Blog Archives

Of Chocolate Hedgehogs and Grasshopper Pies

January 29, 2011

Hello, my Culinary Friends, I have never been more famished.  I sit here in my little studio holding on my lap your hundreds of recipes and letters, salivating over your family delights. All I have with me here to eat is an old can of cashews, Greek yogurt with early November’s expiration date, Nespresso coffee capsules, and bags of ice in the freezer.  I believe I will go dig up a TV dinner and nuke it for my midnight dinner. Be right back. …  OK, I’m back. This has been an illuminating, gratifying, deeply entertaining contest.  Because I have received almost as many recipes as there are countries.  Some countries were very well represented, such as Italy, and some woefully underrepresented, such as France. But Malaysia yes And Vietnam The Netherlands And Chile And Germany Germany Germany Mexico And New Mexico, thrice Spain and Israel Turkey and Australia The Country of Man, which submitted four Man recipes. And a voice from the great beyond: a woman named Maria Pavlova from St.Petersburg wrote to me with her recipe for Solyanka. My grandmother’s name was Maria Pavlova.  She was from St. Petersburg.  She made Solyanka all the time.  On my hungry lap I hold instructions for, among others, empanadas and tapenades Yorkshire Pud and Bread Pud and Egyptian Milk Pud Assam Laksa and Bratwurst Chocolate Sausage!!! Pizza (from scratch) Stuffed cabbage with Moose Meat Corn and Crawfish Stew Grandma’s Pie and Almond Pie And Lemon Meringue Pie Nut Rolls and Beef Samosas Casadiellas and Cucoli Fritti Hot Fudge Cake and Borsht Chocolate Muffins with Nutella inside; where are you, Nutella-loving Che, are you reading this and drooling? Oliebollen and Aalsterse Vlai Corn Souffle and College Drive-in! Melting Moments and Chocolate Bundt Cake Oatmeal Bake and Potato Bake And let’s not forget Fire Crackers. I wish I had two hundred books to give away.  Thank you all so much for enriching my life with your lives. You’ve given me a great gift, because now I’m going to make your concoctions all December, through New Years. From now on just call me Porky Pig.  I will have to walk through my door sideways.  I have written out your names on strips of paper, rolled them up and placed them in two Yankees baseball caps. I will now go and eat my cooled-down tofu with peas or whatever is waiting for me in the microwave, and pull out ten names and be right back.  Cue waiting music…



Hello Again

January 26, 2011

Dear Friends, I think it’s time to update our blog with a brighter entry, don’t you think, because judging by the last three this space almost reads like a Death Blog. I only write when someone dies.  I feel this somewhat defeats the whole purpose of happily communicating with readers. This is better. I hope you enjoy my new website, it’s easy to navigate, is pleasing to the eye, and you can load it quickly on your mobile device like the glorious iPhone. Check out some of our new content, my Summer Garden video, and slideshows of my past tours. Perhaps some of you in Australia and New Zealand will spot yourselves! We’ve got more tour slideshows coming, one from 2007 and one from 2009. And we’ll also be uploading photos from my trip across the U.S or “Road to Paradise” and photos of Summit, New Jersey and the Australian outback for “A Song in the Daylight.” I’m thrilled to continue my longstanding partnership with HarperCollins for the next five novels.One of the things we’ve worked on to accommodate my readers is an enhanced publishing schedule that will ensure a Paullina book once a year.  And not just in Australia, New Zealand, and England, but globally, including the United States.  I know I’ve written elsewhere about the subject matter for the next book, indicating its lovelorn roots and its Bostonian/Ukrainian setting during the Great Depression and the Stalin purges.And believe me, that’s coming, and not in small doses either.  But first, you are going to get a different book for your (I hope) enjoyment. I think it’s so delicious it requires its own (imminent) post. Regarding news of Bronze Horseman film adaptation: I’m not being cagey, but we’re at the cusp of either moving forward or going in a different direction. I’m going to know more in the next few days.I know you’ve all been super (im)patient(!), please bear with me. No one would love a beautiful epic Tania and Shura film more than me. Signing off for now, more very soon.



