WeWriWa—A Friend Is a Friend


Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. Though my first Russian historical is slated for release on 7 November (the anniversary of the October Revolution, by the modern Gregorian Calendar), I’m instead going to start sharing from my third Russian historical, my WIP, again. To be honest, after so many years with my first Russian novel, I’m kind of sick of looking at it and just want it released already!

Chapter 81, “A Friend Is a Friend,” is set during the first two days of the bloody Battle of Saipan in mid-June 1944. Rodion (Rodya) Duranichev and Ipatiy (Patya) Siyanchuk are lifelong best friends who joined the Marines in April 1942. Patya is always playfully ribbing Rodya about how soft he is, and how he wouldn’t last long in combat without his best friend looking out for him. Rodya, in spite of being so sensitive and not as stereotypically masculine as other guys, is desperate to prove he’s a brave Marine who can hold his own without Patya.


The next morning, as the pale light of dawn streaks across the sky, Pátya wakes to the sound of Ródya shouting for help.  No gunfire accompanies the agitated shouting, which can only mean Ródya is alone and not in the first battle of the day.  Not wasting a moment, he jumps out of the foxhole and runs in the direction of the noise, jumping over several suspicious-looking piles of withered vegetation and dirt.

His eyes fill with the sight of Ródya, his helmet on backwards again, with a completely bloodied right shoulder.  Ródya’s boots have caught on vines in the underbrush, his rifle uselessly lying to his side.  A Japanese soldier stands above him, aiming a bayonet at his chest while Ródya has a death grip on it with his left hand, trying to push it away.

Pátya raises his rifle and shoots the Japanese in the neck, the only target he can find that’s not too close to Ródya.  Quaking violently, Ródya releases his iron grip on the bayonet and turns around.


I created Rodya in my first Russian historical and Patya in my second, when they were religious school students of antagonist Boris. I decided to bring back three of Boris’s former students as friends for my characters Tatyana and Nikolay, and Rodya and Patya were two of them. They also ended up becoming the sweethearts and eventual husbands of two of my characters who came to America to escape the Great Terror in 1937.

Rodya and Patya didn’t have surnames or patronymics till I made them into major characters. I’m only as good as the soundtrack I write any given book with, and I feel it’s important to give credit for inspiration where credit is due. Giving Rodya the surname Duranichev was my humble way of saying thank you. When I saw it in a list of Russian surnames, I knew I had to use it.


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