Monday, June 17, 2013

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Lost (Lost & Found #1) by Nadia Simonenko

Today, we are excited to join Itching for Books as we kick off the Blog Tour for Nadia Simonenko's debut novel Lost!
For our stop, we have the book details, a review of the novel, an exciting interview with the author, a peak into the second installment, and a tour-wide giveaway. Enjoy!!
Lost (Lost & Found #1) by Nadia Simonenko
Published March 25th 2013
Purchase Links: Amazon |  Barnes & Noble
About the book
Sometimes you need someone else to help you find your way.

Maria's life was torn apart when she was fifteen, and for seven years she's kept her terrible secret hidden from the world. Now, in her final semester of college, she still struggles against paralyzing fear just trying to speak up in class, and the terror and helplessness linger on in her nightmares.

Across campus, Owen sees his scars in the mirror every morning while he gets ready for class. They remind him of the broken home he left behind, the father he hates and fears, and the little sister he couldn't protect. Now, in his final semester of college, he's scared that he may have to return to the hell he called home after staying away for almost five years.

When Owen becomes a teaching assistant for one of Maria's classes, they find themselves irresistibly drawn to each other. As the two learn each other's secrets and grow closer, they realize that although they may be lost, they're not alone anymore.

My Thoughts
I may feel lost, but at least we’re lost together… ~Owen

Lost by Nadia Simonenko is a gripping and emotional story between two individuals that struggle to fight through the nightmares of their past. Maria and Owen each have a burden they can’t break free from as a result of the abuse they suffered as teenagers. Their scars run deep and when they meet and begin to fall for one another, their past continues to haunt them and threatens to destroy any possibility they may have of being together.

Maria and Owen are both students at Cornell University working their way through college. They avoid deep connections, and rarely return to their hometown because of the memories that have destroyed their happiness for so long. When they eventually cross paths at school, their connection is so evident that despite their fear of exposing their secrets, they somehow find a way to break down the barriers they’ve built for so long.

First off, I have to say I was immediately drawn into each of their stories. The alternating perspectives that Nadia Simonenko decided to use between Maria and Owen really allowed me to gain complete insight into their internal struggles. To witness their nightmares through flashbacks was heartbreaking, and to see them try so hard to build a relationship made their story even more emotional. Each of their stories was difficult to witness, and that just made me root for a happy ending for these two even more.

Also, I really came to like the secondary characters - Tina and Craig. They were the rare example of true friendship that you hardly ever experience in novels lately. I admired how they stood by Maria and Owen and helped them try and get past their hardships.

Overall, I feel Nadia Simonenko exemplifies the perfect example of what indie authors are capable of, which is sharing a story with true heart that’s filled with likeable characters and a believable plot. Well done.
4 Suns
Author Interview

Congratulations on your debut novel for the Lost & Found series! Can you share with us how you came up with the idea for the storyline, and what motivated you to share it with your readers?

Hoo boy.  Let’s start this interview off with a bang, shall we? 

I didn’t have to think up the storyline.  The characters are real.

Lost is a love story at its core, but an intentionally, painfully realistic one based—with permission—on the combined stories of real people who opened up to me over the last year.  There is no rock star, no alpha male, and certainly no steamy CEO/intern BDSM in this book. It’s not that kind of story.  It’s a story of two realistically broken people who find their other half. 

When I started writing Lost, it was just an experiment.  One of the characters is partially based on my husband’s childhood and mine, and I wanted to see how I reacted to writing about it.  I wanted to see how it would play out if I gave our story to fictional characters, but as I read along, I felt terrible for them and started steering the story toward a happy ending. 

At the same time as I was finishing my personal version of Lost, dark romantic fiction spiked in popularity alongside the new adult boom, and I started reading a bit of it to see what other people had written. 

A lot of it was horrible

I’m not talking about writing quality (that was usually pretty impressive, to be honest) but rather about how the broken characters’ backgrounds were treated as plot conveniences instead of as a huge part of the characters’ personalities.  Oh, she had a tough life and abusive parents, waah, boyfriend helps her get better instantly.  Hooray!  All’s better within ten chapters!  He was a drug addict but now he’s met a sweet girl and doesn’t need them anymore.  Hooray for HEAs! 

WhatAre you ****ing kidding me?  Did you even read Wikipedia before writing that? 

That sort of thing.  It drove me nuts.

That’s when I decided it was time to finish the book.  It was time to make it real, to make every last bit of it as stark and true as it could be without turning it into a tragedy, and to write a dark romance with intellectual and emotional honesty.

And here we are now!  It’s published and the sequel is on the way.

Maria and Owen seem to have experienced some difficult hardships in their past. Were there any scenes you struggled putting to paper? If not, without being too spoilery, what is your favorite scene in the book?

