Author Spotlight: Paullina Simons

Recently I corresponded with Paullina Simons to ask her several questions and one was why she likes to write about depressing subjects. Why so much strife for her characters? Why must her characters suffer so much for their happy ending? Wait. I must check myself because in her books a happy ending is an uncertainty. If you’ve read The Bronze Horseman or Tatiana and Alexander or The Summer Garden, you’ll know what I mean about “strife.” There is always some human conflict. A bit of pain and a bit of suffering. All you care about by the journey’s end is that they are alive and whole in body and spirit. There might be some wear and tear along the way but at least they are alive. But then again these are not romances. However they have a compelling love story in them.

Here was her response to my question about writing such depressive topics:

I write about the human condition, which is multi-layered. Some of those layers are angst, strife, and suffering. Suffering is conflict, conflict is strife, strife is drama, drama makes good stories. Most fiction contains in it human conflict because without it, you just have people looking out the window, painting, watching TV, talking with friends, bike-riding maybe. That’s the kind of life I want, but I’m not sure I’d want to read a book like that.
Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies is nothing short of miraculous. It’s the only thing I’m recommending these days. That and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood (talk about strife).

I did email her a second time to ask one, last, final question which was: what is The Bartered Bride all about? Will we have another emotional roller coaster journey? As of now I haven’t heard back from her but what I did find was a synopsis online that had this to say about her nineth novel:

This is the story of three girls just out of high school on a journey across America. It’s 1981 and Shelby Sloane gets a canary yellow Mustang convertible as a graduation present. She sets out on an odyssey to find her mother who left her many years earlier. When Shelby’s former best friend Gina asks to come along, Shelby reluctantly agrees. And so the two girls, who at eighteen think they know everything, are about to set out to find out how much they don’t know. The girls think the trip will last a week at most. This will be their first mistake. Some other things they don’t know: map skills; geography; God; gambling; how to deal with real terror; what it’s like to love. And as the trip continues in spurts and starts, they feel the stress of their past conflict and the secret heartbreaks between them – secrets that fill every empty space in the tiny Mustang. When they see a young woman hitchhiking on the side of a country road, they don’t want to pick her up. They turn their gaze away. But days later, they find her again. Candy, the Bartered Bride, gets in. She sucks them into her treacherous world and her own frightful journey, which is as far removed from theirs as the moons of Saturn are from Earth. The ride that began with high spirits and good humour proceeds into the darkest backroads of America, when Shelby, Candy and Gina are forced to make real moral choices that have critical consequences for their future, and by their ordeals they learn some of those things they did not know. 

Well, does that sound like another emotional journey to you or what? The Bartered Bride is to be published by ANZ and will be released this November. Plus she is going on tour. Ms. Simons goes on to say that most of her books are being published in the US by Doubleday and Book of the Month bookclubs first and then by the trade publishers in the near future. Anyway, it’s good to see her books published in the United States.  Many of us after reading The Bronze Horseman had to order the sequel from the UK as well as the third and last entry in the trilogy, The Summer Garden. However first two are now available to purchase at The third title is only available through Doubleday bookclub. Ms. Simons also has a cookbook and anecdote book coming about called Tatiana’s Table which will be released in Austraila and New Zeland on Mother’s day.

I also found more author info on her official website and a wiki that states that she is currently writing a screenplay for The Bronze Horseman. Interesting because I can’t imagine who could play Alexander or Tatiana. Would you watch it? I’m wary but then if the author had a more significant role in who was playing what I might watch it. Maybe. However I did find this quote by Ms. Simons about the adaptation of the movie:

The fascination about a possible movie being made out of Bronze Horseman is astonishing. But this is the one book that I cannot and will not entrust to someone else to adapt to the screen, and I myself am flooded with prose work. I hope to have a screenplay finished soon.

In conclusion, I wish I had more juicy gossip to share with you but alas this is all there is my friends. Of course if I learn anything new I will share it with you. If you haven’t read The Bronze Horseman you should. It’s not a book that has universal appeal but it has stayed with me for years. Why? I love Ms. Simons authorial voice, her realistic dialogue, her characters and their tale of overcoming strife and adversity.


About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
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20 Responses to Author Spotlight: Paullina Simons

  1. xina says:

    Keishon, Great post…so interesting. To answer your question as to whether I would watch TBH if it were a movie…Yes, yes and yes. As to the characters I can picture them, but not name actors at this moment. Alexander is Italian and there are many great looking dark, and/or Italian actors out there. Tatiana…she would have to be very blonde and slightly built.
    Her new book sounds interesting. My daughter is just a little older than the characters…. in her first year of college. She went on one road trip this year and I worried about her the entire time. At this point the subject might hit too close to home, however, I’ll read the book anyway because I love this author’s work.
    Simons is a pro at writing angst and suffering but usually most of the problems are resolved in the end. I don’t mind reading angst and that is the reason I read books out of the romance genre. The human condition, as Paullina Simons says, makes good stories. As in any fiction, I am a reader that is always on the outside looking in and I appreciate fiction to throw me for a loop now and then. I don’t always crave the safety net of the romance genre even though I have a lot of fun with romance novels.
    Great post Keishon. I’m looking forward to the new book and thank goodness it’s published in USA and I can buy it in a bookstore!

