The Booktopia Book Guru asks
Six Sharp Questions
1. Congratulations, you have a new book. What is it about and what does it mean to you?
Bellagrand is a story of a passionate, troubled love affair between Harry and Gina, who are the parents of Alexander, my hero in The Bronze Horseman books. Writing about them allowed me to immerse myself again in one of my favorite types of fiction: a personal and emotional story of real people against the backdrop of transformative historical events such as World War I and the Russian Revolution.
There is another reason: I love going back to the world of Tatiana and Alexander. I sometimes hear from my readers that they have trouble letting go of my characters. To them I say, tell me about it.
Best: My new renovated house.
Worst: Living in our unfinished basement for three months while the house was being renovated. I have a lifelong healthy respect (okay, dread fear) of basements. My husband and kids, of course, love the cave-like atmosphere—and there is my life in a nutshell.
One moment stands out. For Thanksgiving last year I cooked the family dinner on a stove set up in the wreckage of my demolished-to-studs kitchen. We ate on a folding table in the cold basement. Was that the best or the worst? The answer is yes.
3. Do you have a favourite quote or passage you would be happy to share with us? It doesn’t need to be deep but it would be great if it meant something to you.
“Oh, what a lucky man he was.” (Emerson, Lake and Palmer)
4. Writers have often been described as being difficult to live with. Do you conform to the stereotype or defy it? Please tell us a little about the day to day of your writing life.
I am a delight to live with. I’m hardly ever home. I spend my days in my studio, with my laptop, my piano, and my coffee machine. Oh, and I like to pretend that I defy all stereotypes.
5. Some writer’s claim not to be influenced by the needs of the marketplace, while others seem obsessed by it. Would you please describe how the marketplace affects your writing (come on, tell the truth!).
I don’t think in terms of the marketplace, exactly. More in terms of what my readers and I like best. Since I try to write the kind of books that I myself prefer to read, I hope that my readers will want to read the books I like to write.
6. Unlikely Scenario: You’ve been charged with civilising twenty ill-educated adolescents but you may take only five books with you. What do you take and why?
The Summer Garden, for the lifelong soul of a marriage.
A Song in the Daylight, for the unfathomable human heart (both of which make great Christmas gifts, by the way).
East of Eden, for the Pandora’s box of good and evil.
Macbeth, because it has the best lines.
The Bible, for everything under the sun.
Paullina, thank you for playing.