It may just be the most amazing writers’ retreat ever.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say it is.
This summer, I’ll be in Transylvania for the Horror Writers’ Workshop.
What better place to craft a scary story than in the shadow of Bran Castle, which reportedly inspired Bram Stoker as he was writing Dracula? Or inside an actual haunted house.
For most people, Transylvania is synonymous with the real Dracula, otherwise known as Vlad Tepes, a dictator who ruled Wallachia in the 1400s. Tepes earned his nickname (Dracula means “Son of the Devil” or, historically, “Son of the Dragon”) by impaling his enemies and otherwise torturing them. Even “Tepes” is a nickname–it means “Impaler.”
This workshop will not disappoint. I’ll be able to visit the house where Dracula was born, along with a notoriously haunted forest.
I’d always thought the vampire legend was something trotted out for tourists, but Tausha Johnson, one of the workshop organizers, tells me that isn’t the case.
“Transylvanians are seriously superstitious. For them, vampires and the living dead are not just folklore,” she said.
As a horror writer, visiting Romania has been on my bucket list forever, and I’m so excited to be able to walk the same streets as Stoker and Dracula.
Have you ever been to Transylvania? If so, what did you think? It’s definitely the ultimate location for a horror writers’ workshop, but I’m curious…for those writers who work in other genres, where’s the perfect place for you? Where would the ideal romance or fantasy-writers’ retreat be held, for instance?
P.S. If you like this post, you’ll love the story of my visit to the world’s most haunted forest.