Dare to Read

August 8, 2012

Mi entrevista este verano en El Progreso / My Interview in the Spanish Newspaper El Progreso

Pensé que a mis amigos de habla hispana les podría interesar esta entrevista que Olalla González Lama me hizo para el periódico de mi ciudad natal, Lugo.

Si están interesados pueden leer el texto completo debajo del artículo.

  • ¿Por qué Bécquer?

Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer es el más romántico de los escritores españoles, quizás el único que lo fue en el sentido real del término. La otra escritora romántica incluida en los libros de texto, Rosalía de Castro, nos ofrece un romanticismo distinto, un romanticismo basado en el amor a la tierra y la morriña que su ausencia nos causa.

Bécquer fue un soñador que vivió dos vidas la que creaba con su imaginación y la suya cotidiana.

Su vida real fue más bien triste. Se quedó huérfano de padres en la niñez, contrajo una enfermedad crónica en su juventud, fue rechazado por su gran amor, y luchó toda su vida por conseguir el éxito literario sin conseguirlo. Su libro de poemas se perdió en 1868 durante la Revolución que depuso a Isabel II y aunque lo reescribió de memoria no fue publicado hasta después de su muerte.

En todas las biografías que leí sobre Bécquer lo retrataban como una persona amable y sencilla, honrada y valiente, una persona a la que me hubiera gustado conocer y por ello lo elegí como protagonista de mi novela.

  • Además de la obra del eterno poeta y narrador, ¿en qué se inspiró para escribir ‘Bécquer eterno’?

La respuesta inmediata es Lorca dado que Federico García Lorca es otro de los personajes de mi historia. ¿Por qué lo elegí? Su muerte fue una tragedia que me hubiera gustado prevenir no solo para evitar su pérdida personal sino también por que murió en la etapa más productiva de su carrera.

Lorca, por lo que se deduce de las biografías y testimonios de los que lo conocieron, era una persona alegre y llena de vida que era el centro de atención doquiera que estaba. ¿Quién no querría haberlo conocido?

En cuanto al sitio en el que se desarrolla la novela, me inspiré en el condado de Bucks en Pensilvania donde vivo.

  • Tituló su obra ‘Bécquer eterno’, ¿le gustaría que fuera inmortal?

Absolutamente. Y no soy la única.

Cuando a finales de junio visité en Sevilla la exposición homenaje a Bécquer, Bécquer tan cerca… A través del arte (http://youtu.be/73wEJDhKONo), conocí a la coordinadora literaria, Pilar Alcalá y a algunos de los artistas que contribuyeron con sus obras a la exposición. Estoy segura de que todos ellos comparten mi deseo de que el Bécquer inmortal que creé en mi novela fuera real.

  • ¿Le resultó sencillo aunar estos dos tiempos tan dispares, el del autor decimonónico y el actual?

Bécquer eterno tiene lugar en la época actual. Aunque para entender el personaje de Bécquer imaginé también la historia de cómo se convirtió en un ser inmortal en el siglo XIX, solo la primera página de esa historia aparece en Bécquer eterno, como una entrada en un diario que Bécquer escribe a la protagonista. Algún día espero tener tiempo para completar ese diario.

  • Murió el 22 de diciembre el mismo día de un eclipse de Sol total. ¿Cree en las coincidencias?

Aún más interesante es que Bécquer murió en Madrid y el eclipse de Sol fue en Sevilla, su ciudad natal.

Pero, contestando su pregunta, no, no creo en las coincidencias. Tampoco creo en las meigas, “mais haberlas haylas”.

  • Bécquer era un romántico, ¿y usted?

Totalmente. Como Bécquer, yo vivo en dos mundos, el de la realidad cotidiana y el de mis historias. Sin esta segunda vida de la imaginación, me sería imposible vivir.

  • Usted nació en Lugo, ¿cómo acabó en los EEUU?

Me casé con un americano que conocí en California durante mi estancia postdoctoral. Aunque volvimos a España pensando en quedarnos, regresamos a EEUU tres años después. El matrimonio no duró pero para entonces ya teníamos dos hijos y ellos forzaron el que me quedara a vivir allí.

  • ¿Qué es lo que más echa de menos de Galicia?

Mi familia, mis amigos, la comida, la tierra, la lengua, la lluvia incluso. En fin todo. Esta morriña intrínseca al gallego que tan bien describió Rosalía y que es aparente en las obras de Gonzalo Torrente Ballester, otro de mis escritores favoritos siempre está conmigo.

