[fusion_text]I love this cover. I think it’s a perfect mix of beautiful and feisty, and my brother keeps saying how weird it is that the girl on the cover looks like me (I wish, kinda)![/fusion_text]
This was a surreal week for me. One, as a massive David Bowie fan, his death had me forehead to counter, trying to hold back tears, flashing through all the ways in which he’s affected my life. It doesn’t end. Each of his incarnations has inspired me. I always hoped I would meet him sometime.
Then, like two seconds after I got that awful news, my boss/agent/friend texted me that Matt de la Pena had won the Newbery for his picture book (whaaaaa?) Last Stop on Market Street, and that Laura
Ruby had won the Printz for Bone Gap. It’s a big long story why they are each and both so important to me, but they are. I adore them both and every time I think about the fact that they won, I start to bubble over, with pride, with excitement, with anxiety. I’m beside myself.
~ I went to see Revenant Monday in the middle of the day at this great theater in Santa Fe (http://santafe.violetcrowncinemas.com) that serves food and beer, and which I sometimes (rarely) visit because grown-up movies are out in the evening, what with the progeny.
I didn’t know much about it except that Leonardo DiCaprio was in it and that’s enough for me.
Oh holy bananas.
I cried my face off beginning about ten minutes into the movie, and then proceeded to re-cry every time I thought about the thing that made me cry in the first place. It’s so beautiful, so human, the cinematography is ridiculous, the acting perfect. Obviously it has now been nominated for 12 Oscars so duh, but yes. Go see this movie and hold on to your heart.
~ Writing wise, this article brought to me by YA author Ingrid Sundberg (spectacular human and writer), entitled “Why the Young Adult Fiction Sexual Revolution is So Necessary” is a thoughtful, important read. Have a look here.
~I marathon watched Making a Murderer on Netflix. No one on that show is likable. Everyone seems shady and sad. I don’t like things that smack of Schadenfreude, but it was so hard to make up my mind about what I thought that I couldn’t stop and so…ten episodes later.
Anyway, I had it going during dishes, laundry, as I was falling asleep. Weekend, done.
A couple of years ago, I listened to a Radiolab podcast, entitled “Reasonable Doubt” . It turned out to be the first act of this story, the one where the woman mistook Stephen Avery as her attacker. Definitely worth a listen. It gives a whole other perspective.
Anyone out there read The Rag and Bone Shop by Robert Cormier? Should be required reading if you’re going to watch this show. It’s about a boy who may or may not have murdered a little girl. The entire book takes place as he’s being interrogated. It goes to show how a person can be persuaded of something. Utterly brilliant.
~I finished my first blurb book, This is the Part Where You Laugh. You know, it made me realize that there’s realistic, and then there’s real realistic. Hot damn, this book is a gem. I can’t wait til it comes out. Summer, summer!
~I’ve also discovered Dazbog coffee (well, really Anna from Sol Food discovered it, FYI Taos people). It’s all Russian and hearty and smoky. It feels a little dangerous. If you see it anywhere, I encourage you to buy it. Like, for real.
And then, Alan Rickman. I can’t. I mean, I cannot. I love him. Moreover I fell in love with him years and years ago when he played Jamie the ghost in Truly Madly Deeply. You can watch a really goofy scene from the movie here. Sigh.
So from grief to elation and back again, there’s never a damn dull moment around here.
Now go forth and fill the well! xx
Link to the Taos News
Rick Romancito Dec 21, 2015
Courtesy Zoe Zimmerman
Taos author Estelle Laure
There are times when reading “This Raging Light” by Taos author Estelle Laure that it’s easy to forget you’re reading a book from the Young Adult section of your favorite book shop.
Told with a mature writer’s skill for defining character traits and unspooling that quirky teen-speak rooted in offhanded intuition and unknowing literacy, she makes this story of a young woman finding love at the worst time in her life feel authentic and heartbreakingly real.
Although billed as her debut novel, Laure says she’s been writing young adult stories for about eight years. “I always had the characters Digby and Lucille. I just had them under different circumstances.”
She said this particular book arose from the kind of jangly situation her protagonist endures in “This Raging Light.” “I think that I was in a place where everything was kind of falling apart and coming back together,” she said over coffee at Elevation in El Prado, “and I was moving back here, and a lot of things were changing in my life. It was just a way for me to process everything … there’s something wild and unbridled about Taos … this is where home is.”
