This tale came to me as I was taking a vacation in Ukraine during a visit to Zavaliv, a town where I was born and grew up. When I shared the idea with my grandma, Mynodora, she got extremely excited and started brainstorming.
Very quickly, we fell in love with the story we were telling, as Ukrainian history is rich and full of mysterious events. All through the process, we had dreams of many readers joining us on this adventure.
I also wanted to create a book that celebrated the rich cultural heritage of Ukraine. My inspiration came from my passion for Ukrainian history, and my desire to share it with a wider audience. In parallel, I wanted to take readers on a journey through Ukraine’s mythical world, highlighting the stories and legends that have been passed down from generation to generation. Reality and ancient Slavic mythology are tightly interwoven through the entire story, and you never quite know what is real and what is not.
As I wrote the book, I took special care that every reader can immerse into this world, and gain a deeper appreciation for Ukraine’s cultural heritage. Click here
The town was established in the early 1500s and is a big part of Western Ukraine’s history.
Zavaliv was once a city with its castle and a small army. It was an important outpost on the Ottoman Empire’s way to break into Western Europe. The castle has been sacked and ruined a few times, but always rebuilt back up. It remained standing until the communist regime destroyed it to get rid of all semblance of royalty in the land they had newly acquired post World War 2.
All historical details in this story are true, including the Cossacks’ visit, the battle with the Ottomans, and even the main protagonist’s name. It’s not just my vanity speaking, although I wish to be more like Roman Petriv every day. We will never know if he was a real person, but his legend is well and alive. I also took special care to mimic Zavaliv’s geography, where this tale takes place. The only thing that has changed since the 1500s is its name. Originally named Golden Oak, it was changed to a Polish Zawałów, then went to Russian Zavalov (Завалов) after the Soviet Union acquired it and now, Ukrainian Zavaliv (Завалів).
After many conversations with a local populace, many of whom remember me as a child and know my family’s roots, they were excited to share what they know to be true. That is how this idea grew into a glorious story.
As far as the mythology goes, well… that is for you to decide and for me to know.
The illustrations in the book were also important to me as they added a visual element to the stories, bringing them to life in a new way. I made sure to include high-quality photos that added to the book’s overall appeal. The cover art was created by a talented Ukrainian artist Viktoria. I think she perfectly captured the essence of this story in one breathtaking image.
Who is this book for?
My target audience for the book are adults, new adults, and in general anyone interested in learning more about Ukraine’s cultural heritage and its mythical world. I hope that readers will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Ukraine’s history and culture through my book. And, of course, fantasy lovers are welcome to explore the world of Zavaliv. Thanks to the artist Viktoria, we have an amazing map of Zavaliv.
In terms of future goals and plans for the book, I would love to see it reach a wider audience and am focused on promoting the story. I hope “Author’s Lounge” will help me with this goal. I’m at work on a second part already, and it is going to show the continuation of Zavaliv’s history throughout the years, adding more characters but still evolving around the rich mythical world.
Overall, I am proud of the work we have done in “Zavaliv: In Spirit of Legends,” and I believe it is a great read for anyone interested in magical realism stories.
It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Walmart, BookLocker and other stores. If you happen to read it, please leave your review on Amazon or tag me in your post on social media. My Instagram handle is @romankurys, Youtube