April 20, 2015

Freedom in Fiction: an interview with Lola Smirnova, author of "Twisted"

About Lola Smirnova's Twisted: In the corrupt economy of post-Soviet Ukraine opportunities are scarce.

Young and eager sisters – Natalia, Lena and Julia – harbour dreams of a better life.

Naive and tempted by the allure of ‘quick’ money the girls set off on an adventure that changes their lives forever…

Can they stay out of trouble enough to fulfill their ambitions?

Can they hold on to their idealism in a world where depravity and danger are constant companions?

How far are they willing to go to make a buck?

TWISTED is a true life shaped into fiction story of vulnerability, courage and the art of making a living in the sex trade.

Gef: What was the impetus behind sitting down to write Twisted?

Lola: I had a story to tell that maybe could help to change peoples' often ignorant attitude to the problems of sex industry, victims of which usually are young inexperienced women. I wanted the reader to realize that those working girls are humans ... They dream, love or suffer the same way as anyone's girlfriend, sister or daughter.

Gef: Was there something more freeing in the writing process by choosing to write a novel rather than straight-up nonfiction?

Lola: “Freeing” is definitely a right word! Writing fiction is much more of a creative position, while nonfiction is more of a task, which naturally makes writing fiction much more fun and enjoyable.

With fiction, I can create my own world and not worry about if something is fact or if it is inaccurate. ANYTHING you want can come to life, you don't have to stick to the rules of real life...

Gef: Along with real life experiences, what else did you draw on in your writing? Was there much research involved with regards to locales or other facets of the story?

Lola: Yes, I interviewed people in the trade and did some online research. 

Gef: Twisted has garnered some decidedly positive reviews in the course of a year? How gratifying has it been to see the reception to your first novel? And how does that fuel you as you write the sequel? Is it a motivator or a tad intimidating?

Lola: When you receive positive feedback about your “baby” like that, you get assured again that it was worthwhile spending three years of your life on creating it.

It’s definitely a motivator, but intimidating at the same time. It plants questions in my head: are my readers going to enjoy the sequel as much as they enjoyed the first book, am I going to be able to meet their expectations…?

Gef: What's the worst piece of writing advice you ever received? Or what piece of writing advice do you wish would just go away?

Lola: Frankly, all advice I found in the “how to” books and other sources so far have been useful. I wouldn’t consider any of them as a bad advice.

Gef: What projects are you cooking up that folks can expect in the near future, and how can folks keep up with your other projects? 

Lola: I just finished writing a sequel to TwistedCraved and it’s in the process of editing now. If everything goes well, it should be released some time next month…

Straight after that I’ll probably start the next book to complete the planned trilogy.

The best way to keep up with my projects is to follow my online social networking pages, like Facebook, Twitter or subscribe for the newsletter through my website, as I regularly post about the latest developments on my projects.

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