Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Our Sweet Six: An Interview with Laura Resau, author of The Queen of Water

When I finished reading Laura Resau's gorgeous novel, THE QUEEN OF WATER, I knew I wanted to interview her for our Sweet Six Interviews. This is a book that embodies the heart. Here's a bit more about it, but for the whole story, including interviews with Maria Virginia, visit Laura's website.

Co-written with Maria Virginia Farinango, this novel based on a true story begins in an impoverished Andean village where seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her indigenous family to be an unpaid servant in a mestizo household. For the next eight years, she struggles to hold on to her spirit. After escaping as a teenager, she must build a life for herself and reclaim her identity.
"* [A] riveting tale... by turns heartbreaking, infuriating and ultimately inspiring." - Kirkus, STARRED
"A richly described coming-of-age story set in a culture both foreign and familiar... by turns shocking and funny." -- VOYA

With a background in cultural anthropology and ESL-teaching, award-winning author Laura Resau has lived and traveled in Latin America and Europe. Her experiences inspired her novels for young people-- What the Moon Saw,Red GlassThe Indigo NotebookThe Ruby NotebookThe Jade NotebookStar in the Forest, and The Queen of Water. She lives with her family in Colorado.

1) Tell us about your book!

The Queen of Water, which I co-authored with my good friend Maria Virginia Farinango, is the true story of her life as an indigenous girl in the Ecuadorian Andes.  At about age seven, Virginia was taken from her impoverished home to become an unpaid servant (essentially a slave) for a wealthier family.  For the next eight years, she struggled to hold on to her spunk and spirit, and eventually made a dramatic escape as a teen.  Then, feeling caught between cultures, she had to figure out who she was and how to realize her dreams.  I find her story eye-opening, inspiring, triumphant, and surprisingly funny.

2) What scene in your book do you LOVE the most?

There are so many! The cool thing about writing a true story is that the material is often wildly surprising— real-life stuff my mind wouldn’t have dreamt up on its own. I love the scenes that involve Virginia’s romantic crushes—one of whom was the  TV star MacGyver, whose secret agent adventures inspired her own antics.  Her other crush was her first love, a boy named Felix.  It was really heart-warming to write about her falling head-over-heels in love, especially after the abuse and betrayals she’d experienced. During our interview stage, when Maria Virginia was telling me about these crushes, she became cute and girly and giddy, describing how her heart fluttered and whatnot.  It was so sweet!

3) If you had to pick a character you LOVE (and not your own!), who would you pick and why?

Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl is magnificent!  I love how exuberantly non-conformist she is, with her ukelele and beloved pet rat, with her sense of wonder and humor and beauty. 

4) What's the craziest/most memorable valentine you've ever received?

My mom always told me that Valentine’s day is a holiday invented by Hallmark to make money.  Needless to say, it wasn’t a big holiday in our  home.  Now that I’m married and in my own home, my husband knows I’d be a little… put out… if he didn’t give me at least some flowers or chocolate.  There’s been nothing memorable, unfortunately.  And before him, I guess most of my boyfriends were slackers-- I can’t think of a single memorable Valentine! Thankfully, my husband has decades ahead to address this… 

5) If you were a Brach's Heart, what phrase would be written on you?

Crazy 4 u!  Or something involving craziness! Writing stories is all about channeling your craziness, I’ve realized-- using it to your advantage in a socially acceptable way.  The last talk I did ended with me concluding, “Well, that’s it, guys!  Hope you don’t think I’m completely nuts!”  (Note to self: end next speech with more of a punch.)

6) The all-important choice: flowers or candy?

Funny you should ask.  In my novel-in-progress, there are LOTS of flowers and LOTS of chocolate… but instead of Valentine’s associations, the connection is more with ancient Mayan culture and mythology. But back to your question.  My preference is seasonal. I’ve been drinking copious quantities of hot chocolate lately—both for “book research” and because it’s wintertime.  In the summer, I’m sure I’ll be sticking vases of fresh-cut flowers all over our house.  For Valentine’s Day, I’ll take whatever comes my way…

Thanks for a fun interview!

Thank you, Laura! I was thrilled you agreed to share with us! ~ Jaye

And don't forget to stop by our Cupid's Arrow page (tab above!) and shoot us a dare for love! It's the only way to win our monthly giveaway of books, treats, and more!! And see us humiliate ourselves.


  1. I can't wait to read Queen of the Water! Thanks so much for stopping by, Laura!

  2. The book sounds fascinating! Thanks for the great interview.

  3. Thanks! Reading over the interview, I feel compelled to mention that in the book, Virginia's first love was actually named Antonio. (In real life he was Felix, but we changed many of the names. Sometimes I forget...)

  4. This sounds like a lovely book. Thanks, J Ro for introducing me to another fascinating author :)

    And Laura, perhaps now that your husband's Valentine's Day slacking has been outed on the interwebs he'll come up with something jaw-dropping next year. Maybe he should read the YA Valentines memorable valentines in our inaugural post for more ideas ;)

  5. Oh, yay! I ♥ ★Girl!
    Your book sounds incredible. Congratulations!!

  6. Wow, this sounds like a truly powerful book! I need to check it out. THanks for the wonderful interview!

  7. I MUST have this book. Sounds so amazing!

    Thanks for coming by, Laura!!

  8. Wow. What an amazing story! Time to add it to my TBR pile!

    And thank you for bringing this book to my attention, JRo!

  9. Jaye- fabulous interview! I can't wait to read The Queen of Water.

    Laura, I absolutely love What the Moon Saw. I read it together with one of my students for a unit about identity. You are amazing.

  10. Laura, thanks so much for stopping by! Your book sounds fascinating. And I have to add that I ADORE all of your titles.