And she’s thoughtful—when we chat by phone, she always throws a y’all into the conversation in my honor. Although her Canadian/Chicagoan/New Yorker accent makes ‘y’all’ sound a little different. And I hardly ever say y’all anyway, so it’s especially funny.
Her first novel, Swimming Through Clouds, releases June 1. Look at this gorgeous cover!
Can’t wait for you to read this book. It’s intense and emotional, but also incredibly hopeful. You will pull for her narrator, Talia, and you’ll fall for sweet, sensitive Lagan (pronounced La-gone).
Here’s the synopsis—
When high school cell phone disruption forces a classroom ban, the words on a Post-it note spark a sticky romance between two unlikely friends. Transfer student Talia Vanderbilt has one goal at her new school: to blend in with the walls. Lagan Desai, basketball captain and mathlete, would do just about anything to befriend the new girl. One Post-it note at a time, Lagan persuades Talia to peel back her heart, slowly revealing her treasure chest of pain—an absent mother, a bedridden brother, and an abusive father. In a world where hurt is inevitable, the two teens search for a safe place to weather the storms of life. Together.
I love that Lagan writes notes on paper to Talia. I miss those days.
I invited Rajdeep over today (all the way from Locust Valley, New York) so you can get to know her before her release. You’ll want to follow her blog, her Twitter, and her Facebook, too, to get all the latest news about her upcoming releases.
So who is Rajdeep Paulus? It’s such a beautiful name. What does it mean?
“Rajdeep,” someone yelled back.
“Rajdeep, it is.”
And that’s how I was named, more or less.
Determined to give a little glamour to the story, I researched its meaning so I could salvage my less than glorious beginnings. Raj comes from “Raja” which means “king,” and “deep” is the Punjabi word for “light” so at face value, my name means King of Light. Kinda corney, right? So the writer in me decided to tweak and nowadays, I tell people, “Since you asked, Rajdeep means ‘ruled by light.’ ”
Where did you grow up? Are you from a large family? Did you move around a lot?
I was born in India, celebrated my third birthday in New York City, and then we moved to Canada, where I spent most of my growing up years. Moved across the border from Windsor, Ontario to Livonia, Michigan around my senior year in high school. I don’t have a huge immediate family, but I grew up surrounded by cousins, aunts and uncles. Family is very important to me.
You approach life with a great sense of humor. Where does that come from?
I love to laugh and I have lots of memories being the cause of laughter, simply because I’m a klutz and a tad blond under this dark head of hair. But, early on, I think I just learned it’s a lot more fun to laugh at yourself. Life’s short. Hafta laugh!
But I’m a crier, too. Movies, songs, or when someone shares his or her story. Doesn’t take much.
Were there things in your childhood that taught you to be resilient and to roll with the punches? How are you teaching your girls to be resilient?
My parents always approached life with an attitude of “when life knocks you down, get back on your feet and try again.” My husband and I try and teach our girls the same thing. Life’s about second chances. And third, and fourth and so on. Grace is key. To give and receive—the constant challenge.
What books from your childhood and teen years were most influential on the person you are today and the writer you are today?
I have always loved stories that pulled me into a world I’m not familiar with, but leave me feeling like I totally lived through the lives of the characters. Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, and even stories like Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt and I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier were some of my favorites. And in more recent times, Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns really blew me away.
If you could do one thing over in your life, what would it be?
Wow! Just one! Truth is, as much as I think erasing or undoing a moment in my past would make for a prettier story or cleaner resume, I know that each moment has shaped me to become who I am today. A work in progress.
At times, I do wish I had spent more time with my grandmother while she was alive. Some things you can’t get back. Like time. Miss her a lot.
Do you have a secret ambition that not many people know?
Haha. So many!
I’ll narrow my list down to
1. Official Taste Tester for Godiva.
2. Personal Assistant to Denzel Washington (Laura here . . . I was glad to find out Mississippi Masala is one of Rajdeep’s favorites. I loved this early one of Denzel’s.)
and 3. And of course, ballgirl to the Chicago Bulls would be a dream come true!
What’s the kindest thing someone has ever done for you?
Forgiven me. Given me grace. Every day. That would be my hubs. Yep. Doesn’t get much sweeter than that.
What makes you sad?
