Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Author Guest Post: Undercover by Maria Hammarblad

In the shadow of the cold war.

Thank you for inviting me to the blog today! From time to time, people ask why I wanted to write about a Russian spy. To those who are young today, the threat of Russia seems distant and unbelievable. It probably is, today. To people my age, who grew up in my part of the world, the shadow of Big Brother in the East will always linger.

I haven't been to Russia. I would like to go, but I'm a little afraid. When I grew up, the cold war raged - if a cold war can rage - and my home country Sweden rested in the shade of the Soviet Union, with Finland as a small buffer between us. News on TV showed women wrapped in layers of dark clothing to keep the chill at bay while they queued for hours for a loaf of bread. There were surely other sides of life in the Soviet Union as well, but these were the only images that reached me.

In 1981, we had a Soviet submarine allegedly making a navigation error. It was a navigation error alright; they went too close to the shore and were stuck with a large amount of submarine sticking out of the water. We were overwhelmed. The nation started at images of a gigantic foreign object - a nuclear sub - that spent time sneaking around the coast, spying on us.

I was nine and my imagination ran rampant. Who were the people on the sub? What did they look like? Did they like their lives? Were they happy?

A few years later, when I was 13, the innovation of cable TV reached my city. All of a sudden, our old TV set filled with images from other countries. There were music channels showing music videos around the clock, cartoons, and news. Fascinating! We also got one channel from the Soviet Union, in Russian. Everything on it seemed brown.

It wasn't black and white and it wasn't quite color. It was brown and white, like seeing through a sepia filter. I watched, without understanding even one word. There were a lot of people marching in long lines, and movies showing people frolicking in the grass, smiling just a bit too much. Most of the people in the movies looked like Swedish postcards from the 1930's.

I have no idea if this is what people in the Soviet Union watched, but it is what my pliable young mind took in.

As you can imagine, I grew up with a fascination bordering on fear. I wanted to write stories about Russia and Russian spies when I was a teenager, but mom said no. She claimed it was too dangerous. It probably wasn't, but her imagine was as wild as mine, and in her mind the threat was real.

By the time I finally got around to writing my story, the world had moved on. The Soviet Union is no more, and even if the country isn't exactly the west, it's nothing like in the 1970's. Stubborn as I am, I wrote about it anyway. =)

Maria Hammarblad

Book Description:

When Jenny Moore meets Alexei Roshenko, it's love at first sight. The tall, dark and handsome stranger appears to be the answer to every romantic fantasy any woman ever had. There is however more to him than meets the eye, and a dark and violent past is catching up with him. When Jenny decides to follow him back to Russia, she gets entangled in a web of deceit and secrets beyond her wildest imagination.

Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-61252-216-6

Word Count: 77000

Cover Artist: Gwen Phifer

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/YePFbRgPP9o


Author Bio:

Born in Sweden in the early 1970's, Maria showed a large interest for books at an early age. Even before she was able to read or write, she made her mom staple papers together into booklets she filled with drawings of suns and planets. She proudly declared them, "The Sun Book." They were all about the sun. She also claimed, to her mother's horror, that her being on Earth was a big mistake and that her alien family would come and bring her home at any moment. This never happened, but both the interest in space and the passion for bookmaking stayed with her.

As an adult Maria's creativity got an outlet through playing bass in a number of rock bands, and through writing technical manuals and making web pages for various companies and organizations. She did write drafts for a few novels, but the storytelling muse was mostly satisfied through role playing online on Myspace. It was here, while writing stories together with people from around the globe, she stumbled onto Mike. They started talking out of character, and she moved over to Florida to him late 2008. Today the two are married and live in the Tampa Bay area with three rescue dogs.

Besides writing and playing bass, Maria enjoys driving off-road, archery, and Tameshigiri.

Upcoming releases

Flashback, to be released by Desert Breeze Publishing June 2013
Operation Earth, to be released by Desert Breeze Publishing August 2013
Borealis XII, to be released by Desert Breeze Publishing November 2013

Fun Facts

Favorite color: Blue
Favorite food: Chicken with cashew nuts
Doesn't eat: Mammals
Favorite TV Show: Star Trek TNG and Leverage
Favorite animal: Border Collie
Quotes: "Full Speed Ahead" and "Caffeine is good for you"

Find Maria on the web
Website: http://www.hammarblad.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mariahammarblad
Blog: http://www.scifiromance.info
Twitter: @mariahammarblad
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4114780.Maria_Hammarblad
Publisher's website: http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me. I appreciate it! =D

  2. OMG I actually REMEMBER that! I think one of my friends did that story for "current events". Am I THAT old?


    1. It doesn't FEEL all that long ago, but I guess it is. Sheesh, LOL!
      Thank you for coming over! =D


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