Paullina Simons, author of Children of Liberty, The Bronze Horseman, Tully and more… answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |October 31, 2012

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Paullina Simons

author of Children of Liberty, The Bronze Horseman, Tully and more…

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in the Soviet Union, raised in Leningrad, came to the United States when I was ten, went to college on Long Island and in England, and graduated from Kansas University in Lawrence, Kansas.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At twelve, I wanted to be a novelist, because all I did was read.

At eighteen I wanted to be a lawyer or a translator because that’s what my father wanted for me, and at thirty, I was already what I am now, and have remained–a published author.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That if you reduce eating and increase exercise you will lose weight.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Sinnerman by Nina Simone, Bridge at Chatou by Renoir, and East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I can’t sing, can’t make a living as a dancer or painter, can play the piano only barely. All Russians choose to write. It’s in their soul.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel, Children of Liberty

Children of Liberty is a love story set in turn of the century Boston between a Sicilian immigrant and the son of a wealthy Boston merchant.

(BBGuru: Here is the publisher’s blurb –

“Never forget where you came from.”

At the turn of the century and the dawning of the modern world, Gina from Belpasso comes to Boston’s Freedom Docks to find a new and better life, and meets Harry Barrington, who is searching for his.

The fates of the Barringtons and Attavianos become entwined, on a collision course between the old and new, between what is expected and what is desired, what is chosen and what is bestowed, what is given and what is taken away.

As America races headlong into the future, much will be lost and much will be gained for Gina and Harry, whose ill-fated love story will break your heart.)

Click here to buy Children of Liberty from Booktopia,
Australia’s no.1 Online Book Shop

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

Empathy for conflicted, complex human beings in all walks of life, in all settings, in all moments in history.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Stephen King for his ceaseless work ethic.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

I would like to write a love story for the ages. I would like to write a book that some of my readers will say is their favorite book of all time. I would like to write a screenplay for each of my filmable novels. I would finally like to publish the series of my long-lying-fallow children’s books called “Adventures with Poppet.”

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write from your heart. Write what you feel, not what you know. Write one page every day. Keep a journal. Write long hand on smooth paper with a beautiful inky instrument.

Paullina, thank you for playing.

The Bronze Horseman

Tatiana and Alexander Series: Book 1

A magnificent epic of love, war and Russia from the bestselling author of Tully, Red Leaves and Eleven Hours.

Leningrad 1941: the white nights of summer when the sun hardly sets on the beautiful palaces and stately avenues that still speak of a different age, when the city was known as St Petersburg. The Metanov family live in a crowded apartment, the two sisters Daria and Tatiana sharing a bed, their parents and brother crowded in another room, their grandparents nearby. It’s a hard life, but one with room enough for love and romance.

However, when Tatiana first sets eyes on Daria’s boyfriend, Alexander, she knows immediately that for her, the path of love will never be easy, but rather, one of sacrifice and denial. Hitler’s invasion of Russia spells war and, for Leningrad, siege, and their earlier existence seems luxurious in comparison with the terrible deprivations that the family suffers. As the grip of winter closes as relentlessly as the advancing German army, so Tatiana is forced into ever more desperate measures in order to survive – both physically and emotionally.

Click here to buy The Bronze Horseman from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

The Bridge to Holy Cross

Tatiana and Alexander Series: Book 2

The Bridge to Holy Cross is a powerful story of love and hope – a passionate and epic love story from the Russian-born author of The Bronze Horseman.

Tatiana is 18 years old and pregnant when she miraculously escapes war-torn Leningrad to the West, believing herself to be a widow. Her husband, Major Alexander Belov, a decorated hero of the Soviet Union, has been arrested by Stalin’s infamous secret police and is awaiting imminent death as a traitor and a spy.

Tatiana begins her new life in America. In wartime New York City she finds work, friends and a life beyond her dreams. However, her grief is inescapable and she keeps hearing Alexander calling out to her.

Meanwhile, Alexander faces the greatest danger he’s ever known. An American trapped in Russia since adolescence, he has been serving in the Red Army and posing as a Soviet citizen to protect himself. For him, Russia’s war is not over, and both victory and defeat will mean certain death.

As World War Two moves into its final violent phase, Tatiana and Alexander are surrounded by the ghosts of their past and each other.

They must struggle against destiny and despair as they find themselves in the fight of their lives. A master of the historical epic, Paullina Simons takes us on a journey across continents, time and the entire breadth of human emotion, to create a heartrendingly beautiful love story that will live on long after the final page is turned.

Click here to buy The Bridge to Holy Cross from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

The Summer Garden

Tatiana and Alexander Series: Book 3

From the bestselling author of The Girl in Times Square, comes the magnificent conclusion to the saga that was set in motion when Tatiana fell in love with her Red Army officer, Alexander Belov, in wartime Leningrad in 1941.

Tatiana and Alexander have suffered the worst the twentieth century had to offer. After years of separation, they are miraculously reunited in America, the land of their dreams. They have a beautiful son, Anthony. They have proved to each other that their love is greater than the vast evil of the world … but they are strangers. In the climate of fear and mistrust of the Cold War, dark forces are at work in the US that threaten their life and their family.

Can they make a new life for themselves in this new land? Can they be happy? Or will the ghosts of yesterday reach out to blight even the destiny of their firstborn son?

Epic in scope, masterfully told, The Summer Garden is a novel of unique and devastating emotional power that spans two thirds of the twentieth century, and three continents. The Summer Garden. For what once was …

Click here to buy The Summer Garden from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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