A lot of things. But I think near the top of my list are children being trafficked for sex, a person who refuses to forgive, and when I forget to call my mom.
What’s your favorite room in your house and why?
My bedroom. Because I love sleep! And dreaming.
Some of my favorite scenes come to me in my dreams.
And I love my red blanket. [Thanks, Mom!] I also love the paint on the wall. It’s a sandy pink on two walls, a deep purple on a third, and the signature wall has a sponged combination of the colors. I worked on it for a whole day and I love how it turned out, my one canvas if you will.
The walls have portraits from our wedding day, as well as a fun collage from our ten year anniversary. It’s also the messiest room in our house (the last frontier, we call it) but it’s where hubs and I have some our best heart to hearts. And my youngest snuggles with me every morning. And I love my pillows. I could go on…
What’s the view out of the window closest to you right now?
What a fun question! It’s a drizzly Monday morning in Glen Cove, where I can see cars whizzing by on School Street. I’m at the Gly Cafe, where I do most of my writing.
What’s one piece of clothing you can’t live without?
My royal blue tank top.
Is there something you did as a kid you regret? Want to apologize for it right now?
Haha. Sorry baby sis for the time I ratted you out to our friends about the cotton ball incident. Yeah. Enuf sed!
Do you think writing is fear-inducing? Or is it all a rush?
Neither, really. I think rereading a scene I finished can be a rush. While I’m writing, I try not to get caught up in the emotion of it because that slows the flow. And fear hasn’t played a factor, yet. But then again, I haven’t exactly lived the deadline-driven writer’s life, yet.
Tell me about the germ of the idea for Swimming Through Clouds. What made you want to write about a family in a dark crisis? Have you known people in a situation as dire as this one?
The truth is when I started writing Swimming Through Clouds, I didn’t know where I was headed. I had already completed my first Young Adult manuscript, in which the main character had a secret he kept from his best friend. So as I started Swimming, I was searching for that secret, a story that made sense to keep in the dark. I’m hoping I pulled it off.
Are there places or names in your book that come from your real life?
Nothing except for the location—the suburbs of Chicago. I attended Northwestern University and lived there for a few years afterward. But that’s literally it.
What’s next on your horizon?
I’m working on a second book to follow Swimming Through Clouds. It’s Jesse’s story—he is the main character’s brother in Swimming.
On a personal note, I’m joining my hubs and bunch of friends on June 1st to face my first Tough Mudder! So the day Swimming Through Clouds launches, I’ll be up to my knees in mud! Hoping I make it out alive to hear what the readers think!
On behalf of all the Playlist Fiction authors and agents, let me say we’re really happy you’ve joined us and that we get to share in the joy of your debut book with you!
Thanks for having me, Laura. Still laughing about the fact that we sat next to each other in Chicago for a lit agency meeting, and I had no idea I’d be working with you and the Playlist Fiction team a month later! So happy to be part of the team!Read More
You’ve heard me say this before–learning how to break up with someone is an important lesson. (See Ray Charles and Yesterday.) It’s a necessary part of becoming an adult. It happens. It can be no big deal or it can be ugly and awful. It can happen early on in the relationship or it can happen in the dressing room of the church before you walk down the aisle. If you’re with the wrong person, the breaking up thing needs to happen before you say, “I do.” You’ll save yourself and your significant other heaps and heaps of heartache.
When I write on this blog about break-ups, I inevitably receive tons of emails about how to do the breaking up and how to survive the breaking up. I know it’s on your minds and I know you have a lot of questions about it.
Well, good news! Renee Fisher’s book on all things break-up released today and you’re going to want to get your hands on this ebook! It’s called Loves Me Not: Heartbreak and Healing God’s Way. Renee has been there. She’s giggled with her friends over that first crush. Thrilled to the pressure of her hand in his. Lost herself in his kiss. Dreamed about the proposal and imagined the day they’d become husband and wife. And she’s had those dreams come crashing down around her. Like sitting down to coffee with a best friend, Loves Me Not offers the hope and healing you need to see through to the other side. Renee guides readers through the confusion and pain of a shattered relationship and shows how to embrace the real love of your life: Jesus.
Renee and I chatted today about break-ups and I think her answers will make you want this book as a resource.
You write a lot about healthy relationships and dating. What prompted a “break-up” book?