Link to Taos News Article
The book jacket for ‘This Raging Light by Estelle Laure
Courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Her publisher’s blurb says this about the book: “When Taos resident and debut author Estelle Laure was 6, her parents uprooted her family. From then on, it was a VW bus and a different school each year. By 16, she graduated high school, moved into a tiny apartment in Taos with friends, got a job, and bought a car for $500.” She said that the book possesses a good deal of herself when she was growing up, especially in the way a kind of posse grew up around her, people she connected with and has stayed close with right up to the present. “We’re all still friends,” she said. “All my ideas of community come from Taos.”
In the book, which sees its release Tuesday (Dec. 22), “17-year-old Lucille must care for her little sister and pay the bills after her parents skip town — all while falling in love for the first time. Despite its serious subject matter, Laure used her own experiences to craft a hopeful novel about a teen going through a tough time, showing that stability is not necessary to overcome adversity. When it came time for Laure to raise her own children, she returned to Taos and to the neighbors who helped her by providing food and support when she was a teen.”
One of the people who helped support her was her first boss, Fred Muller of Taos’ El Meze Restaurant. Those familiar with the chef will take note of the way Laure describes the appearance of women he was known to hire. “Yes, I know Fred’s,” Lucille says in the book. “Everybody does. Reviewed in every major magazine, so people come from all over. Fred is supposed to be some kind of crazy food god with a posse of busty babes at his side. Part performance art, part Mexican restaurant, all wild. Or so legend has it. Scary.”
Laure said she worked for Muller for years. “I think he’s brilliant and eccentric, madly enigmatic and surprisingly loyal, and he has a distinct and unusual set of priorities and a fantastic personality. This is, of course, my fictionalized perspective on Fred – I would never claim to have all the information about what goes on with him – but as I was writing and knew Lucille had to get a job, I could think of no better hands for her to fall into. Fred read the book before it was submitted and gave me enthusiastic permission to use his name, so I did. His placement in the book [is] an homage, as for a time he was present for me in a way very few people have been in my life. I still consider him family.”
She said the characters in her book evolved first, coming in bits of unconnected prose, some of which never went anywhere or wound up pushed aside. But, eventually, this story began to emerge. “The first scene I wrote turned out to be almost the end of the book,” she said. “But, I knew they were going to be in it. I knew there was going to be a best friend (named Eden). I knew there was going to be a sister. So, it just kind of happened like that.”
Laure is age 41, but she believes there has always been a 16-year-old inside her, yearning to break free.
She’s also enormously grateful for landing what she says is the perfect job. She’s an editor with Folio Literary Management, and her boss, Emily Van Beek, is also her agent. And, although Folio is located in New York, Laure gets to work here in Taos. Thanks to technology, she said as long as she gets her work in on time, she can work in Dubai for all her boss knows.
Laure’s book is now poised to hit the big time. She is preparing to travel to a variety of book festivals and take interviews with journalists and bloggers galore. Entertainment Weekly featured “This Raging Light” in its Fall Book Preview, and rights have been sold in 15 countries so far. Pay attention to her work. This one’s a keeper.
A companion novel, “These Mighty Forces,” publishes in the fall of 2016. The story, she says, takes place in the same universe, but through the eyes of different characters. Her fans, we’re sure, can hardly wait.
“This Raging Light” is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It retails for $17.99 and is recommended for readers age 14 and up. Visit hmhco.com.
Winter 2015-2016 Kids’ Indie Next Pick!
“Readers finding themselves with increasingly mature accountabilities will appreciate Laure emboldening Lucille with a savvy resilience that withstands the pressures from adult authority, even while learning the invaluable life lesson that we are all in this together.”
“I loved this book. I was torn between wanting to devour it in one breathless read and needing to stop and savor each gorgeous turn of phrase. This is a remarkable debut.”
—Morgan Matson, author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and Since You’ve Been Gone
“This Raging Light is a funny, poetic, big-hearted reminder that life can—and will—take us all by surprise sometimes.”
—Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and The Geography of You and Me
“Estelle Laure writes with power and lyricism—but more than that, she writes honestly from the heart. Definitely a writer to watch!”
—A.M. Jenkins, Printz Honor winning author of Repossessed
“With This Raging Light, Estelle Laure establishes herself as a literary heavyweight. Laure’s characters mimic her writing, at once visceral and brave, unafraid to confront love in its every facet—surprising, surpassing, flawed. This book is a thick quilt in a cold room, and I want to wrap myself in it.”
—David Arnold, author of Mosquitoland
“[Laure] has a raw, authentic voice and a passion for storytelling.”
