Now for the main feature.
I've been friends with Carrie Anne for a long time, you might say we are historic! (Sorry)
Carrie Anne writes historical romance, and her word count often triples or even quadruples mine! It's amazing! She is knowledgeable, descriptive, and romantic. Her scenes are picturesque and informative. In her latest novel, she blends historic Russia with emotional characters. Sometimes it's hard to find an audience, and don't we all know! But I'm pulling for her! And with that, I'll let her give you a fascinating "Behind the Book" post!
Sometime during my first major writing phase, I decided to have Lyuba fall in love with Ivan, her other best friend and the guy who’s stepped up to help to raise her daughter Tatyana after Boris abandoned her right before she went into labor. Their latest romantic reunion in Chapter 7, “Lyuba’s Time of Troubles,” was originally written as the very first time they’d kissed or Lyuba had declared her romantic feelings. Then I stumbled onto the idea of Lyuba having secretly been in love with Ivan since childhood. Ivan no longer had an unrequited case of love for her. During the second major phase of writing, I came up with the plot point of them having had a month-long clandestine romance which had ended right before the book started.
Lyuba and Ivan both became survivors of traumatic childhoods, with different types of abuse. This did a lot to explain some of the behavior which hadn’t had any motivation or context, like Ivan’s volatile temper and why Lyuba doesn’t want to get married or have children. They’re two wounded, scarred souls who instinctively understand one another. They don’t know how to be normal, even though they know what normal is supposed to look like. Their whole lives, abnormal has been normal, and Lyuba in particular doesn’t know how to make normal happen for herself. She’s too used to being hurt and abused by men, and is scared of the thought of being forever with a nice guy who treats her with love and respect.
Lyuba’s former preference for Boris became a pretended preference, and I created the backstory about her mother having drilled into her the importance of marrying a man who can offer financial security and social status, even if he might be abusive or uncouth. Over time, Boris became more and more of an antagonist, a far cry from the pretty decent guy he’d originally been written as. Because of Lyuba’s psychological baggage, she lets their charade relationship continue and later goes back to him a number of times. But all along, Ivan is always the only man in her heart. She reminds me a lot of Scarlett O’Hara and Amber St. Clare. They might appear bad on the surface, but when you take a deeper look, you understand what drives them and feel sympathy.
It was beautiful Divine Providence that I gave my female protagonist the name Amy, since the Russian equivalent is Lyubov, which literally means “love.” It’s such a perfect, fitting name for a character who’s in desperate search of love and its healing power. I also love the wordplay it creates in Russian when Ivan calls her “my love.” Not only is she his love, but she’s also his Lyubov.
Had I been older than thirteen when I started the book all those years ago, I would’ve given my male protagonist anything but the most common male name in Russian history, but it really suits who he is. He’s old-fashioned, solid, dependable, hard-working, with a quintessentially Russian soul. There’s also the frequent symbolic contrast between Ivan II, the Meek, and Tsar Ivan IV, Grozniy. He was named for Tsar Ivan III, the Great (the first Russian ruler to call himself Tsar), yet he too often is either too meek or lets his volatile temper get the better of him, thanks to his traumatic childhood.
Available now at Amazon!