I wrote Loves Me Not for a few reasons. After I released Not Another Dating Book, I met my husband, and I didn’t get to include our story in that book. This is good because I needed to be married for more than a year to realize how unhealthy some of my past relationships were. I can’t wait to encourage those who’ve had a bad breakup or lost a close friend. I want to help them deal with that heartbreak.
What’s your favorite chapter?
I hate to give the cliche author answer here, but it’s true that every chapter is my favorite! In each chapter I make a point or tell a story that is so personal to me. I can’t wait to hear what my readers say is their favorite chapter.
Are breakups getting more difficult and muddied with social media?
Absolutely! You see that him (or her) moving on and maybe you’re not. It hurts a lot. To this day, I’m only friends with one of my ex-boyfriends on Facebook for this reason.
Do breakups last longer or get dragged out these days because of the way we tend to “do” relationships online?
I guess it depends on how quickly you forgive those who hurt you or broke your heart. It’s easier when the breakup is mutual, of course.
What do you say to the girls who think they’ll never heal? What about the ones who think they might move on and marry someone else, but they’ll never really get over the one who broke their hearts?
I write about that in Chapter 3 – “Breaking up with Idols.” The guy I thought I was going to marry and spend the rest of my life with broke my heart in such a huge way that it took my health and I ended up in the hospital. If anyone understands the thought that life “can’t move on” it’s me. I hope my advice in the book about moving on will resonate with readers and that they’ll see that I’ve been there, too.
What can breakups teach us about life? Do they make us better spouses one day?
This question sums up the reason I wrote this book. When we lose our first love–God–it can be easy to place that pressure and unfair burden, including our own personal expectations, on someone. Breakups remind us that we need God’s help in every area of our lives. We can’t have healthy relationships apart from Him–even friendships. I do think that breakups have the potential to make us better spouses one day. I was able to learn from my own mistakes and it has made my relationship with my husband, Marc, richer.
Knowing what you know, do you think Tennyson was right? “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”?
I think that depends on the person. I wanted to get married a decade earlier than I did. In all those years of waiting, I would look at others who had loved and lost and even the heartache they were experiencing made me compare myself to them. Why hadn’t I had a love like that? Don’t do that! Live YOUR life and learn from the experiences given to you!
What do you make of the dating movement that says every time you give your heart to someone you’re losing your fullness that you were supposed to save for your spouse?
I write about this in the foreword of my book. Every decision we make in life can do one of two things–bring us closer to God or take us further from Him. If you’ve first given God your heart, mind, and soul, and strength, you’re going to make it through anything because your priorities are right.
Where is Jesus in a breakup? Does He understand? How can going through a breakup actually lead you back to Him?
Jesus is in every part of our life–we just have to acknowledge Him and seek Him first. Sometimes people use Jesus as a reason for a breakup and this can be very dangerous at times and it can be the right thing at times. My own breakups led me back to Jesus because they sent me to his Word and and to seeking His will for my life again. I became more prayerful about my future.
Where does personality fit in a breakup? Are there some personality types who handle breakups better than others?
It’s an important element. Some people have more difficulty dealing with the dramatic elements of a breakup–the conflict. Some people are able to breeze right through conflict. It helps when the breakup is mutual. I encourage my readers to think about what a Godly friendship looks like because the hope is that you’ll be able to see your ex in this way.
This book, guys, is so great. It’s the second in Laura L. Smith’s Status Updates series from Playlist Fiction, following directly on the heels of It’s Complicated, which released on April 1. Without being sappy or manipulative, Smith undoes the idea that college kids are shallow and entitled.
The four girls (Palmer, Kat, Hannah, and Claire) deal with tough issues, but they’re issues that I see happening in the lives of the college students around me at Texas A&M University. Loss, love, economic hardships, temptations, and loneliness. Smith has big courage and she speaks truth, honesty, and life into the souls of her readers.
If you’re in high school, looking ahead to university days, or if you’re in college and wondering if anyone out there cares, grab both of Laura’s Status Updates books. It’s a good time to jump into this series because Smith has another book underway!
Here’s my review—
In It’s Over, the second book of the Status Updates series, YA author Laura L. Smith crafts another story that will appeal to all girls—because no life is untouched by heartache in all its forms. The grace Smith extends the four girls in this book will touch readers in deep ways, as they follow these characters through some of the worst parts of life. Best of all, they’ll cheer when the girls lean on one another and find ways to be thankful in everything!