Quizás por ello mi historia medieval, Two Moon Princess, tienen lugar en una mundo medieval paralelo al nuestro cuya geografía tomé directamente de Galicia.

  • Acaba de estar en Lugo, pero y las vacaciones ¿dónde las va a pasar?

Mi estancia en España fueron mis vacaciones. Como mencioné antes, primero fui a Sevilla a ver la Exposición en homenaje a Bécquer: Bécquer tan cerca… A través del arte y después visité familia y amigos en Vigo y Lugo.

  • ¿Qué lectura nos recomienda este verano?

Las Rimas y leyendas de Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer y Poeta en Nueva York de Federico García Lorca.

Supongo que todos recordamos las Rimas y leyendas de Bécquer de cuando las leímos en la clase de Literatura. Pero, al menos en mi caso, una nueva lectura desde una perspectiva adulta, me descubrió una belleza en la lengua y un significado en los textos que se me había escapado entonces.

Bécquer era también un buen pintor y la forma en que describe con palabras es increíble. Es como si pintara en nuestra mente lo que está describiendo.

He aquí un ejemplo, una descripción del Madrid que Bécquer conoció cuando, sin dinero y sin apoyo familiar, llegó a la capital en busca de fortuna. No sólo nos transmite una imagen con sus palabras sino también un sentimiento de profunda desesperanza.

“Madrid envuelto en una ligera neblina, por entre cuyos rotos jirones levantaban sus crestas oscuras las chimeneas, las boardillas, los campanarios y las desnudas ramas de los árboles.

“Madrid sucio, negro, feo como un esqueleto descarnado tiritando bajo su inmenso sudario de nieve.” G.A. Bécquer. Reseña a La Soledad de Augusto Ferrán, El Contemporáneo, Madrid 20 de enero de 1861.

En cuanto al libro Poeta en Nueva York solo comentar que Lorca estaba en Nueva York en 1929 cuando la caída de la bolsa. Su descripción de las terribles consecuencias de la avaricia sin límites de un capitalismo extremo no podía ser más actual.

El libro también incluye el poema Pequeño vals vienés que Leonard Cohen canta en inglés en su inolvidable balada Take this Waltz.

  • Y por último, ¿cuál fue el mejor verano de su vida?

Como romántica empedernida que soy, creo que el mejor verano de mi vida no ha pasado todavía.

March 19, 2012

Where Ideas Come From – 7

From Bécquer Eternal by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

Outside the window, coming down Main, a blue BMW convertible waited at the light. As I watched, the roof rolled back and the sun poured inside the car, on the black hair and pale skin of the man who claimed to be Becquer. I held my breath, afraid that he would burst into flames. Across the distance, Becquer smiled and, in my head, I heard his laughter, a clear sound of childish joy. Before I could react, the light turned green and,with a slight movement of his hand, he shifted gears, and, disappeared in a blur of blue.

 

Bécquer Eterno
Un descapotable azul parado frente al semáforo me llamó la atención. Mientras lo miraba, el techo del mismo se abrió y el sol entró a raudales dentro del coche, bañando con su luz el pelo oscuro y la piel pálida del hombre que decía ser Bécquer. Contuve mi respiración, temiendo quizás que fuera a estallar en llamas. Bécquer miró en mi dirección y en mi mente escuché su risa, una risa clara de alegría infantil. Antes de que pudiese reaccionar, el semáforo se puso verde y, con un ligero movimiento de la mano, Bécquer cambió de marcha, y desapareció en un relámpago azul.

March 12, 2012

Where Ideas Come From – 6

 

From THE KING IN THE STONE

 

“…the ancient people of these mountains believed time was a spiral turning continuously onto itself.”

As Doña Irene spoke, her fingers traced the intertwined spirals carved in the silver medallion dangling from her neck.

“Occasionally, the walls between different times grow thin, and the past, the present, the future, they all become one.

“These are dangerous times, because when this happens, the very course of history can be altered.”

February 27, 2012

Where Ideas Come From – 4

By Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

From The King in the Stone.

The excavation site was nestled in a valley, hidden in the outskirts of the mountain range, which formed a natural wall that would have kept the winds away and protected the village from the harshness of winter storms.

Unlike the village I had pictured in my mind––an enclosure of huts whose thatched roofs almost touched each other––the site that now opened in front of us was a desolate place; a bare expanse of earth where rings of stone emerged like craters on a deserted moon.