—Matt de la Peña, Pura Belprée honoree and award-winning YA novelist of The Living and Mexican WhiteBoy
“Estelle Laure’s This Raging Light might be YA, but it’s got plenty of grown-up appeal.”
“A heartbreakingly hopeful, lyrically told exploration of the abandoned children-selfish parents trope.”
“In an assured debut, Laure gives Lucille a fierce stubbornness that keeps her going. . . The characters are well drawn, and Laure effectively depicts the adrenaline rush of love.”
“This Raging Light is a funny, heartwrenching, and soulful read as Lucille develops her own personal family, bloodline or not. It’s not one you’ll soon forget.”
“Estelle Laure’s prose is utterly gorgeous, even as it lays out the story of a girl dealing with the failings of her parents, death, and her own insecurities.”
“Lucille’s fresh, first-person voice spills over with metaphor, poetically capturing her emotional landscape with force and fury, frantic love and absolute exhaustion.”
“Laure’s debut is brilliant and not to be missed.”
—RT Book Reviews
“Lucille may not take down a beast or assassinate any super bads, but she’s what heroines look like and love like in real life.”
“Laure captures the desperation for acceptance on a variety of levels in this poetic, heartbreaking read that will resonate with teens.”
“The narrative rings authentic, especially as Lucille wrestles with romantic pangs. Thankfully, there’s enough wry humor to balance the worry and poignancy. Above all, you’ll love steadfast Lucille and keep caring about what comes next.”
—Atlanta Journal Constitution
“Lucille is a steel-strong, deeply human heroine fighting against impossible odds.”
In the name of keeping myself and maybe a few others intrigued and entertained, every Friday I’ll post a few things that are keeping me fascinated.
So this week:
I read this article about Asiah Amini. I was feeling sorry for myself that day, and this article fixed me right up. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/01/04/war-of-words-annals-of-activism-laura-secor. She worked to prevent stoning and underage execution in Iran and is now a hero of mine. Plus look at her eyes!
I watched The Kingsman. It was totally fun. You should watch it too, although it has lots and lots of violence in it, so be ready for that. I tend to be a serious person (see above) and it’s good to be a little silly. And also, there’s Sam L. I love Sam L. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XsJOnZaO5
I read this middle grade book, The Thing About Jellyfish. I have always been fascinated of and terrified by jellyfish, so I particularly enjoyed all the scientific jellyfish facts that did nothing to lessen either my fear or my fascination. It was shortlisted for the National Book Award last year. This was my favorite quote: “If people were silent, they could hear the noise of their own lives better. If people were silent, it would make what they say, whenever they chose to say it, more important. If people were silent, they could read one another’s signals, the way underwater creatures flash lights at one another, or turn their skin different colors.” Isn’t that great?
I’m really excited there’s going to be a Deadwood movie. http://consequenceofsound.net/2016/01/saddle-up-hbo-confirms-work-on-deadwood-movie/ So yippie kai yay (is that how you spell it?) or cheers or whatever. There’s going to be a Deadwood movie!
I also read this book, There is No Right Way to Meditate by Yumi Sakugawa. My ex-husband’s girlfriend gave it to my daughter for Christmas (yes she did, at the Christmas we all spent together because we’re super 21st century and everything), and I immediately ordered the other two she’s written, Your illustrated Guide to Becoming One With the Universe and I Think I Am in Friend-Love with You. This one made me cry, talking about the rock in my chest becoming a crystal and stuff. It took five minutes to read. I highly recommend it for everyone, whether you meditate or not.
And on the subject of writing, this one is excellent. Why the British Tell Better Children’s Stories. This reminded me I want to read the book about the Inkwells, C.S. Lewis and Tolkien’s friendship and writing posse. http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/01/why-the-british-tell-better-childrens-stories/422859
I haven’t been outside in days. Not really. It’s been snowing and snowing out and I’m not one to be all, yay snow! I like it because it makes my kids happy because they like to ski and say things like “powpow” on good powder days, and snow makes it even cozier to stay inside and read. But my grandmother was from Martinique and I think she haunts me and makes me extra-cold. So I’ll leave you with this picture. It’s where I live in my head. Next book will not take place in winter.
~December 22nd is This Raging Light’s Book Birthday!