The girls, who have solidified their solid relationships on campus, must travel between home and school dealing with the worst parts of life—the death of a sibling, the aging of a grandparent, disloyal boyfriends, and the loss of a home. Through their trials, they continue to lean on one another and God, and find ways to be thankful even in the lean times. Smith crafts a story that will appeal to every girl—because no life is untouched by heartache, in all its forms.
Home for a short break, Kat gets news no girl wants. Palmer, Hannah, and Claire struggle to find the right words and look for ways to support Kat, the roommate they love. Back on campus, they realize life will never be the same—change has become their constant. Kat stumbles and finds her own ways to cope—diving headfirst back into soccer and playing like a champion.
Hannah is dealing with her own difficult issue—the grandfather who has been her best friend all her life is suddenly wheelchair bound and helpless in many ways. Her parents decide to take action, making a difficult decision that affects the entire family.
Palmer has come face-to-face with her ex-boyfriend’s new flame, and it’s almost more than she can bear. She finds that holding her tongue is nearly impossible.
And Claire is suddenly without a home when her mother leaves the apartment where Claire grew up, and moves to a tiny apartment. Claire is unsure now about where her place is in the world.
Changes happen so quickly the girls have trouble finding center, but as each one looks inward for strength, and to God’s promises for assurance, they begin to heal and get their confidence back. The beautiful friendships forged in book one of the Series Updates series continue and prove to be a source of constancy and support for the girls.
Smith tackles incredibly difficult issues in this book—death, aging, depression, drug use, and jealousy and confusion. She folds story lines together so elegantly that readers will relate. It’s a great reminder to all of us that all people have difficulties, no one is immune, and it is our job as caring individuals to sympathize and reach out.
My favorite part of this book, and this series, is that Smith writes about a time of life during which we have a tendency to be self-absorbed and turns that on its head. She shows the strain that comes from self-absorption and the beauty that comes from reaching out to others and to God. As in It’s Complicated, Smith again teaches her characters to look away from mirrors and toward the people God has placed in their paths.
This is a fantastic read, one that will resonate with teens and college-aged girls and their mothers! I also recommend it for youth group use and situational studies. Fans of authors like Nicole O’Dell, Stephanie Morrill, Nancy Rue, and Melody Carlson will love Smith’s style, voice, and subject matter.
Get in touch with Laura L. Smith. She loves to talk with her readers about life and her ability to relate to teens is a blessing. Find her at her website (LauraSmithAuthor.com), on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, and at Choose Now Ministries where she writes a feature column called On True Beauty.
A year or so ago, I was invited to sit down with a whole bunch of college students at my church in College Station, Texas. Even though speaking to groups that large makes me want to rock in a corner somewhere, I did it happily because I LOVE THESE KIDS. I’ve written about Aggies on several occasions. Like here, here, and here! I feel all hopeful and giddy about the world again every time I’m with them.
I’m going back through interview materials right now because I’m preparing for another presentation and I found the questions the Aggies asked and my responses. I thought, for fun, I’d share them. They’re rough and full of incomplete sentences and thoughts because I wanted to get my most heartfelt responses out quickly.
In case some of you are headed to college or graduating soon and wondering about what life looked like for me at that time, I’m sharing. Know that if there is a way I can help you as you wonder (and wander), write me. I promise I’ll respond.
Where did you grow up, go to school (HS & college)?
I grew up in a little town in southeastern Oklahoma called Durant. It’s the home of the world’s largest peanut, so maybe you’ve heard of it. It was a great place to grow up because it was small and kind of off on its own. But it was also frustrating, in the same sense, because we literally had nothing to do. No theater, no mall, no . . . anything. We were left to our own devices and that was often really, really weird.
I had about three actual dates in high school. One of them went like this—the guy told me to wear grimy clothes and look dirty and kind of like a runaway and he’d do the same and we’d drive to the nearest truck stop and act sketchy to see whether the truck drivers ignored us or were curious. It was very romantic. This is my romantic history.
I graduated at 17 and kicked the Oklahoma dust off on my way to Texas. I was the only one I knew going to Abilene Christian University. I graduated from there with English and History degrees and then came to Texas A&M for a graduate degree in literature.
