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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Next stop on blog tour...

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Hello everyone!

This is just a quick note to let you know the next stop on my blog tour for THE INDIGO NOTEBOOK is today, at Through the Tollbooth. Just follow the link and click on BLOG if it doesn't bring you right to the interview. Zu Vincent is the interviewer, and she asked me wonderful, interesting questions... she'll actually be posting more of the interview later this week. Hope you enjoy it...

I'll write more later... I wanted to post pics from my Chesapeake Bay trip, but my computer's acting weird and won't let me access the pics on Ian's computer... grrr...

Off to revise more Ruby Notebook now!

Laura

Monday, September 21, 2009

Stardust and more Indigo Notebook reviews...

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Happy autumn equinox, everyone!

Well, I guess officially the equinox is tomorrow... I just checked my calendar. It feels like fall today-- cool and rainy and gloomy in a nice way, a way that makes me appreciate my fuzzy red robe and mug of tea. I just got back from Maryland last night, and I'll post some pics of the Chesapeake Bay area soon. (That's where I felt inspired to start writing seriously, so it's a very special place for me.)

I love the art of Remedios Varo-- I think she captures the way celestial magic and plain hard work combine to produce art (or stories, or whatever). Often, when I write, I think of her paintings (which I have compiled in a beautiful book.)

This first one makes me think of the pure bliss of creating something (stories, in my case). I love how the stardust is an essential ingredient, which is directed by the artist (writer)... how together with heart-music, it creates a living creature that flies off the page. And I love how the artist is like a shaman, transformed into a half-bird-owl creature as she creates birds.

oops... the right side of the picture got cut off... just click on it to see the whole thing!

I had a print of this next painting hanging in my writing area when I lived in Oaxaca. To me it represents the more *torturous* side of creating. Here, she's feeding stardust to the moon, and she looks utterly exhausted and lonely and bored... as though she's a slave to this tedious creative process, alone with the moon in this little room in the universe. And honestly, this is how it feels sometimes. Sometimes writing is a blissful process, and sometimes it feels like self-inflicted punishment. It's worth it, of course... I just try to remind myself during the more torturous parts that the blissful parts will come again... and that there is always stardust and magic and moonlight involved, even if I sometimes lose sight of that.


While I was away from my computer last week, a bunch of nice news piled up in cyberland...

Here are excerpts of some new blog reviews of The Indigo Notebook that make me happy. This first one's from librarian Tasha Saecker of Kids Lit:

"In this many layered, complex work, Resau has created a fascinating heroine who speaks multiple languages, is at ease approaching strangers, and can move across the world and in a few weeks feel at home. . . Ecuador comes alive in [Resau's] writing. One can almost smell the popcorn in the air, the fresh bread baking, and the potato soup. Highly recommended for tween and teen readers who are looking to travel. This book brings a place to life so vividly it is almost like being there. Add a little romance and it becomes irresistible."

You can read the whole, wonderfully written, thoughtful review here.

Here's another lovely one, written by Becky of Becky's Book Reviews-- a highly respected blogger who reads a zillion books a year and writes eloquent, honest reviews.

". . . Life in Ecuador certainly is interesting, Zeeta finds. Full of adventure, mystery, magic, danger, love, and laughter. It's a coming of age story as well. A story of discovering who you are, what you want, and what you really need. It's a complex story exploring family dynamics and relationships. . . I think one of my favorite things about it is that it's multicultural without being "multicultural." It doesn't scream and shout, "Hey, look I'm multicultural. I'm all about the other." It feels authentic and natural."

You can read Becky's entire review here (and I encourage you to read all these bloggers' other reviews and interviews as well-- I've gotten lots of fantastic book recommendations from them.) I'll also be interviewed on Becky's blog on October 6, so be sure to check back then.



