Bellagrand Christmas giveaway!

November 25, 2013

Hi readers,

I want to get in on the Christmas spirit early this year and do another giveaway of my upcoming book, Bellagrand, the sequel to Children of Liberty featuring the fiery love story of Alexander’s parents, Harry and Gina. I will be giving away ten signed books and (I very much hope) getting them to you in time for the holidays.

To enter, simply answer the below question and send it to

What is the most romantic place you’ve ever been, and why is it special to you?

Please send your answers to the Gmail address by Monday, December 2nd. We will pick ten winners and announce them then!

The Bronze Horseman film update

November 20, 2013

Hello readers,

I know you have all been asking me for updates on any news with the film. I have a little I can tell you about the screenplay. Over the summer I did what I thought was an impossible task: I cut a 220 page script to 150 pages, to make our Bronze Horseman movie 2.5 hours long. I managed to do this while leaving most of the things I love about the story in it.

And then the best thing happened after the producer and director read the new version. They both said, that was good, but you’ve cut too much. Have any words been sweeter to a writer? We now need you to put stuff back, they said, and to write a new scene here and a new scene there, and reinsert this joke and this line and this character. Well, if you insist, I said.

So that’s what I’m doing now. Once I’m done, the plan is to go into pre-pre-production in December and into pre-production in March. Dare we hope, production by summertime?

A Little Bit About Bellagrand

October 31, 2013

My friends and readers,

My head peeks out briefly out of the water of my writing life. I take this welcome respite to tell you about a few things.

I can’t wait for you to read Bellagrand. It is a heartbreaker, at the very least, the breaker of this writer’s heart. I love my heroine Gina, a passionate, strong, good woman, who wants nothing more than to love and to be loved. The book is about all the things that stand in her way. In this story, you will also meet Alexander, and you will witness the love that had made him and in the end that saved him, the love that offered him, years hence, the possibility of a new life. It was all borne out of Bellagrand, out of the lifelong love affair between Gina and Harry, Alexander’s mother and father.

Bellagrand will be published in print in Australia and New Zealand in early December, just in time for Christmas—and in e-book. The print edition for the United States and Britain will hit the stores in February/March.

I’m not going to Australia and New Zealand on tour this year—surely, you’ve seen enough of me?––but perhaps I can come back next fall. It’s the highlight of my year, talking to you great people face to face.

As far as Six Days In Leningrad, thank you all, who have bought and read the e-book edition. We are working to publish the print edition for Father’s Day 2014, and it will come complete with many photographs of my life-changing trip to Leningrad in 1998.

Until next time, keep reading, keep writing, keep coming back.

Coming Soon: Bellagrand

October 23, 2013

Hello readers,

The second part of Children of Liberty is coming out on December 5th. Gina and Harry have a lot ahead of them, and I hope you’ll feel for their joys and griefs as much as I did while writing about them. Here’s the cover — isn’t it lovely? Here’s a link to it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The Bronze Horseman Film News

March 12, 2013

My devoted readers and friends,

I’m thrilled to tell you that our mutual dream of seeing The Bronze Horseman on the big screen is one step closer to reality.

ITA Productions, a British company, has optioned the rights to my book. The producer, Martyn Hall, and the director, Sash Andranikian, love Tatiana and Alexander, and want nothing more than to make it into an emotional visual spectacle of a film. Sash, from a long line of animators and movie-makers, is Russian-American like me. He has read all three TBH books, and tells me that he loves them all. Martyn says The Bronze Horseman is the only book that has made him cry. They are looking to go into pre-production by the end of 2013, and to begin shooting early in 2014. So perhaps by the end of 2014, with a healthy dose of luck, we might have our movie.

We are going to be working from a script I wrote, which is fantastic, though it does mean that I have to rewrite it, which inevitably means I have to cut it. As you all know from my books, brevity is hardly my strong suit. My editing process always results in my books becoming twenty percent longer, not thirty percent shorter, which is what Martyn would like.

The good news is, the producers are promising that I will be on set to revise and add scenes as needed during filming, so at least we are going to have participation and some small measure of control in the creation of this magical thing called The Bronze Horseman, a movie.

I welcome your comments, questions, concerns, and of course, casting suggestions.

No, the film will not be in Russian. (Like the book wasn’t!)

What do you think of Alex Pettyfer as Alexander?

My very best,

“Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Russian”

March 5, 2013

I wrote a little blog post over at USA Today about Children of Liberty, and about two of my favorite movies, Love Story and The Great Gatsby. I wanted to talk about a deep and central part of Children of Liberty, which is, of course, Gina and her experience moving to America.

Read it here.

Children of Liberty Giveaway Contest Winners

February 26, 2013

We had so many fantastic entries. What a treat this was for me, to hear what makes you, my readers happy, what brings you joy. Across continents and cultures and languages and ages, a few motifs emerge. Many of you tell me your mother makes you happy. That made me happy to read. Many say being a mother makes you happy. That too gladdened my heart. A number of you adore your pets, a few of you like your significant others. Very many of you love curling up with a good book and a cup of tea. One of you said she likes ice cream, and one of you said she likes milkshakes.

I thank you for your letters, your kind words, you bring me joy, you make me happy. Seeing you on my travels clutching my books to your hearts makes me happy like few things do.

Some other things: seeing all my four children noisily together.
Reading while eating a long slow lunch in complete silence
My piano

I picked a random five names out of my daughter’s school bag, but then felt it was too few. So I picked two more. I wish I could get a signed book to each and every one of you. Thank you again. I hope you enjoy Children of Liberty. Keep your visits and your comments everflowing.

Here are the seven:
Kathleen O’Brien
Mandy Arthur
Sharon Davis
Carol Stark
Dana Levcikova
Giulia Paradiso
Rachel Flynn

If you are one of these names, we will follow up with you to get your address and send you a book as soon as we can!

Children of Liberty book giveaway!

February 15, 2013

Hi everyone,

In honor of Valentine’s Day yesterday, I am having another little giveaway of five signed books, this time for Children of Liberty. Here’s what you do to enter:

Just complete the sentence “[Blank] makes me happy” and tell me why. It could be a person, a place, or, for you readers out there, a book!

Send your entries to the email address

The contest starts today, and closes next Friday. We will announce the winners picked at random the following Monday, February 25th.

And for those of you who don’t end up winning, Children of Liberty goes on-sale in the US on February 26th!

Good luck, and as always, thanks for reading.