From the Archives…

January 22, 2011

Over on the Facebook page, Elaina asked: “Have you ever gotten a rejection letter?” Elaina, yes, indeed, I have received a few rejection letters in my day — and that’s true for many authors, including Sylvia Plath and Jack Kerouac.  Read this piece for some of those (pretty harsh) rejection letters. Way back when in 1993, at the time I was shopping Tully around to agents, I received a fairly nice rejection from the first agent I submitted it to. She considered it, but passed, and then I sent it to a second agent. This second agent sent it back (this was before now, when lots of agents just send things back with form letters) with a note saying, basically, “I read through part one, and that was enough for me. I’m passing on it, and before you send it out to any more people, I suggest you might want to take a course and learn how to write, and then revise your book accordingly and resubmit.Just not to me.” Ouch.Happily, all’s well that ends well, since the third agent I sent it to signed up for it and then sold it to St. Martin’s Press, who then put it out into the world and into your hands. I was actually pretty lucky when it comes to the publishing business — nowadays writers have to face dozens, hundreds of rejections before they might see their book published.



TBH Film Update

January 15, 2011

Dear Friends, And now for some news about the film option of The Bronze Horseman.  Things have not worked out quite as I hoped, but that’s only because I can’t see the future and don’t know what’s still ahead.   At the moment, though, the 18-month option with Andy Tennant’s production company has unfortunately come to an end. After months of no activity at all, we tried to extend the option at deadline time (plus 30 days grace), but we could not resolve the most important issue, and that is whose script to use, mine or Ross’s. I strongly felt and continue to feel that Ross’s vision for the story and adaptation of the book were diametrically opposed to my own. So reluctantly we parted ways, and the rights to the book have reverted back to me.  The difference between 2009 and now is that now I have a finished script.Which means that we can now seek and find someone else who gets the story, loves the characters, and perhaps can put his/her passion behind the project to get the film off the ground, so to speak, and onto the big screen, but this time with my script as a condition of development. I know you are disappointed by this and let down, as you can imagine I am, but don’t be disheartened. Because I remain hopeful and optimistic that great things are just around the corner for our two crazy kids. We have a couple of intriguing prospects we are working on and I will keep you posted as soon as I know something more concrete. In the meantime, you know that Tania and Shura live on inside my heart, especially these days, as I immerse myself in the young doomed life of the two people who once loved each other and who made Alexander.I leave you for now with a photograph of the actual River Kama and one devoted reader’s painting of the Urals and the Lazarevo clearing despite never having seen either, and also below Richard Tucker’s version of Puccini’s E Lucevan Le Stelle, a song I listened to on infinite repeat when I wrote the entire Part I in TBH.



And the 10 Winners Are…

January 13, 2011

1. ILARIA Zombie by Cranberries 2. AMANDA None but the Lonely Heart by Tchaikovsky 3. ALYSSA Grace by Kate Havenik 4.LIBBY Beautiful History by Plumb 5. AMIRA My Lovely Valentine by Sara Storer 6.  MARIEL Across the River by Peter Gabriel 7. MICHAELA In the Afternoon by Van Morrison 8. ALANA Eastern Glow by Album Leaf 9.  SARA I’ll be Seeing You by Billie Holliday 10.  ANNA Iris by the Googoo Dolls   CONGRATULATIONS! And to everyone else, thank you so much for participating. I loved exploring and listening to your musical choices.



Winners of a Signed Copy of Summer Garden to be Announced Soon

January 13, 2011

Thank you! What a plethora of music! As many songs as there were entrees, very few repeats. I loved it. And such an international collection too: Ci Sei Sempre Stata, Luciano Lugabue Ich Bereue Nichts, Silbermond One, U2 Glitter in the Air, Pink A Little Too Much, Natasha Bedingfield And look at the variety of music: There was Say When by the Fray, Day by Day by Frank Sinatra, Acts of Courage by X-ray Dog, The Story by Brandi Carlisle, I Go to Sleep by Sia (though I know this great song as it was sung by the Pretenders), Rooster by Alice in Chains (!), Endless Love by Diana Ross, Bliss by Vanessa Paradis (is this Captain Jack Sparrow’s squeeze?), Marry Me by Train (was recently introduced to this song and love it), Cold Shoulder by the awesome Adele, Maybe I’m Amazed by Wings, Open Arms by Journey, My One and Only Love by Louis Armstrong, She by Elvis Costello, Lonely Nights by the Scorpions, Unintended by Muse. Okay, the names of songs and the girls who chose them have been printed, cut out into strips of paper, put into a big red Santa stocking, and all that’s missing is the 9 year old on the way home from school who will reach her little hand in and choose ten names. I’m hoping in twenty or so minutes.  Back shortly…and I’ll also share with you some of the songs I listened to when I wrote about Tatiana and Alexander. But I’m not putting my own name into a hat.



