I write about proud, resourceful and strong people who achieve anything they set out to do. They have a passion for life and the drive to succeed, and that is why I enjoy being in their company so much.
I worked on this series for twenty years, from 1997 to 2017. My heroine was a young woman who had to go through the Bolshevik revolution and the civil war. Nina Kupina taught me to never give up and find unexpected solutions in any situation.
In 2020, I tried my hand at science fiction. My main character, the former Princess Ellie, helped me find the answers to the most important questions: “What is destiny?” and “What is real talent?”
I was born in the USSR, in 1975. My hometown, Nizhny Novgorod, was the third most populated city in Russia (after Moscow and Saint Petersburg), but it was rarely seen on the maps. There were way too many military plants, and our leaders prevented foreign spies from using globes and atlases to sniff out our secrets.
I became a writer because my dad blackmailed me: “I won’t tell you another fairy tale unless you write down the one I told you before.”
So, at first, the fairy tales were his creation, but then I decided that I could do better (which was an obvious overestimation at the time).
Good children’s books were scarce in the Soviet Union, and to get them for me, my mom had to go to the library, which was an hour drive from us. She would come home as a proud and successful hunter. There was no bigger pleasure for me than to rummage through her bag and take out shabby but precious books about brave Indian warriors and far away kingdoms.
In 1990, I watched Gone with the Wind, and it was an emotional shock for me.
I was dying for a chance to read the novel and, finally, I found it at the regional library.
It was “a special item” and I couldn’t borrow it, so everyday after school, I came to the reading room, sat down in the corner, and read, covering my face with my long hair so nobody could see my tear-stained face.
“I want to be like her,” I thought while looking at the black-and-white portrait of Margaret Mitchell on the back cover.
I got a law degree because I had no idea what major to choose and my dad said that lawyers were well respected and made good money.
I even tried to get my Ph.D., but it required writing long, boring papers. Instead of that, I wrote a historical novel about the coup d’état in 18th century Russia.
My first job was at the Small Enterprise Equity Fund—it was one of the first foreign companies in Nizhny Novgorod back in the 1990s.
I got the offer because somehow I convinced the bosses that I speak English, which was not quite true. Being an administrative assistant at SEEF made me a master of answering phone calls, making paper copies, and brewing coffee.
I made my first published appearance in the local newspaper with a story “One potato, two potato.” It was about harvesting at the state farm. I was 15 years old.
My first published book was a YA novel about the modeling business. All my friends were involved in the glamorous world of fashion, TV, and radio broadcasting, so I had plenty of material.
The book was published chapter by chapter in the local weekly newspaper.
My first hardcover book was published by the major Russian publishing house Eksmo. It was a cozy mystery, which I wrote only to get my foot in the door. I was 26 years old.
My husband, Paul, is Russian American, and we met on the Internet in 2000. I was very impressed with his intelligence but for a long time I had no idea what he looked like.
Finally, Paul emailed me his picture–he was aiming at something with a gun.
I can’t stand weapons, but Paul’s arm muscles looked very nice and I decided to ignore the minor imperfections.
We lived 6,113.81 miles apart, and it took two years of daily phone calls, emails, and visa rejections before Paul managed to bring me to the United States.
When I came to America, I couldn’t drive and barely spoke English. What a start for a writer and an Angelino-to-be!
Everything was strange to me: prices, the system of measurement, food, road laws, and so on.
Now I’m fluent in English but I only write fiction in my native language. I have a much larger vocabulary in Russian than in English and I don’t have to think about grammar and sentence structure when I write. I just let my imagination run wild and enjoy the process.
When I translate my books into English, I adapt them so that any details or in-jokes are clear and comprehensible to my international readers. Then my translations are polished by native English speakers.
Today, I live in Southern California, with my husband, son, and red toy poodle.
I am an author of 16 books published in several countries and the founder of the largest educational website for Russian-speaking authors, The Writer’s Guide, with an audience of more than 2 million visitors.