. Athena's Books: Author Laura Resau Interview!
Thursday, October 15, 2009

Author Laura Resau Interview!

Virtual Book Tour Today and Tomorrow:

Laura Resau, Author of The Indigo Notebook

Laura, I am so excited to have you here at Athena's YA Book Reviews! I have been a fan since last April when I read Red Glass. One of the things I really love about your writing is the ability to bring different worlds to life through vibrant, yet simple imagery. By simple I mean natural with everyday words. Your writing is accessible, but yet you have a way of bringing a sort of magic. Thank you for being here with us today and taking time out of your busy schedule. I am looking forward also to your guest author blog post tomorrow.

Interview Questions for The Indigo Notebook:

1. I read the author’s note you provided at the end of The Indigo Notebook where you describe the “limpia” you received from on Ecuadoran healer and your resulting adoption of a boy from Guatemala. It really brings out the idea that what you most wish for in life may not be the thing that you most need and desire, since we, as mere humans, can not see the big picture laid out for us --how sometimes greater things are in store for our lives. After reading your last words, I see “The Indigo Notebook” as a labor of love, merging your love of writing with the love of your son. My question is how do you think the novel would have been different had it not been for your son?

Great question. As I was writing this, I was also going through adoption workshops and trainings, and waiting for all the legal paperwork to clear so that we could bring our son home. I think that all this reflection made me empathetic to how Wendell has felt about his adoption throughout his life—and of course, it definitely made me empathize with the feelings of his parents. I doubt that Wendell's parents would have played as much of a role as they did if I hadn't been able to clearly imagine what they were going through. Adopting my son made me especially aware of the spiritual aspect of adoption. As the story suggests, I truly believe that he and I were meant to be together… that there has always been something like a red ribbon connecting our spirits. This is something I might not have included in Wendell's story if I hadn't experienced myself.

2. You mention on your website how Layla and Zeeta are dual expressions of yourself--”the mystical traveler and the common sense realist.” I can imagine how difficult it would be not to find a little of yourself in any character your create even if they are part of different novels. Question: How is Zeeta similar and different from Sophie, the lead character of your novel “Red Glass”?

After I finished writing Red Glass, I wanted to write a book with a protagonist who was pretty self-confident in contrast with Sophie (who was fairly insecure and fearful, at least, before her transformation). Although on the surface, Zeeta is a worldly, courageous character who's an expert at navigating different cultural norms, underneath that, she feels a deep longing for a safe and "normal" life. She tends to wake up at three a.m. feeling anxiety about her wandering life—feelings that during the day, she can keep somewhat hidden. So she does have some degree of anxiety, like Sophie in Red Glass. I think that what both Sophie and Zeeta have in common is that they are sensitive, thoughtful, and observant, always trying to look beneath the surface of the people in their lives in an effort to connect with them.

3. Can you give a glimpse of the new world Zeeta and Wendell will encounter without actually revealing it to us? What I mean is can you give us two or three beautiful sentences like the many you have of Ecuador in “The Indigo Notebook“--a few lines to put us into the scene?

The story is set in and around Otavalo, a colorful town in the Andes mountains. On my research trips there, as I was taking notes on the setting, I kept writing, "green green GREEN!" There were so many dazzling shades and rich textures of green— patchworks of forests and field all spread out over the mountain landscape. I kept thinking I'd love to have a dress stitched together with bits of green velvet and silk that would swirl around like the folds of these mountains. I also loved writing about the marketplace in Otavalo, with its smells of alpaca and wool, and rainbows of scarves and sweaters and rugs. Colors and textures and smells are so much fun for me to notice and weave into setting descriptions.

4. Do you think you could ever write about a place you have not visited? And, how much of a challenge would you face in creating the world of the novel if you had never experienced it first hand?

I honestly can't imagine writing about a place I've never visited. For me, writing setting is all about being observant with all my senses, trying to capture tastes and smells and sounds… things you can't always get from photographs. I also love talking to people and getting a sense of the personalities in a place… and letting this come out in dialogue. Many snippets of dialogue in my books are taken from real conversations I've had—and without being there, in Ecuador (or Mexico or Guatemala…), I wouldn't have that inspiration to draw on.

5. Why do you love writing YA literature?

The books that have had the biggest impact on how I understand life were books I read as a young teen. I think it's a huge privilege to write books for this age group, and I absolutely love it when I get reader mail that says my book changed the way someone sees the world. What an honor!

Fun Fact Questions

The last time you had a Mexican dish and what was it?

Delicious, spicy tamales from the farmers' market down the street.

Least favorite chore?

Oh—there are so many! I'll have to say cleaning my car out. I hardly ever do it. I tend to toss pistachio shells and banana peels on the floor, and leave chocolate on the dashboard where it melts into the shriveled up apple cores. Seriously, my car is disgusting!

Historical era and place you’d most like to visit?

Maybe New Mexico before the Spaniards came (over 500 years ago). While I was in grad school in anthropology, I worked on a research project that involved transcribing and translating old Spanish documents about the Hopi (or Moqui as they were called then). I would love to go and hang out with a family for a few days.

Cat or dog person?

I like the idea of cats, but I'm very allergic to them. I have a devilish little dog—a funny-looking half-corgi-half-Lab with very short legs.

Favorite Hollywood classic?

I love old sci-fi TV shows, like Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, and the original Star Trek. I'm also a fan of The Avengers—a very cool British adventure/mystery show with great humor.

Actress and actor you’d like to see in a movie about Zeeta and Wendell in their late 20’s?

Wow. Hmm. You know, I'd love it if they were "undiscovered" actors, at least until this movie makes them world-famous, of course… ;-)

Thanks for a lovely interview, Minnie!

Thanks, Laura for giving lovely answers! Congratulations on your book release!