Today I am pleased to welcome Linda Holeman to The Love of a Good Book,
Linda Holeman’s latest ebook to be available in the UK is The Lost Souls of Angelkov from Traverse Press.
You can also find more info about the author at lindaholeman.com, or follow her on Twitter, @LindaHoleman.”
If I could go out for a day with any one of my characters, who would it be, what would we do, and why did I pick this particular character?
For this post I’m picking Grisha, the Siberian steward of the Angelkov estate, from The Lost Souls of Angelkov. He’s the character I’ve thought about the most since I finished writing the novel, perhaps because I left his future very uncertain, and I worried about him! But I like to think that I knew him well enough to believe that he would do what was necessary to achieve his dream of being reunited with Antonina.
I will admit that I was a little in love with Grisha. When I create a male character as an interest for my female protagonist, he has to be a man who is definitely flawed. I’ve never been drawn to the conventionally handsome, charming type, because we all know that those flirtatious pretty boys often aren’t particularly deep or loyal. But I know what strengths I like in a man – and how this man, Grisha, in 19th century Russia – would manifest those strengths. Grisha wouldn’t be overly emotional outwardly, but I filled him with guilt and doubt over his past choices. His brother Valentin was his albatross; he could not shake the guilt he felt by abandoning him. And yet, as if often the case in real life, he fell into the same trap by repeating the same unforgiveable act with Antonina’s son Mikhail. And when Grisha let himself understand the full extent and consequences of what he’d done, he was so sickened and filled with self-loathing that he had to find a way to redeem himself. The self-recrimination that arose from his understanding of the havoc he helped create demonstrates that he’s thoughtful, introspective, and sensitive.
And so how would I spend the day with the Grisha I created? First of all we wouldn’t be on the Angelkov estate, but back in Siberia, where he was born. While writing The Lost Souls of Angelkov I traveled cross Siberia by train, staying in little towns, and walking along the wave-tossed shore of Lake Baikal. So I got a real sense of the place – the isolation and wildness. Siberia, in essence, stole my heart, and that was the reason I decided that Grisha should come from that slightly fearsome part of Russia, with the sense of self that is unique to it.
To start the day I’d watch Grisha build a barrel or two – he was a cooper, after all – and it’s hard, physical work. It would be summer, which is actually quite lovely in parts of Siberia. We get on our horses and walk along quiet, deserted dirt roads with the soft Ural Mountains mauve in the distance, and then pass through a silent forest of high, leafy trees with sunlight streaming through. We’d arrive at a small dacha – a summerhouse – near a lake, and it would be a welcoming, comfortable place, with an array of Russian delicacies and bottles of good vodka. There would be others there, some of them musicians playing the balalaika and mandolin and accordion. As darkness fell a bonfire would be lit in the yard, and the dancing under the starry sky would begin…can you see it? Certainly shades of Dr. Zhivago or Anna Karenina, but since this is my imagined day, I’m not holding back!
Thank you Linda for stopping by!