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ANNA KARENINA - A BEHEMOTH

Tolstoy on estate 1908Am I the only one who became stupefied just a few chapters into Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina?  The story has at least 30 important characters, plus a plethora of non-essential characters.  It’s over 800 pages in length and was originally published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877.

Below is the cover page of the first volume of Anna Karenina.

To the right is 79-year-old Tolstoy on his estate Yasnaya Polyana.

Anna Karenina

                                                                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHEN ALL THE DOMINOES FALL PERFECTLY

Dan Smith Oolite AndreySometimes you just get lucky.

I experienced that marvelous quirk of fate when I contracted with video-wizard Daniel Smith of ooLite Media to produce my video book trailers.   Knowledgeable, conscientious, flexible, patient, and a great laugh -- what more could I ask for?

When I mentioned to Daniel that I needed a sound studio to record my audiobooks, he pointed me in the direction of Peak Recording's  Gil Stober, who became the guru overseeing the making of my Audible books. Ditto, ditto, ditto for all the good things I said about Daniel.
 
Peak Recording Feb 2018 Gil Jane John cropped
Gil, in turn, lined me up with actor John Hosking to narrate the Audible version of my books.  More dittos, but add a voice that flows like warm caramel.
 


   

AUTHOR Q & A

Elena, my publicist, recently requested that I answer a Q&A about my life.  When I asked her why, she replied, “People are interested.”

My face scrunched into a giant question mark.  Why would people be interested in plain Jane? But Elena’s a pro at her business, so how I could I refuse?  Below are my answers to a few of her questions.

 

Why do you think are you drawn to books?

My attraction to books can be traced back to my days of pigtails and anklet socks.  Although I was raised in the quintessential modest house, my parents splurged on one item: a wall of built-in bookshelves.  Among my earliest of chores was a twice-a-year dusting of the shelves and their contents.  While flicking the feather duster, I daydreamed of the day I’d be old enough to actually read the novels and Readers Digest Condensed Books.

Jane 7th Grade cropped

 

What did you read while growing up?

When I reached junior high, I put the Nancy Drew series behind me. Being a typical girlie-girl, I became enamored by the first adult, mainstream novel I read, Gone with the Wind.

During my teens, things changed (as they tend to do). I gravitated toward science as well as James Harriot’s All Creatures Great and Small stories. That combination lead to a fulfilling 30-year career as veterinarian.

 

Do you have a favorite author?

If only I could be as talented a writer as Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Russo!  During a seminar on writing fiction, the instructor told us that taking pen in hand and writing and re-writing good passages from favorite books would promote brain neuron connections that would improve our own writing.  I must have copied the same passage from Nobody’s Fool several hundred times.  If you were sitting here with me right now, I could recite all 672 words for you!

 

What insights do you want your readers to glean from How Did I Get Here?

I hope readers find several take-home messages.  First, the old adage, “Beauty is only skin deep.”

Second, malevolence and injustice can mold a child, but fortitude plus a helping hand can remake the man.

Third, every person is obligated to give back to society.  And not just according to what he received from it, but at a higher level.

Fourth, an enhanced understanding of the demons of war as manifested in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

PTSD on bench

 

CRIMEAN WAR? WHAT'S THAT?

Final Front Cover HDIGH small size jpg

 

How Did I Get Here?

2nd in the Petrovo series

 

While I was conducting research for the first novel in the Petrovo series, I kept bumping into this thing called the Crimean War.  Eventually, I realized it simply had to be the backdrop of my next novel for 3 reasons.

First, the Crimean War was the proverbial guinea pig for a myriad of innovations (such as, railroads, trench warfare, telegraphs, surgical anesthesia, medical triage, nurses) that forever changed the nature of warfare.

Small Map of Crimean War Brown CroppedThe second factor that grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go was the War’s magnitude as a gruesomely ugly historical reality.  Although the battlefield carnage was hideous, an even greater number of fatalities were attributable to disease, malnutrition, winter exposure, and incompetent leadership.  Not until World War I would more people die as victims of war.  

Third, the War forever altered the power in Europe.  Never again would tsarist Russia be considered indomitable. 

Because the Crimean War had little influence on the United States, most history classes tend to skim over it.