Thursday, May 3, 2012

Gold Train Blog Tour ~ Interview and Giveaway with Lada Ray

The coffee is fresh and I am excited to be interviewing author Lada Ray. She is making a stop here today, while on her Gold Train Blog Tour to celebrate the release of her novel in paperback format. In March I reviewed her novel Gold Train (Jade Snow International Adventure #1) . You can see my review here. Lada Ray will also be giving away a signed copy of her novel (US only) and an eBook copy(INT). See Rafflecopter at the end of this interview. 
Please join me in welcoming her!

Thanks so much for being here today Lada Ray. I enjoyed your thriller Gold Train and the protagonist Jade Snow. Can you tell us a little about Lada Ray.
I was born in Moscow, Russia, but my parents moved around a lot for work and I spent part of my childhood in the beautiful city of Odessa on the Black Sea. Throughout my life, I traveled to over 26 countries and finally settled down in the USA. I worked as a linguist and translator, and later as a financial consultant on Wall Street. I also obtained my Master’s certification in feng shui directly from the revered Asian Masters of this ancient art.
I like imagining my stories in bustling New York City and the beautifully serene Catskill Mountains, where I live with my family and gorgeous calico cat Lily. 
So far, I’ve published two Jade Snow adventure novels and one novella:
~GOLD TRAIN, gripping mystery/thriller set in Russia and based on true historic events (Jade Snow Russia Adventure);     
~STEPFORD USA, a small town psychological mystery/thriller (Jade Snow Prequel);    
~Green Desert, a riveting story set in Iraq (A Jade Snow Novella)    

I am currently working on two other books, both to be released in 2012:
~Dragon Gate, next Jade Snow Adventure, set in Asia;
~The Earth Shifter, new YA fantasy/thriller, set in Russia (Moscow & Siberia,) US, China and other mythical locales of this surreal Blue Planet.
All up-to-date news about my books and current projects may be found at my author website
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I always wanted to write cool stories, which I'd been imagining in my head ever since I can remember. Instead, I listened to my well meaning parents and started my life in a more traditional way.
But a few years ago, I was flying to Asia via Dubai. After a very interesting meeting with several international journalists returning from Afghanistan, I imagined a smart, beautiful, and witty journalist, Jade Snow, who mastered to perfection the art of being in the wrong place at the right time.
I decided that it was now or never and started writing my debut novel, STEPFORD USA, a Jade Snow Prequel. I also wrote GREEN DESERT, a Jade Snow Novella.
GOLD TRAIN was a natural progression for the series. The story of the lost Russian Imperial treasure, the conspiracy to overthrow the Russian government and to upset the global balance of power fit the world of Jade Snow perfectly.

Your novels take place all over the world. Do you travel or do you research all of these places?

I traveled all my life, for as long as I can remember. I am fluent in several languages and have been to over twenty six countries in Europe, Asia, North and South America, as well as Africa. I worked in Havana, Cuba as an interpreter for the Russian educational exchange delegations, including a couple of interviews with the man himself - Fidel Castro.

I rely heavily on my memory and knowledge of a particular place and period. But in addition, I always do a lot of research to verify and clarify the smallest details. That’s what makes every scene come alive, and that’s what makes the book believable.

Tell us about your protagonist, Jade Snow.

My books are very international and I am a big believer in capturing life in all its complexity and facets. Jade Snow is a very strong, independent, smart and sexy heroine. She is also a citizen of the world and her heart is always in the right place, as one reviewer pointed out. She has to go through a lot and get tested to the limit during her adventures.
I can’t emphasize enough how much our contemporary literature needs the smart and strong female characters and role models who are also real, genuine people. And how much we need more people with intelligence, courage and heart in our everyday lives! In the new world of the 21 century, we have to learn to live and work together, regardless of prejudices and borders, to understand each other and help those in need, whether it is by saving a stranger’s life, averting global disaster, or by a simple act of random kindness.

Where do you like to write? Do you have a writing schedule?

