By Miriam Ostermann, Associate Editor
Years ago, Cheadle local Constance Varga was stopped in public by an avid fan, who was so overwhelmed by having bumped into who he thought was prominent author J.K. Rowling, that he wouldn’t let her get a word out to clear up the misunderstanding.
Fast forward several years and Varga will be giving her first book reading at HOB’s Hobbies in one week’s time, reading from her recently self-published series The Weaver’s Chronicles: The God’s Chair, and shaking hands with fans of her own this time.
The idea behind the book was the brainchild of her husband Ërno Varga, who approached his wife with a five-minute story pitch in 2012, and suggested she turn the concept into a four-part book series. The notion piqued her interest and catapulted the now published author into a five-year long commitment – one she mastered while concurrently running a household, raising two children, working and undergoing four major surgeries.
“I never dreamed to be a writer, but I loved the idea of putting story down on paper and it’s one thing to have it in your mind, but when it’s down on paper it becomes another world, and I liked that,” said Varga.
“I always had ideas and wrote little things down, but the older I got and with family work and so forth, it went to the back of my mind. I never intended to become a published author. I like the writing but I don’t like the limelight. But my husband was of the opinion you wrote a book now get it out there. He pushed me a lot.”
The God’s Chair tells a story about a boy, Mike, and his father who, when the protagonist was a young child, were victims of an attack that resulted in the mother’s death and left the father with brain damage and exacerbated memory loss. After relocating for many years with hopes of finding a cure for his father’s ailing mind, Mike’s only other family member visits on his 16th birthday to inform him of yet another move – one back home to Transylvania.
While Transylvania could possibly provide a cure for his father’s memory loss and recover important details about the attack, Mike is brought into the loop of his family’s secrets – magic. Upon arriving in the country, the teen is introduced to a large family he never knew he had, finds out he will become a hot commodity on the Transylvanian black magic market on his 17th birthday, and sets out to excel at skills unbeknown to him before. His journey opens his eyes to everything one would expect to find in Transylvania, from werewolves to vampires to dwarfs, on a mission to uncover the mystery surrounding his family’s history.
While similarities in the book can be drawn to the Harry Potter franchise – Varga even references the infamous character in her book – The Gods Chair stands on its own, with Eastern European roots, details and characters specific to the Varga family, and a story cooked up in the minds of the Cheadle duo. Varga even incorporates the 13 towers located in the town of Segesvar, Transylvania as pillars representing the different wizard families.
“I’ve never written a book before, so I thought I’d write what I know,” said Varga who based the story in Transylvania where her husband grew up. “I used a lot of family members, and even God’s Chair itself is a real place. Though I had visited many of the places I had mentioned, I still needed to do research. I needed to know the history of these places.”
With its completion last October, the couple is now trying their hands at self-publishing and stocking the book in local libraries and bookstores. When the pair approached HOB’s Hobbies in Strathmore, owner John Hilton O’Brien suggested doing a joint reading with local young adult fantasy fiction author Derek Donais.
“We’re really excited to host Constance, and it’s really exciting to have a new fantasy author in the county,” said Hilton O’Brien. “These books are great examples of teen literature. It’s a very demanding discipline- balancing character, development and a vision of a new world, together with swift pacing. Teens are very demanding readers, and we’re very proud to get behind our fantastic local writers.”
The Weavers Chronicles: The God’s Chair can be found at the Strathmore Municipal Library, HOB’s Hobbies, the Value Drug Mart in Drumheller, in Shelf Life Books in Calgary, Never Ending Stories in Langdon, and Pixies Hollow in High River. The book is also available in Canmore and in most of the libraries in Drumheller, Strathmore, Calgary. It can also be purchased for print on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca as well as an e-book on Kindle.
HOB’s Hobbies will be hosting a book reading featuring E.C. Varga – Constance Varga’s pen name – on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. She will be joined by local author Derek Donais who will be reading from one of his books from the Metal Magic Trilogy.