Q&A with soon to be a new Author, Annemarie O’Brien

So exiting for us to meet you Annemarie. So your first novel will be out this year…

What is the title of your book?

Lara’s Gift (Knopf/Random House, 2013)

What genre does your book fall under?


Middle grade historical fiction

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Lara – AnnaSophia Robb (with dark hair, of course!)

Alexander – Logan Lerman

Lara’s father – George Clooney

Lara’s mother – Meryl Streep

What is your book about?

From the jacket flap of Lara’s Gift:

Young Lara is being groomed in the family tradition to take over as Count Vorontsov’s next kennel steward, breeding borzoi dogs worthy of the Tsar. But when Lara’s baby brother is born, she finds herself supplanted as her father decides to make her brother the next kennel steward. Lara has a special gift of understanding these incredible dogs—a gift that her father eyes with fear and superstition. Can Lara convince him to let her fulfill her destiny with the noble borzoi? And can she save her favorite dog, Zar, and the rest of the borzoi from a hungry pack of wolves threatening life on the estate?

Set in Imperial Russia, full of color and authenticity, this is a powerful story of one girl’s love for her dog—and her desire to fulfill her prophetic dreams and destiny.

Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?


Lara’s Gift is represented by the Greenhouse Literary Agency and is published by Knopf/Random House.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I wrote it in two years, but had been thinking about the story for twenty years.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I am not aware of any books like Lara’s Gift. I call it a Lassie-meets-Dr. Zhivago-girl empowerment story, if that gives you a sense.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?


I spent a good number of years living and working in Russia during the Gorbachev era. While I lived there, I was gifted a borzoi puppy named Dasha. Through her, many doors opened up for me. I also learned Russian history by following the history of the borzoi breed from the Imperial era through the Stalin years to Gorbachev. Lara’s Gift is inspired by my memory of Dasha and is a tribute to all borzoi past and present and those not yet born.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Anyone who loves a good dog story should like Lara’s Gift.

Where can we find your book?

Lara’s Gift will be released by Knopf/Random House on October 8, 2013. It will be available in your local and on-line bookstores.

For more information go to: www.AnnemarieOBrienAuthor.com

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