Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Why RUSSIAN Werewolves?

Some of you may be wondering as you read "13 to Life" on TextNovel.com --Why are these werewolves Russian immigrants?

It's simple and complex at the same time...

I LOVE Russia. I don't know, for me growing up Russia (well, technically the USSR) was locked away behind the "Iron Curtain." It was mysterious--dangerous. The men were powerful, the women were brilliant and beautiful and their whole world seemed so far removed from mine. They had their own myths and legends, their own political struggles and intrigues and I must say, hearing Russian spoken just makes me pay attention. I grew up in a Pennsylvania Dutch area, so I heard German (and I like it, btw) but there's a quality to the Russian language that just makes me wonder about everything.

My mother's favorite movie was Dr. Zhivago. We watched it together several times (and that was where I fell in love with Omar Sharif --his eyes were amazing!). Then, in high school we hosted 2 Russian students from Moscow (Oleg and Dmitri). They were fascinating (and so freaked out by their first exposure to the American culture--maybe more on that later). They understood etiquette (fine, even stoic manners) and brought us amazing gifts--matryoshkas included! I decided sometime during their stay that I wanted to study Russian (and no, kids, there was nothing romantic between any of us--sorry to disappoint you :p).

I also had the pleasure of meeting a defector from Romania around the same time (a pistol coach for the US Olympic team). I heard his story and was amazed by what love and sacrifice could do to people. Huh. I guess, in retrospect, a story like "13 to Life" has been "a long time coming."

I also read some stuff about psychic testing and training the Soviets had been doing (like we'd been doing on our side with attempted "remote spying"). It was just something I read and tucked away. I think most readers do that.

So, in college I studied Eastern European History--amazing and what an awesome prof I had!--along with Russian language (and Spanish--one semester back-to-back--yikes!) and of course my education content and general social studies classes (and other strange things that caught my fancy in the course catalog--I was on the 5 year plan ;-). I learned about the mass extermination of wolves in Siberia (it was basically a couple paragraphs and one black and white photo of a trapper/hunter seated under a wall of pelts). I don't know why, but it stuck with me.

Then I read a book about Women Warriors and there was mention of a mysterious tomb of a woman warrior who had shamanic-type burial in that general region--eh, I probably shouldn't say much more about that until you can read why it's important.

I also firmly believe our country's Russian immigrants have been tremendously overlooked. They are an amazing and vital part of our so-called "melting pot" (although I'm a supporter of the "salad bowl," not "melting pot" theory really). They are a strong, noble, passionate, powerful and competitive people who we've mainly ignored. I realize my novel's not going to make people really "get" how diverse and rich the Russian culture is, but I hope it makes people just a tiny bit more aware--more curious.

So--Russian werewolves. But will other werewolves also be Russian in my storyline--What? Other werewolves? Nope. I never said that ;-). Ah, thoughts of finishing book 1 and starting book 2 are already keeping me up at night... :D

Have a howlingly good evening!
~Saoirse

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