I’ve been busy editing my figure skating novel, Red Flags. I am on track as far as my timeline is concerned. The way things look today, the book will be out sometime in late summer or early fall as scheduled. Keep watching this blog for a release date.
The first two chapters are finished. The original version of Chapter One (which I wrote way back in 2001-ish) was a prologue, but I remade it into a “proper” first chapter. I took an hours-long Google Maps trip in search of an apartment building in Murmansk, Russia that looks like the place where my main character, Larissa, grew up. I saw several that came close, but then I turned down a winding little side street. That’s where I found the place where my main character grew up as well as the apartment building across the way where her father grew up. This led to my adding an extra scene at the beginning of the book.
Of course, Larissa was a child of the Brezhnev-era Soviet Union, not of Russia as it exists in 2016. No doubt the inside of Larissa’s apartment building looks a lot different than it did during her childhood. The busy street nearby would have undergone an even more dramatic transformation. But Larissa’s immediate neighborhood with the five-story apartment houses and the laundry hanging on a clothesline next to the parking lot is a place she would recognize immediately.
I also made some changes to the character of Larissa’s father, Vladi. Reading through the original first chapter, I realized I needed to emphasize his youth. He’s a 21-year-old KID struggling to come to terms with major family tragedies in addition to taking on the responsibilities of marriage and fatherhood. In the second chapter, he is four years older, but he still doesn’t have it all figured out.
The ice rink where Larissa learns to skate makes its debut in the second chapter. With its dark exterior, it physically resembles the rink in my own hometown more than anything I’ve been able to find in Murmansk. But that’s OK. It’s a fictional skating arena, so it’s better if it isn’t too true-to-life.