December 12, 2011

Blurb for The King in the Stone

 

 

by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

 

Here is my latest blurb for The King in the Stone, a sequel to Two Moon Princess:

A full moon,

A silver key,

And the relentless passion of two young lovers

will bring hope to a defeated kingdom

and, through their sorrow,

deliver a king who will change its fate.

Vivid visions have haunted Andrea since her arrival in northern Spain. In her visions, the medieval village she is excavating with the Spanish team comes alive, and, around the fires burning in the no longer buried hearths, she sees people dressed in furs sharpening old fashioned swords.

Even more upsetting for her that the headaches her visions leave is the fact that Julián appears in them—Julián, the king from her world whose rejection she is trying hard to forget.

But when a slide bury Andrea under the mountain, Julian comes to help her. That evening, as the full moon rises a portal opens and sends them both over a thousand years into the past, to a time right after the Spanish king has been defeated by the Arabian invaders.

Separated by a bitter winter, Andrea and Julian are caught in opposite sides in the battle between the Spanish last unconquered settlements and the Arabian army. A battle for survival that will determine the fate of a kingdom and demand of them the ultimate sacrifice: As the Arabs close on the mountains, Julián makes a decision that will break Andrea’s heart and change them forever.

Would this blurb make you pick up the book?

July 27, 2011

Festival of Children’s Books at the Doylestown Bookshop

Filed under: Event,Two Moon Princess — carmenferreiroesteban @ 10:11 am
Tags: , , ,

Please join us tomorrow Thursday Jul 28 at 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM.

I will be reading from Two Moon Princess along with 15 other local authors at the Doylestown Bookshop

A Festival of Children’s Books

 Meet the area’s best children’s authors and illustrators at the Doylestown Bookshop for an afternoon of readings, greetings, stories and book signings!  This event is free and open to all!

