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.
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!