“Love is Never Past Tense” by Janna Yeshanova is a great love story at heart. Two people fall in love by the Black Sea during the times of the USSR and in the whirlwind of their attraction the two get married. But they are too young to appreciate what they have and divorce, only to experience the regret and continuous magnetic pull towards each other.
Circumstances and wider political developments push the two further on their individual path.
The book is beautifully written and told with a complex narrative that takes us back and forth in time. Such fragmented telling of a story does not always work for me but in this case it succeeded to show the disjointed nature of their relationship, the back and forth of their feelings for each other and the inevitable ending. A good choice.
The romance part of the book is heart breaking and took this often cynical reader by surprise. The portrayal of Communist and post-1991 Russia is brilliantly done and made the story so much more than ‘just’ a romance. For me this turned into an unexpected compelling reading experience. Making the outer circumstances and the changes in Russia have a personal impact on the characters brought the tragedy home to me.
Enjoyable, insightful, sad but a very worthwhile read.
Interview with the lovely and excitable Janna:
Tell us a little about yourself as writer and a person.
As a person?.. I am a life coach and a leadership trainer. I have an MA in Russian Language and Literature from the Soviet Union and an MA in Applied Behavioral Science from the US where I specialized in Conflict Resolution. I taught this subject for years at Antioch University (Yellow Springs, OH). My chairman once said that when I am in the class with my students the walls are shaking when they laugh. Does it tell you anything about me as a person? Once in a while, my profession also helps me to deal with the people whom I dearly love J
The novel happened unexpectedly. I just realized that all written papers that are sitting in a pile on my desk need to be sorted out and have some sequence. Then, I tried to define this pile and the best definition for it was “novel”.
What made you become a writer?
A desire to share.
Were you always going to write in this genre?
Love Is Never Past Tense… is a historical epic romance. It’s my first book. The next one will be a sequel. Also, I started writing a book related to my profession. Definitely, this will not be a romance novel. It will be a How To… book. The framework is already in place. The book is on conflict resolution and overcoming adversity. It will offer techniques and support stories based on my life experience, education and my observations. The working title for this book is I Am From The Second Floor, and here is the story behind it.
Once, when I worked at a huge corporation, I was taking an elevator to go up. Suddenly, a woman stepped in. I feel uncomfortable being in such close proximity without communication, so I said “Hi.” The woman looked at me several seconds, obviously surprised by my accent, and asked “Where are you from?” “I am from the second floor” was my reply. She laughed, and I thought this could be the name of my book. We’ll see…
What is a one line synopsis for Love Is Never Past Tense?
“How could he possibly know that she, a complete stranger, would inexplicably affect his life and be with him forever whether she was at his side or not?”
Is it a memoir or fiction? How much about this book is auto-biographical?
It’s both. Love Is Never Past Tense… is a novel, based on a true story.
Tell us a little about the history of the book. How long did it take you to write and publish?
The book started by itself years ago and that start became the first part. The other parts were finished in a couple of months. When the publisher in Russia took it, the book was not yet ready. At that time I was in Moscow almost half a year. There I met a publisher from Ukraine who said that publishing in Ukraine would be three times less expensive than in Russia. So, my husband and I went to Ukraine. It turned out that publishing the book was three times more expensive and took much –much longer than it would have in Russia. Plus, the publisher offered a cover that he already placed on some other book a year earlier. He thought that I’d leave back to the US without realizing it, but someone just by chance showed me a book from the same publisher that had exactly the same cover.
We had a return ticket to the US and no cover. In frustration, I shared it with a lady who tried to convince me that life is wonderful in all its manifestations. She had a daughter, who was an art school student and this young lady created a cover for the Russian version of the book overnight.
We flew back home, realizing that life was not as bad as I thought.
The novel, as I said before, was started in the previous millennium. It was finished within a couple months on a beach of the Black Sea in Crimea, in a restaurant with open windows looking into the all shades of green and blue, colors of my favorite sea. This inspired the cover for the first edition of the English version. The second edition of the book also came with a new comprehensive cover. Everybody loves it! I love both of them.
English is not my native language. It’s my third language. My native language is Russian, but the thought of translating it was very natural and simple. When the translation started, I became horrified. I could not find idioms that would carry the same weight of the words. I felt any deviation from translating the details that one can feel, hear and see would betray my book. I wanted to preserve and convey the juice of the language that expresses the pictures of the environment, relationships, jokes, and everything we live in.
I worked with several editors. My Russian book was on my lap, and we were going sentence by sentence through it. At that time, I had a feeling that they all hated me simultaneouslyJ. Two of them were native English speakers with PhDs in the English that I was attempting to bend.
After the editorial work was over, the manuscript was read by many people from different professions, different ages and educational level. When I realized that they love the book, I decided that it was time to publish it.
I am admitting that to translate and edit the book was much harder than to write it in Russian.
Why did you decide to tell this story?
You know how sometimes we share events from our lives, our feelings with other people and say: “Don’t tell this anyone”? I decided to tell “this” to everyone, because some “secrets” are too good to keepJ.
Which part of the story was easiest to write and which one the hardest?
The first part, the love story, was the hardest: reliving emotions, gathering the facts from the past for the sake of being able to convey the genuine story to the reader and to connect on an emotional level.
The second part, which talked about exodus from the Soviet Union, was “flying from under the feather”
Who would play the characters in a film?
Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt. She is very animated and expressive, and he is “the” Brad Pitt! J
That was quick! Is this a real project?
