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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

An Echo Through the Snow - Andrea Thalasinos



Here's a book you shouldn't overlook! An Echo Through the Snow features a neglected Siberian Husky and a woman determined to save the dog and in turn ends up saving herself.

Don't miss your chance to learn more about the author either. Here's a brief Q&A with her:
 
Tell Roundtable Reviews' readers about your book.

It’s the story of how an act of kindness triggered a series of cascading events in many people’s lives.

Apparently the inspiration behind this novel all started with a Siberian Husky puppy. Tell us more about that.

The inspiration began with looking into the puppy’s background, the history of the breed. They’re different from other dogs and I was curious about them. But when I discovered the parallels between Native Americans and the treatment of many of the Peoples of the Russian Far East, I felt there was a story here that needed to be told. And particularly what happened to the Chukchi under Soviet collectivization and rule for generations until the collapse and transition into the Russian Federation. Also, I was curious as to what happened to the dogs that had been central to the lives of the Coastal Chukchi.

How much research and what kind did you put into An Echo Through the Snow?

I was ready to hop on a plane, but the realities of life wouldn’t let me. So I used the tremendous holdings of the University of Wisconsin Libraries and resources, as well as other articles and books I discovered through my travels. The most amazing cold weather photography collection, arcticphoto.com.uk gave me current photographic ethnographies of how the Chukchi and surrounding people still live.

How does your educational background lend itself to your creative work?

While I don’t have formal training, e.g. MFA or other professional writing credentials that many have these days, I’m more driven by story and the storm of a creative idea. Being a sociologist myself, it’s often the creative tug of a social dilemma that precedes everything.

Where did you get the idea to create and then intertwine the two narratives?

While standing under a hot shower one day I realized the lives of these people were inextricably linked. The task became to allow it to happen. People tried to talk me out of it, rejected it because of it, and I suppose it might have worked more smoothly without doing that, or by focusing on one narrative or the other, but I couldn’t. That was how the story was conceived, that was how it had to be told otherwise I wouldn’t write it. It wasn’t stubbornness; it was organic, if I may use that word.

How did your real life relationship or impression of animals—specifically dogs— evolve while writing this tale?

Funny thing. As I began assembling this story, I also began assembling my own sled dog team. I started with one husky and ended up with six. My kids and I ran them for eight years through the snowy hills of Wisconsin. We had a ball!! Some of the best and fondest memories. When you have that many dogs (and YES they DID all live in the house, on the couch, sleeping in beds with my kids) you see pack dynamics and interactions that others miss when they only have one or two dogs.

What similarities do you see between Jeaantaa and Rosalie?

Both are trapped in marriages, but more importantly the dogs become more important than their lives or safety. Neither thinks of their well-being before the dogs, especially Rosalie as she moves to save Smokey. 

Who, in your opinion, is your target audience?

People who love history, animals, are curious about dog sledding, and are interested in what someone from Library Journal called, and I’m paraphrasing“…history’s darker corners.”



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