The lovely Laura Resau is here to talk about her new novel, and to give away a copy to one lucky commenter. Welcome, Laura!
Hi, everyone! I met some of you readergirlz in May, when Red Glass was featured. Glad to be here again in your lovely company! My excuse for coming back? On October 13th, my new book—The Indigo Notebook—will be released. It's the first of three novels in my new travel-adventure-romance series—I'm so excited about its debut!
The story is about a fifteen-year-old girl, Zeeta, who lives in a different country every year with her flighty, English-teaching mom. Zeeta's life has been packed with adventure, but she wants the "normal life" she sees in American magazine ads. This year, in the colorful marketplace of Otavalo, in the Ecuadorian Andes, an American teenager named Wendell asks Zeeta to help him search for his birth parents. The quest leads them to an indigenous village, where they become entangled in mysteries, old secrets, and danger. Zeeta's and Wendell's search brings them closer together, and closer to fulfilling their greatest wishes. Now they must ask themselves: Is the truth worth pursuing, no matter what? Is it possible that a surprising reality might be better than a long-held fantasy? And most of all, what is it that will truly make their spirits fly?
The seeds of this story were planted while I was on a research trip to Ecuador a few years ago. I was spending time in indigenous communities around Otavalo to gain deeper understanding of my friend Maria Virginia Farinango's girlhood. (We were writing her memoir, entitled The Queen of Water, available Spring 2011). During my research, a local friend of mine told me about an adopted teenage boy who came to his indigenous community looking for his birth parents… it turned out this boy was my friend's biological half-brother! I was fascinated by the details of his story, and couldn't stop thinking about it. A couple years later, my husband and I decided to adopt a baby from Guatemala. During the eight months we were waiting for our son to come home, I spent lots of time reading books about adoption, going to adoption workshops, and thinking about how my son might feel about his adoption throughout his childhood and teen years. These reflections and ideas emerge in Wendell's storyline.
Zeeta and Layla's wandering life is something I've often fantasized about. For two years, I taught English in Mexico and traveled quite a bit around Latin America. I met many wanderers who taught English for a while in one country, then, feeling restless, moved on to another country. On one hand, it seemed like a fascinating and stimulating way to live, and part of me wanted to try it out (well, I sort of did—from age 18-27, I lived in Maryland, New Orleans, France, Mexico, Newfoundland, Arizona, and Colorado.) Another part of me loves feeling settled in a cozy home, surrounded by close friends, with a strong connection to my community. In a way, I explored these two conflicting parts of myself through Zeeta and Layla's relationship.
Zeeta's sure that "a normal life" is the only thing that will make her happy, but once her wish is on the verge of coming true, she questions her assumptions about happiness. I've often fallen into the "happiness trap"—convincing myself that I'll only be happy *IF* I get this one specific thing. For a while, I thought that having a baby was the only thing that could make me truly happy. Then, after my trips to Ecuador (which I detail in an Author's Note), I realized that adopting a baby could make me happy, too. (And YES-- my son makes me happy beyond words!)
I hope this book encourages readers to think about their own assumptions surrounding happiness, and opens their minds to new possibilities. I'd love it if this series inspires readers to travel the world, learn new languages, and explore unfamiliar cultures. And I hope the mystical elements of the story help you find magic in your own lives!
Here's a picture of me when I was sixteen (right). I was smiling EXTRA-BIG because I'd just gotten off my braces! (I was convinced that having my braces off would instantly bring me to the pinnacle of happiness, of course.) The photo was taken at school… oh, how those uncomfortable plastic orange chairs bring back memories…
Thanks for reading, girlz! You can go to my website to find out more about The Indigo Notebook!
To win a copy of Laura's new book, just comment below and tell us about a time when you fell for the happiness trap... or what brings you true happiness. We'll notify a winner by email next week!