O Yes! Everybody who reads the book says that they see a movie.
I also want to share with you a little story related to Love Is Never Past Tense. Two years ago, when the book was not yet published, I was flying after my seminar from Philadelphia, PA. On my lap, I had a proof copy of the book. I was scanning the lines, double checking for mistakes.
Next to me was sitting a man who asked me what I was reading and I told him. He asked me to show him the book. I gave it to him and he started reading it and did not give it back to me until we landed in Chicago.
He was a PhD graduate from Yale. He handed me his business card and asked me to let him know when the book was published. He said he wanted to buy it. I took the card and sent him the book as a gift. After he finished it, he called me and said that he sees a great movie created from this book.
A year later he and his wife organized a huge event with presentation of Love Is Never Past Tense. They flew me to Omaha, offered me a great hotel, place an article in a local newspaper!
As a matter of fact, this January, I am going the Sundance festival in Park City, Utah. I hope to make some connections with the people from the movie industry. This is not about meeting famous people. It’s about famous people meeting me J.
What is your life like? What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing?
What do I do for pleasure? Everything I do I do it with pleasure. So, it means to me that I do everything for pleasure. Writing, conducting a seminar, a life-coaching session… I love this so much! Hiking swimming, knitting, being with the family and friends and cooking for them – I love it! Lying down unattended on a beach – I love it! Looking out at the patches of forest under the airplane wing – I love it! Theater, movies, books… What else? Festivals, trips, oceans, forests – love it all!
Who are your literary influences? What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?
Russian classics like Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Turgenev and later Michael Bulgakov contributed to my development. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Salinger, Hemmingway shared with me so much through their pages that they became my life friends. Haruki Murakami has space for his books on my shelves… Once in a while, I am going back to my bookshelves and every time I am discovering something new that I did not notice before…
My favorite books are on my Goodreads profile and on my Love Is Never Past Tense Facebook page.
Albums? Beatles, Pink Floyd, Abba, Toto Cutugno, Brahms, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mozart. Llove Tchaikovsky, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Andrew Lloyd Webber, a lot of contemporary singers, Russian singers… The list is so long that it may take the whole page… Who said they don’t like Ricky Martin or Adele? I do!
I love Tott Cutugno – very eclectic! What are your views on independent publishing?
It’s difficult, but considering my tendency to see the opportunities instead of obstacles, I can say that one who chooses it has a lot of options: the design of your book, your cover, choice of your audience, and change of new editions, yes trailer – no trailer. Independent publishing gives you a lot of control about all these variables.
Absolutely! I got a chance to hear from two teen friends that Switch by Karen Prince, was very involving, and they learned a lot from it. Isn’t it what we want for our kids, development and useful time use? My seven year old granddaughter was captivated by the The Mystic Princesses and the Whirlpool by P.J. LaRue. I enjoyed Simon O’Kill’s Nobody Loves a Bigfoot Like a Bigfoot Babe. I never readUrban Fantasy before, but I couldn’t stop reading… As a life coach, I was interested in readingHappy Divorce by Rossana Condoleo. I highly recommend the book to the people who have in mind a ride through this trouble. There are many good reading choices among the authors of ASMSG http://asmsg.weebly.com/
Absolutely! I got a chance to hear from two teen friends that Switch by Karen Prince, was very involving, and they learned a lot from it. Isn’t it what we want for our kids, development and useful time use? My seven year old granddaughter was captivated by the The Mystic Princesses and the Whirlpool by P.J. LaRue. I enjoyed Simon O’Kill’s Nobody Loves a Bigfoot Like a Bigfoot Babe. I never read Urban Fantasy before, but I couldn’t stop reading… As a life coach, I was interested in reading Happy Divorce by Rossana Condoleo. I highly recommend the book to the people who have in mind a ride through this trouble. There are many good reading choices among the authors of ASMSG http://asmsg.weebly.com/asmsg-authors.html
What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?
My friends would say that I am funny and open, creative and energetic; and that I have strong interest in ellipsis … My oddest qualities are best described in Love Is Never Past Tense…
What are your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?
What is my favorite animal? Dog! Can’t stop thinking about my Pekingese Nikki’s curious and understanding eyes! Sure, my favorite animal is Dog, but I love them all! If I could have dolphins at home, I would’ve felt I had new friends, and maybe, I could’ve started understanding their high pitch language. Also love horses. I love everything that moves and has four paws!
My favorite color is green. It includes all earthy colors. Favorite outdoor activities: hiking and swimming.
What would you take to a remote island?
A GPS transmitter and a radio: The first – so they know where to find me. The second – so I can tell them when to come looking!
Who would you like to invite for dinner and why?
Sandra Bullock. Why? I’d ask her how she stays so cheerful and gorgeous all the timeJ
What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?
My blog is on Goodreads and on WordPress http://jannayeshanova.wordpress.com/
My Facebook page for Love Is Never Past Tense is https://www.facebook.com/loveisneverpasttense
Twitter : @NeverPastTense and @JannaYeshanova
What else would you like us to know about you and your books?
The books are inspirational. If I could make it, everybody can!
Love Is Never Past Tense… can be found on its website www.loveisneverpasttense.com
where it can come with my autograph.
and other vendors. All versions are available.
I’d love to share with you, Christoph,
the book trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quPSNk7EnoA
I like it and I hope you’ll like it as well.
Wishing best to everybody and sending my love to the whole world!
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Upper Arlington, OH 43221