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Thursday, 12 August 2010

Interview with Writer Sasha Petrova.

In her book A Leaf on the Wind , Sasha Petrova takes us through her traumatic childhood memories of living with an abusive father. Her experiences almost destroy her life and the lives of her family members. Finally, she perseveres and overcomes her past to become a successful author and artist.

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Sasha Petrova moved with her mother to Mazatlan, Mexico. In addition to being a published author, she is also a talented artist and attends the Angela Peralta School of Fine Art near her home. Many of her paintings hang on walls in homes in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and of course, Mexico. She is working on two books, a mystery and a series of humorous short stories on her fascinating new life in Mazatlan.

SA:     Tell us about A Leaf on the Wind in a few sentences.
SP:  A Leaf on the Wind is the first book I wrote and the first to be published.  It is autobiographical.  It won the Seal of Approval on in 2009 and also  made me the number two writer in 2009.
SA:     What qualities do you need to be a successful writer?
SP: Obviously you need inspiration but most of all dogged determination.  First and foremost, I write for myself and then keep my fingers crossed that the reader agrees with me.
SA:     What is your working method?
SP:  Write, rewrite, and write again.  I always do my first draft on pad and paper, outside and away from all distractions.
SA:    What is the single biggest mistake made by beginners to writing?
SP:   Not realizing being a good writer is not enough to get you published.  If you expect to be the next New York Times best seller, you are in for a big let down.  Be realistic, but also be determined and don't give up.
SA:     How did you come to write this particular book?
SP:    My mother wanted me to write it.  I laughed and told her that was absurd since one, I couldn't write a book that told the world she was a terrible mother, and two, I didn't know the ending yet.  I finally relented when she became ill.  I promised her I would write the book after she was gone.  She died a few days later at the age of 84.
SA:     If you have a favorite character in your novel, why that particular one?
SP:    Sorry, I have to say myself, since it is an autobiography and, of course, my mother who was my inspiration.
SA:     How can people buy your book(s)?
SP:   My book can be purchased at or on in paperback and E book/Kindle.
SA:   To what extent are grammar and spelling important to a writer?
SP:      Sadly, very important.  A publisher will seldom look at a book with misspelled words and poor grammar.  This is why I joined  It is a website where I was able to get valuable input about editing for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. 
SA:   How much revision of your MS do you do before you send it off?
SP:   Since this was a labor of love, I actually did very few revisions other than punctuation and grammar.  However, I did have it edited several times professionally and to be honest, even they missed a lot of what we call spags (spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors).  After the third editing by my current publisher, I figured it was as good as it was going to get.
SA:  Where and when is your book set and why did you make these specific choices?
SP:   My book is set in Seattle, Washington starting in the late 1940's.   Because it is a biography, I wanted to present it from the point of view of myself as a child, not as an adult looking back over her life.  I, the main character, grow as the book progresses.
SA:  To what extent do you think genre is useful in the publishing world?
SP:  Genre is very useful, actually quite important.  Writers usually aim their work toward a specific genre/group.  Readers know what they want and, like flies, follow what they enjoy best.
SA:  What are your writing habits?
SP:  I write every day.  I live in Mazatlan, Mexico and am surrounded by tranquility, a must for a writer.  I go to my favorite cafe and sit for hours, never knowing until I actually start, what I am going to write about.  I write both fiction and non-fiction.  Despite the often dark nature of my nonfiction, I enjoy writing humorous stories that have been well received by the public.
SA:  How do you know where to begin any given story?
SP:   Gut instinct combined with inspiration.
SA:  What sort of displacement activities keep you from actually writing?
SP: The only thing I enjoy as much as writing is painting.  There is little else that gets in the way of my writing.
SA:  Do you have support, either from family and friends or a writing group?
SP:  I have many friends that are excellent writers. Some are published and others are trying to get published.  I also post on to keep myself in the public eye.
SA:  Is presentation of the MS as important as most agents and publishers suggest?
SP:  Yes and no.  Yes, because if your MS does not capture them the first few sentences, they will toss your MS into the bin.  No, because so often it is just a case of luck; being in the right place at the right time.  There are a lot a excellent writers that get rejected all the time.  That is why I say determination is so important.  You just cannot give up.
SA:  How long does it normally take you to write a book?
SP:   I have written three books.  The first took me 18 months.  The second took me 6 months, and the last is still a work in progress.
SA:  What are your inspirations?
SP:   Stories about real life, real events, things I can personally relate to.  Strong people who overcome difficult situations inspire me.   I am also inspired by humor.  Life is so serious, you need to be able to laugh as well as cry.
SA:  If there’s a single aspect to writing that really frustrates you, what is it?
SP:  Getting published.
SA:  Do you think writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?
SP:  I think it is a gift.  Anyone can put words together and make a readable sentence but to capture the interest of the reader takes talent.  Not everyone is blessed with the talent to write well.
SA: What are you writing now?
SP:    I am doing a rewrite of my novel A Crack in the Mirror, a story about a family dealing with the horrific news that their father is a confessed serial killer.  I am also putting together a collection of humorous short stories about the joy of living in a foreign country.
SA:  Is there any aspect of writing that you really enjoy?
SP: When I write I become emotionally involved in the story.  If I don't cry, I don't feel the reader will cry and if I don't laugh, I know they won't laugh either. Therefore, I guess I'd have to say I enjoy entertaining myself most.
SA:  Do you have a website or a blog that readers can visit?
SP:  Omega Publishing is in the process of putting one together for me.  In the meantime they can go to
SA: Given unlimited resources, what would be your ideal writing environment?
SP: I am one of the lucky ones.  I already have the ideal writing environment…I live in Mazatlan, Mexico.  What more could I ask for?
SA:  Where do you actually write?
SP:  After sitting outside in my favorite cafĂ© writing a new chapter or story, I go home enter it into the computer, print it out, go back to the cafe, make corrections and/or additions.  The process continues until I am happy with what I have written.

Sasha Petrova
Mazatlan, Sinaloa
Mexico A Leaf on the Wind by Sasha Petrova

Word of the Day is divorced from the post that precedes it and produced in response to a request from a follower to provide just such a service.
Word of the Day; fiction – feigned, invented, not fact; but, as we all know, for us it is an imagined narrative, populated by imagined characters. ‘Fiction was Roger’s downfall; the fiction that he was writing fiction in his study, was exposed to Sarah when she walked in to find him in anything but a fictional embrace with a female lead who was decidedly factual.’ 

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