Paullina’s Oz Idyll
By CARON JAMES
15 January 2006
BEST-SELLING author Paullina Simons plans to move to Australia to research her next book.
Simons, whose works include Tully, The Bronze Horseman, The Girl in Times Square and her latest, The Summer Garden, says she and her family are “absolutely in love with Australia”.
“My boys adore it so much, they dress up as cassowaries at Halloween and go trick or treating round our Long Island home,” she says.
“We have all the books we can find on Australia about the dangerous animals. We know more about the western taipan snake than anyone has a right to know. And box jellyfish and sharks and stonefish . . .”
Simons has visited Australia twice on author tours and would love an invitation to Melbourne.
“I’d love to come to the Melbourne Writers’ Festival — it’s very well thought of everywhere — but no one ever invites me,” she says.
“They always have much more important writers than me, people who are considered ‘literary’.”
Regardless, Simons’ blend of history, romance and mysticism has garnered her legions of fans. She has sold about two million copies of her seven novels in 19 countries.
The Summer Garden, the 839-page conclusion to the Tatiana and Alexander trilogy, is on Australian best-seller lists.
Her next release will be a cookbook of Tatiana’s recipes from Russia and the US, to be released in Australia this year for Christmas.
Then there is a novel, The Bartered Bride, a road story set across the US.
“It’s a cross between The Catcher in the Rye and Huckleberry Finn, but it’s about two girls,” Simons says.
And then will come the Australian book.
“It will be a contemporary Anna Karenina, about a young suburban housewife who runs away from America to Australia and disappears.
“We (Simons, husband Kevin and their four children) could come to Australia, rent a house for a year and write there. Kevin could do some freelance editing work.”
Kevin Ryan, Simons’s second husband, is a writer and book editor whose novels have included seven commissioned Star Trek stories.
The dedication at the front of The Summer Garden thanks Ryan for being Simons’s “own mystic guide”, just as Alexander in the book thanks Tatiana for being his.