Once upon a time, I traveled to Ukraine. I survived (barely) and wrote a book about it.
And now it’s about to get published …
However, the route to getting to this point wasn’t quite this simple. I came back from my first trip in 2001, just days before 9/11. In November, I started writing a screenplay entitled “Jimmy & Katya”. It was a loosely-based, fictional account of my experiences. In 2007, I optioned the script to a producer for $1 (not a typo). We spent a year doing extensive re-writes, until it barely resembled my real-life experience. However, the most disheartening part about this whole experience was when the producer pulled the plug on the project, leaving it an downtrodden orphan. I was devastated.
During the summer of 2009, I set aside the vodka bottle and got back up on my feet (well, actually sat down) and decided to try my hand at prose. Using the original script as a skeleton draft, I went ahead and wrote a manuscript of the “true story,” under the title: “Love & Vodka.”
The most enjoyable part about this process (aside from re-creating such vivid memories) was the fact that a book allowed me to include even more scenes that otherwise wouldn’t have fit into a screenplay. Dozens upon dozens of rejections ensued (nature of the beast), interwoven with several published excerpts in various literary magazines (huge ego boosters).
Flashforward to the present day, following a long and winding road … my book is finally being published!
So, here is what Love & Vodka is all about, Charlie Brown:
Bobby is over the moon after sharing a bike on the E.T. ride at Universal Studios with Katya. Join our “intrepid crusader” as he takes a leap of faith—traveling from comfortable “have-a-nice day…and have-a-warm-shower” suburban Detroit to the former center of Cold War Soviet missile production. And unbeknownst to anyone but himself, he’s bringing an engagement ring!
Experience life in a city that, until the mid-1980s, was closed to foreign visitors. R.J. Fox’s humorous, poignant, and memorable expedition is punctuated by a colorful cast of characters, adventures, and cultural mishaps and misunderstandings—from irate babushka women to hard-drinking uncles. Lesser mortals might have “phoned home” to be rescued.
Armchair travelers and romantics—you will find yourself both schooled in hard knocks and heartened to have shared in the unforgettable experience of Love & Vodka!
“Za vashe zdorovie!”