Authors appearing at the Festival
Ellen Jensen Abbott • Becky Birtha • Linda Brewster • Debbie Dadey• Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban• Lindsay Barrett George • Ponder Goembels • Lee Harper • Pamela Jane• Joe Kulka • Janet Lord • Andy Myer• Susan Shaw• Shannon Wiersbitzky• Eric Wight • Kay Winters
DOWNLOAD A READING SCHEDULE TO FIND OUT WHEN YOU’RE FAVORITE AUTHOR OR ILLUSTRATOR WILL BE READING.
Ellen Jensen Abbott lives in West Chester, PA and teaches at the Westtown School. Her debut novel, Watersmeet was an IRA Young Adult Award Notable Book, and was nominated for YALSA’s Teen Top Ten. The sequel to Watersmeet, The Centaur’s Daughter, will be released on September 1, 2011.
Becky Birtha’s picture books feature African-American families in U.S. history. Lucky Beans, in which Marshall Loman uses math to help his family through the Great Depression, is a classroom favorite. Grandmama’s Pride, set in the Civil Rights era, received a Golden Kite Honor for picture book text.
Linda Brewster, the author of the multi-award winning book “Rose O’Neill: The Girl Who Loved To Draw”. Linda was born in Dallas, Texas and has traveled and lived in many states and countries. Now living in Chester County, PA. she writes and illustrates for children.
Debbie Dadey, a former teacher and librarian, now battles creatures from mythical lands full time as a Bucks County author. With titles like Zombies Don’t Play Soccer, Mermaids Don’t Run Track, and the Wrong Side of Magic Debbie writes to delight every reader, even the most reluctant. Find out more about this Publishers Weekly best-selling author at http://www.debbiedadey.com.
Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban wrote the YA novel Two Moon Princess (Tanglewood Press) and its forthcoming sequel The King in the Stone. Two Moon Princess is the story of an independent Medieval princess whose desire to live in modern California has disastrous consequences for her kingdom. You can follow her at https://carmenferreiroesteban.wordpress.com/
Lindsay Barrett George is widely recognized for her striking illustrations of animals, birds, and fish in their habitats. She is the author-illustrator of numerous books, including Alfred Digs, Maggie’s Ball, Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse, In the Garden: Who’s Been Here? and four other Who’s Been Here? titles. Lindsay Barrett George lives in northeastern Pennsylvania with her dog, two cats, and a very handsome duck. www.lindsaybarrettgeorge.com
Ponder Goembels is an award-winning children’s book illustrator whose work includes, Give Me Wings, Animal Fair and Sailor Moo. Reading to her daughter was only one of the many experiences that convinced her to create more art for children. Ponder now creates illustrations almost exclusively for children’s publications. She is a frequent visitor to schools, libraries and book stores where she loves to talk and show how she creates children’s illustrations. She resides with her husband and two cats in Bucks county Pennsylvania.
Children’s book author and illustrator Lee Harper lives with his family in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Lee’s latest book is The Emperor’s Cool Clothes, which he both wrote and illustrated. Mr. Harper’s other books include Woolbur, by Leslie Helakoski; Turkey Trouble, by Wendi Silvano; Snow! Snow! Snow!, and Looking For The Easy Life, by Walter Dean Myers.
Pamela Jane has published twenty-six children’s books with Houghton Mifflin, Atheneum, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, Harper, and others. Her books include Noelle of the Nutcracker, illustrated by Jan Brett, and A Vampire is Coming to Dinner! which Publisher’s Weekly called “a ghoulishly good time.” Her new book, Little Goblins Ten is illustrated by NY Times best-selling illustrator, Jane Manning (Harper, 2011.) http://www.pamelajane.com
Joe Kulka has illustrated over 20 children’s books including his award winning picture book “Wolf’s Coming!”. Joe illustrated the USDA Forest Service’s new book on Smokey Bear which is being used nationwide to introduce a new generation of children to Smokey’s fire prevention message.
Janet Lord earned her BA in graphic arts and advertising from Concord University and now works as a graphic designer. She also wrote Here Comes Grandma! and Albert the Fix-It Man, both illustrated by her sister, Julie Paschkis. She lives in North Wales, Pennsylvania.
Over his 35 years career, Andy Myer has been a freelance illustrator, graphic designer, corporate publications consultant, editorial writer, patent illustrator, substitute teacher, and a few other things even he forgets. “Pickles, Please!” is his first published children’s book.
Susan Shaw, a life-long Pennsylvanian, graduated from Radnor High School and earned her B. S. in music education from Temple University. She and her husband live in Wayne, where they raised three children. She is the author of Black-eyed Suzie, The Boy From The Basement, Safe (Dutton Books, 2007), and One Of The Survivors. Her books have been chosen for many awards and appear on many reading lists.
  Shannon Wiersbitzky currently lives in Pennsylvania, but has called North Dakota, Minnesota, West Virginia, Florida, North Carolina and Michigan “home” at some point in her life. She is married and has two young sons who are always coming up with new story ideas. The Summer of Hammer and Angels is her first novel.
Eric Wight is the author and illustrator of the popular Frankie Pickle series. He spent his childhood wishing for superpowers. When that didn’t pan out, he decided to learn how to write and draw. And while he may never fly or shoot lasers from his fingertips, getting to tell stories and make people laugh is pretty cool too. Maybe his wish came true after all. Visit him on the web at http://www.ewight.blogspot.com.
Kay Winters was a teacher before becoming a full time writer of 16 published books. She writes fiction, poetry, non fiction and early chapter books. Her newest book This School Year will be THE BEST is widely used in elementary schools. It even inspired a principal in Ohio to kiss a pig! Kay is a frequent speaker at elementary schools, colleges, regional and national conferences for teachers, writers and librarians.

July 8, 2011

Two Moon Princess Smart Review

 

 

 

 

Candi Criddle at Goodreads.com gave my YA novel Two Moon Princess a great review.

From her first sentence:

“I weirdly liked this a lot, but not for being any of the things it said it was.”

to her last paragraph:

“This book was about culture shock, growing up, and sacrifice; not time travel, romance, and princesses. I was tricked into reading it, but found I liked it and kept coming back to see what happened.”

She got it just weirdly perfect.

Thank you so much Candi.

See the complete review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/182304921

June 25, 2011

Wonderful Fantasies at Books of Wonder

This is tthe wonderful poster Books of Wonder at NYC has created announcing the book signing of Two Moon Princess and five other wonderful fantasies this Sunday.

June 22, 2011

Two Moon Princess Signing at Books of Wonder, New York City

 

 

 

 

 

Please join me and my fellow Inkpot authors, Leah Cypess, Caragh O’Brien, Jen Nadol, Caitlin Kittredge and Kate Miflord. this coming Sunday, June 26th at Book of Wonders in NYC for a fantastic book signing.

