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Monday, September 21, 2020

Twin Time by Olga Werby & Christopher Werby - Book Tour - Author Interview - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hi, lovelies!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Olga & Christopher Werby and their new book, “Twin Time”!  For other stops on their Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win TWO Signed Books!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Olga and Christopher and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!

Twin Time
by Olga Werby & Christopher Werby


GENRE: Time Travel Historical Fiction Urban Fantasy



Alex and Sasha are twin sisters, physically identical down to their freckles. But the resemblance is only skin deep—Sasha is profoundly autistic, while Alex is not. Sasha can’t communicate and acts bizarrely, and the family revolves around her and her intense needs. Yet the aged, wealthy, and mysterious Aunt Nana seems to have a particular interest in both girls. Offering a helping hand, she encourages the family to move to San Francisco to be near her. And when the young twins discover a tunnel in Nana’s tool shed, it leads them on a journey across the world and back 100 years in time. The tunnel is a pathway to the Firebird Estate, the home of their ancestors, located in rural Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century. Even more remarkable, through the effect that twisting time has on cognition, Sasha is not autistic when she’s at the Firebird Estate. Now, growing up in two strikingly different times and places, the twins must face their separate destinies among the ravages of the incipient Russian Revolution. Can they save their families on both sides of the tunnel? Can they simultaneously stay true to their own hearts, to each other, and to the people they left behind? Each sister must face her own personal challenge—but only together can they discover their own future within their family’s past.




“Dad?” There was noise on the line. Alex heard the sirens of emergency vehicles. She had a sick feeling, making her hand tremble as she jammed the cell phone harder against her ear. “Dad!”

“Alex, honey, there was an accident.” Alex’s father sounded all wrong. “I need you to get to Mills Hospital on the Peninsula right away. Okay?”

“Dad? What’s going on? Is Sasha all right? You’re really scaring me.”

“There was a fire. Aunt Nana has been taken to Mills. Can you get someone to drive you? Mom and I will meet you there.” There was more shuffling, and Alex heard someone tell her father to move. Alex’s father shouted something back, but it was muffled and she couldn’t understand what was being said. Then the line went dead.

Alex held the phone in front of her, hoping to get more information from the mute device. Her legs felt weak as she tried to stand. She needed to borrow a car. It was midday, mid-week, and everyone was in class. Alex had been about to go as well. She was minoring in Russian Literature, and her teacher didn’t make late arrivals welcome.

Her roommate’s keys were on top of her desk. And then they were in Alex’s hands–her subconscious mind had made the decision before she had. She would text an explanation later.

At this time of the day, UC Berkeley was at least an hour away from San Mateo–the small town on the San Francisco Peninsula where Mills Hospital was located. It would be at least an hour before Alex knew what was really going on.

She ran out the door.



The authors are offering their readers the first few chapters of their new book, “Twin Time,” for FREE!!!

Check it out here:



Good morning Olga!  Welcome back to Fabulous and Brunette!  We are thrilled to have you here again and can’t wait to learn more about you and your new book, “Twin Time.”

Thank you very much for this opportunity to connect with the Fabulous and Brunette Blog readers.  The book I’m promoting right now is “Twin Time”.

Tells us a bit about your new book, “Twin Time.”

Twin Time” is a story of identical twins, where one is autistic and the other’s not. It is also a time loop story. I wanted to explore the psychology and family dynamic of a family with a sick child. I wanted to give autism a voice. Like many of my books, “Twin Time” is fully illustrated.  You can see some of the visual research that went into this story on a special Pinterest page set up for this book: https://www.pinterest.com/OlgaWerby/scifi-book-twin-time

Although your book hasn’t been out for long, it seems good reviews are already pouring in.  What are readers saying about your new book?  Can you please provide one of the reviews you’ve received?

