Welcome to my tour stop for Teresa of the New World by Sharman Apt Russell. Teresa of the New World is a middle grade/young adult/new adult book (she ages through the book, but it’s clean). Check out the tour page for more information.
About the Book:
In 1528, the real-life conquistador Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked in the New World where he lived as a slave, trader, and shaman. In this lyrical weaving of history and myth, the adventurer takes his young daughter Teresa from her home in Texas to travel to outposts in New Spain. Once there, Teresa is left behind as a servant in a Spanish household. But when an epidemic of measles devastates the area, the teenager must set off on a new journey, listening again to the voices of the desert, befriending a war-horse and were-jaguar, sinking into the earth to swim through fossil and stone, reclaiming her power to outwit the cunning figure of Plague. A story of apocalypse and hope, Teresa of the New World takes you into the dreamscape of the sixteenth-century American Southwest.
In addition to her book Sharma has joined the blog today to discuss why we write and why we need to write and the new democratization of writing on the internet.
Sharma: I am the kind of person who started writing when she was eight years old and never stopped. What was that about? Why do people not only write but set their hearts on writing? Why is that desire so powerful? For good or bad, writing has shaped my entire life, and so I am interested in the question.
We write, of course, for many reasons. We may simply love reading, and we want to be part of what we love. I think this often happens. We love books. Reading offers refuge and enrichment and enchantment. We want to be inside books. We want to live inside them.
We also love writing because making up stories, imagining new worlds, creating characters, fomenting drama, exploring new emotions is our natural form of pleasure. It is how we play. We love the ability to be everything and anything in a story. We write out of the joy of breaking free of our personal limitations. The joy of flight.
For me, as a child, and later as a young woman, writing was also a way to be seen and heard. Writing can be about the desire to have a voice. And so, yes, writing can also be about the desire to influence people. Writing can certainly be about ambition or the need for approval.
Today—some fifty years after writing my first story–writing has become a way of living. Writing is part of my engagement with the world. Importantly, writing is my way of thinking about things. Certainly writing my thoughts clarifies them. But writing is also a way to actually generate thought. Writing is not “copying” down answers we have already discovered. Writing is about discovering answers. Because writing is such a dynamic process. Writing takes place in the present, on the page, on the computer screen, in the brain. Neurons are firing. Synapses are snapping. There is energy, action, movement. Writing dislodges things in the mind. Writing sets things adrift. Writing makes new connections. Writing brings together ideas and sparks new ideas.
Today, more people are writing than ever before in human history. More and more people wake up in the morning excited about their blog or their fanfiction or their novel. They are telling their stories and self-publishing them or turning to small presses and collectives. This is the democratization of the internet and of the new publishing world. This is radical renaissance!
And this is upsetting at times to traditional writers and publishers and readers. Change is usually upsetting, and change brings new problems. Some writers self-publish before they have honed their craft. Publishers can’t compete in a world of cheap books and self-published writers. And readers are awash in a lot of reading that is not good writing.
It will all be okay. I feel sure of this. As readers, we will find ways to value and vet good writing on the internet. We will have new filters to find what we what to read. We will still have blockbusters, books that touch us collectively. We will also have more specialized niches, more curious books on even curiouser subjects. We will have a greater diversity of writing. We have opened up writing. The floodgates of creativity. The joy of flight. There’s no turning back.
Sharman Apt Russell has lived in the beauty and magic of Southwestern deserts almost all her life and continues to be amazed by that. She has published over a dozen books translated into a dozen languages, including fiction and nonfiction. Teresa of the New World is her third middle-grade and young adult novel.
Sharman teaches graduate writing classes at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico and Antioch University in Los Angeles, California and has thrice served as the PEN West judge for their annual children’s literature award. Her awards include a Rockefeller Fellowship, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Henry Joseph Jackson Award. Her work has been widely anthologized, with numerous starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. The San Francisco Chronicle has said “Russell’s writing is luminous” and Kirkus Reviews wrote, “A deep reverence for nature shines throughout Russell’s rich, enjoyable text.” The Seattle Times described her An Obsession with Butterflies as a “masterpiece of story-telling” and the San Diego Union Tribune called it “A singular work of art, with its smooth, ethereal prose and series after cascading series of astonishing lore.” The New York Times and Discover Magazine both described her book on hunger as “elegant.” Of her Anatomy of a Rose, the Sunday Times (London) said, “Every page holds a revelation.”
Four (4) signed copies of Teresa of the New World US only Ends 7/28
Giveaway provided by the author, bloggers are not responsible in any way for the prizing.