WHEN:

June 26th
Sunday
1 pm – 3 pm

WHAT:

FANTASTIC FICTION FOR TEENS

WHO:
LEAH CYPESS – Nightspell

CARAGH O’BRIEN – Birthmarked
JEN NADOL – The Mark
CAITLIN KITTREDGE – The Iron Thorn
KATE MILFORD – The Boneshaker
CARMEN FERREIRO-ESTEBAN – Two Moon Princess

WHERE:
Books of Wonder

located at

18 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 989-3270

May 31, 2011

Three Steps to Query

Filed under: On Publishing,On Writing,Query — carmenferreiroesteban @ 8:29 am
Tags: , , ,

by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

A query letter is a business letter. It tells the agent/editor (referred from now on as the ‘Agent’ and assumed to be a ‘she’) how awesome, unique and marketable your manuscript is, how perfectly qualified you’re to write it and, once it has been published, to market your book. Preferably, it does so without adjectives or adverbs. Because it is a truth universally acknowledged that a good writer has no need for them.

A query is the key that will open the door to the Agent’s heart. It must be professional and to the point, yet, at the same time, “as individual as the book it describes and the author it introduces.” (Arthur A. Levine).

Simply put, a query letter consists of three parts: the hook/the book/and the cook.

The hook introduces the story. It states, in one sentence, what the book is about in an enticing way that will force the Agent to read on.

If your mind goes blank when trying to summarize your four hundred pages manuscript in about 20-30 words, try answering the following questions: Who is your protagonist? What does he/she want? Who/what is the antagonist/reason he/she can’t have what he/she wants?, then write the answers in a single sentence.

After a lot of thinking this was my first hook for my YA novel Requiem for a King: Princess Ines wants to keep Nowan alive, but both, her father and Richard, the king’s bastard son, hate Nowan and want him dead.

This is the skeleton of my story, but as is, it is not a terribly appealing hook. Probably your first attempt isn’t either. But now that it’s written, it’s easier to flesh it out.

After several revisions, my hook became: Princess Ines’s love for Nowan, her whipping boy, is put to the test when he is accused of killing the queen and sentenced to death by the king who hates him.

Better? I hope so.

As you see, I have simplified, eliminating Richard, who is a secondary character, and adding the enticing incident that puts Nowan in danger.

Next in the query, comes the ‘book’. The book is usually two or three paragraphs long and may include, among others, the character’s motivations, the story arc, and the setting. It is not a chapter by chapter synopsis and need not include a list of characters, not all the subplots. It is more like the blurb you find on the jacket of a book, a taste of the story to pique the reader’s interest.

Most agents, but not all, say they don’t want to know the ending at this point. But they all agree they want to know the word number, and genre of your manuscript.

The ‘cook’ part of the query letter includes information about you. Make it short and to the point, mention only those credentials that make you the right person to write this story, and, if you have any, list your publications and/or platform.

If you have done your homework, you may want to personalize your query by adding a sentence, here or at the beginning of the letter, explaining why you chose that particular Agent. Did you meet her at a conference? Found out her preferences at her website/blog/interview? Does she represent your favorite author? Agents are human, and will be flattered if they see you took the time to learn about them.

Now that you have written the perfect query, I suggest you leave it for a day or two, or even a week, and read it again as if you were reading it for the first time. And while you do, ask yourself, would I want to read this book?

I also recommend you pass the query to another writer. And, remember, you are not asking for validation here, but for a brutally honest critique.

In my case, I posted my query in the Query Critique forum at the online Children Writers’s conference (WriteOnCon.com). As the critiques started to come, I realized my perfect query was nothing but perfect. So, I rewrote it again and again. And again.

I queried agents with my sixth version and, so far, I got four requests for a full ms and one for a partial. A great success considering that from my previous queries I had received only rejections.

Which brings me to my next piece of advice: Make a list of agents that represent your genre and send the query to ten agents at a time. If you get no positive answer rewrite the query.

And don’t forget that the query is just your calling card. It’s the strength of your story that will get you an agent or/and a book contract. So before you start querying, edit your manuscript to perfection. You must write a powerful story that resonates with your readers, with characters so memorable they stay in the readers’ mind after they close the book. To achieve this, you must pour your soul into the story and that requires courage.

As for the query, that is just plain, old fashioned, hard work.

Good luck!

Note: An edited version of this post appeared in the magazine of the NJ SCBWI (Sprouts (2011/2)

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