October 1, 2012

MUSA BLOG HOP: Oct. 1--SURVIVING A COUNTRY'S COLLAPSE by Liese Sherwood-Fabre


When I was working in Russia, one of my colleagues shared a revelation she had during a workshop for women on employment opportunities. At one point, she told them, “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist—" and stopped herself. Her participants actually were rocket scientists.
Such cases were very common throughout the former Soviet Union in the mid-1990s when I was there. With the Union’s fall, the Russian government wasn’t able to maintain all the military, civilian, and university research facilities, and many top-notch scientists found themselves unemployed. Even those who retained their positions might go for months without a salary check. I read of one major regional hospital that tried to pay their medical staff in manure. Through an elaborate bartering process common between companies back then, the regional government had received the manure as a tax payment and offered it instead of actual cash to the hospital staff. The doctors refused and got nothing.
            In that kind of economic environment, what’s a highly-skilled research scientist to do? For some, the answer was to sell themselves or their wares to the highest bidder.
            In his book Biohazard, Dr. Ken Alibek describes a number of countries who recruited former Soviet Union scientists to conduct biological and nuclear research and development abroad, including in North Korea, Iran, China, and Cuba. Western countries were aware of these employment efforts and initiated programs to help the scientists and facilities to retool and reinvent themselves—everything from bio-engineering better potatoes for French fries to using lasers to create designs inside acrylic paperweights.
            Selling trinkets at a market, however, does not provide the same income as a single vial of a freeze-dried virus. Dr. Alibek also discusses the proliferation of private pharmaceutical companies in Russia and the other former Soviet republics offering previously well-guarded agents for sale. Many of these materials, or the information to produce and store them, could be easily carried out of the country.
            I first learned of the enticements being offered to those with such skills through a 1998 New Yorker magazine article and knew I had the basis for a thriller. All the pieces were there—weapons of mass destruction, conflicting governments, and those in the middle simply struggling to survive. I took as my main character an unemployed microbiologist who was also a mother. Her daughter Nadezhda (or Hope) has a heart condition not treatable in Russia, and she becomes willing to do anything to save her daughter’s life--even working in Iran.
            Weaving together actual facts from Dr. Alibek’s insights into the history and state of the Soviet Union’s bioweapons program as well as my own observations of Russian culture and life created Saving Hope, my debut novel, and Alexandra Pavlova’s story—as you can tell from the blurb:
In one of Siberia's formerly closed cities, Alexandra Pavlova, an unemployed microbiologist, struggles to save her daughter’s life. When she turns to Vladimir, her oldest friend, for help, she's drawn into Russia’s underworld. His business dealings with the Iranians come to the attention of Sergei Borisov, an FSB (formerly the KGB) agent. Alexandra finds herself joining forces with Sergei to stop the export of a deadly virus in a race to save both her daughter and the world.

JUST HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO SAVE YOUR CHILD?

TO WIN A COPY OF SAVING HOPE (WILL NEED TO TELL ME THE FORMAT—KINDLE, NOOK, ETC.) LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW. THEN READ THE RULES FOR THE REST OF THE HOP FOR EVEN MORE CHANCES TO WIN!



RULES FOR THE MUSA BLOG HOP:
1) HAVE FUN!!!
2) INVITE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS!!! SPREAD THE WORD!!!
3) THIS TOUR STARTS: October 1, at Midnight (pst)
    THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, October 7, at Midnight (pst)
    Winners will be drawn and posted October 9th! ***
 Come Join the Party on October 7th at The Romance Review Forum to enter to win more prizes. http://www.theromancereviews.com/forum/
4) PARTICIPATION AT ALL BLOGS IS RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED. REMEMBER, THE MORE BLOGS YOU HOP and COMMENT ON, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING PRIZES. EVERY AUTHOR & BOOK PAGE IS WAITING TO MEET AND INTERACT WITH YOU, SO PLEASE BE SURE TO SHOW THEM SOME LOVE!
5) GRAND PRIZE OF A KINDLE FIRE IS FOR US AND CANADA MAILING ADDRESSES ONLY. INTERNATIONAL WINNERS WILL RECEIVE A $50.00 MUSA GIFT CARD.
6) DID I MENTION TO HAVE FUN?

***Authors & Book Pages have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules***

To return to the Musa Anniversary Blog Hop, click here.

19 comments:

laurie said...

great blog...i enjoyed your take on the collapse of the soviet union

and i'd prefer the ebook to be in kindle format

parisfan_ca@yahoo.com

Kathy Ivan said...

Congratulations on MUSA publishing and Liese. Here's to many more years of publishing terrific stories.

Mary Jo Burke said...

Your book sounds great.

Patricia said...

I've been following the Plotting Princesses for months now and always love reading the posts. Good luck to you in your writing.
Patricia Yager Delagrange, a fellow Musaling

yagerdelagrange@gmail.com

sepiastories said...

I love hearing where everyone's ideas come from, because they're always such interesting stories. I'd enjoy hearing more Russian stories. I tried taking a Russian history class years ago, and had to drop it. Too many Marias and Olgas and Ivans to remember all of them! :/

Jean MP said...

Enjoyed reading your post, very interesting.
skpetal at hotmail dot com

JanSU said...

Wishing you continued success with your writing and thank you for the opportunity to gain another entry in the contest! My email is randjurban@gulftel.com

Liese said...

Thanks for all who are stopping by! I'm following the hop from afar. I'm in Scotland this week on vacation. I've been uploading pictures of my daily events on facebook and tweeting them as well. You can check them out by going to my Website and following or friending me.

Liese

JanSU said...
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BLHmistress said...

Thanks for the opportunity!

vampiremistress2010(at)gmail(dot)com

Cassandra said...

Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
cassandrahicks1989@yahoo.com

Julianne Keller said...

Congrats to Musa on their anniversary!! May they have many, many more. Is the only format for kindle or nook? Pdf isn't available?
Thanks for a chance to win and I wish a lot of success to you in your writing career.
luvfuzzzeeefaces at yahoo dot com

Donna Smith said...

Having such an understanding of that time period in the Soviet Union probably gives a lot of authenticity to the story. Thanks for participating in this awesome hop!

Donna @ The Happy Booker
ahappybooker at gmail dot com

Cia said...

I'd go pretty darn far to save one of my kids! And take down some pretty big guys. Anyway, I'd love a chance to win a copy of your ebook. I'd be good with epub format. Thanks!

Cia Nordwell
anordwell@live.com

latishajean said...

Thank you for the great giveaway I love this blog hop always find new authors ans books to read!
Latisha D
tishajean@ charter.net

Shadow said...

Hi!! Happy Anniversary! Very awesome! Thanks for letting us celebrate with you! And thank you for the fun hop and giveaway!! Many blessings to you!
shadowluvs2read(at)gmail(dot)com

Liese said...

Congratulations to Donna Smith--a happy booker! She will receive the FREE copy of my thriller "Saving Hope."