Today it is my pleasure to feature my friend and debut YA author KATIA RAINA, with a sneak peek at her new book, CASTLE OF CONCRETE. Here’s Katya:
CASTLE OF CONCRETE is a young adult novel set in the last year of Communist Russia, about a shy Jewish girl Sonya who reunites with her once-dissident mother after a long absence and falls in love with a boy who may be an anti-Semite.
Where I got the idea for the story:
You’d think it’s such a straightforward question, right? But the path to this story idea, for me, was meandering.
The short answer is: the idea for this story came straight from my soul and the core of who I was. I grew up in Soviet Ukraine and Soviet Russia, I grew up quiet, an outsider and a Jew-in-hiding (I didn’t have what the Russians would consider a typically Jewish look). I was missing my mama and having a hard time connecting with the society in which I lived. I read lots of fairy tales and science fiction, and lots of romance. Then, when I got older and thought I was in love, I went out on a date with a boy, who used an anti-Semitic slur against a stranger. I didn’t know if he knew that I was Jewish or not. I never said anything. I never found out. But the “what if” questions never quite left me alone. Merging with memory and imagination, eventually these questions led me to write CASTLE OF CONCRETE.
Three things you should know about the main character Sonya:
- Sonya thinks she is a shy and quiet mouse, a myshka. She has no idea how fierce and crazy she can be!
- Sonya used to be a good student. Back when she wasn’t as focused on boys. Ahem.
- Sonya’s talents are ice skating, piano playing and singing. She is not necessarily champion/super star material in any of these areas. But when she lets go, when she is feeling the magic and trusting herself, she definitely has her shining moments, in all three.
The book is coming out on June 11, but I have been already beyond thrilled at the excitement and early reception. Here is the link to pre-order the early copy! 🙂
Follow Katia’s blog, The Magic Mirror, for updates!
When she was a child, Katia Raina played at construction sites and believed in magic mirrors. She emigrated from Russia at the age of almost sixteen. A former journalist and currently a middle school English teacher in Washington, D.C., she has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives with her family just outside of D.C., and still believes in magic.