Silver Star Kyra Petrovskaya Wayne
You can almost see the mischievous grin on Kyra Petrovskaya Wayne’s face as she talks about her latest book, The Chaperone.
“It’s a sexy book, with a lot of bad words in it,” she said in a phone interview. “Some of my old friends were shocked.”
But Wayne, at almost 90, thinks that ever since The Sopranos, everything’s out in the open.
There’s more to this story than that, though. The main character in The Chaperone is based on a patient of her husband’s—a Russian girl who had been in a displaced persons’ camp and, though uneducated, spoke Russian, French, and German. She came to the U.S. at 13. “Because she was beautiful, she somehow became a call girl,” Wayne said. “She tried to get out of it but didn’t know how. Finally, she came to my husband (a psychiatrist) for help because she was depressed. The first suggestion he gave her was to try to educate herself. And that’s all I knew about her.”
The rest, she said, “I imagined.” In the book, the call girl becomes a chaperone for two difficult teenage girls on a prolonged vacation in Europe. Various adventures follow.
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But when Wayne showed the manuscript to her husband, he told her she should not publish it. He feared that the heroine may recognize herself and he would be accused of breaching doctor-patient confidentiality. “So I put it away,” she said. That was over three decades ago. “Last year, I was asked if I had some unfinished manuscripts, and I said yes.” She fished out The Chaperone, reread it, and decided, “It was fun!” She rewrote it, and this time, “I let myself go, sex and so on.”
It was a new direction for Wayne. You can learn a great deal about where she has already been through her 14 other (tamer) books, some of which are based on her life in Russia. A look at her Web site reveals a lifetime of fascinating ground to cover; talking with her for an hour and a half was just brushing the surface. You may also enjoy seeing a glimpse of her life through pictures: Silver Star Kyra Petrovskaya Wayne Photo Gallery.