Though I've never traveled anywhere outside of the United States, whenever I turn the pages of a story, I get to travel with the characters wherever they may go, be it Spain, Australia, Wonderland, or Narnia. Thanks to a beautiful book by Laura Resau called The Indigo Notebook, I recently mentally (fictionally?) traveled to the Ecuadorian Andes.
I first came to know Laura back in May, when her novel Red Glass was the featured title at readergirlz.
Now Bildungsroman is a stop on Laura's blog tour. Welcome, Laura! While writing your new YA novel, The Indigo Notebook, you drew from your personal experiences with adoption, travel, and family. How much of the story changed and evolved as you traveled, and what remained a constant from the first draft until the published version?
Actually, most of the basic plot, characters, and relationships stayed constant throughout all the drafts for this book. One thing that changed was the role of Wendell's parents (his adoptive ones) in the storyline of his search for his birth parents. In this final version, his adoptive parents play a bigger role than originally planned. I think I ended up doing this because as I wrote the story, I was in the process of adopting my son. As a result, I could more vividly imagine how Wendell's parents might feel about his journey to Ecuador. In the early stages of planning the novel, I honestly didn't think too much about them, since I was wrapped up in Wendell's and his birth family's point of view.
Along similar lines, the letters Wendell has written to his birth parents throughout his life, which Zeeta translates, were a later addition. As I wrote the story, I was going to adoption trainings and reading books on adoption. This gave me an understanding of the range of feelings kids and teens can have about their adoption, and how much these feelings can change from year to year, even day to day. My brother was adopted from Korea, so I already had some perspective on the topic, but the adoption research helped me see the bigger picture. I thought Wendell's letters would be a good way to capture these changing and often conflicting emotions. How old is your son now?
My son is now 2 and a half, and he's beautiful, with big brown eyes and wild, curly locks. He's really musical, and loves jamming on his ukulele - he often belts out hardcore versions of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Jingle Bells, shaking his crazy curls around, and ending with an enthusiastic, "Mommy! Me rock star!" (except it sounds like "Mommy! Me wock taw!") I could go on and on about how amazing he is...Does he already know of his adoption? If not, when will you tell him about it?
We do mention his adoption in our everyday conversations. We read books about Guatemala and talk about how he's from there, what he ate there, who he lived with there. We look at photos of him with his foster family in Guatemala (a big, wonderful, extended family of three generations of women who showered our son with affection for the first 8 months of his life). We're still in touch with these women, and I'm grateful for this link to his roots. Oh, that's fantastic. Now let's talk about the women of in book: Zeeta, the keeper of the notebook, is a multilingual 15-year-old who has spent her entire life traveling the world with her free-spirited mother. I didn't even leave my home state until I was 17! Had you traveled very much by Zeeta's age?
By the time I was fifteen, I'd traveled a bit around the U.S. and spent a few weeks in Europe - nothing too wild. I managed to indulge my wanderlust in my neighborhood to some extent, by exploring the ruins of old farm houses in the woods and fields outside my Maryland subdivision. When I got my license the day I turned sixteen, and bought a tiny used Toyota with money I'd saved up, I drove to nearby places that I considered intriguing or off the beaten track—like the river flowing past a nearby historic mill town. I think that travel has more to do with an adventurous state of mind than actual distance covered.
I always remember a strange assignment given to me by a math teacher in high school, who was trying to explain the concept of paradigm shifts. ( Collapse )
September 8th: Marjolein Book Blog
September 27th/28th: Through the Tollbooth
October 6th: Becky's Book Reviews
October 12th-16th: Random Buzzers
October 12th: Charlotte's Library
October 13th: Guest post
October 14th: Cover Stories post
for Melissa Walker
October 15th and 16th: Athena's YA Book Review
October 19th: The Writing Bug
October 21st: YA Authors Café
October 28th: Interview with Little Willow
Month of November: The Ultimate YA Reading Group
Visit Laura's website