Book: A Rose for Sergei (Nonfiction / Memoir)
Please welcome Kolleen Kidd to my blog. Shall we grab a cup of coffee and chat?
1. Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.
Thank you, Mary, for inviting me to talk about my book. Hello everyone, I’m Kolleen Kidd, author of the true story A Rose for Sergei. I am the daughter of a U.S. Air Force pilot and stay-at-home mother. One of six children, I grew up living in Okinawa and across the United States. I was seventeen when I started working for the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, DC. After leaving Government service, I worked as an administrative assistant for Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. Happily retired, I reside in Northern Virginia with my husband and family.
2. Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?
That’s a good question. I have a feeling my answer is different from other authors you’ve interviewed. Writing in general, or writing a book, was never on my agenda. Shortly after retiring though, something happened to change my mind. I came across a documentary film about Sergei Kourdakov, a name very familiar to me. Sergei was a Soviet KGB defector I encountered in 1972 while working for the Federal Government. In this case, “encountered” also includes “dated.” After discovering that the movie discredited Sergei’s autobiography, The Persecutor, and tarnished his reputation, I knew it was time to write the story I had kept secret for forty years. Controversy is a powerful motivator. My memoir, A Rose for Sergei, was published in 2014.
3. How difficult was it writing your first book?
With memoir writing the author already knows the story line, so in some ways that seems easy. However, I was not prepared for the difficult side…that I would be reliving parts of my life, the happy and the not so happy, in real time as my fingers tapped on the keyboard. The words flowed once I began to write about a part of my life, I had kept secret from everyone.
4. Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?
I never wanted to give up writing this story, it was quite the opposite. I felt compelled to write about Sergei Kourdakov. I knew him personally; I saw a different side of Sergei that nobody else did. I did have one extra step in the writing process though. Because of where I worked, I was required to have my manuscript approved for open publication by the Department of Defense’s Office of Prepublication and Security Review.
5. Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
Writing was never on my radar. Therefore, I kept my book writing a secret because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. My family and friends were quite surprised when I told them about Sergei and my book. Hands down, family members are my biggest supporters. My two sisters win the prize though, they tell everyone, strangers included, about my book!
6. Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I would like readers to know: “You are much stronger than you think.”
7. What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?
I think I’m not alone when I talk about rewriting sentences over and over to make them “perfect.” When that happened while writing my book, I found myself remembering advice from a former co-worker. Her viewpoint on projects: “It’s important to know when you need to be only 99% or even 98% perfect. Save 100% perfect for when it is necessary. Otherwise, trying to be perfect all the time can hold you back from moving on to projects you want to do. Or more simply, trying to be perfect can just hold you back!”
8. What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
I think true stories appeal on a personal level to readers of all ages. My audience is young adults to over ninety. I was flattered when one reader mentioned that my writing style was conversational, that he felt he was in the same room talking with me.
9. Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?
I knew I wanted the simplicity of a single rose on the cover. One of my hobbies is playing around with graphic designs and layout. Thus, I was able to create the cover I wanted myself. When I updated my cover a few years ago I decided to add a small black and white picture of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.
10. What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?
I have a short fiction story in the works, but nothing I can share now. I’m always marketing and looking for ways to share my story. I like working with local writing groups and assisting friends with graphic designs and editing. An unexpected result from writing my book is receiving emails from people all over the world. I truly enjoy responding to their inquiries.
11. Any last words before we wrap things up?
Mary, it has been my absolute pleasure to get to know you. Thanks again for having me as a guest on your blog. I look forward to reading your memoir, When Angels Fly.
Contact and Links:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/K.Kidd.Author/posts/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Rose-Sergei-K-Kidd-ebook/dp/B00LRZCWCG/ref=sr_1_1?crid=HFF0BIENJ5R2&keywords=a+rose+for+sergei&qid=1678753844&sprefix=a+rose+for+ser%2Caps%2C511&sr=8-1
Barnes & Noble (Ships Books Internationally): https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-rose-for-sergei-k-a-kidd/1120844824?ean=9781502524911