I prefer to write at my large and comfortable writing table at home, in my room full of books and inspiring pictures. Sometimes I write at a café.
I don’t keep to a certain schedule, but if I don’t write for a while, I feel as if something is missing in my life.

What actress would you choose to portray Jade Snow?

Several years ago I’d say: Nicole Kidman. But today… she’d be too old. Jade is a very youthful 30 in Gold Train and she’s 28 in Stepford USA.
I would choose Keira Knightley. She has the right character and personality and can play someone smart, witty, sexy, independent, courageous, a dash tricky and a little vulnerable, too. Of course, she’d have to become a redhead. ;)

Coffee or tea?

Great question! Both actually. Love the coffee aroma, especially Turkish or authentic Italian. Tea: I have a great collection of authentic green teas from China, India and Japan at home. Every writer needs a boost! Inspiration and caffeine are practically siblings!

What books would we find on your nightstand?

There were lots of books during various periods that fascinated me and influenced my life for different reasons. Or the ones I simply loved to get lost in. Some of them, in no particular order: Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace; Many of Agatha Christie’s books, especially the Poirot series; Sherlock Holmes; I loved Harry Potter series; The Da Vinci Code; The Idiot and other works by Dostoyevsky; Alexander Dumas; Victor Hugo; Shakespeare; Rumi’s Sufi poetry; Oscar Wilde; Master and Margarita and other works by Mikhail Bulgakov, and many, many more.

If you had to be an animal for twenty-four hours, what would you be and why?(this question was inspired by my friend Rebecca@Kindlefever)

Ahhh… I’d be an Ussurian Tiger. The largest cat in existence, the most beautiful and the most rare. Found only in one spot on the planet: Ussurian Taiga, the Russian Far East. Was on the brink of extinction with only 29 tigers left just ten years ago, but now the population is up to 500. Like all cats, has an amazing night vision.
Or, I’d be a white eagle. Love the color, plus the ability to soar high and see everything from above.
Both of these magnificent creatures take part in my upcoming YA fantasy/thriller, THE EARTH SHIFTER, to be released in 2012.

What kind of reader would like your novel?

Gold Train is for the fun loving, dynamic, adventurous people, who have open minds and are interested in the world around them, as well as foreign lands.
For those who love a fast-paced thrill ride with a purpose. For those who love history, sleuthing and mysteries, who are naturally curious, who want to immerse themselves in the story line and feel, like they are part of the action. And it is for those, who expect more from a story.
It’s also for those who love animals and mystical, psychic stuff, yet, are firmly grounded in this world. And for those, who care what happens in our world and who want to improve it.
Although the thriller side of the story dominates, let’s not forget that Gold Train, along with the other Jade Snow Adventures, has a strong romantic undercurrent. Therefore, those who are interested in romantic suspense, will also find Gold Train a compelling read. My way of writing romance is anything but traditional. The relationship between Jade and Alexei is marked by destiny, and I hope the reader enjoys it.

Thank you, Kimberly, for this awesome opportunity to share my writing and Gold Train with the readers of your blog. I enjoyed our conversation!

Thanks so much for being here with us today Lada Ray, i enjoyed chatting with you! Now let me share the novel and the giveaway with the readers:

Gold Train (Jade Snow International Adventure #1)
by Lada Ray
Publication date: eBook 12/18/11 paperback 4/25/12
Genre:Spy thriller, historic mystery, action, adventure, suspense with an element of otherworldly romance.

