Eloise, The secret behind the mask marks the narrative debut of young Milanese writer L. Vucetich. 24 years old, original Italian writer with a German father, L. Vucetich also aims to conquer readers oversea. It is not a case that her novel, in addition to the Italian edition, also has an English edition. Both of them represent the first episode of a horror fantasy series enriched with emotions, magic and current topics, a genre that insiders define urban fantasy. To know more about it, we met just the author, namely her, L. Vucetich.
Hi L. Tell us about the plot of your book. What he tells about exactly?
Eloise, The secret behind the mask tells about a girl, Eloise, who runs away from her home as soon as she became of age, to follow the one who she believes to be her true love, Mark. Her romantic escape, turns very soon into her personal hell. Mark, indeed, forces her to prostitute herself. All the start of the story is around the life and the sufferings of the character, but also tells about the friendship with her colleague Caroline. The turn happens when she meets a mysterious customer, Lukas, whose face hides behind a mask. From this stage, Eloise will find herself in front of a hard choice: trust a stranger and follow her heart once again, or continue living the usual life. Lukas is ready to reveal a secret that involves her and that’ll open her mind about all the things that surround her, by answering to many questions of the young girl and instill other doubts into her.
What did push you to write a story half a way between the horror genre and urban fantasy?
You are the first person to highlight the horror side of the novel: the intention was the one to write a pure urban fantasy, but my passion for cinema and horror tales have surely influenced me. Horror allows to outline dark and creepy features about the characters and background better than any other genre and for this it has been very useful to me for some descriptions.
As an urban fantasy, the novel has surely been set in a well defined place. Even because, Eloise, the protagonist, works on the streets. The time space references are however very blurry and they will be discovered only to the end. Can you unveil us the places of this compelling fantasy story?
There is a precise reason for which the places are not mentioned for the most of the novel: they are not relevant. The shortage of time space indications serves to explain how some hard situations, such as prostitution, wrong relationships, can happen everywhere. It is right that everybody can imagine where the most earthly scenes of my novel take place. Personally, I have always imagined it on the streets of Rozzano, the suburbs in Milan, while I visualize the description about the most beautiful and clearest district, where I was born, in Milan 3, Basiglio. The reason of this choice is very simple: Milan 3 is a happy oasis, a residential area where nothing never happens, or it seems so, at least. However, just move a little off to meet Rozzano that is the exact contrary. It is on the street of this town that one night, in my car, I met the gaze of one of the many prostitutes who are in that place. I still remember… I was very young and it conveyed me much sadness. That night I could not sleep. But I can anticipate you that there will be many more references to the places in the sequel…
Eloise, The secret behind the mask is really your first work or did you write else in the past?
I wrote much else in the past. I have written since when I was a little girl. I started with classic secret diaries, where I wrote everything (I still keep them) to pass, then, to short stories. One of the first was about Cloverleaf. At a tender age, I was not able to explain to myself why there were many clovers and few cloverleaves. And so, I created a whole my legend. In the ancient times, there are a fawn and a mischievous elf, they didn’t’ get on well. A day, the elf found out the little fawn ate only cloverleaves and so, to tease it, launched a spell on the most of them, making them lose the fourth leaf. I wrote many works, many stories, above all short stories, that none has never read, a little how it had to be for Eloise I started writing without considering even remotely the idea of publication.
In your view, who is Eloise, and above all, who is and what to do L. Vucetich in her life?
Eloise is the extreme incarnation of every girl: and soon or later, nearly all find ourselves facing some difficulties, some of them, enormous, others, smaller, but very painful. In the novel, the protagonist is helped by both Caroline and Lukas and this is an important message for me, maybe the most important of the whole story: in front of any difficult, it is right to ask for help and this does not make us weak, rather… We have to be ready to not isolate ourselves from others, to not fear the other’s opinions, we must be available to accept and give help, because you hardly exit your own nightmares by yourself.
L. Vucetich is as a girl as many: I studied at the classic high school and later I had to leave the university. I love reading and writing and animals are another my big passion. Currently I am living together with my partner, my two dogs (Grace and Arwen) and my cat (Nagini). Maybe other members will arrive in the family… I work with my partner at his own restaurant, a pizzeria in Cesano Maderno and in my spare time I take above all care of my writing. I adore to go to the cinema and those who know me well know that one time a month, at least, I start insisting to go to see the new horror movie released, above all if it is directed by James Wan.