Here's yet another wonderful review, this one from Marjolein, who interviewed me on the first stop on my blog tour here. She just posted her review today on Marjolein Book Blog. Here's an excerpt:

"The Indigo Notebook is an amazing new YA novel about living in different countries and cultures. . . I thought it was very different than the usual YA novels, and I mean that it was one of the better ya novels I have read. The story of Zeeta and Wendell was very entertaining and keeps you page turning. And you learn a lot about Ecuador and its culture too while reading it."

One interesting thing about Marjolein's blog is that she's Dutch, living in the Netherlands, and so she offers a great international perspective... very fitting for this book.

And finally, here's a bit of a review of Red Glass, from Paula Kay McLaughlin of the blog Write Now.

"I knew I was in for a great read when the first page described the dryness of the desert so well I needed to pause for a glass of lemonade before turning the page. . .

I also want to applaud the exceptionally developed secondary characters that left permanent imprints on my heart. As writers we strive to develop multi-layered protagonists readers will care about, of course, but it’s the secondary characters that make a good solid story a fuller, richer one."


Always interesting to read reviews from writers' perspectives... thanks Paula! And thank you, Marjolein and Becky and Tasha!


I'll be posting my official blog tour schedule soon... I have about a dozen interviews and guest posts coming up. I've been having fun approaching the book from lots of different perspectives in these interviews. I think each post will have something unique to offer.

Fill your day with stardust. . . blissfully!
Laura

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Party for Maria Virginia!

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pic of Maria Virginia as a teen

Hello all!

My friend and co-author Maria Virginia Farinango is back in town for two months.... and we had a brunch party today to celebrate! Our book, The Queen of Water, is coming out with Delacorte in Spring 2011... here's the blurb:

Co-written with Maria Virginia Farinango, this amazing true story begins in an impoverished community in the Ecuadorian Andes. As a seven-year-old, Virginia is taken from her indigenous family to be an unpaid servant in a mestizo household, where she struggles to hold on to her spirit. Eight years later, she escapes ... but discovers that freedom holds its own set of challenges. She must overcome obstacles to rebuild a life for herself, and ultimately, to figure out who she truly is.

I am SO excited about this book!! Here's a tiny clip from an article that I found in an Otavalo newspaper as I was researching her story there. She was a teen at the time, and had recently been crowned The Queen of Water (one of the three indigenous queens of the town). She was responding to questions for an interview... here's my favorite answer of hers!

Oh, um, if you don't read Spanish, here's a loose translation (I say loose because there's no good English translation for superacion...)




Your family?




That's a story that one day I'd like to make into a book. That's my big dream. A dream of overcoming struggles-- overcoming my own struggles -- and something which any girl my age could do, if she has the courage to learn how to make her dream a reality.

One thing that comes out in Maria's story is the idea that in order to make your dream a reality, you need to not only find strength within yourself, but also form friendships with people who feel passionate about helping you make your dream a reality. Our friends at the party today all played a part in making this book a reality!

Julie and Andrea (above) are ESL teachers in town. Andrea teaches at the community college where I taught ESL for many years -- I met Maria through her. She was a student of Andrea's in the classroom next to mine. Before I'd met Maria, Andrea told me a bit about her story. I was fascinated and soon got to know Maria better... and that winter, we began working on the book!


Kay and Marylou and Flora (above) have been like family for Maria here in Fort Collins, offering her places to stay and help with her crafts business and other endeavors. (I'm in the pink jeans and Maria's the one next to me in the long black skirt.)


Martha (above) is the librarian at Harris Bilingual Elementary here in town, and she was one of the bilingual educators in the focus group that helped Maria and me with our latest revision of The Queen of Water. She and the others gave incredibly helpful feedback! Muchisimas gracias!

Hopefully most of you got my most recent e-newsletter, which is chock full of my upcoming events in Colorado. You can see the latest newsletter here... and then you can sign up for future ones here!

I'll also be doing a *blog tour*... my first one ever! See the sidebar for a link to the first stop on my blog tour-- Marjolein's Young Adult Book Blog.) My next stop is around Sept 27 or 28 at the Through the Tollbooth blog, with all new, really interesting interview questions! Please check it out! (If you're a writer, esp a writer of teen fiction, I highly recommend you read this blog-- it's overflowing with great insights from respected YA authors.)

