Thursday, December 17, 2015

HarperCollins Book Blast: Lone Star (Paullina Simons)

Paperback, 576 pages
Published November 24th 2015 by William Morrow Paperbacks

From the bestselling, acclaimed author of Tully and The Bronze Horsemancomes the unforgettable love story between a college-bound young woman and a traveling troubadour on his way to war—a moving, compelling novel of love lost and found set against the stunning backdrop of Eastern Europe.
Chloe is just weeks away from heading off to college and starting a new life far from her home in Maine when she embarks on a great European adventure with her boyfriend and two best friends. Their destination is Barcelona, but first they must detour through the historic cities of Eastern Europe to keep an old family promise.
Here, in this fledgling post-Communist world, Chloe meets a charming American vagabond named Johnny, who carries a guitar, an easy smile—and a lifetime of secrets. From Treblinka to Trieste, from Karnikava to Krakow, from Vilnius to Venice, the unlikely band of friends and lovers traverse the old world on a train trip that becomes a treacherous journey into Europe’s and Johnny’s darkest past—a journey that jeopardizes Chloe’s plans for the future and all she ever thought she wanted.
But the lifelong bonds Chloe and her friends share are about to be put to the ultimate test—and whether or not they reach Barcelona, they can only be certain that their lives will never be the same again.
A sweeping, beautiful tale that mesmerizes and enchants, Lone Star will linger long in the memory once the final page is turned.

Paullina Simons was born in Leningrad, USSR, in 1963. At the age of ten her family immigrated to the United States. Growing up in Russia Paullina dreamt of someday becoming a writer. Her dream was put on hold as she learned English and overcame the shock of a new culture. 
After graduating from university and after various jobs including working as a financial journalist and as a translator Paullina wrote her first novel Tully. Through word of mouth that book was welcomed by readers all over the world.

She continued with more novels, including Red Leaves, Eleven Hours, The Bronze Horseman, The Bridge to Holy Cross (also known as Tatiana and Alexander), The Summer Garden and The Girl in Times Square (also known as Lily). Many of Paullina's novels have reached international bestseller lists.

Apart from her novels, Paullina has also written a cookbook, Tatiana's Table, which is a collection of recipes, short stories and recollections from her best selling trilogy of novels, The Bronze Horseman, The Bridge to Holy Cross, (also known as Tatiana and Alexander) and The Summer Garden.

What gave you the inspiration to write this book? 
My love for young people just starting out in life and having to make difficult grown-up decisions without much life experience, and also my trip to Poland, first time, on a book tour. 

Who is your favorite character in the book?
I love Chloe, Blake and Johnny equally. Special mention to Chloe’s mother and Johnny’s father.

Which came first, the title or the novel?
I like to write to a title, which is why it pains me when my titles are changed after my books are already written. The title for me is like a banner waving, telling me what my story is fundamentally about.

What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Two scenes: I’d say the chapter where my travelers walk four kilometers into the silent Polish woods to bear witness to the horror that once was Treblinka. And the chapter where near a white castle by the sea my heroine finally understands what it means to love and to be loved. I like both scenes because they’re like mini-novels in themselves. 

Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
The plea I received twenty-two years ago from my friend Penny when she learned I was writing Tully (my first novel). It’s still with me every book I write. Penny said, “Paullina, I’m glad you’re writing a book, but please, I beg you, don’t write any parts I don’t want to read.”

What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I like Chloe’s beautiful responsive vulnerable face. 

What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2016?
Spark Joy: The Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Out January 5, 2016, so not too long to wait. Also the Hamilton hardcover by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

What was your favorite book in 2015?
This is How you Lose Her by Junot Diaz. Otherwise The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Truly life-changing.

What’s up next for you?
I’m working on making The Bronze Horseman trilogy a miniseries for television, and I’m also writing my next novel, a love story with some time travel.

Is there anything that you would like to add? 
Thank you for reading my books. Please keep reading!

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