Fact or Fiction, What’s Real in I, Putin?

I, Putin is a fictional biography of Vladimir Putin. However, I touch upon many real and factual aspects of his life, as well as the Kursk disaster. For me, as an author, writing from the first-person voice of Putin, I wanted to delve into his psyche and answer the constant questions of what makes Putin Putin. In order to do so, instead of choosing to write a straight nonfiction book, I chose fiction. I felt fiction would encompass and bring out the more exciting and dramatic aspects of Putin’s life, as well as his thought process. Hence, why I chose the Kursk tragedy as the external conflict in the story. 118 submariners spiraling to their deaths in the Barents Sea and Putin having to make a decision that could save their lives…what’s more exciting and dramatic than that?

I used aspects from Putin’s childhood to help the reader understand where he’s coming from mentally. As I’ve said many times, most people think he’s a product of the KGB, and he is, he spent 16 years of his life working for it. However, since childhood, he’s been more a product of his judo training. Thus, I went to gyms and researched the sport with a judo master, and applied what I learned into Putin’s training and mindset. Then I fictionally set the stage for his judo upbringing.

Other parts of the book are very real. I followed almost the exact timeline of the Kursk disaster, starting with the explosion and ending with…well, I can’t tell you, you just have to read the book! I studied Putin’s family, especially his strained relationship with his father, and his equally strained relationship with his now ex-wife. And I predicted his marriage correctly, since Putin and his wife were estranged in real life, like in my novel. His daughters, they are an enigma even to Russians, but they are in the book, representative of access to Putin himself.

The most fictionalized part of the book is Gosha. He is Putin’s fictional personal aide, and he doesn’t exist in reality. In the novel, he provides the reader with access to Putin and the Kremlin, and most readers love his character.

I hope I’ve given you some insight on what’s real and what’s not. At the same time, I choose to keep certain parts of the fact v. fiction a mystery, as that’s the fun of reading the book. You can always email me and ask me privately, though…Thank you!

~ Jennifer

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