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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