So exiting for us to meet you Annemarie. So your first novel will be out this year…
What is the title of your book?
Laraâ€™s Gift (Knopf/Random House, 2013)
What genre does your book fall under?â€¨
Middle grade historical fiction
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Lara â€“ AnnaSophia Robb (with dark hair, of course!)
Alexander â€“ Logan Lerman
Laraâ€™s father â€“ George Clooney
Laraâ€™s mother â€“ Meryl Streep
What is your book about?
From the jacket flap of Laraâ€™s Gift:
Young Lara is being groomed in the family tradition to take over as Count Vorontsovâ€™s next kennel steward, breeding borzoi dogs worthy of the Tsar. But when Laraâ€™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 dogsâ€”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 girlâ€™s love for her dogâ€”and her desire to fulfill her prophetic dreams and destiny.
Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?â€¨
Laraâ€™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 Laraâ€™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?â€¨
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. Laraâ€™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 readerâ€™s interest?
Anyone who loves a good dog story should like Laraâ€™s Gift.
Where can we find your book?
Laraâ€™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