“There are doors to stride through with purpose, and doors to peek through with trepidation. But maybe once in a lifetime there is a door to another reality, a door that connects worlds within multiverses.” In Twin Time by Olga and Christopher Werby, nineteen-year-old Alex and Sasha Orlov are identical twins, but different at the same time. While Alex is a vibrant university student, Sasha is autistic. In 2019, a fire burnt down their great-aunt’s home. Nadezhda Orlova, affectionately known as Aunt Nana, is badly hurt and Sasha is missing. When Aunt Nana’s personal attorney, Boris Blackburg, insists on talking to Alex, she’s about to find out that the important clues on Sasha’s whereabouts are in the past.

The Orlovs' secret time tunnel paves the way for an interesting plot. The story has different time settings and is also told from different characters’ points of view. That said, I find that these aspects are well-handled and that the narrative isn’t overwhelming. I gravitated towards Sasha right from the start and rooted for her when she decided that Russia would be her home. I love how her character changes and she is able to express herself freely compared to her restrictive nature and environment back in the present time. Personally, I find it hard to empathize with Alex and her mother, Emma—most of their attitude toward Sasha is unacceptable to me. Overall, Twin Time is a refreshing time travel-themed story with its vivid pre-revolution, 20th century Russia background and character-driven plot. This is a great read for YA and adult readers.
~ A 5-star review from Readers' Favorite

Tell us about your book’s illustrations.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of this novel is that it is fully illustrated. These illustrations are partly based on the works of a painter Willian-Adolphe Bouguereau, who painted a lot of peasant children in the French countryside. Sasha and Alex are based on his portraits. I’ve also used old photographs from the era. I’ve set up a Pinterest page with my visual research for this story: https://www.pinterest.com/OlgaWerby/scifi-book-twin-time

Can you share some of those illustrations with us?

Here are a few illustrations from the book.

These are the mysterious photographs from the family archives:

This is Sasha teaching math at her grandmother’s orphanage:

This is the portrait that hangs in Aunt Nana’s house:

World-building can be the most important element of your book.  What media outlets, role-models and real-life inspirations did you draw from while writing this book?

I guess I should start with the fact that I was born in Russia. I lived in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) until I was thirteen and a half. I came to America as a refugee. So I have some affinity for the place my story takes place in and its culture, its language…its smell, its light, its trees, its flowers, its architecture, its temperature… I have find memories of the White Nights and days when the sun never fully rose above the horizon. I left when I was already a pretty formed human and I had to make myself fit into a new place that was very foreign and scary, in many ways. I also didn’t really speak any English when my family arrived in New York City. I couldn’t even write my name down on a piece of paper in school. So the idea that I now use English as my primary language of telling fiction is crazy! I don’t think it would be possible if not for the Internet, my external brain and linguist. Add to that that I’m dyslexic and you can see how improbably the idea of writing and publishing books is for one like me. Yet, here we are.

But there’s more. My family, from both sides, had suffered incredible damage at the hands of the Russian government and during the WWII. But for this novel, “Twin Time”, I focused on my grandmother’s story, who lived an extraordinary life…mostly in secret. She was born into a wealthy (and titled) family just after the 1917 revolution. But she lived in a relatively small town and politics takes time to drift into the rural areas of the country. Years after the revolution, her life hadn’t changed much until one night, when a former student from her grandmother’s orphanage knocked on the door of their estate and told them to run. You see, the boy they raised and educated became a cop in the newly formed Soviet Union. He came to warn the family that was kind to him that the powers in charge were coming to burn down their house and kill everyone inside. So my grandmother, who was just a child at the time, and her family got on their horses and ran, leaving all of their possessions behind.

They ran for years, scattering into the four corners of the world. Eventually, my grandmother, her brother, and their mother met up in Moscow at a home of a former nanny. She gave them shelter. By then, the family was destitute. My grandmother remembers waiting for her mom to come home from work one evening. She waited for many hours and then went to the train station to find out what could have happened. Her mother was standing alone by the tracks. She went blind from hunger and couldn’t find her way home.

