Push Me Off The Cliff tells the emotional story of two individuals’ who desire to fight the Germans and defend their homelands during World War II. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
All my books are dedicated to ordinary Soviet people, their difficult life and everyday struggles. As always, the initial idea was to tell western readers something about my country and my people that would defy stereotypes and through telling my characters’ individual stories showing their best and worst sides.
Your characters often go on a deeply emotional and transformative journey in your novels. Is this intentional or incidental to the story you want to tell?
I don’t think a story that shows no deep emotions and transformative journey of its characters would touch readers. Incidentally or not, I felt their every emotion, every hurt and injustice, disappointment and excitement, thankfulness and compassion. As it was with all my other stories, I couldn’t sleep peacefully when they suffered (on the page) and I cried happy tears – for them and for my decision to grant them life and happiness – at the end of the story.
You grew up in a military family in East Germany. How has that affected your writing?
If one is born in a military family, there must be some influence. The atmosphere itself is different if your father dons his uniform every day and goes to a place you are not allowed to visit and is doing things he doesn’t talk about. It added mystery and many unanswered questions to my life. Yet there was always that feeling that my father did something important for the country, for our people, so we lived a peaceful life, although as far as I know, he didn’t participate in any military conflicts. When I started writing about WWII, my father became a person who I could ask “military” questions, including about his older brothers who took part (and one of them perished) in the war. His influence on me was and still is priceless.
What do you hope readers take away from your novel?
I hope readers of my novel will learn something new about the Soviet Union’s fight against fascism and our people who paid an unprecedented price for defeating Nazi Germany. I hope that the story of Maria and Armen, who were a part of that struggle, and who found how unmerciful life can be for ordinary people even after the war ended, will move my readers.
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Push Me Off The Cliff by Marina Osipova tells the story of two individuals’ who desire to fight the Germans and defend their homelands during World War II. We are introduced to Maria and Armen at different times and places in their lives, following them until they cross paths and their two stories become intertwined.
Straight away we start with the use of a reflection to convey Maria’s appearance to the reader, providing very descriptive attributions in dialogue. The writing is unusual, requiring some adjustment before I was fully immersed into the story.
The story itself is very enjoyable. Osipova employs vivid imagery throughout the story, and in some cases uses this to illustrate the horrors of war in great detail. Author Marina Osipova is a great storyteller and I remained captivated throughout this riveting historical fiction novel.
We switch back and forth between Maria and Armen’s perspectives, though Armen’s seems more dominant and more developed. Osipova worked to give the reader a great deal of pity and sympathy for Armen, creating a deeper reader bond with his character. Both characters boast a rich backstory that adds to the depth of their characters and helps the reader more easily relate to them and their struggles. Most endearing is the gradual build up to the understanding they come to share between one another; it isn’t instant or easy for them and it makes their eventual bond that much stronger seeing the journeys they have both taken from the beginning of the book until the end.
I enjoyed the foreign perspective to the war and getting a glimpse of what life in Russia and the surrounding areas were like. As an American, this is perhaps a less often explored side of World War history and presenting it in fictional form makes the subject matter entertaining, exotic, and slightly less weighty than it was in reality.
Push Me Off The Cliff conveys an engaging and emotional story, particularly in the second half of the book, that kept me hooked and invested in the lives of enchanting characters that are colored by the horrors of war. Their impassioned journey and personal evolution is well worth the read.
Pages: 284 | ASIN: B08ZLXLJXJ
Too Many Wolves in the Local Woods follows the journey of two women during WWII and how their lives affect their descendants. What were some important themes you wanted to explore in this book?
This book, though it reads as a standalone, is book 2 in my Love and Fate series. Those who read How Dare the Birds Sing must remember Lyuba, Natasha and Natashen’ka, and also Ulya-Ursula who appeared in just one episode then became a main character in Too Many Wolves in the Local Woods. In this book, I wanted to explore the complexity of lives and how war can intertwine them unexpectantly and how irrevocably the actions of the characters can influence the fates of their descendants. Two other themes were important for me to investigate: how thin the line is between hero and killer under war circumstances and the meaning of patriotism, justice, and morality during difficult times such as my main heroine and many real-life people faced during the Nazi occupation.
Did you put anything from your own life into this book?
My life is irrevocably connected with all I write about WWII, the Great Patriotic War as it is called in Russia and the former Soviet republics. I was raised on stories about this horrific war in which the Soviet Union alone lost about 27 million human lives. I remember, as children, we visited the frontline heroes or their family members, listening to the tales about their fight for the Motherland. My own experience of it is reflected in the epilogue when Natashen’ka visits an old partisan who fought together with her mother against the occupants.
This novel is exceptionally well written. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer with this book?
With this book, I delved into the topic of an intelligence officer working behind enemy lines that was, if not quite new—after all, I read books and saw films related to the subject—was uncharted territory for me as a writer. Only my future readers can say if I met the challenge of the task.
