MORE to BROWSE - Pages that might be of Interest

Wednesday 27 April 2016

W is for... When Sorrows Come

Click Here for a list of other A-Zers

When Sorrows Come

Throughout April I have invited 26 authors who had been selected as Editor's Choice  
by the Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews
 to help me out with the 2016 A-Z Blog Challenge...

Except to be a little different I interviewed 
their leading Character/s...
Today's Character is from :

HH: Hello! I believe you exist in Maria Dziedzan’s novel – what is the title of the book, and would you like to introduce yourself – who you are, what you do, etc?
Anna: Dobriy den! I am the sixteen year old heroine of “When Sorrows Come”, or at least, that’s how old I am at the beginning of the story. I am also simply a housemaid to a Polish squire in the first chapter of the story. But the Russians soon put paid to that job when they barge into our village and I find myself working on the kolhoz with the other villagers.

HH: When and where are you? Are you a real historical person or did your author create you?
Anna: I live in Halychyna, a beautiful region of Western Ukraine and it is beautiful even when the Russians come in 1939 and when they are driven out by the Nazis in 1941. They have a terrible battle for our village in 1943 and between them manage to destroy many of our homes. But we survive! Even when the NKVD come back to terrorise us.
Did Maria create me? Yes and no…

The Village
HH: How did your author meet up with you?
Anna: We met in the summer of 2006 when Maria came to my village for the first time with her father. He was a very old friend of mine. And by then, I was a very old lady. A bit unsteady on my feet, if you know what I mean. We were introduced outside my tiny cottage and I suspect her father told her a bit about my wartime activities with the partisans. But she also gave me a family, friends, and best of all, my lover, Petro. And she made him so handsome!

HH: What is the novel you feature in about?
Anna: Well, as I’ve said, our village was overrun by one group of bullies after another. The Bolsheviks and the Nazis. We had to outwit them to survive…and when we couldn’t do that, we had to endure. So it is a terrifying war story, but there is a love story too. I can’t tell you more – it would spoil the surprises!

HH: Tell me about one or two of the other characters who feature with you.
Anna: I’ve mentioned my beloved Petro… But there are the girls. The breathtakingly selfish Sofia and my best friend, Vera, who also has her heart broken.The selfless Marusia who hides her Jewish friend, Rachel.
It is difficult to say who is the nastiest man – there are several - but Zadyrak, a Communist bully of the first order, takes some beating.

Beside the Dniester
HH: What is your favourite scene in the book?
Anna: That is a really difficult question. There are some harrowing moments – you might guess that from the title – but there are tender moments, too. I think Maria’s favourite might be when Marusia and Rachel were trying to escape from the Germans at night and they were rescued by a completely unexpected character…but you’ll have to read the story to find out who it was!

HH: What is your least favourite?
Anna: After I am captured, Maria put me through some terrible ordeals. I know because I made her cry…

HH: What are you most proud of about your author?
Anna: That she always wanted to be a writer and she became one in her 60’s. Never give up the dream!

HH: Has your author written other books about you? If not, about other characters? How do you feel about your author going off with someone else?
Anna: No, she hasn’t written about me but she has written about some of the people I know. She takes them off on other adventures – perhaps the word “adventures” is wrong though as it’s still wartime. She has a new heroine but I don’t mind. It’s another part of our history which is little known in the West.

The river valley
HH: As a character, if you could travel to a time and place different to your own fictional setting, where and when would you go?
Anna: That’s another difficult question, Helen! But perhaps, I would like to ride across the plains with the Cossacks. I’d have to pretend not to be a girl, though. They left the women at home when they went on the rampage! 