The nightmares didn’t end there. In May of 1927, British police made a bust of Soviet trade delegation in London. Under the cover of diplomatic immunity, the All Russian Co-operative Society was spying on the British, stealing some top-secret documents. For this, the men of ARCOS were expelled and diplomatic relations between the nations were dissolved for several years. The Soviets had to retaliate, of course. Shortly afterwards, they rounded up all British citizens living in Moscow and shot them. That was my family—my grandmother’s father was a British citizen. Fortunately, my grandmother, her brother, and her mother survived. Unfortunately, my grandmother had a very un-Russian last name (we have no idea if it was Lee or Leigh or Li or some variation there off—the spelling in Russian is all the same). To run from the authorities, my grandmother married an officer in a Soviet army and gained a very ordinary last name. She never talked about her family. Ever! What we learned about her past we learned when we did an interview in her late 80’s in a safety of my living room. And even then, she kept telling us that walls had ears and some things are just best forgotten.

For those who are interested in learning more about the ARCOS affair, please visit the Wikipedia:

Some of the backstory of “Twin Time” is actually the story of my grandmother’s childhood. She lived in a similar pretty wooden house. Her family was the pillar of their community. Just like in “Twin Time”, there was an orphanage and a little church. I tried to incorporate as many details as I could into my story from my grandmother’s memories of her childhood. And of course the historical facts as presented in my story are all accurate.

My professional career took me from getting degrees in Math and Astrophysics (remember, I really didn’t know English back then and couldn’t go into fields of study that required solid control of language) to getting my doctorate in education. As a kid with learning disabilities, I am very interested in cognitive differences. I’ve diagnosed my first case of autism about twenty-five years ago. That child was non-verbal. Since then, I’ve come across many families that had children with “differences”. It is extraordinary difficult to raise a child who is different in this (or any other) country. “Twin Time” gave me a way of talking about autism and its costs to the family and friends. The time travel device opened up the possibility of giving a child with autism a voice. Again, everything you will read in “Twin Time” is carefully researched. When I discuss autism and family dynamics and therapies, I draw on actual research. For those who might think that I’ve meant to make anyone in Sasha’s family evil, that’s not true. There are no bad guys here really, there are just victims of circumstances and fate.

I did want my book, my story to have a happy ending. I wanted to show the possibility of love even in dire situations. And I wanted for my readers to love Sasha as much as I did. But to learn what happened, you’ll have to read my story.

One final thing, when my grandmother died, about a decade after my grandfather’s death, she insisted that her ashes were scattered in a different ocean from my grandfather.

Here is my grandmother’s portrait from the era of this story:

What is the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of research?

Many years ago, my husband and I ran a creative writing project. It was one of the first online entertainments and it was one of the first online learning opportunities for writers. The Company Therapist project was a soap opera written collaboratively by its audience. You can still see the project at TheTherapist.com. (At the time, we could have had Therapist.com, that URL was available. But it was pointed out to us that Therapist.com could be read as TheRapist.com. So we went with TheTherapist.com.)

The main idea was that there was a therapist hired by a high-tech company in San Francisco that helped maintain sanity for the company’s employees prior to going through IPO. So all of the patients knew each other and worked in the same location. Different writers from around the world wrote different therapy sessions. It was a blast.

One of my characters was into S&M. So to add a bit of color and reality into my writing, my husband and I went to the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco and then got to write about it! It was pretty out there…

What were your favorite memories spent at the local library?

When I was young—about ten or so—I used to spend a lot of time a tiny library a block from our apartment. I lived in Leningrad, Russia (Saint Petersburg now) and winters were long and dark and cold. Books were surprisingly hard to come by, but one could just go to a library and spend a few hours reading a small rooms with two rows of chairs with little tables assigned to each. While no one was allowed to visit the stacks, a library visitor could ask a nice woman at the desk for a book and she would go and get it (if it wasn’t banned and available at that location). When done for the night, the books were all returned, whether finished or not. I loved that little library. It was warm and full of yellow light. And it was a perfect escape from reality, even back when I was just a kid (a pretty antisocial kid).