How long has passed from the first draft of your novel to its definitive publication and translation?
It has passed very much time: I started writing it during the last year of the high school, among the school desks, I was at over half a book, when my little dog Peggy passed away. The grief was too big and I put away writing. In 2014 I went to live with my partner and it was thanks to him, Gianluca, if I managed to take the manuscript back into my hands and finish it. The publication arrived in 2015. To get an idea about a more precise timing, let’s consider I have started the sequel a couple of months ago and I aim to finish it within the autumn of this year.
Despite the young age, I know that to give the life to the character of Eloise you did a deep research and documentation, just as an established author. How did you face and manage the research work, which were the sources you used and above all, how long did you take?
It is hard to say, mostly because the topics I treated have always been one my passion, hence I did some research long before to start writing Eloise.
Sorcery, paganism, the witch hunts were the studies I had already treated for many years. All I know, what I worked out inside the novel, changing and shaping it, is the fruit of myths, folk tales, historical documents and movies (some of them, more realistic than some others).
Your name is a pen name in reality. Why did you choose to sign yourself as L. Vucetich?
My true name is Eleonora. I decided to sign myself as L. because is the nickname my best friends Enrico e Michel gave me.
Which are readings and writers that fed your passion for writing?
About writers, I particularly loved Umberto Eco, Ken Follet, Mary and Carrol Higgins Clark and above all, the greatest J. K. Rowling that I consider the best writer of all times.
About single books, I owe very much to Harry Potter, that approached me to the fantasy genre. I also crazily loved “ Salem’s Lot” by superb Stephen King.
As already said, Eloise, The secret behind the mask I the first episode of a series that includes one or more sequels. Why the idea for a series and not for a unique novel?
I considered the idea to write only a unique novel, but the more I keep writing and the more I realized that to tell all of the story I should write a thousand page book.
As a reader, I prefer smaller books, they are practical and comfortable to put into your bag and to carry around. Hence, the choice is due to think more as a reader than as a writer.
Your books faces some burning topics, such as prostitution and violence against women. However, everything is masterfully seasoned with a touch of magic and supernatural. Which is the message hidden behind the personage and the story of Eloise?
The main message that has to be conveyed is the idea that nothing is insurmountable: in my novel, there is magic in the real literal meaning, but magic is inside each of us in reality. Inside a novel, magic is what allows to express fantasy freely, without having to obey the limits imposed by rationality. But this does not mean magic does not exist in the real world, also.
Magic is all good is in the world and that, if used in the best of ways, can help us to overcome any difficulties. You always have to believe in magic, in the its pure essence: magic is in a best friend that wipes our tears away, magic is in a newfound love, magic is in a child, in a pet, it is in every beautiful thing. The topic of prostitution, instead, was born to launch a message for all women who endure physical and psychological violence and don’t have the courage to talk about it: speak out, confide, but, above all, let the others help you!
With the English edition of Eloise, The secret behind the mask, you also aim to conquer readers oversea. What would you say to a hypothetical foreign reader to persuade him to read and buy the book?
I would say what I would say to any reader, related to any book, mine or by others: read because nothing over reading makes you feel free. In particular, I would advise to read Eloise to anyone loves magic and a touch of history, read in a fantasy key.
The foreign literary market is still dominated by the great stars of the fantasy genre, starting from J. K. Rowling, the mother (in a literary meaning) of The Harry Potter series. I believe this long series of books has greatly influenced your choice to write. In your view, the series of Eloise could gain the same success of the books by J. K. Rowling?
I think it is the dream of all writers to see their own work next to the one of the authors as famous as J. K. Rowling.
I don’t know if my novel could get the same success, but I would be proud to be also only the half of the one that J. K. Rowling is.
When you discuss about literary series, readers are also eager to get some anticipation about the next book. Can you reveal us some news about the sequel of your novel?
In the sequel, probably titled “Eloise – The Island of the Deads”, we’ll find the protagonist who is struggling with the fate that was given, before her, to her mother. She’ll find herself to make a very important decision, that will have consequences not only on her life, but even on the one of all the magic people. New love stories will be born, maybe caused a bit, by something of supernatural…
With the preview about the highly anticipated sequel of Eloise, The secret behind the mask, we salute L. Vucetich thanking her for the interview and for having made known her talent to an international audience.
To buy and read Eloise, The secret behind the mask, visit Lulu.com.
For more information about the book and the author, read the press release.