Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Book Bitches interview with Paullina Simons

Paullina, my friends, playmates, strangers in the streets, everyone I’ve badgered to read your books know how much I love your novels and how deeply your characters and stories affected me. So you can imagine I almost died of delight when you agreed to let me interview you! SQUEEEEE!!!

Er, *ahem* thank you so much; this is an honor, truly truly.

Now, you’ve become a popular author in the romance genre. I’d like to shamelessly take credit on some of it seeing as I’m a self-involved maniac who constantly pimps your books. Eheh. What I’m trying to say is that you write such beautiful, BEEYOOTIFUL stories with characters romance lovers like me dream about. Just look at Tatiana and Alexander; every time they touch, oh my... *sigh* I feel it, and it feels so real. I feel like a perv—well, I am one but, y’know—like I’m spying on a couple whose passion for each other is so immense the air vibrates with it. Did you believe you had to write their story with such strong sensuality, and yep, with blinding orgasms? (Verra important that.)


Thank you for your kind words, your unfaint praise. I do like to make it real, keep it real, so you can feel it, believe it. If it’s right for the characters, that’s what I write. I don’t like to shy away or pretend I’m shy or am not writing for adults. My books are adult books and the things in them—about love, human relationships, betrayal, death, war, deep conflict—are not for children. Other stories I have told had other elements in them that Tatiana and Alexander didn’t have because that’s what seemed right to me at the time for the time, the place, the story. Same with Tania and Shura. I wrote about things that pertained to them, that made them what they were, that were important for me, the writer, to show, for you, the reader, to know.


The Bronze Horseman has excellent characterization and superb dialogue. It’s epic and overwhelming in every sense; reading it felt like being shagged hard while ridding a roller coaster—not that I’m confessing I’ve done that (verra dangerous, uh-mm...). What did your grandparents, parents, hubby, friends and harem (if you have one) think of TBH (and its sequels, for that matter)?


Hubby loved it. Said it was not just his favorite book of mine, but one of his favorite books of all time. Parents didn’t read. Grandparents didn’t read. Friends read, loved, wept.


What are your fondest memories of Russia? And since TBH made me want to visit your Motherland, please do tell, which specific bench under a tree should I sit on while waiting for the bus, where a very yummy studmuffin will cross the street to lick ice cream with me? *dreamy sigh*


My fondest memories are spending my summers at my grandparents’ dacha in a small fishing village called Shepelevo on the Gulf of Finland.

And for your purposes, any summer tree will do while sitting on the summer bench in a summer dress, humming and eating an ice cream cone not a cup.


I forgot the humming part! Note to self: Summer tree, summer dress, ice cream and hum, “Someday we’ll meet in Lvov, my love and I...”

Speaking of ice cream, I know Tatiana loves crème brûlée. What is Alexander’s favorite ice cream flavor and what is yours?



Chocolate. Chocolate.


I knew it. Shura is my kind of man. *g*

The last chapters of TBH gave me heart palpitations. I kept thinking “don’t leave, don’t die” and I was praying “Santa, they better end up together OR ELSE!” *grrr* I sobbed and I sobbed my mom thought I’d finally lost it! Actually, I almost did. :/ I was reading and then I was like, “wait, wha... what happened?!?!?” At the time poor me didn’t know there was a sequel. (Thank God there ARE sequels or I’d have spent a lot of time complaining about the lack of a HEA with a shrink!) Did you always intend for TBH to end like that, very “light at the end of the tunnel” yet in a tragic manner? Did you ever consider concluding Tatiana and Alexander’s story with TBH, no sequels whatsoever?



That was always the ending of TBH, that was what I was writing to—a tragedy at the end of which Alexander sacrifices his life for Tatiana and because of that monumental sacrifice, she has life, and Anthony has life. Originally, TBH had an epilogue, where Tatiana in 1991 returns to Russia to find Alexander, and does, fifty years after they first met. In the original version they were separated for half a century. He was in prison and in exile, and she was in Arizona, married to Edward. Nice, huh?


