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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Getting ready for the Ruby party...

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view from the French castle-prison Le Chateau d'If  -- a setting in The Ruby Notebook

Hey guys,

So, I've been re-(re-re-re-re)-reading The Ruby Notebook in preparation for the party on Saturday (which you are all invited to-- Old Firehouse Books, 232 Walnut St, Old Town Fort Collins, 7 pm, Oct 2).  Another reason I'm reading it is to make sure my Jade Notebook draft-in-progress is on track with voice and plot and relationships.


At school visits, I'm often asked how it feels to read a finished, bound book that I wrote myself... and I have to say that although it's exciting, it's also a little excruciating.  When an innocent reader reads one of my books, she can (hopefully) just get swept away by the story, but when I read it, I'm simultaneously remembering the angst, sweat, tears (and probably blood at some point) that went into every chapter, every scene, every paragraph, and in some torturous cases, into a sentence or even word.  I remember the many revisions that each section went through-- all the changes in character and plot and dialogue that I agonized over... And although part of me can kick back and enjoy the ride, part of me is re-living some of the more painful moments of the writing/revising process all over again.  So.... it's a mixed bag!

That said, when I reached the end of reading The Ruby Notebook yesterday, I felt happy and satisfied overall, and I hope that for you, dear reader, the story simply sweeps you away to southern France for a few delicious hours...

The next step in preparing for the release party (now that the 100 pastries are ordered from Jean-Claude and Thomas the accordionist is getting his playlist ready) is figuring out what I'm going to talk about between the sweets and music.  I usually read a few short scenes and give background as to what inspired them.  Here's a little sneak preview of a few things I'm thinking I might mention:

The quirky fountains that are central to one of the subplotos...


Entremont, the Celto-Liguric ruins that I love visiting, just outside of Aix, where a scene is set...


The islands near the old port of Marseille, where Zeeta and Wendell visit...


Le Chateau d'If -- The Castle of If-- the setting for part of  The Count of Monte Cristo and for part of my book...


The funny faces over doorways and windows....


This man who often plays guitar in the Place de la Mairie, who inspired a scary character who was cut during a later revision... (desolee, monsieur!)


the ancient, narrow roads through which my friend and I secretly followed the movie star Timothy Dalton one night (he'd most recently starred in a James Bond flick and was shooting a new movie in the area)...


the old, odd dried-up fountains hidden in courtyards....


the gypsy-esque street performers on the Place de la Mairie...



the pigeons, oh, the pigeons...


On a different note, let's not forget little Star in the Forest in the midst of The Ruby Notebook excitement...  here's a blurb from a lovely blog review posted by Peaceful Reader, a librarian at an elementary school:

This book is a perfect gem for elementary students.... I can't wait to introduce this to students at Highland as we have a large Hispanic population and many of our students live in a one of two close trailer parks.  I think reading Star in the Forest will give students an instant connection to Zitlally and her family, no matter their background or where they live, because she is a very real and loveable character.


Thank you, Peaceful Reader! I'm so excited that teachers and librarians want to share this book with their students... I'm in the process of setting up a few author visits to elementary schools whose fourth and fifth graders are reading the book. It'll be fun to branch out from the middle and high school levels that I've visited for my YA books...

Thanks for reading, and hope to see you at the Ruby Soiree this Saturday!

xo
Laura

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ruby Notebook Review Roundup...

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Hi everyone,

Just got back from a quick trip to Anaheim, California for a fun visit to Connelly School to talk about RED GLASS, which was their All School Reads book!  My hotel was on Disneyland Drive, but alas, no time to go to Disneyland or the ocean (so close yet so far...)  My Lil Dude was awaiting my return, and I was still missing him from the previous week's NYC trip.  I did go out the one night I was there... to a Greek restaurant where I ate feta cheese that had been set on fire (very dramatic!) with the lovely Lori Polydoros, an author from the area.


I've been noticing some nice blogger reviews of THE RUBY NOTEBOOK coming in, now that the book is officially released.  I thought I'd share some with you...


From Biblioholic :

"A romantic, optimistic story that reassures the reader that there is more to life than observing and spending time worrying about the “what-ifs” only serve to limit your potential.  It is an affirming novel aimed at pre-teen girls but offers reminders for us all."  (Read the entire review here.)

From Book Pleasures:


"Every page is filled with wonder and excitement in this fantastic tale of romance, mystery, and happiness.  I have to say I was completely immersed in this YA novel, and a line that this author put forth will stay with me a long, long time, ”…no matter what pain or agony, if we reach deep enough inside our souls, we can survive anything.”  A fantastic sentiment to concentrate on; I commend this author for her beautiful stories about life, and I recommend them highly to all readers." (Entire review here.)


