Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Janet Skeslien Charles, author of 'Moonlight In Odessa'

While attending The University of Montana in Missoula, Janet Skeslien Charles worked part-time as a translator for American men corresponding with Russian women. The men wanted wives. The women wanted the safety and security of life in the United States. After graduation, Charles went to Odessa, Ukraine, as a Soros Fellow. There she saw the international dating scene from the other side, which became the focus of her novel Moonlight in Odessa.

In Odessa, Ukraine, Daria, a whip-smart engineer, spends her days underemployed as a secretary--a job she was lucky to get in this rotten economy. She spends her evenings moonlighting as an interpreter at an agency that matches lonely American men with beautiful-but-broke Ukrainian women. She spends her nights wondering if there is more. When an American client offers marriage and a one-way ticket out of poverty, Daria jumps at the chance. She soon learns there's a reason that her husband couldn't find a wife in America, and that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the world. The perfect book for anyone who's ever been stuck in a dead-end job or relationship, Moonlight in Odessa is an exploration of language, culture, and the difficult choices we make in the pursuit of love and stability.

Here's what Publisher's Weekly had to say about Moonlight in Odessa:
“This darkly humorous debut explores the world of eastern European mail-order brides and the men who finance them. Daria, a savvy, warmhearted but standoffish secretary in Odessa, Ukraine, fears that her boss will fire her after she refuses his sexual advances. So to keep him busy (and to keep her job), she sets him up with her shallow friend, Olga, who promptly turns on Daria. Fearing imminent unemployment, Daria takes a second job at Soviet Unions, an Internet dating service that connects Western men with available Ukrainian women. As Daria, who is fluent in English, bridges the language gap between the women and foreign men, she wonders if she will ever find true love. The endearing and forthright Daria is the perfect guide through the trickery and sincerity of chaotic courtships and short-order love. Meanwhile, her own romantic life swirls between a sweet suitor in California, a Ukrainian gangster and her manic boss. The teetering dance between humor and heartbreak burns through this tale that takes place at the intersection of love and money, East and West, male and female.”

Join TWQ producer Chérie Newman and Janet Skeslien Charles for a conversation about Moonlight in Odessa, Thursday evening, June 30, at 6:30 ( or 7:30

You can also listen by subscribing to The Write Question podcast.

Or listen online anytime from the MTPR Web site.

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