~January 4th www.rockstar.com will be hosting a two week blog tour
~March 12-14 I’ll be at the Tuscon Festival of Books (details to follow)
~April 19-22 I’ll be at TLA Houston
“Elizabeth Bewley at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers preempted North American rights to Estelle Laure’s This Raging Light, in a mid-six-figure, two-book, deal. Emily Van Beek at Folio Junior/Folio Literary Management represented the debut author. The novel follows a teenager and her younger sister as they try to deal with their mother’s sudden disappearance. Things become further complicated when older sister Lucille falls for her best friend’s brother. The publisher said the book is a “luminous portrait” of two young girls enduring hardship. Laure lives in New Mexico and received an M.F.A. from Vermont College of Fine Arts; Light is set for fall 2015.” ( Publishers Weekly June 2014)
Estelle or Starlet as I know her, by virtue of being a close friend of the uncle who bestowed the nickname, was born at Versailles and spent her childhood in Paris and London before coming to the States. After her parents went their separate ways, her mother came to Taos to start a business for her father who planned to move here upon his retirement.
Estelle’s grandfather, Ambassador William Eagleton met his first wife in Paris, where her father was the American Architect William Welles Bosworth, who had done the restorations on the Palace at Versailles during the 20’s.
Bill Eagleton and Francoise had five children. Dhyana, Estelle’s mother was the only daughter born to the two of them. When they separated, Francoise put herself through Medical School, five kids and all, and went on to become a Harley Street Surgeon.
Eagleton had spent time in Morocco during the late 40’s and 50’s and continued to maintain a residence there all his life with his second wife Kay, with whom he had three more children, one of them, another daughter. His bachelor apartment was passed on to the great American ex-pat writer, Paul Bowles. Bowles kept that flat until he died and the two men remained lifelong friends.
Bill Eagleton was one of the most interesting men of our time. One of the world’s foremost Arabists, a career diplomat, he came to the fore during the Kennedy years and worked for the State Department for the rest of his life. As well as Bowles, he counted among his close friends, the actress Ava Gardner. Famous friends aside, he dedicated much of his life to righting the wrongs of history toward the Kurds. He also collected Kurdish and other rare tribal carpets and had appointed his oldest daughter to open a rug shop in Taos in order to get a business going before his imminent arrival.
Dhyana arrived in Taos with her two kids in time for them to go to Taos High School and installed Bill’s lifetime collection of carpets in a shop on Bent Street aptly named Flying Carpet. When he and Kay arrived, she and her children were already a part of the community. His other children began to visit, a couple of them lived here for awhile but Bill found himself pulled out of his retirement more than once after finally settling in Taos. His expertise in many of the world’s hottest spots was too valuable an asset for him to be let go of that easily.
Little wonder then, given her illustrious and colourful family background, that Estelle has emerged from her own marital breakup, two children later, as a young writer to watch. Her day job as assistant to Emily Van Beek, the Agent who also happens to be her Literary Agent, takes up much of her time but that’s not stopping her from working on her next book.
“I could give up the job but I feel it’s a privilege to be on both sides of the desk,” she tells me.
She loves the Young Adult genre she’s working in, remembering how books were such a comfort to her during those uncertain years and believes that children’s literature period, remains a very important factor in childhood developement.
The book has been sold in twelve countries and is bound to be hugely succesful. She says the pressure is on but she doesn’t let it get to her. She’s going at a comfortable pace, making sure all she has on her plate, stays there. I have no doubt that it will. This beautiful, brilliant young woman has a personal history of dedication and discipline. An incredibly talented actress, Estelle got her degree in Drama at the University of New Mexico in Los Cruces, before working at the infamous Fred’s Place here in Taos for a couple of years. Most who have known her since then believed she’d go into Acting as a profession.
Fate intervened and she met the father of her children. They moved to the East Coast and she eventually returned to school for her Masters once their kids were old enough for her to expand her horizons a bit.
Back in Taos with her two kids, unfazed by the attention, the six figure advance and all the fuss, Starlet arrived for our chat with her son (who wasn’t feeling well) in tow, on her way to pick up her daughter from school.
Dressed in sweatpants, devoid of makeup, hair pulled up in a messy ponytail, she looked like a lot of other young Taos moms on duty and that’s the way she likes it. Taos is where she is free to be exactly who she is with no pretension and no one to impress. She’s home.
“I love Taos,” she says, ” all my friends are here, people who I’ve known since High School, we have kids now, we’re older, but it’s still a close-knit group. I feel so lucky.”
As we got ready to leave the cafe where we met, we exchanged small talk about our families and such, before heading out into the cold, when she stopped before going out the door and turned to me.
“You know Taos is a remarkable place, I think it’s the only place on earth where nobody judges you in terms of your monetary worth or what you do.”
“Here,” she noted, “it’s more about, how creative are you?”