Thursday, May 17, 2012

Interview with novelist Irina Shapiro

Today's guest author is Irina Shapiro. She's talking a bit about her favorite novel to date, The Hands of Time.

Welcome, Irina. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Moscow, Russia in 1970 and lived the life of a model communist child until my family immigrated to the United States in 1982. Like most teenagers, I eagerly embraced the new culture and did my best to shed the old, restrictive ways, frustrating my parents to no end. Despite my love of history and literature, I majored in International Business at Bernard M. Baruch College and pursued a career in Import/Export until I left the work force in 2007. I currently reside in New Jersey with my family. Since then I have written five novels and explored some other interests that I didn’t have time for while working full-time.

As long as there are books to read, movies to see, and exotic places to visit I will never be bored.      

Please tell us a bit about your favorite novel.
The Hands of Time is a time travel romance. It’s the story of Valerie Crane who travels to England with her sister in order to escape her painful divorce and her ex-husband’s upcoming wedding.  While shopping for souvenirs, Valerie wanders into an antique shop and picks up an ormolu clock, which is set to the wrong time.  As Valerie turns the hands of the clock she is instantly transported to the year 1605 where she becomes entangled in a passionate love triangle with the Whitfield brothers, who take her in, and must learn to navigate the volatile political climate of 17th Century England.

Meanwhile, Valerie’s sister, Luisa, is desperately searching for her missing sibling. Through unexpected clues Luisa finally begins to piece together what happened to her sister and come to terms with losing her forever.

What inspired you to write this book?
I have always been fascinated with the idea of time travel. What would any of us do if suddenly transported to a different time? How would we survive? Would we be able to adapt if faced with the prospect of spending our life trapped in another century, much more dangerous than our own? Might we possibly find some things in the past that were missing from our lives in the present?

I also like to explore the difference between the relationships of today and the courtships of the past. Men and women had such different expectations of each other, yet their relationships were not as transient as the “hit and run” encounters of today, or were they?

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have just finished The Folly. It’s a romance/murder mystery set in 19th Century England. The story explores how far people are willing to go for love and revenge. Although this book does not have the supernatural element of my other books, it has a few twists and turns of its own.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still don’t consider myself to be a writer. I feel a little self-conscious about using that title.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t have any specific regimen. I write when I have an idea. Some days I write for hours, while other days I can’t manage a single sentence.

I left my job as an Import Manager five years ago to stay at home with my autistic son, so I write while the children are at school. Once they come home, I devote my time to them.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I begin a story I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen or how it’s going to end. The characters start taking on a life of their own and eventually reveal to me what they want to do. I know that sounds a little strange, but that’s how I roll.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I dreamed of becoming an archaeologist. The idea of uncovering fragments of the past and piecing them together seemed like a very exciting way to spend my time. If that didn’t work out, I was planning to join the circus. 

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I began writing as a form of therapy and I never intended for anyone to see my work. It was just for me. I’ve come a long way since then and it has been an amazing journey, mostly into my own psyche.  

I stay in touch with readers through my website and Facebook page

And readers can learn more about my novels through Amazon:

Thanks for being here today, Irina. It's nice to get to know a bit about you and your writing.


Ella said...

Great interview. I really enjoyed finding out personal facts about this author. I am a huge fan of her works. I have read all of Ms. Shapiro's books. Hands of Time is definitely my favorite one so far. I didn't want the story to end, I just fell in love with the characters. I really would love to see a sequel to that one, so please Ms. Shapiro dont disappoint.

Irina Shapiro said...

Actually, I have started writing a sequel to "The Hands of Time". I wasn't planning on it, but those characters refuse to go away.

Avid Reader said...

This was wonderful to read! I have enjoyed each book written by Irina Shapiro, and The Hands of Time was certainly a favorite. It was great to gain some insight into this author's personal life and read about her thought process behind the wonderful writing that she does. Thank you so much Ms. Haselton for allowing us the opportunity to learna bit more about the lives of the authors whose work we so enjoy. I found the bit about the circus performer quite intriguing. So glad to find out here that there will be a sequel to this book! Definitely something I can't wait to get my hands on.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the warm words. I might still run away to the circus if the writing doesn't pan out. I hear it's never too late.