  2. Kristie(J) says:

    Would you watch it?

    Good question! I think I would since I loved the book. I’ve yet to read the next two of them although I do have them. Still waiting for that time I can handle all the angst I know will be in them. If she has an impact on how the story goes then I’d be even more likely to watch it. But I would have to keep in mind that due to time constaints, a lot would probably be cut out of the movie. And whoever they get to play Alexander and Tatianna would be very important!

  3. Marg says:

    If a movie was made would I watch it? Abso-freaking-lutely.

    Do I really want a movie made? No, not really. Partially because I would be terrified that “they” would mess it up.

    The Bartered Bride does sound as though it is going to be a bit of a rollercoaster ride, but that’s fine! PS does write emotion including angst so well! We are all really hopeful that she is coming to Australia to promote The Bartered Bride! Cannot wait!!

    Interesting post about one of my favourite authors! I actually mod in her forums. Do you mind if I link to your post there?

  4. Marg says:

    Oh, and I meant to say, the discussion of who should play Tatiana and Alexander is the most popular discussion in the forums…..pages and pages of suggestions and ideas and so far I don’t think that anyone has been suggested that there is even majority agreement on!

  5. xina says:

    What is the addy to your forum Marg? I would be interested to see who the choices for T & A are.
    I would love to see this book on The Big Screen and please…not a LIFETIME movie. This book deserves something more. I am anxious to see what “they” will do with The Time Traveler’s Wife in 2008.

  6. Sotheara says:

    If a movie was made of THE BRONZE HORSEMAN, would I watch it? Oh, definitely yes! I love this book and its subsequent sequals. Of course, it’s not going to be detailed and as as good as the book, but if Ms. Simons is writing the screenplay then that’s already one step up.

  7. Avid Reader says:

    I’m still wary about a movie version as I already have a vision of Alexander in my mind and Tatiana in my mind and Dasha and the rest. The intensity of emotion…will that translate from book to screen? Like Xina, I don’t really mind angst but I couldn’t read this kind of stuff all the time. I know Ms. Simons has stated that she does like to write about pain and suffering. I still cannot finish Tully to this day as I don’t like how it will end.

  8. Avid Reader says:

    [quote comment=”7737″]

    Interesting post about one of my favourite authors! I actually mod in her forums. Do you mind if I link to your post there?[/quote]

    Go ahead and link. I don’t mind :cheerful:

  9. xina says:

    Keishon, I didn’t like Tully either, but one day…maybe I’ll give the book another try. I read it a few days after my first reading of The Bronze Horseman, and perhaps I wasn’t ready for any book at that point, or at least a happier book. I really found it depressing.
    Marg…thanks for the addy. I’ll make sure to visit there.

  10. Amanda says:

    would just like to leave a comment that if Paullina Simons does get a screenplay done for her book(s) The Bronze Horseman etc.. she needs to please use Emilie De Ravin and Henry Cavill.

  11. Bilyana says:

    Eric Bana for Alexander- tall, strong, dark, broad frame, dark curly hair, could do brooding, moody and tender and kind and playful, all of Alexander’s necessary moods!
    Perhaps Scarlett Johanssen for Tatiana, but definitely Eric Bana is growing on me more and more for Alexander.

  12. Salmana says:

    James Franco would make a stunning Alexander!

  13. Ebony says:

    I just finished reading the bronze horseman and it was the best book i have ever read. I finished the entire book in 3 days. This story would make an amazing movie and one i would certainly watch over and over.

  14. StephC says:

    I think that if The Bronze Horseman is made into a movie it needs to have fresh actors that aren’t related to any other characters and it has to be done in Russian with subtitles.. This book can’t be ruined by Hollywood… It is a beautiful love story and if done the wrong way the story would get lost…
    Lets hope whoever makes it does it right! 🙂

  15. Avid Reader says:

    @StephC: Russian subtitles? I just hope the film adaptation is done well enough for me to enjoy it. I’m not a big fan of books adapted to the big screen. Its been several years since I read The Bronze Horseman but I still remember it quite vividly.

  16. StephC says:

    @Avid Reader: The movie spoken in Russian with English subtitles…

  17. jessica mann says:

    alexander skarsgard still pops in my head as alexander. darken his hair a bit and there u go!

  18. Alice says:

    @StephC: I agree entirely about having the film in Russian, with subtitles; I don’t think that it would make sense for it to be in English. What about those scenes where Shura teaches Tatiana English? And when Tatiana lives in America and speaks very little English at first?
    I’m just hoping that they don’t ruin the beautiful story. I don’t know if I will even go and see it when it comes out, because it is just perfect the way I have it in my head, and I don’t want the images I have ruined…

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