Three scenes really hurt to put on paper: the first chapter, Owen’s flashback to the basement, and Maria’s nightmare.  One of them belongs to my husband, one to me, and the third to some incomparably amazing women who were willing to talk to me about their experiences so that I could write a realistic character for Maria.   The first two were painful because they actually hurt to write about, and the third was a struggle because I worried the entire time that I wouldn’t be doing the original sources justice.  It’s more than the scene—it’s the characters themselves that I had to make right.  The event itself is horrible, but what distinguishes it is the aftermath.  If the aftermath isn’t real, the character isn’t real.

Favorite scene?  The dance and the part immediately after it.  It was a joy to write it, and it came at a great time in the writing process because I was getting a little depressed from writing and researching so much dark material.  It was a happy, light-hearted scene with a lot of love in it.    Sorry – spoilers if I say much more!

What is it about Maria that draws Owen to her?

Her eyes.  If I say much more than that, it’s going to spoil a lot of things for readers.  I’ll add this much, though:  the more he learns about her, the more he likes what he sees.  The last line of the blurb says it all…

As the two learn each other's secrets and grow closer, they realize that although they may be lost, they're not alone anymore.”

What do you hope readers will come to appreciate about these two characters?

A bit uncouth of me, but I’m going to quote part of a review for this one.

The author wrote Maria and Owen in a realistic way that made the two main characters come alive. At times I forgot that these two characters were simply characters and I could see them as real people.” – An on Amazon.

THAT is what I want readers to see.  I want readers to forget that they’re just characters and to see them as real people.  They are real people.  They’re based on a whole bunch of wonderful people who were willing to talk to me about their lives.  If I make readers feel like they can connect with the characters and believe what they’re reading, I’ve done my job.

How many installments to you plan for the Lost & Found series? Do you have any other projects in the pipeline as well?

Two.  Lost (which we’re talking about right now) and its aptly-if-obviously named sequel, Found.  The story is done after Found, and I’ll be moving on to other projects then.

I do indeed have some new projects in the pipeline. Some really awesome projects.  I have to be careful what I say right now, because one of them might be incredible if I can get it to work, but terrible if it flops.  I want to make sure I can pull it off before I start talking about it.

That’s all for now.  It’s too early to give more information.  Gotta finish Found first! J 

After that, I’d say to expect an announcement in the fall.

Now for some fun facts about you…When you’re not working on your books, what do you like to spend time doing?

Promise you won’t laugh?  Weightlifting.  Stop that, you said you wouldn’t laugh!  With both my day job and my writing job being low-activity deskwork sorts of things, I have to make up for it with physical activity.  I play soccer when I can, lift weights regularly, and will take any opportunity to get on a trampoline that I can get. J

I also like to read, watch terrible movies with my husband (he loves Mystery Science Theater 3000 and got me into it), and have a soft spot for Bollywood movies.  Upbeat shenanigans for everyone!

What is your favorite quote or saying?

“I aim to please… that’s why I’m wearing clown shoes!”

You had to be there.  Still don’t know where the hubby got those things, but they scared the cats.

What are the last three books you’ve read?

“Divergent” and “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth, and a beta read of the upcoming book by fellow indie-author Helena Newbury, “Dance for Me.”  She’s a fantastic writer, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.  

And finally, what do you love most about writing in this genre?

CHARACTER-DRIVEN STORIES.  Shout it from the mountaintops.  I love that the romance genre works so well for letting characters define the story.

Thank you Nadia Simonenko for stopping by Waves of Fiction and best of luck on your series!!
Thanks for having me, Arlene.  It’s been a pleasure! 

 About the Author
Nadia Simonenko is a scientist and author currently living in Indianapolis with her husband, two cats and a dog. When she isn’t writing, she develops new oncolytic compounds and dreams about someday getting to take a vacation.

Follow this Author

Be sure to check out the sequel to Lost!
Found (Lost & Found #2) by Nadia Simonenko
Expected publication: July 15th 2013 by Nadia Simonenko
About the book
We’ll find each other somehow. We’re not lost anymore...

All it took was one phone call to tear Owen's life apart. His father is dead and his mother is in critical condition. Even though he feared his abusive father and despised his family, losing them hurts in a way he never expected. Just weeks ago, Owen was terrified that he'd have to go home. Now, there is no home.

All it took was one phone call to shatter Maria's happily-ever-after and bring her nightmares back to life. Maria's estranged brother is coming up to see her graduation and he isn't coming alone. He's bringing Maria's parents, as she expected, but he's also bringing along an old friend from college—someone who's haunted Maria's nightmares for seven years. Now, she's about to come face to face with the man who ruined her life.

Will the love and happiness Maria and Owen found be enough to hold them together as their lives fall apart around them, or will their relationship slip away and be lost forever?
Don't forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway. Check the rafflecopter for giveaway details.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Wonderful interview. Great review. Thanks for participating :)

  2. Love the plot behind the book. Can not wait to read the book. Thank you for the giveaway.

  3. Sounds like an emotional story of two people that need each other! Looks good! Thanks for the chance to win!

  4. I love the idea of two tortured souls working through their issues--rather than having them kept apart by other forces, it's themselves they need to fix in order to be happy, which is refreshing :)

  5. I think it has the potential to be a great read.