Risked: Frequently Asked Questions
Note: My answers may contain some spoilers for the book—please don’t read this if you haven’t finished the book!
Why did you choose to feature Anastasia and Alexei in the Missing series when scientific evidence now indicates that they died with the rest of the Romanov family on July 17, 1918?
When I started writing the Missing series, there was still some uncertainty because two of the Romanov children’s bodies had never been found. This had led to some ninety years of speculation and claims, mostly about the possibility that Anastasia had survived and escaped and assumed a fake identity.
I had always been fascinated with the Anastasia stories, so it seemed obvious to me in the beginning of the Missing series that my time-traveling characters would have to get involved with the Romanovs at some point. I was so confident about that, that I mentioned Anastasia and Alexei in Found. I wrote most of Found in early 2007; by the time it came out in 2008, searchers had already found two bodies that they thought were the missing Romanov children, buried separately from the rest of the family.
By 2009 DNA tests on those two bodies proved they were Romanovs; the only remaining confusion was a dispute between scientists about whether it was Anastasia or her older sister Maria who was buried separately. But because I’d mentioned Anastasia and Alexei in Found, I felt that I should still include the Romanov story in the series. (And, also, because it’s a fascinating story!) I began trying to think of ways to use the most recent revelations as a plot point in the book.
It’s always hard to write a time-travel book without running into questions about fate and destiny and how much free will any of us have, anyway; those questions just became that much more intense in Risked.