Finding Katya by Katie R. Aune: Blog Tour & Giveaway

Monday, December 04, 2023
Finding Katya by Katie R. Aune
I'm excited to share yet another amazing blog tour has been launched. This time it's Finding Katya by Katie R. Aune. This memoir is perfect for anyone who has ever thought of leaving their job to travel long-term or simply getting off the beaten path and exploring lesser known parts of the world.
Celebrate with us as we interview author Katie R. Aune about her memoir and giveaway a copy of the book to one lucky reader.

But first, here's more about Finding Katya:

Finding Katya is the inspiring and compelling story of one woman who ditches everything to embark on an unconventional adventure through the former Soviet Union.

On her 35th birthday, Katie Aune was at a crossroads. Still reeling from a difficult breakup and longing to find more meaning in her life, she hopped on a one-way flight to start a year-long journey of discovery. Once a Russian and East European Studies major in college, Aune plotted a course that would take her through all 15 states of the former Soviet Union.

In a book that is part memoir, part travelogue, Aune takes readers along as she discovers places that are far off the typical tourist track, from riding the Trans-Siberian Railway across Russia and taking a cargo ferry from Ukraine to Georgia, to volunteering in Tajikistan and camping in the desert of Turkmenistan. Faced with the vulnerability of traveling solo through unfamiliar lands, she shakes off her insecurities, embraces the unknown and realizes that each journey is worthwhile, even if it doesn’t go as planned.

ISBN-13: 979-8988365907
Print length: 286 Pages

Purchase a copy of the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Make sure you add it to your GoodReads reading list.

Praise About Finding Katya

"[A] candid recounting of a long journey with low and high points not presented as a sugar-coated fantasy...This engaging travelogue illuminates a historically significant part of the world that remains little known to many Americans." — Kirkus Reviews

"Reading Katie's book feels like traveling beside her to places both familiar and harder to reach. With candor and insight, she captures the joys and challenges of heading out alone into unfamiliar places and the unique experiences she had along the way. A fun read and inspiration for your next adventure!" — Audrey Murray, author of Open Mic Night in Moscow

"Katie is a trailblazing solo female traveler who made the former Soviet republics a priority long before they were on anyone's radar. I admire her courage and resourcefulness." — Lee Abbamonte, TV travel commentator who's been to every country in the world

"Katie's raw and honest voice puts you front and center into her travel adventures (and misadventures!), making you feel like you are riding them right along with her. Her story is a testament that travel isn't always perfect, but that the lessons we take away from it change us completely." — Beth Santos, founder, Wanderful

About the Author, Katie R. Aune

Katie R. Aune is a recovering tax attorney who has worked in nonprofit and higher ed fundraising for more than a decade while also dabbling in travel blogging and writing. Despite not traveling overseas for the first time until she was 25, she has been to nearly 70 countries and all seven continents. Born and raised in Minnesota, Katie is currently based in Washington, D.C. and has a habit of rooting for sports teams that find ways to lose in devastating fashion.

You can find her online at:

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: First of all, congratulations on your memoir! What inspired you to write it?

Katie: This book was a labor of love more than ten years in the making. In 2011, I quit my job to take a career break to travel, ultimately spending 13 months traveling and volunteering throughout all 15 states of the former Soviet Union. I chronicled my journey in real time in my blog, but I wanted to give readers a deeper look at the challenges I faced and how I grew along the way – something that really wasn’t evident to me at the time.

WOW: That's incredible! You are so brave to have embarked on this experience. Your memoir has such incredibly rich detail. You really took me along with you. How did you recapture all the details of your excursion in such vivid and clear ways?

Katie: I was fortunate in that I captured a lot of it in real time. I published a fairly successful travel blog during the year I spent traveling, writing three to four posts a week in real time about my experiences. I also took a lot of pictures, which I used to refresh my memory on how places looked. I also kept a journal and posted on social media a lot – I downloaded all of my Facebook posts to grab added details.

WOW: How amazing you shared that at the time! I confess, I'm a huge fan of memoirs of people who take a big risk like you did. What made you decide to take that leap of faith?

Katie: I’m a big fan of taking calculated risks, which is what I feel I did in quitting my job to spend a year traveling. As I detail in the book, I spent more than a year planning and saving for the trip and I did everything I could to set myself up to find another job again when I returned home. I also had the benefit of meeting a number of other “career break travelers” who were also in their early to mid-thirties (at the time) so I had examples of other people who were successfully quitting their jobs to see the world. 

WOW: How serendipitous that you met those people at that time. What do you hope readers take away from reading your memoir?

Katie: A couple things. I like to describe my book as part travelogue, part memoir. It’s a personal story that I hope readers find relatable and inspiring. But it’s also a tribute to all the places I visited, from traveling across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway to spending six weeks in Ukraine to volunteering in Armenia and Tajikistan to camping in the desert of Turkmenistan. I hope readers will take away a greater interest in these destinations overall. Several are in the news now for the wrong reasons (Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, etc.) but every place I visited was amazing in a different way and the people I met everywhere were incredibly friendly and welcoming. We focus too much on our differences and often miss how similar we all are, no matter where we live.

WOW: So true! How did your book transform from first draft to final draft?