One evening, I asked the nice librarian if I could go and look in the dark room behind her, back where all of the books were stored. Since I was the only one there, she let me. It was magical. There were so many books. And the shelves were so tall that there was a little black metal ladder that led to a little balcony that encircled the whole back room to make it easier to get to the books stored up high. I was a little afraid of heights and I was very afraid of the dark but I climbed the ladder and scooted along, feeling a bit dizzy with fear, and found a book—“A Thousand and One Nights”. I remember sitting there and reading it in the dark until I was told it was time to go home.

That’s my favorite library memory!

What are five reasons we should read your new book?

1.)  Despite all of the ugliness and pain, “Twin Time” is ultimately a story with a happy ending.

2.)  Autism is difficult to understand. Most of us have a very limited experience with it. And even those who are immersed in that world as caregivers are at a remove of how it feels to be so different. When I wrote “Twin Time”, I wanted to make my readers fall in love with Sasha, to empathize with her, to feel her struggle, to experience the world through her being. The time travel aspect of this story allowed me to give Sasha the gift of language when she is no longer in the present. So we learn about her through her own voice.

3.)  I also wanted to write a story that included some of the details of my grandmother’s childhood. She grew up in post revolutionary Russia, in a rural village where the political change was slow to arrive. When it finally did, her family had to run in the middle of the night to stay alive. They lived through unspeakable horrors and didn’t survive unscathed. Most died. When and where we are born shape our lives. When you read “Twin Time”, you will get to experience what it was like to live in another time and place with different value system and different culture. Ultimately, this ability to transport us someplace completely different is the true power of reading.

4.)  “Twin Time” is a very special story. The historical events and descriptions are accurate and based on eyewitness accounts. But so are the descriptions of what it’s like to live with autism, to live in a family that has an autistic child, to have an autistic sibling. “Twin Time” is fantastical, historical romance. But it is based on truth.

5.)  “Twin Time” is illustrated! Yes, why should only kid’s books have illustrations?

Thank you so much for spending time with Fabulous and Brunette readers and sharing your exciting new book with us!  We wish you all the best on your book tour!

Thank you again for allowing me to share my story with your readers!



Olga Werby, Ed.D., has a Doctorate from U.C. Berkeley with a focus on designing online learning experiences. She has a Master's degree from U.C. Berkeley in Education of Math, Science, and Technology. She has been creating computer-based projects since 1981 with organizations such as NASA (where she worked on the Pioneer Venus project), Addison-Wesley, and the Princeton Review. Olga has a B.A. degree in Mathematics and Astrophysics from Columbia University. She became an accidental science fiction indie writer about a decade ago, with her first book, "Suddenly Paris," which was based on then fairly novel idea of virtual universes. Her next story, "The FATOFF Conspiracy," was a horror story about fat, government bureaucracy, and body image. She writes about characters that rarely get represented in science fiction stories -- homeless kids, refugees, handicapped, autistic individuals -- the social underdogs of our world. Her stories are based in real science, which is admittedly stretched to the very limit of possible. She has published almost a dozen fiction books to date and has won many awards for her writings. Her short fiction has been featured in several issues of "Alien Dimensions Magazine," "600 second saga," "Graveyard Girls," "Kyanite Press' Fables and Fairy Tales," "The Carmen Online Theater Group's Chronicles of Terror," with many more stories freely available on her blog, Interfaces.com.





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Olga will be awarding two signed books to a randomly drawn winner (US ONLY) via Rafflecopter during the tour.

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here.**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Olga ~ Good morning! Welcome back! It is so great to have you here again! Congrats on your exciting new book and good luck on the book tour! :)

  2. Dear Ally, thank you so much! I hope you and your readers take a look at my story and enjoy it!

  3. I enjoy reading about time travel!