula was my mother’s drinking, a parallel I didn’t see until I went to Romania. 
Q:    Would you classify It Started with Dracula as a travel essay?
JC:    It is part travel essay. The reader follows me from my home in Cincinnati to Bucharest, Romania, and from there rides along as my hired guide takes us over the two-lane roads and through the picturesque Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania, following the footsteps of Dracula. But there’s so much more.
Q:    What else is It Started with Dracula about?
JC:    An editor once told me, “Many people forget that the first two letters of memoir are M-E.” It’s about me. It Started with Dracula is about my childhood with an alcoholic, my changing relationship with my mom over the years, and even some self-examination. My trip and the subsequent writing of It Started with Dracula were transformational, and no one was more surprised than I was.  
Q:     We all like to go outside ourselves when we travel, and most people see travel as an escape. But you went inside yourself.
JC:    Yes, but I didn’t plan it that way. I certainly hadn’t intended my trip to be introspective. I went to Romania solely to satisfy a childhood dream to see the homeland of Dracula; but once I got there and saw the beautiful landscapes of Romania, they reminded me of my hometown. I began having memories, and those memories connected me with the girl I’d been—the one who loved Dracula but feared her own mother. I did a lot of what the psychologists call work in revisiting my childhood and seeing my mother in a new light.
Q:    You dedicated your book “To all the kids who have come home to monsters.” What is the number of children of alcoholics?
JC:    The National Association of Children of Alcoholics reports an estimated 26.8 million children of alcoholics in the United States. That number blows me away. The total number of people impacted by alcohol abuse in America is about 94 million! It includes 17.6 million alcoholics as well as those who are affected by others’ drinking.
Q:    Let’s switch back to travel for a minute. You went to Romania alone, at age 59. Is that typical, a mature woman traveling solo?
JC:    I didn’t think it was typical, because my women friends kept saying I was brave. They were surprised at my plans, but I knew from the beginning that I wanted go by myself and do exactly what I’d wanted to do for so many years. When I was researching travel statistics, I learned that travel demographics are changing. The average adventure traveler is now a 47-year-old female.
Q:    I just bought a Kindle. Will It Started with Dracula be available for e-readers?
JC:    Yes. It Started with Dracula is available for pre-order now from Amazon, Borders, and Barnes and Noble. They’ll carry electronic versions as well as the traditional paperback. You’ll also be able to purchase It Started with Dracula  at  the usual online outlets and bookstores. Look for it in early October.

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