Katie: My first draft was basically a collection of blog posts from the travel blog I published while I was traveling. I started by eliminating the stories I didn’t want to tell or that I felt didn’t fit into a larger narrative. Then I began enhancing those stories, adding more detail about the places I visited and pulling memories from the journals I kept at the time. The best thing I did was hire a developmental editor who helped me shape the overall story and arc to take the book from a series of anecdotes to a cohesive story.

WOW: That was a smart investment! Why did you decide to self-publish?

Katie: A mix of impatience, laziness and a desire to retain creative control. After sitting on my story for nearly a decade after my trip, I didn’t want to wait another two to three years to publish it and I knew that would be the timing if I went through the process of trying to find an agent and then a publisher. I also got some initial feedback from querying agents that my story likely wasn’t commercially viable – which I appreciated. It’s about a part of the world that most people don’t know or care much about, so I figured I was facing an uphill climb to go the traditional publishing route. I was ultimately happy to self-publish as I was able to control the timing and creative aspects, like my cover (I’m obsessed with my cover design!) and my overall story.

WOW: I feel the same way about your cover! And how cool you believed in your story enough to publish it yourself. What words of advice do you have for those who wonder if their story is worth telling? 

Katie: I think every story is worth telling, but not every story is for every audience. You just need to find your audience.

WOW: A very true sentiment to leave our readers with! Best of luck on your blog tour and your book! Thanks for joining me today. 

Finding Katya Blog Tour

--- Blog Tour Calendar

December 4th @ The Muffin
Join us at WOW as we celebrate the launch of Katie R. Aune's memoir Finding Katya. Read an interview with the author and enter for a chance to win a copy of the book.

December 6th @ Pages and Paws
Stop by Kristine's blog for a guest post by Katie R. Aune about how to quit your job to travel.

December 7th @ Chapter Break
Visit Julie's blog for a guest post by Katie R. Aune about what she wish she had known about writing a book. You can also read an interview with the author as well.

December 10th @ Shoe's Seeds and Stories
Visit Linda's blog for her review of Finding Katya.

December 12th @ The Faerie Review
Visit Lily's blog for her spotlight of Finding Katya

December 13th @ Bookplaces
Visit Kay's blog for her review of Finding Katya. 

December 14th @ Nikki's Book Reviews
Join Nikki for her review of Finding Katya, a memoir by Katie R. Aune.

December 15th @ Michelle Cornish's blog
Visit Michelle's blog for a guest post by Katie R. Aune about what not to do when self-publishing your first book. 

December 18th @ One Writer's Journey
Stop by Sue's blog and read her review of Finding Katya by Katie R. Aune.

December 21st @ Knotty Needle
Visit Judy's blog for her review of Finding Katya, a memoir by Katie R. Aune.

December 23rd @ A Storybook World
Visit Deirdra's blog for her spotlight of Finding Katya by Katie R. Aune.

December 24th @ Lisa Haselton's Reviews & Interviews
Join Lisa's blog for an interview with author Katie R. Aune

December 27th @ World of My Imagination
Join Nicole for her review of Finding Katya by Katie R. Aune.

December 28th @ Boys' Mom Reads
Visit Karen's blog for her review of Finding Katya by Katie R. Aune.

December 29th @ One Writer's Journey
Stop by Sue's blog again for a guest post by Katie R. Aune about traveling off the beaten path.

December 31st @ Affinito Lit
Visit Stephanie's Instagram page for her review of Finding Katya

January 2nd @  A Wonderful World of Books
Visit Joy's blog for her spotlight of Finding Katya by Katie R. Aune.

January 4th @ Choices
Visit Madeline's blog for a guest post by Katie R. Aune about female solo travel tips.

January 4th @ Rockin Book Reviews
Visit Lu Ann's blog for a review of Finding Katya by Katie R. Aune.

January 6th @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion
Visit Linda's blog for her interview with author Katie R. Aune about her memoir Finding Katya.

January 7th @ Jill Sheets' blog
Visit Jill's blog for her interview with author Katie R. Aune about her memoir Finding Katya.

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

Enter to win a copy of the travel memoir, Finding Katya by Katie R. Aune. Fill out the Rafflecopter form for a chance to win. The giveaway ends December 17th at 11:59 pm CT. We will choose a winner the next day and announce in the widget and also follow up via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Angela Mackintosh said...

Fantastic interview! :) Katie's memoir sounds incredible, and traveling to the former Soviet Union sounds like an amazing adventure. I love that it's a blog to book, and it's something I've always wanted to try. Wishing you the best of luck on your tour! :)

Jodi Webb said...

How brave you are! I love to travel but always with a buddy. I would love to hear more about working with a developmental editor.

R Struthers said...

I would like to travel more with a purpose. Meet locals, go off the beaten path.

kywave said...

I find this concept fascinating on find a real 'use' for such a college major!!

Heather Swanson said...

Perseverance wins success!

Ashley S said...

I find I always enjoy my travel experiences when I get there, but I have so much anxiety leading up to it. Great interview.

Bethany said...

I haven't been more drawn to a book in years. This is my dream trip, except more thorough and well planned than I ever conceived. I can't wait to follow your journey. Where is next?

Wanda B said...

This looks like such a fun book. I love stories about unconventional adventures and travel.

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