Buy:Amazon /Barnes and Noble

This story is based on true historic events
 1918, Russian Civil War. The entire Gold Reserve of the Russian Empire vanishes without a trace. But what if it's about to resurface? And what if it's about to be used to shift the global balance of power?
 Today: the world's largest treasure; dangerous adventure; forbidden passion, defying time and space; conspiracy that threatens to plunge the country into darkness.
 International journalist, wife and mom, Jade Snow, travels to Russia to reconnect with the country of her ancestors and investigate tantalizing mystery of the Gold Train. What she doesn’t know is that she is about to land in the midst of a deadly conspiracy threatening to change the fate of one of the world’s most powerful nations, and that she is destined to meet a mysterious stranger who will change her life forever.
 As her only Russian friend gets murdered, Jade finds herself embroiled in a net of intrigue, glamour and alien ideals on these strange and unfamiliar shores. On top of that, she becomes more popular than she’d ever bargained for. So popular, in fact, that it could be hazardous to her health. And she deals with this dangerous and unwanted popularity in a way that is guaranteed to surprise even the most seasoned reader.
 Refusing to be a pawn in a struggle of forces beyond her control, Jade must choose between her worst friends and best enemies… and the future of the world just might depend on her choice!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For a limited time on Amazon (starting on 4/24):
 Buy GOLD TRAIN paperback for $9.99 (reg. $14.95)
Buy Gold Train ebook for only $0.99 (reg. $3.99)
Own all three Jade Snow ebooks for only $2.97. 
Gold Train, Stepford USA, Green Desert - $0.99 each!

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At May 3, 2012 at 9:38 AM , Blogger erin said...

Thanks for a great interview and giveaway! Definitely caught my interest :)

At May 3, 2012 at 10:23 AM , Blogger Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

I'm so jealous of all this traveling! Also, I agree that we need more strong, but realistic heroines. It's good to know that there's one to be found in an international thriller.
Great interview, ladies!

At May 3, 2012 at 11:27 AM , Blogger Lada said...

Kimberly, thank you so much for a wonderful introduction and an opportunity to connect with your readers! I love the way you have presented the interview and I absolutely enjoyed answering your fun questions.

I also want to thank the readers for their terrific comments. It's great to know that my writing is appreciated!

Cheers and happy reading to all!

Lada Ray

P.S. I just entered Gold Train into THE 2012 BEST INDIE BOOKS CONTEST hosted by The Kindle Book Review. Wish me luck! :)
This is the link:

At May 3, 2012 at 2:14 PM , Blogger Christy D said...

Wow, now THAT sounds like an interesting life. I know someone who met Castro and said whether you like him or not, it's an experience he'll never forget. Thanks for sharing this interview!

At May 3, 2012 at 7:29 PM , Blogger Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Oh wow! Thanks Kimba! Sounds like an amazing read, and some great books with it. :) Wonderful interview. :) Thank you!

At May 3, 2012 at 9:02 PM , Blogger Sophia said...

Awh, Lada sounds like such a nice person! What an amazing interview, you two! Plus, her book sounds great. Can't wait to see more about Gold Train!

At May 3, 2012 at 10:27 PM , Blogger Bea said...

Wonderful interview Kimba. :) I agree about the need for strong heroines Lada, there aren't enough. Strong, smart, kind, clever, caring - those are the heroines needed.

At May 3, 2012 at 11:22 PM , Blogger Lada said...

Hi Christy, just wanted to respond about Fidel Castro. Your friend is absolutely right. Castro is old and very sick right now, but when he was in his prime... Love him or hate him, you couldn't help but be drawn into his aura, shall we say. I remember once listening to his speech. The crowd was probably at least 500,000 people. And he commanded total attention of that crowd to the point that everyone was simply mesmerized. I met him a couple of times in person and it was very profound. His aura was so powerful that it completely enveloped the room - and it was a very large room. Yes, it was 'personality cult,' as they used to call it and there was something dictatorial about him, but I kind of understand why he always had such tremendous support from his people.
By the way, even though Cuba is very poor, the Cubans enjoy free and VERY good education and one of the best health care systems in the world. It is even highlighted in Michael Moore's film Sicko.


At May 7, 2012 at 9:24 AM , Anonymous Maggie K. @ ReadingDiva's Blog said...

That book sounds like something I would add to my TRL. Traveling all over the world most give you the insight you need to create an amazing story. Looking forward to reading this.
Kim, I read the review and it sounds like a great story. Thanks for sharing.


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