Thank you Anna - and Maria

For readers, you can buy the book here:
or find out more here :
facebook page entitled When Sorrows Come. and
Here is the company we will be keeping on this 
A-Z Blog Challenge!
A 1st  Friday - Aurelia  - Alison Morton
B 2nd Saturday  - Bloodie Bones - Lucienne Boyce
C 4th Monday - Man in the Canary Waistcoat Susan Grossey
D 5th Tuesday - Dubh-Linn  - James Nelson
F 7th Thursday - Fortune’sFool- David Blixt
H 9th Saturday - The Love Letter of John Henry Holliday) - Mary Fancher
K 13th Wednesday - Khamsin- Inge Borg
L 14th Thursday - Luck Bringer   - Nick Brown
N 16th Saturday - A Newfound Land  - Anna Belfrage
O 18th Monday - Out Of Time  - Loretta Livingstone
P 19th Tuesday  - Pirate Code  - Helen Hollick
Q 20th Wednesday - To Be A Queen – Annie Whitehead
R 21st Thursday  - The Spirit Room - Marschel Paul
U 25th Monday  - A Just And Upright Man - John Lynch
W 27th Wednesday  - WhenSorrows Come  - Maria Dziedzan
X 28th Thursday – The FlaX flower – AmandaMaclean

So call back tomorrow 
To meet the next exciting Character! 
(unless it is Sunday - in which case, I'll have something different 
but just as interesting !)


  1. I love the idea of riding across the plains with the Cossacks! You wouldn't want to be left at home when that was going on. Was that village also where your father was born? Or did he come from another part of Ukraine or Poland?

    1. And riding on sturdy ponies :-) - sounds fun, but probably wasn't!LOL

  2. I always think I've not got much time for reading these days - and then up pops the second one that I've read in two days. Victoria's yesterday, and now this. In fact, we met, briefly, last year, Maria. At the Gedling Book Festival, I think. Bought the book there, if I remember correctly. And loved it too! There were some very clever scenes involving the NKVD and I wondered, at the time, where you did your research for those? Despite the number of books and movies in which the NKVD are bandied about, it's still quite difficult, isn't it, to get detailed information?

  3. Anna, your Ukrainian village must have been so beautiful and peaceful lying there on the Dniester.
    I was lucky enough to stay in Kiev for a few days in 1963 (yes, my embassy and the Russians allowed me to fly but not to take the train). I even swam in the large Dnjepr before flying on to Sochi.
    "When Sorrow Comes" is surely a heart-wrenching story as the destruction of one of the most fertile lands continues.

    1. Inge, the village is quite peaceful today, but the battle scene which took place between the Red Army and the Nazis really happened below my father's village. You can still see the tank track today which the Germans created especially so that they could attack the Russian flanks.

  4. Thank you, David, both for reading the book and for your comments. If you go to my website you'll be able to see a full bibliography. I did read a lot when writing When Sorrows Come, and then too I had access to oral histories. The one thing you can rely on though is that the NKVD were truly as wicked as painted!

  5. Victoria, my father was born in Halychyna which is closer to the Carpathians Mountains. I'm drawn to the romance of the Cossacks though and riding across the steppes must be amazing!

  6. A heartbreaking book, Maria. I read it when it was shortlisted and guessed it would make it through to the final, so, many congratulations for that, and good luck.

  7. Hi Maria, they always advise you to write the novel that only you can write: you've certainly done that, and I like the suitably long bibliography, and the fact you've had access to oral history. Respect. I am intrigued and will check this one out. Good luck with it.

  8. Thank you, Steven. When Sorrows Come does cover some of the untold stories from Eastern Europe. Sadly, there is a universality about the misery one group of people can impose on another, but I did have a strong emotional connection to the subject matter. As I do to the second novel I'm currently polishing for publication!

  9. Great title, and great cover - I'm looking forward to seeing the inside! Ukraine has been in the news in the last few years for similar reasons - do you have any plans to write about more recent events in Ukraine? Or will it be Cossacks next?

  10. Thanks, Amanda. Lots of readers have commented that reading When Sorrows Come has helped them to contextualise the current situation. The novel I have just finished is partly set in the Second World War...I can't say much more than that yet, although it's almost ready for publication and I do have plans to look at both the Cold War and contemporary Ukraine. It's. Fertile subject!

  11. Congratulations, Maria, on what sounds like a very powerful novel! Good luck in the finals!!!

  12. Thanks, Cheryl. I hope you might enjoy reading When Sorrows Come. I know some readers have found it very upsetting but life in Western Ukraine at the time was horrific!


Thank you for leaving a comment - it should appear soon. If you are having problems, contact me on author AT helenhollick DOT net and I will post your comment for you. That said ...SPAMMERS or rudeness will be composted or turned into toads.