*GASP* Oh, my heart, my heart! *clutch*clutch* Jesus, let me breathe!!!

Paullina, that’s vicious. *sniff* I don’t think I could’ve taken it if Tatiana had ended up with Edward while Alexander pined for her. THAT’S NOT RIGHT! It’s too... ye gods. :S Okay, I don’t even want to think about it, hmph.

This reminds me of the Orbeli thing—I LOVE it. “Got to have a little more faith, my wife...” It’s PERFECT. I was wondering, how did you come up with that? Have you done an Orbeli and made an unselfish sacrifice? Was there a time when you had to send away your “life’s sole passion” because it’s the right thing to do?



No, Orbeli was an Alexander and Tatiana thing, not a Paullina thing. The part that was the Paullina thing was the thinking it all up part. The feeling it all up. How heroes conduct themselves in love, in life, in war, and in peacetime. That’s them, not me. I’ve never been in a war.


I’m not gonna lie, Alexander made me very mad in The Summer Garden I wanted to beat him with Trollop’s wooden dildo! I couldn’t believe it; how could my beloved Shura do such a thing?! Why, Shura, WHY??? *sniffles* Why did you include adultery in TSG, risking the outrage of your readers? What did you hope your readers would take away from “experiencing” that with Tatiana and Alexander?


It wasn’t adultery I wanted to include in The Summer Garden, it was the Soviet Union. Their past continued to live unhealed with them in their little “izba” in Scottsdale, in their little trailer, and until they had a baby, they could not heal it and could not break free. It was really a spiral of bad upon bad that happened to them, and the reason I included it, is once again because I wanted to show how these two larger than life characters handled this commonplace awful thing that sometimes happens in marriages. I showed them in all ways handing the day to day. And the hateful Carmen was part of their journey. How do they handle betrayal? My hope is that my readers would take away from the episode how to forgive the unforgivable, how to show mercy, how to continue to love.


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16 comment(s):

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

What? DON'T LEAVE ME LIKE THIS. Where is the rest?!?!?!!?

I might have to pick up the other two books after all *sigh* I just really really don't like Alexander's cheating ways *grrr* Will try not to think of this as a romance and might fare better every time I want to smack him senseless for being so insensitive and horrible to Tatiana and her for taking it!!!!!!!!

1/15/2008 10:56:00 AM  

Blogger Jordis Juice said...

Paullina, I am SO happy you decided to remove TBH's epilogue! Edward is ok but we all know Tatiana belongs to Alexander!

Ok, I am getting affected like Harlot. LOL

1/15/2008 12:10:00 PM  

Anonymous Jasmine said...

I, too, love the Orbeli thing. Remember Orbeli Tatiasha... Makes you wonder how much would you sacrifice for love.

1/15/2008 02:14:00 PM  

Anonymous Kris Elliott said...

Hee! I recognize that TSG question. *G* OMG--thank you for answering THE question. I get in debates all the time with people who read TSG with shock and anger at Alexander, and feel so let down by this phenomenal book. I try to encourage them with the bigger picture, but even my words are a poor attempt after seeing Paullina's response. I hope others will see this and reconsider the wonderfulness of TSG. I'm printing this out and putting it in my "Defend Shura" notebook of notes. *G*

1/15/2008 02:15:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

Alexander did cheat. Love Paullina's response about it.

This is a little out of topic but the other night nothing new to see on TV and I ended up watching this mushy movie: Comeback Season. Anyway, the dad cheated. He was kicked out of the house, etc.

Somehow the dad screwing up became the catalyst that made their lives better LOL. For example the mom realized her world shrunk when she got married so she started trying new things, exercising, became more adventurous and so on. I'm babbling but you get the point. In the end, they forgave each other, started loving each other more. Good lesson huh?

