1. The Bookminder is set in the Limska Draga valley. How is this valley different from other fantasy worlds, and what inspired you to write a story set there?
Harry Potter runs through a brick wall at King’s Cross Station, London and enters another world of magic; the Pevensie children discover Narnia through a wardrobe…Ordinary places with extraordinary secrets.
I am persistently amused to think that magick is actually present in our world, here but forgotten—perhaps purposely so—by the historians or even actively covered up.
The Limska Draga valley comes into all this a real place, with real history. A tiny section of the peninsula of Istria, part of what is now Croatia, this valley carries particular meaning for me: I’ve performed with a Croatian folk group out of Milwaukee since I was eight.
To think that my heritage might harbor a secret magick past? It was too irresistible! I couldn’t not write about it.
Noted above, I toured with a Croatian folk ensemble out of Milwaukee and we were lucky enough at one point to hold a seaside performance as the sun set. The costume pictured is from the region of Međimurje (an area a fair bit North and East of Istria) and the instrument is called a brač.
2. Given the chance, what part of your world would you most like to visit?
The aforementioned folk ensemble? As a part of this group, I actually performed in Croatia in 1997. At the time it wasn’t even a dream in my head to become a writer. I was too busy reading books to dare think I might, myself, pen one. Looking back on the itinerary for the trip, I can see that we skirted very near the ruins of Dvigrad—the town where much of Bookminder takes place. I consider it a missed opportunity that I did not get to see the old stones and would like to return some day.
As this castle is very near where my grandpa’s family is from, I was pleased to be able to see the inside (even posing for a picture alongside my sister.)
Situated in a different area of Croatia than Dvigrad, this castle served as inspiration while I wrote the rough draft of The Bookminder, though I worked from the memory of the experience, not a photo.
3. Which would you least like to visit?
Part of the inspiration as to my picking the particular village of Dvigrad, in this particular place in time, was its history. Essentially every major power in the world at one point or another vied for control of this part of the world. Dvigrad survived raid after raid until, in the early 1600s, the town rather mysteriously emptied of people.
At points in Bookminder, I tried to paint in the sensation of a nameless hidden menace. Perhaps such was only in my mind. At any rate, some of the forests of the Limska Draga valley ring haunted to me and there are dark corners I’d be loath to go, sites of sad memories.
4. Finally, what are you working on and where can readers find you?
I live on Twitter. Seriously, I fear they’ll be charging me rent soon. My handle is @FaublesFables
Additionally, I keep a website mkwisemanauthor.com and try to Instagram whenever I can.
As for what’s next: Currently, I am working to continue Liara and Nagarath’s story and have found time to move forward on a few pet projects that I have to be coy about just now. (I can say about this next mystery project is that is a historical fantasy, mildly steampunk, set in Victorian London, and involves wizards.)
Comment Below: Have you read The Bookminder? And have you ever been inspired to write a story from a location you visited?