Musings on Spencer and Lily

January 9, 2011

A fan over on the Facebook page asks: Why did I decide to return to Spencer in another story, not his own?   Because I felt after Red Leaves that Spencer’s journey was cut off in the middle, was left unresolved. In Red Leaves he made himself a life in Hanover, New Hampshire, only to have that life go up in flames by the end of the story. I really liked him as a character and wanted to revisit his life at some later juncture. There were so many things that happened to him in Red Leaves that I wanted to see how those actions affected his life, and whether he suffered consequences because of them.  The Girl in Times Square didn’t start with Spencer, because it is clearly a book about Lily, but he fit like a perfect piece of the unfinished puzzle into it. When I was imagining Lily’s story and saw that a detective had to come to the diner where she worked to investigate the disappearance of her roommate and best friend, I didn’t see a detective, I saw Spencer. And whereas Red Leaves is a straightforward mystery, The Girl in Times Square is much more of a drama and a character study, where Spencer’s and Lily’s separate journeys and combined road are more fully explored. P.S.



Christmas Giveaway!

January 9, 2011

Tatiana's Table Hi everyone, Thanks so much for the outpouring of support on my Facebook page. It’s been a lot of fun to talk to you all about upcoming projects, new developments, and your favorite moments in my — and other! — books. Speaking of that, it seems a lot of you are finding it extremely difficult to locate a copy of the Bronze Horseman-based cookbook, Tatiana’s Table.  I’m sorry about that — I’m not sure why it’s such a limited printing! But this gave me an idea to do another giveaway — this time for Tatiana’s Table. I have ten copies that I want to give away in time for Christmas, so that you can make as many blinchiki and piroshki and beergaritas and mashed potatoes as your heart desires. Here are the rules: Please submit your favorite recipe and why you love it to my gmail account, paullinasimonscontest@gmail.com. It can be anything you love to make regularly, or a recipe you made once that was wonderfully memorable — and hey, maybe I’ll find a few new beloved recipes amidst the lot! I’ll pick ten winners randomly. Please enter by Friday, November 25th, 2011.  I will announce the winners on Monday, November 28th.



Summer Garden, Songs, and Nikita

January 6, 2011

Dear Friends, Howdy! A few things: Please check out a new slideshow of my Road to Paradise tour in media.Photos of my cross country trip are coming shortly. Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, on the news page there is info about the upcoming book. I’m feverishly writing it now, and we’re publishing in the fall of 2012.  I also posted some little tidbits on the Red Leaves page, including the song I obsessively listened to while writing that book.  I will do that for all my books, song by song, let you hear what I listened to while I wrote the books you so kindly read.Just two weeks until the publication of THE SUMMER GARDEN in the United States.We are so excited! This fall in Australia/New Zealand, there will be a special Christmas gift edition of TBH with a beautiful new cover, and a new “deleted scene” chapter from yours truly that shows us a little bit of the new unspoken love and also a little bit about BELLAGRAND, the new book. I will very shortly update everyone on TBH film option situation. And finally, to the right is the new addition to our family, a female German Shepherd puppy named…ta-dah! Nikita. So that when we reprimand her, we can reprimand her by telling her not to stop hiding our socks but to stop declaiming Stalin.  We are picking her up today.  The kids are beyond themselves. Bunny, our Golden, however, couldn’t be LESS excited.  She knows her reign as canine queen of the house is about to end. K9 is coming! Watch latest news for fun announcement for my readers, to be posted imminently or any hour whichever comes first.



Frico, from Cristina from Italy

January 6, 2011

My name in Cristina and i’m a your italian fan.  My favourite recipe is the FRICO.   INGREDIENTS: patatoes: 400 g Montasio cheese: 200 g Salt oil   PREPARATION Cut the potatoes into small pieces. Grate the cheese.Skip the potatoes with a pinch of salt in a little oil, lower the heat and slowly cook the potatoes, stirring often. When the potatoes are soft, mash coarsely with a fork and add the grated cheese. Mix well. When the frico will take the form of a cake and will be formed a golden crust, you must turn the frico on the other side.  It’s very good to eat.  REASON FOR THE CHOISE This is a special recipe that reminds me of my family and happy moments.  The house smelled of cheese. This is a recipe that my grandmother taught to my mother.My mom taught to me how to cook this recipe: with love and passion.  My mother is like Tatiana.She loves to cook and loves cooking for her familiy.For her to cook is a form of immense love.