Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
It is the book birthday for Elizabeth Ducie’s ‘Gorgito’s Ice Rink’ today and, as part of the celebrations, she has kindly answered my questions. Keep reading to discover her responses as well as more about this book and herself!
Where did you get the inspiration for the book?
When I started writing creatively (as opposed to technically), I thought I was going to produce life writing and memoirs. But I found to my surprise I am happier, and more successful, taking real incidents and places, and presenting them in fictional settings.
I worked on projects in Russia and the Former Soviet Union countries between 1993 and 2012, and visited the region several times each year. I find the geography and the climate of the place fascinating and I wanted to reproduce that. Nikolevsky, the town in my novel, is an amalgam of Kostroma, north east of Moscow, and Kursk, in the south west.
My main character, Gorgito, is based on someone I used to work for, who had a seemingly impossible dream. The story of Maria and Sasha was inspired by Just Send Me Word, by Orlando Figes, a true story of love surviving in the Gulag.
What is your writing process?
Although Gorgito’s Ice Rink took nearly eight years to produce, I now have a process which allows me to write and publish a novel in a year. I plan it in October, write the first draft between November and January; I then allow four to six weeks each for initial editing, beta reading, final editing, proofreading, layout and publication. I usually have my launch parties in September. Then the whole thing starts again. (Except that this year, I have taken time off from fiction to finish my non-fiction projects instead.
Do you write using pen and paper or on a computer?
Mostly it goes straight on to the computer, using Scrivener at the early stages. However, if I am travelling, then I write extensive notes in pencil—never pen—I always carry pencils, erasers and a pencil sharpener with me.
Who is your favourite character out of your stories and why?
When I wrote the Suzanne Jones trilogy of thrillers set in the sometimes murky world of international pharmaceutical industry, it was Suzanne who was closest to me: she had a background in manufacturing; and had moved into regulatory audits; she’s quite cautious. But it’s her sister, Charlie, with her kick-ass attitude to life and a bit of a shady past, that I really enjoy writing. She has to be my favourite. And she’s the one I’d most like to be.
How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
I have to be very careful with this. Many years ago, an aunt of mine told me she loved my stories, but hated the names I gave my characters. This distracted her and she couldn’t carry on reading.
Many of my characters are Russian which makes their names difficult to pronounce; others come from one of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa; or from Latin America. I use lists of local names to make sure they are authentic; chose ones that are easier to pronounce; and avoid having more than one beginning with the same letter. Hopefully the resulting names are less distracting for readers.
Thank you so much for your fantastic answers to my questions – and thanks to your aunt for encouraging you to consider your readers when naming your characters!
Keep reading to find out more about ‘Gorgito’s Ice Rink‘:
Gorgito’s Ice Rink was runner up in Writing Magazine’s 2015 Self-Published Book of the Year Awards.
Two small boys grieving for lost sisters — torn between family and other loves. Can keeping a new promise make up for breaking an old one?
When Gorgito Tabatadze sees his sister run off with a soldier, he is bereft. When she disappears into Stalin’s Gulag system, he is devastated. He promises their mother on her death-bed he will find the missing girl and bring her home; but it is to prove an impossible quest.
Forty years later, Gorgito, now a successful businessman in post-Soviet Russia, watches another young boy lose his sister to a love stronger than family. When a talented Russian skater gets the chance to train in America, Gorgito promises her grief-stricken brother he will build an ice-rink in Nikolevsky, their home town, to bring her home again.
With the help of a British engineer, who has fled to Russia to escape her own heartache, and hindered by the local Mayor who has his own reasons for wanting the project to fail, can Gorgito overcome bureaucracy, corruption, economic melt-down and the harsh Russian climate in his quest to build the ice-rink and bring a lost sister home? And will he finally forgive himself for breaking the promise to his mother?
A story of love, loss and broken promises. Gorgito’s story, told through the eyes of the people whose lives he touched.
My website page: http://elizabethducieauthor.co.uk/book/gorgitos-ice-rink/
Kindle universal link: https://geni.us/3OHR
Until 14th October, Gorgito’s Ice Rink is only 99 p/c in all territories.
Author Bio –
When Elizabeth Ducie had been working in the international pharmaceutical industry for nearly thirty years, she decided she’d like to take a break from technical writing—text books, articles and training modules—and write for fun instead. She started by writing travel pieces, but soon discovered she was happier, and more successful, writing fiction. In 2012, she gave up the day job, and started writing full-time. She has published four novels, three collections of short stories and a series of manuals on business skills for writers.
Social Media Links –
Many thanks to Elizabeth Ducie for answering my questions and to Rachel’s Random Resources for providing content for this post and organising the tour it is part of.