Debra Dean is a native of Washington State and currently lives in Miami, FL. She began her career as an actor in the New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse. After receiving a MFA from the University of Oregon, she became interested in writing. The Madonnas of Leningrad was originally begun as a short story. A PBS Series about the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg peaked her interest in writing. Coincidentally, her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Her grandmother became the fictional Russian woman who had survived the WWII siege. Dean researched and wrote the novel over several summers. She did not actually visit the Hermitage Museum until after the novel was published. Her meticulous research, however, reflects the actual plight of the Museum during the siege of Leningrad and the tireless endeavors to save the art treasures. Dean weaves the story flawlessly between the past during the Siege of Leningrad and the present in the Pacific Northwest, keeping the reader engaged with her lyrical prose.
Official Author Site: Debra Dean website
Author’s Photograph: photograph