Author Tags: Fiction

Jan DeGrass is an Arts and Entertainment columnist for the Coast Reporter newspaper in Gibsons. She leads a writing critique group and assists other authors with editing their manuscripts (www.edityourwords.ca). Her award-winning article, Loving in Leningrad, based on a true experience in the Soviet Union, drew on her university background in Russian language and literature and became the genesis of her first novel Jazz with Ella (Libros Libertad (2012).

According to her website:

While on a study tour of the Soviet Union during the austere Brezhnev years, Jennifer, a Canadian student, is swept off her feet by a handsome Soviet man, Volodya. He is a discontented jazz pianist whose idol is singer Ella Fitzgerald for him the symbol of everything mysterious and musical that can happen only in the west. Jennifer visits his haunts and his bedroom”in Leningrad, and learns that he is under surveillance for consorting with foreigners. Jennifer refuses Volodya's desperate pleas to help him defect, and she leaves for the last leg of her trip, a Volga River cruise. But the romance is not over. Despite interference from her fussy professor, Chopyk, and a fierce tour guide, Natasha, Jennifer decides to risk it all."

[BCBW 2012]