When will this novel be available?
Too Many Wolves in the Local Woods will be available as part of the collection of WWII novels, The Road to Liberation, on May 5, 2020.
Too Many Wolves in The Local Woods, written by Marina Osipova, is a stunning tale about two captivating women living in the distressed Soviet Union and fighting for a cause they both hold dear. The German Army occupies Byelorussia, crossing the paths of our two leading women. Tragedy strikes setting off a series of dramatic events that propel the story and our character forward on a perilous journey. We fast forward to years later and the story focuses on the daughter of one of the daring women that fought bravely in WWII. I really enjoyed how the story unfolds at this point because we get to see the stunning realization that arises in a child who has learned something amazing about their parent.
Marina Osipova beautifully outlines the concept of a child not fully knowing their parent and an awareness of the life they may have lived. Parents sometimes fail to tell us the extent of their life stories, only telling us the image they want us to have of them. When we unravel their true identities it can be eye opening, effecting some reflections and self realizations, and correlations as to why you may have specific thought processes in place. During major life events in the world, we always wonder what role our parents played. Marina Osipova did a fantastic job of capturing this feeling. The author deftly describes that relationship and playing on the two characters and the differences. Though the story felt somewhat long, the extensive descriptions allow the reader to feel like they are embedded in the life of our characters and vividly portrays a Soviet Union that is under stress due to the war. Feeling the restrictions and the coldness made it feel realistic, but some of the dialogue felt anemic in comparison. There were some areas that focused on descriptions, which painted a wonderful world, but felt somewhat lengthy.
Marina Osipova felt dedicated to this piece, exhibiting passion and knowledge for the area and time frame. Too Many Wolves in The Local Woods is an insightful story that truly feels connected to the past. This book is an interesting take on a woman’s role during WWII and what beliefs were relevant for that time. This is a strong tale about women and I highly recommend it.
How Dare The Birds Sing is a dramatic love story set in WWII that tests the limits of the heart. What served as your inspiration while writing this story?
My belief is—and there are thousands of examples depicted in history—no unbearable life circumstances can prevent human hearts from loving another human being. Just to add one more tale about it served as inspiration to write Lyuba’s story.
Lyuba is an intriguing character that goes through a dramatic change. What were some driving ideals behind her character arc?
There were millions of Soviet girls and women who lived in the same circumstances as my main heroine, Lyuba Zalesskaya. Despite the life of constant fear under Stalin’s oppressive regime once Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, the majority of the population stood up to defend their motherland against the aggressor. So did Lyuba. With her as the example, I wanted to show a few slices of that struggle, especially for readers not closely acquainted with Russian history.
This is a fantastic historical romance novel. What draws you to this genre?
The motivation comes from the realization that although there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of novels devoted to WWII, there are really not too many books that discuss the aspects of war on the Eastern Front and especially the ordeal of the Soviet people in the Wehrmacht occupied territories (at some periods about 70 million people). As with all my books, this one is my way of adding rarely covered details that illuminate an intimate part of the Russian war seldom seen in fiction available to Western readers.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
I just started working on another book in which the events evolve against the backdrop of WWII, but since it’s in the phase of research and has even no working title yet, I think it would be premature to talk about it. However, I just recently finished Too Many Wolves in the Local Woods, which goes into publication on May 5, 2020 as a part of a 10-book collection The Road to Liberation dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII.
Are Lyuba and Günter star-crossed lovers? When they first meet in 1933 Soviet Russia, their young love is filled with hope and naiveté until Günter disappears. Her fleeting relationship with him has devastating consequences, forcing her to take a humiliating way out to save herself and her family. This choice unleashes a sequence of fatal events that shatter her life, affecting everyone involved.
In June 1941, World War II comes to Russian soil, hurling Lyuba, along with millions of others, into the inhuman grinder, testing the limits of her strength and resilience of her heart. Will it be strong enough years later to allow her to reveal the ugly secret she has buried from the only person the war has left for her to love?
How Dare the Birds Sing by Marina Osipova is a story about Lyuba, a young Russian woman believing she is better off without love until she meets Gunter, a German pilot. Are they meant to be together? The Soviet Union is not an easy place to live in 1933. When Gunter disappears, Lyuba decides to take a huge risk for herself and her family. The events that transpire force the family’s lives to be thrown into the hands of the Nazis. How will Lyuba’s life change in this new world?
How Dare the Birds Sing is a well-written story starting off as two girls talking about love until it transforms into a compelling page-turner about making the right decisions. You never know what is going to happen or what will become of the characters asking yourself question after question. I was blown away by Marina Osipova’s accurate depiction of how Hitler’s rule affected people.
Lyuba goes through a transformational arc, starting off the story as a care-free young woman wanting to make her life into what she wants. She is a complex character and yet you can’t help but feel sorry for her. She just wants what every young woman wants. To grow up and live her dream. This was another story where I was telling the character what to do when she goes ahead and does the unthinkable.
