Sergei Kourdakov, a former KGB agent and Soviet naval intelligence officer, defected from the USSR at the age of twenty. A year later we met at my Federal Government office in Washington DC. We were watched and followed. “Even you could be spy,” Sergei whispered. My book, A Rose for Sergei, is the true story of our time together.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Skirting the Issue

“Skirting the Issue” is a phrase that is not commonly used these days.  It means that you are avoiding a bigger issue and/or pushing it aside.  I know I still have a lot more edits and re-writes for my book, A Rose For Sergei, but the end is in sight.  However, I have been avoiding the fact that my book will need to be reviewed by a pre-publications office with the Federal Government which could take 2+ months.  I knew it would take a while but I was surprised it would take that long.  The fact that we met at my office when I worked for the Federal Government is the reason for the review.  I am confident that everything will be approved though.  My story about Sergei Kourdakov is simply a love story, no more, no less.  It is about a young couple who fell in love despite incredibly different backgrounds.

Sergei told me very little about his life in the Soviet Union.  He preferred telling me about all of the joys of living in the United States.  And of course he talked about his new found faith in God.  I was surprised when I read his book, The Persecutor.  It shocked me to find out how little I knew about that time of his life.  Maybe it was a good thing because I think I would have been afraid to go out with him if I had known more. 

Skirting the issue about having to wait so long for my book to be reviewed reminded me about a funny real skirt incident.  It brought back the memory of the day Sergei and I were in Washington DC and we were attempting to cross the street in the middle of the block.  There was a large mud puddle along the curb and I hesitated to skip over it because I thought I might slip in my high heels.  When Sergei saw my reluctance to step into the dirty water he took things into his own hands.  He whisked me up in his strong arms and gallantly carried me into the street.  My pleas for him to put me down were ignored.

Traffic stopped immediately in both directions to let us cross even though we were not in a crosswalk.  When we reached the other side of the street he finally put me down and commented on how nice and friendly the car drivers were in America.  Sergei didn’t know it at the time but the reason they all stopped when he carried me across the street was because my mini skirt had slid up and exposed my entire backside, revealing my bikini briefs.  And that’s why all the people in the cars were smiling and waving at us!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Can You Keep A Secret?

It seems that no one knows how to keep a secret these days.  Today we are inundated with technology.  Everyone wants to be the first to know something, the first to post on Facebook, the first to Tweet, Instagram or Pin It – the faster the better.  Electronic gossiping/sharing is addicting across the board, no matter how young or how old you are.  You can get hooked peeking into someone else’s life.  Today, one simple text between friends is immediately public knowledge.  The art of keeping a secret is unknown to this generation who thrives on instant feedback. 
How does this topic tie into my forthcoming book, A Rose for Sergei?  The fact that I am finally writing about Sergei Kourdakov 40 years later is hard for many to grasp.  It is especially hard for the “right now” generation.
I will say that there were a few instances immediately after Sergei’s death that I did try to talk about him.  If a person was unfamiliar with his story, I found it raised a lot of questions.  I couldn’t just say “he died mysteriously.”  People wanted to know the whole story and I didn’t know the whole story.  I found it easier to say nothing because it was heart breaking.
It was my choice to keep this story close to my heart . . . and so I did.  Keeping something private was also easier to do at that time.  It was before cell phones, personal computers, and the Internet.  It was a time before instant sharing, reality TV and blogging.  It was a time when you knew how to keep a secret. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Encouraging Words

My writing is inexperienced but it is definitely from the heart and I hope that my sincerity will come through in A Rose for Sergei.  I do have a few doubts in my ability to portray Sergei Kourdakov in a way that will do him justice.  That is my biggest concern.  Will I do more harm than good?  Can I show that he was a completely changed person? 
My sister Kelly sent me a beautiful pin with the word “WRITE” on it.  I keep the pin on my desk to inspire me.  Kelly had cried when she read my outline; she never knew the whole story about Sergei because she was too young at the time.  It’s amazing how that one simple word with sparkly rhinestones catches my eye and encourages me.  She didn’t need to send a note along with the pin because I got her message; she has confidence in my writing.  I thanked my sister and told her if the book is terrible I can always blame her.
My older sister Karen is my best critic and I eagerly anticipated her response.  She is an avid reader and is quite knowledgeable when it comes to books and writing in general.  She laughed after reading the first chapters of my draft.  She had met Sergei but I had never told her that part.  She smiled and said, “I enjoyed it, it’s very good.  Mom would be very proud of you.”
My friend Susan M. was surprised when she found out I was writing a book.  After she read a chapter her response was quite funny, “Did you write this?  You wrote this?  You didn’t write this page did you?  You did!  But who wrote this last page in the chapter, you didn’t write that part did you?”
I will take Susan’s comments as the best compliment of all, I loved her reaction.  Honestly, I am just as surprised as she was.  Words of support, or even a simple pin, give me the encouragement to continue writing . . . and I thank everyone.
 A Rose for Sergei is scheduled to be released as an e-book in August 2013 via Amazon.