1/15/2008 03:31:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

RE: Hee! I recognize that TSG question. *G*

When i asked you guys to help me with the interview questions, i already had some questions at the time. One was regarding Shura's infidelity in TSG (i had to ask about it!). But Kris worded the question MUCHOS better than i did so.. thanks again, Kris!

1/15/2008 04:10:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

OMG. Tatiana and Edward MARRIED??!?!?!

OK. I am BEYOND relieved things settled differently. That would have been unacceptable and agonizing on my part! Imagine me crying my eyes out for Alexander. :(

1/15/2008 04:45:00 PM  

Anonymous Perskie said...

Ms Simons, I thoroughly enjoyed Tully, Girl in Times Square and the others. I hope you write more books like The Bronze Horseman!

1/15/2008 05:21:00 PM  

Blogger Lollie Rose said...

BBs, I have never won anything, from contests, to lottery drawings, to those little cards you scratch to win free beer. Poor me. This is why I would love to win the Road to Paradise raffle. Thank you! :P

1/15/2008 06:44:00 PM  

Anonymous Gabrielle said...

TBH is my favourite book of all time. Paullina Simons is an amazing author.

Edward and Tatiana? Wasn't there a snippet of a scene like that in Tatiana's Table? Anthony's last name was Ludlow and he was in Russia to do a meeting of some sort with all these Russian generals. Alexander was one of them.

I know this is going to sound weird but I never hated Shura for what he did. Don't get me wrong, I couldnt stand it when he was with Carmen but during that really big fight that they had I was just sorry that they had come to this. They had been through so much *tear*. Except my emotions were much more extreme than just pity, there were tears and sobbing and such...

1/15/2008 06:47:00 PM  

Blogger vampireprincess said...

So there are three other books after the Bronze Horseman. Need to see if the library has any of those books or any of her others. If I had any of her other books I would so like to win the Summer Garden, but I don't so the Road to Paradise it is. That and that one sounds the most interesting to me.

1/15/2008 08:02:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Paullina has been so gracious and such a sport. I am so happy she liked the interview, yay! :D Received a new email from her and i thought you guys would like to hear parts of it:

"I loved how you broke up the interview into a conversation between you and me! That was very very effective, and you were so funny, you just made the whole thing sing. I can’t thank you enough, that was wonderful.

I love the way you imagine my life...my mansions indeed. LOL. I have one tiny house, with a closet for me that’s so small that I would hear your guffaws on the other side of the Atlantic if you chanced upon it. It doesn’t even have any room for my shoes. And what’s a girl to do when her closet can’t hold her shoes? It’s a disaster, is what it is. It’s worse than the Poseidon Adventure."

I told her her "tiny house" claims and problems with her gazillions of shoes don't change anything. I'm still holding her to her promise. Heh. :P

1/16/2008 06:13:00 AM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

That small closet thing is so funny LOL. I too imagine her in a huge mansion with a dozen closets and a pantry full of nutella YUMM

1/16/2008 08:40:00 AM  

Anonymous Blueberry Bee said...

I don't have Road to Paradise. Rather I got Tatiana's Table which was actually very nice. It's not only recipes mind you. If you can get a copy you should, especially if you are in New Zealand and Australia.

1/16/2008 01:36:00 PM  

Blogger Shoshana said...

Now I am wondering if I had read the same book...when did Alexander cheat because I couldn't find it. I know he disappeared for x amount of days somewhere, but I didn't think he slept with anyone. Which page do I go to find this?

1/16/2008 02:26:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

I'm with Gabrielle. I never hated Shura for what he did. I can't explain it. My emotions were already running too high at the time and all I wanted was for Tatiana and Alexander to resolve whatever it was that's dividing them.

>>And what’s a girl to do when her closet can’t hold her shoes?

I imagine Paullina have this huge closet full of shoes. And probably a lot of summer dresses. :D

1/16/2008 05:45:00 PM