Osipova’s story made me think. It makes me feel lucky that I was not living at this time, having to live under many laws. This story is all about making tough decisions. Were the decisions that Lyuba made the right decisions or were they selfish to those who didn’t have a say in the decision-making process.
I like the title of this story. In contrast to Maya Angelou’s poem titled Why Does the Caged Bird Sing? it’s sad because Lyuba no longer has her freedom as she watches the birds fly free. This story explores how cruel the world can be and how it affects your own perspective when looking at the world.
How Dare the Birds Sing is an emotional piece of historical fiction and I would recommend it. History is important and cannot be erased. It is important to learn how people’s lives were affected during WW2.
Pages: 317 | ASIN: B07N2BDF91
The Cruel Romance is a historical romance novel following the lives of Serafima and Vitya during WWII. What prompted you to write this emotional novel?
There are many books written about great battles and great generals. Much less about the dreadful effects of war and occupation on the lives of civilians. The stories of European women in their fight against the German invaders have become broadly familiar. The idea that ordinary Russian women who had to endure four years of Nazi invasion deserve the same prompted me to write The Cruel Romance.
Telling stories of unsung heroines is my humble tribute to the women who worked on the home front producing armaments, like Serafima from The Cruel Romance, or who were fighters on the front or partisans, like my heroine Lyuba from How Dare the Birds Sing, another book of mine.
Serafima and Vitya are intriguing and well-developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?
It was important for me to show not only good personality traits but also evil ones in my characters. So, Serafima, despite the horrible circumstances, developed into a kind and passionate person becoming stronger with every unfortunate turn in her life. But not like Victor, who developed—or maybe the dark parts of his character were hidden only to be revealed in critical situations—into a cruel person consumed with hate, ruining the lives of the innocent people because of some deeply personal feelings and, besides, using his position in the society to get a desired post.
I felt that the history and Russian culture and backdrop were well utilized. What kind of research did you undertake for this book?
Aside the fact that I’m Russian and the setting within which my characters acted is natural to me, every new work requires extensive research. The authenticity comes from many details. In my case, it came not only from books. I am greatly indebted to my parents who as children endured the German bombing, the hunger and fear and who shared their experience with me.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next book, the second one in the Love and Fate series titled Too Many Wolves In The Local Woods goes live on May 5, 2020 as a part of the Road to Liberation boxset comprising ten books from USA Today, international bestselling and award-winning authors dedicated to celebrating the end of WWII.
On October 1941, in a small village outside Moscow, Serafima bids farewell to Vitya, a Soviet officer going to the front. With only moments left together, she places a cross around her beloveds neck and reluctantly releases him into a cruel world where nothing is certain, especially whether she will ever see him again.
Days later, Germans invade her village and take over her tiny house. Serafima and her mother must comply with orders, endure abuse, and stay put, or their village will be annihilated.
As World War II intertwines Serafimas and Vityas life with that of a young German violinist and a Russian intellectual, their destinies are irrevocably altered. Can they rise to the challenge of agonizing moral choices and learn to forgive and love again?
During World War II a young Serafima Krivenkova’s life changes forever after her lover, Vitya leaves the village to go to the front. Soon after Vitya leaves, Serafima’s home is taken over by Germans, and she and her mother are forced to follow the orders of the German officers who live there. Despite the hardships, Serafima tries to stay positive and often thinks about her future life together with Vitya after his return from the war. But something terrible happens that will make Serafima the target of hurtful gossips in the village and destroys her dreams.
The Cruel Romance by Marina Osipova is a sensational historical fiction novel about war, love, distress, cruelty, faith, and tragedy. The story takes place mostly in Russia, 80 miles from Moscow in the 1940’s and 1950’s and describes the life of Serafima, who continuously has to adapt to the difficulties and cruel circumstances caused by the war. Although the story is fictional, I got a deep insight into the cruelty of World War II and how it affected the lives of Russian citizens. Osipova has in depth knowledge of the topic and the Russian-German conflict during that time in history. The author uses different narratives to show the events, which helps to reveal new information about what has happened.
The story was consistently interesting but also depressing at the same time. At first, I thought that this would be a typical love story that, despite the difficulties, finishes with a happy ending. But it’s an unconventional story with many unexpected turns. In the beginning, the story builds slowly, but later events come fast and the years go by quickly. I would have preferred the time jumps not to have been so large, but this is mostly due to the fact that I wanted to stay with the interesting characters longer.
The characters are well-chosen and I liked that they have unique personalities. Osipova focuses on the description of what happened with the characters and what feelings they have rather than giving a detailed portrayal of them.
Overall, the novel is a great read. I would suggest this book to everyone who likes historical love stories.
Pages: 342 | ASIN: B0794VPFRW