From Sarah Laurence:

"My teenaged daughter and I agree: Laura Resau might very well be our favorite young adult author. Her lyrical prose, multi-aged characters and exotic settings would appeal to many adults as well as to teens. This globe-trotting author trained as an anthropologist, adding cultural depth to her stories."

From Sarah's teenaged daughter:


"The Ruby Notebook, the sequel, was spectacular as well! I thought it would be hard to live up to the first one, which I loved, but this one was amazing too! It had unexpected twists and turns, friendship, lovely characters, romance, and a very interesting plot." Entire mother and daughter reviews (of both THE INDIGO NOTEBOOK and THE RUBY NOTEBOOK) plus an interview here.


Thank you, wonderful and dedicated bloggers!


Okay, that's all for now!  While Lil  Dude's still napping, I'm going to read and critique some manuscripts-in-progress by my writer friends Dana and Gloria (the latter novel is in Spanish... I can only do a critique like this this when my brain is working at its best, which is a pretty narrow window of time these days.)  It's exciting-- a big perk of being a writer-- getting to see your friend's story gems while they're still in the process of being polished... 

Have a fabulous week!  


xoxo
Laura

Friday, September 10, 2010

NYC with Maria Virginia of THE QUEEN OF WATER!

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On Broadway with Maria with our book!

Hello everyone!

Maria Virginia (my collaborator for the upcoming book THE QUEEN OF WATER) and I just got back from NYC!  It was her first time there-- she's always wanted to go, and I'm always looking for any excuse to go there, so we planned a three-day trip together.


We decided you could probably fit the entire town of Fort Collins into one of these buildings...


The Random House building is silver and shiny and utterly dazzling.  Last time I was in NYC two years ago, it was rainy, and the top of the building was shrouded in mist.  This time our visit was blue-skied and sunny, so I could see all the way to the top....


We toured Random House Children's Books, met with wonderful people who played parts in creating and promoting our book, had lunch with my editor, Stephanie, some other amazing Random House women, and some fantastic librarians.  We were thrilled to discover that they'd gotten review copies of THE QUEEN OF WATER ahead of time, so they'd all read the book!

 
Maria in Times Square

It was fascinating for us to hear everyone's favorite parts and what they were curious to know more about.  The lunch was at a scrumptious Mexican restaurant that used creative ingredients like jicama and figs.  Mmm.  Maria and I hadn't gotten our own review copies yet, but we sneaked one from the table. ;-)
in front of Random House

Maria's brother-in-law, Jaime, has been in NYC for a few months now, so he invited us to the Ecuadorian section of town (around Roosevelt and 82nd St-- Jackson Heights area). 


One thing I love about NYC is how the neighborhoods are so different... you get on the subway in sky-scraper land of Broadway and emerge, a half hour later, on a street that you might encounter in a South American town, where everyone speaks Spanish, and there are vendors selling helado (ice cream) from coolers and choclos (corn on the cob) on the sidewalks...

Jaime, like Maria's husband, is a talented Andean musician who plays wind instruments like reed pan pipes and wooden flutes. In the mornings, he plays in the subway (if you live in the area, say hola to him for us!)  He also sells jewelry on the street in his neighborhood.  It was interesting for me to meet him in this context, away from his home in the village of San Roque, on the outskirts of Otavalo, in the Andes.  I've spent time with his brothers and sisters and mother in their homes in Ecuador, hung out with their chickens and pigs, wandered around their cornfields, eaten fresh blackberries from their bushes and capulis from their trees, watched the sun set over the mountains with them... That setting couldn't be more different than NYC!


We spent lots of time riding on the subway...  always interesting, but a little exhausting (if, like us, you're fairly clueless and have to have one eye glued to a subway map the whole time).  That fluorescent lighting makes for pretty horrendous photos...

Tired and hot in sickly lights of a subway train

We stayed in Brooklyn, since I have a good friend who lives there.  I've known Amanda since we were about thirteen or fourteen.  Here we are on the steps of her gorgeous brownstone apartment...


I had to be sure to get photos of her neighborhood, since it's where Lil Dude's new favorite books are set (Knufflebunny and Knufflebunny Two by Mo Willems).  Later, when I showed him the pics, he immediately recognized the building as "Trixie's house!"


Thanks for reading!  (And, if you're curious, THE QUEEN OF WATER comes out on March 8, 2011.)


xo,
Laura