Thanks for reading! I'm going to make another cup of tea to enjoy before Toddler wakes up from his nap. It's a cool, rainy day here, and it feels cozy to be inside writing and sipping tea...

xoxo
Laura

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 1 of The Indigo NoteBook Blog Tour!

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Hi all,

Just a quick note to say my first stop on *The Indigo Notebook Blog Tour* is Marjolein Balm's blog... and what a perfect place to start! Each of the books in the Notebooks series is set in a different country... and Marjolein is based in the Netherlands (at least that's what I deduced from her blog-- hopefully I'm not mistaken). Don't worry-- her blog is in perfect English (which makes me want to learn Dutch!) Isn't the Netherlands a great hopping-off point for this blog journey?! Anyway, her blog is great-- I hope you enjoy the interview!

I'll have about ten more stops on the tour over the next couple months... and I'll try to give new and different info in each interview. Check back soon for the next interview link (and in the meantime, I'll try to put together an itinerary with what's to come!)

On a different note, here I am with two ladies in my writing group-- Sarah Ryan and Carrie Visintainer-- at the Tour de Fat-- a gigantic bike parade here in Fort Collins last Saturday. We dressed up as different genres of literature. Sarah was romance (though you can't tell here-- she's missing her swash-buckling pirate lover) and Carrie was Western, and can you guess what I was? (I'm the one with the black wings and pink boa.)


Magical realism. With a bit of sci-fi thrown in (thus the alien hat-mask-thing). Loads of fun!

Cheers,
Laura

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Kirkus Review for Indigo! Editor's Corner!

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Hello and happy September, everyone!

This'll be a quick post to let you know the first major review of The Indigo Notebook is in... and it's a good one! Phew! *BIG sigh of relief* ... *Ear-to-ear grin* Here it is:

"Upon arriving in Ecuador with Layla, her flaky, globe-trotting mom, 15-year-old Zeeta has no idea that this latest move will prove any different from the whirlwind to which she has become accustomed. Then she meets Wendell, an OtavaleƱo boy her age adopted at birth by a white couple from Colorado, and agrees to help search for his biological parents. Descending into a mystery rife with small-town secrets, Zeeta struggles to control her feelings for Wendell. At the same time, her mom has a freak accident that results in some serious self-examination and begins acting responsibly, observing social norms and, much to Zeeta’s distress, spacing out in front of the television. The characters fairly brim with life in this thoughtful, poignant novel filled with cultural details. The writing is simple but evocative—“Far above, the gray peaks wear long, green robes, swirling into valleys, rippling into smooth mounds.” The story’s too-neat ending may strain believability for some readers, but this is a minor detraction to an otherwise remarkably engrossing, layered work. (Fiction. 12 & up)" -- Kirkus

Yay! Thanks, Kirkus!!

Stephanie and me

This is the third book that I've published on with Stephanie Lane Elliott, my editor at Delacorte. We're in the process of working on four more, which will be released over the next two years. I'm so grateful for this wonderful editor-author relationship! I'm often asked how I ended up getting my first book (What the Moon Saw) published. I talk about it a bit in the Q&A section of my website (scroll down and click on the "path to publication" question). You can read Stephanie's perspective here -- she's the featured editor for September on the Editor's Corner page in the librarian/teacher section of the Random House website. I'm hugely honored that she chose to talk about my books-- starting from how she pulled What the Moon Saw from the slush pile. Thank you, Stephanie!!!

I'm in the midst of some blog interviews at the moment... they'll be posted over the next couple months to celebrate The Indigo Notebook release. Come back soon to see what great blogs are on the agenda for my book blog tour. And be sure to check out the growing list of Red Glass and The Indigo Notebook events happening this fall. (My husband and I will post some new ones this weekend.)

Thanks for reading!
Laura