Chelsey Krause puts some questions to Twisted author Lola Smirnova.
Tell us about your novel Twisted.
Twisted is about Julia – a young girl who together with her two sisters dive into a perverted and cruel world of sex trade. All three of them escape the depression of post-Soviet Ukraine. Unlike her sisters, Julia uses booze and drugs to cope with the disturbing reality.
I understand that Twisted is loosely based on your own experiences. Was it emotionally difficult to write this book? Did you ever stop and say, “This is too hard, I don’t know if I can finish”?
At times it was extremely difficult. The writing requires you to dig into your memories. And some of them I wish I didn’t remember.
That was quite the opening scene! What made you decide to go with that scene in particular? Were you afraid it would put readers off reading the rest?
On the contrary, I wanted to honestly prepare the readers straight away for what they will have to deal with throughout the whole book. Each day it becomes more and more difficult to surprise people with all the variety available in the entertainment industry. You have to be very creative to capture a reader’s attention and keep her/him interested in turning the pages. So I decided to shock them with my opening scene.
How long did it take you to write?
Three years including editing and production.
How did you feel the first time someone read it? Were you nervous?
Nervous? I was terrified! As a beginning author I had a lot of self-doubt, which I had to overcome on the daily basis. It takes a couple of 5-star editorial and readers’ reviews to start gaining some confidence as a writer 😉
What was the hardest part to write?
It’s hard to say.
How do you hope readers will feel after reading Twisted?
I hope they’ll have a strong hangover 🙂
Who is your favourite character?
Julia. I like her strength and craziness.
When you aren’t writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I love to read, travel and mostly be with my family.
Tell us a random fact about youself.
I love animals therefore I am a vegan. I am also very environmentally aware person, so I try to be as eco-friendly as possible. And exhort everybody to do the same.
In the corrupt economy of post-Soviet Ukraine opportunities are scarce. Young and eager sisters – Natalia, Lena and Julia – harbor dreams of a better life. Naïve and tempted by the allure of ‘quick’ money, the girls set off on an adventure that changes their lives forever.
Can they stay out of trouble enough to fulfill their ambitions? Can they hold on to their idealism in a world where depravity and danger are constant companions? How far are they willing to go to make a buck?
Twisted is a disturbing behind-the-scenes look at a world that most will never see. It is shocking, raw, and explicit.
Lola Smirnova is an author from Ukraine, who for many years worked in the sex industry. She recently released her debut novel Twisted. Twisted is a work of fiction but it is inspired by the author’s real-life experiences making a living in the sex trade. The sequel Craved is coming soon.