I am beyond excited to announce that “Finding Your Way” is released today.
It is a unique experience for me to be sharing the story set in my homeland Latvia. I guess some of our traditions may seem strange to readers who aren’t used to them. For example, there is a holiday bigger than Christmas for Latvians. Read Zanda’s story and you’ll find out all about it.
There’s a scene in the book when Zanda visits the bank. I used to work in one of the biggest banks in Latvia. It was almost two decades ago, but my memories are still vivid. The job turned out to be not what I expected. I quickly realised that it was not what I’d like to do in life, and luckily, a better-suited opportunity appeared.
Here is a snippet from “Finding Your Way”:
“On Thursday, Zanda was sitting in a crowded vestibule of a bank branch. People were coming in and out, the queue numbers flashed on the displays attached to the ceiling, and the printers and cash counting machines beeped and chattered.
Zanda watched the unfamiliar scene with interest. Before, she had imagined that only rich people used bank services and visited their bank managers to check on their millions. This branch’s clientele was vastly more versatile. Zanda noticed only a few businessmen in suits she had thought she would feel intimidated among. At the busy branch in the heart of the Old Town, it was mainly elderly people who came to pay their bills or to receive a renewed card. Zanda remembered Ieva telling her that the younger generation preferred to use modern technologies in banking.
A short man in his fifties caught Zanda’s attention. He entered the branch with an air as if he owned the place. He marched right past the queue ticket dispenser machine and walked over to a bank clerk who was serving a customer. The man didn’t seem to be put off by this fact. He simply hovered over unceremoniously, showing signs of impatience. Once the client left, the clerk didn’t tell the intruder to take a queue number and wait. That took Zanda by surprise. Since she sat rather close to the bank clerks’ area, she could hear everything.
“Three thousand from dollars to euros,” the man spoke in a muffled, urgent voice.
The bank clerk, obviously familiar with the strange ways of this client, took the passport he threw on the counter and started typing on her computer.
“Then, two thousand from pounds to dollars.” The man issued the next instructions, oblivious to the fact the execution of the previous one was still in progress.
In a few minutes, the clerk – a young woman in a neat blue and yellow bank uniform – turned to face her customer with the trained expression of a client service professional. “Here are the forms. Please sign here,” she pointed at the place for the signature. “Thank you. Would you like to make another transaction?””
“Finding Your Way” is a contemporary young adult novel set in Latvia in 2008.
Zanda is seventeen. She is Latvian. She wants three things in life: to stay in her home country, date her boyfriend, and have a career. There is a problem with each of these things, though.
Zanda’s friends and even her family think that she should board a plane and depart to England the moment she graduates from school. Her boyfriend is intelligent and every mother’s dream, but he is Russian. She plans to study at the university but hates the thought of having to live on the ugly outskirts of the capital with her parents for four more years.
And then, there is Zanda’s love for the countryside. Witch’s Pond is a small, lovely town where her grandmother lives and where Zanda spends her summers.
Zanda feels torn between her equally ardent dreams about having a life in the capital and living in the countryside.
Meeting the infuriating and handsome nineteen-year-old Latvian guy Viestards, who like her has different views on how he should live his life, makes Zanda’s dilemmas even more complicated. However, Viestards’s dream to turn his land into a profitable venture is endangered. And it will take a lot of gumption to pursue this dream against all odds.
It is the summer of 2008, the last one before the global financial crisis. While for Latvia it promises to be a time of hardships and challenges, for Zanda’s family and for Viestards it might be a time of opportunities to change their lives.
There is a slight touch of magical realism in the book that conveys a deep connection many Latvians still have with ancient pagan roots and traditions.