by Olga Werby & Christopher Werby
GENRE: Time Travel Historical Fiction Urban Fantasy
Alex and Sasha are twin sisters, physically identical down to their freckles. But the resemblance is only skin deep—Sasha is profoundly autistic, while Alex is not. Sasha can’t communicate and acts bizarrely, and the family revolves around her and her intense needs. Yet the aged, wealthy, and mysterious Aunt Nana seems to have a particular interest in both girls. Offering a helping hand, she encourages the family to move to San Francisco to be near her. And when the young twins discover a tunnel in Nana’s tool shed, it leads them on a journey across the world and back 100 years in time. The tunnel is a pathway to the Firebird Estate, the home of their ancestors, located in rural Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century. Even more remarkable, through the effect that twisting time has on cognition, Sasha is not autistic when she’s at the Firebird Estate. Now, growing up in two strikingly different times and places, the twins must face their separate destinies among the ravages of the incipient Russian Revolution. Can they save their families on both sides of the tunnel? Can they simultaneously stay true to their own hearts, to each other, and to the people they left behind? Each sister must face her own personal challenge—but only together can they discover their own future within their family’s past.
Boris Blackburg was observing Alex carefully, judging her emotional state and her ability to comprehend what he was telling her. She seemed very confused. He wasn’t surprised. This was the strangest assignment he had ever accepted. At first, he thought it was some silly notion of a well-to-do old woman. But as the years passed, he got to know Nadezhda well, and he liked the old woman, eccentricities and all. And as he got to know the Orlov family as well–vicariously, of course—the assignment grew more and more strange and intriguing.
Boris was also well compensated for his work. He was going to ensure Nadezhda’s wishes were followed. Alex Orlov would inherit her great-aunt’s estate and all the accompanying strangeness that came with it. He would make certain of it.
“Where did you get these?” Alex asked.
“Nadezhda, your Aunt Nana, gave these to me about eighteen years ago, shortly after you and Sasha were born.”
“I… I…” Alex seemed to want to say something, but couldn’t get it out. Boris was prepared to give her time, as long as her parents didn’t interfere with his mission by arriving too soon. At least the girl was now of age and the complications of guardianship had gone away–but he needed to complete his assignment before her parents arrived and complicated matters.
“Who’s the woman in this photo?” Alex pointed to a small black and white print of a man and a woman walking on the street. The image was very small, and it was difficult to identify the people, both of whom were wearing hats.
“Who do you think it is?” Boris asked. He knew, of course–Nadezhda had identified most of the photos for him, and there was information written on the back of most.
“I don’t know. But… it looks like… me?” Alex’s voice was small, barely audible.
More from the Author:
Thank you very much for this opportunity to connect with your https://indieauthorsblog.wordpress.com/ readers. The book I’m promoting right now is “Twin Time”. You can point your readers to the first few chapters of that book here: https://interfaces.com/blog/twin-time
“Twin Time” is a story of identical twins, where one is autistic and the other’s not. It is also a time loop story. I wanted to explore the psychology and family dynamic of a family with a sick child. I wanted to give autism a voice. Like many of my books, “Twin Time” is fully illustrated. You can see some of the visual research that went into this story on a special Pinterest page set up for this book: https://www.pinterest.com/OlgaWerby/scifi-book-twin-time/
For this story, I’ve also created a book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHCxRU64hyU
“Twin Time” got an honorable mention in San Francisco Book Festival.
If there is anything I can do to make this interview work better for you, please let me know. I can provide art, reviews, links…
All the best,
5-star “Twin Time” review from Readers’ Favorite: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/twin-time
“There are doors to stride through with purpose, and doors to peek through with trepidation. But maybe once in a lifetime there is a door to another reality, a door that connects worlds within multiverses.” In Twin Time by Olga and Christopher Werby, nineteen-year-old Alex and Sasha Orlov are identical twins, but different at the same time. While Alex is a vibrant university student, Sasha is autistic. In 2019, a fire burnt down their great-aunt’s home. Nadezhda Orlova, affectionately known as Aunt Nana, is badly hurt and Sasha is missing. When Aunt Nana’s personal attorney, Boris Blackburg, insists on talking to Alex, she’s about to find out that the important clues on Sasha’s whereabouts are in the past.
The Orlovs’ secret time tunnel paves the way for an interesting plot. The story has different time settings and is also told from different characters’ points of view. That said, I find that these aspects are well-handled and that the narrative isn’t overwhelming. I gravitated towards Sasha right from the start and rooted for her when she decided that Russia would be her home. I love how her character changes and she is able to express herself freely compared to her restrictive nature and environment back in the present time. Personally, I find it hard to empathize with Alex and her mother, Emma—most of their attitude toward Sasha is unacceptable to me. Overall, Twin Time is a refreshing time travel-themed story with its vivid pre-revolution, 20th century Russia background and character-driven plot. This is a great read for YA and adult readers.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of this novel is that it is fully illustrated. These illustrations are partly based on the works of a painter Willian-Adolphe Bouguereau, who painted a lot of peasant children in the French countryside. Sasha and Alex are based on his portraits. I’ve also used old photographs from the era. I’ve set up a Pinterest page with my visual research for this story: https://www.pinterest.com/OlgaWerby/scifi-book-twin-time/
And here are a few illustrations from the book.
These are the mysterious photographs from the family archives:
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Olga Werby, Ed.D., has a Doctorate from U.C. Berkeley with a focus on designing online learning experiences. She has a Master’s degree from U.C. Berkeley in Education of Math, Science, and Technology. She has been creating computer-based projects since 1981 with organizations such as NASA (where she worked on the Pioneer Venus project), Addison-Wesley, and the Princeton Review. Olga has a B.A. degree in Mathematics and Astrophysics from Columbia University. She became an accidental science fiction indie writer about a decade ago, with her first book, “Suddenly Paris,” which was based on then fairly novel idea of virtual universes. Her next story, “The FATOFF Conspiracy,” was a horror story about fat, government bureaucracy, and body image. She writes about characters that rarely get represented in science fiction stories — homeless kids, refugees, handicapped, autistic individuals — the social underdogs of our world. Her stories are based in real science, which is admittedly stretched to the very limit of possible. She has published almost a dozen fiction books to date and has won many awards for her writings. Her short fiction has been featured in several issues of “Alien Dimensions Magazine,” “600 second saga,” “Graveyard Girls,” “Kyanite Press’ Fables and Fairy Tales,” “The Carmen Online Theater Group’s Chronicles of Terror,” with many more stories freely available on her blog, Interfaces.com.
Selected Book Links on Amazon:
“Becoming Animals”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078P6BB6K/
“Suddenly, Paris”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014OM5158/
“The FATOFF Conspiracy”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014S0W4WO/
“Twin Time”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LZM578L/
“Lizard Girl & Ghost: The Chronicles of DaDA Immortals”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FBR7Q1T/
“Coding Peter”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LFP45WC/
“Fresh Seed”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FFDZNYB/
“Good Girl”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08CCGYGHV
“God of Small Affairs”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Y2FT9H2/