Tell us about falling in love, marriage and your family.
So I fell in love on an elevator when I was 23. It was not like the Aerosmith song at all. And that’s my love story.
His name is Alan Kurk and I still get butterflies when he walks in the room. We’ve been married almost 18 years and have two ginger-headed ragamuffins. Amelia is thirteen and Anderson is nine.
And marriage is a real shelter, I’d say. It’s not what I thought of as a girl. It’s better. It’s more. It’s really safe and it gives us both a lot of confidence and strength. It blows my mind just knowing there’s someone who would die for me if necessary. And for us, we’ve always been so respectful of one another that there’s never been pettiness. It’s just easy. I fell in love with his heart and his mind and those things never change. And he has always loved my heart and the way my brain works and so I think we have a relationship built on respect and admiration and trust. It’s really, I think, God’s best gift to us. And it’s what I pray my kids will find and that all of you will find one day.
How did you become interested in writing? Did you always know that is what you wanted to do?
I was always this really subterranean kind of girl. Everything was so buried with me. I lived in my own head and didn’t know how to be anything except introspective. I wrote constantly as a girl and sometimes my older brother would find things I’d written and give me a hard time. So, I started wrapping my writings up in plastic and duct tape and tying them with string to branches next to the creek that ran through our property and I’d submerge my little packets in the water. I figured he’d have to really search to find them.
Writing for me has always been a release and a way to figure the world out. I’ve always been fascinated by the way people talk to each other. I can remember sitting quietly as a kid watching the give and take between strangers. The pauses, the way their faces looked when they accepted information or thought of something new to say. The emotions. That’s what has always drawn me and I could reproduce these things I was hearing and seeing on paper and it was a thrill.
Tell us about Glass Girl.
Glass Girl is a story straight out of my heart. It’s about a sixteen-year-old girl named Meg who shares a lot of my sensitivities and quirks. Meg loses her older brother in a tragic way and she and her family were not believers at the time. Mom falls into bed and succumbs to depression and Dad gives himself to work. They move across the country to a small town in Wyoming in an attempt to survive and what happens is Meg meets a guy who changes everything for her. He’s a rancher’s kid and he sees the hole in Meg’s life and tries to help. And in the end, Meg figures out that she’s not made of glass and that life is about so much more than this earth and its sorrows.
What’s your daily grind like?
The daily grind is real. I mean there’s the getting up and getting the family ready to face their giants and all the little details of life that will eat you alive if you let them. And they’ll suck creativity right out of you. So, the daily grind for me is ignoring distractions and keeping my hands on the keyboard even when I don’t feel much like writing. What it really takes is the ability to pour your soul into everything you write and when your soul is thin, that’s difficult. So I have to look for ways to fill my own soul, and for me, that’s hanging around with people that I look up to, stalking musicians and artists and other writers, and getting to know some of the people in this room who are crazy talented and faithful.
And that’s an important thing for you guys to learn. At your age, you’re always looking forward to when life is going to begin. You’ll have a great job and money and new marriages and that’s when life begins you think. But you need to remember that life is life. You’re always going to be busy. You’re always going to be surrounded with distractions. They’ll change as you flow through different phases of YOU but the distractions of this world are overwhelming. You’re living right now. So live. Make a difference right now. It’ll never be any easier for you to develop the right priorities than it is right now.
There are so many parts of life that are just unbelievably good. Marriage and babies rank up there. But so does this time right now. Man, this is a good time. You’re unencumbered and you’re learning and growing and experiencing new things and forming opinions. Enjoy this time.
What do you wish you had known about life when you were in college?
I wish I had known that no one feels like they belong. We all feel like we’re on the outside looking in. Some of us are really good at faking it and in fact at times we all feel like insiders. But mostly, we’re outsiders. If I had realized that, things would have been easier.
I wish I had known that very few things in life have truly high stakes. These things that make us lose our minds with worry are really not big deals in five years. You’re either going to win. Or you’re going to lose. You’re either going to get it done. Or you’re not. And either way life will go on.
I wish I had known earlier that I could define myself. That I didn’t have to let other people define me and tell me what I could or couldn’t do. That I could unleash myself creatively and be brave about that earlier in life.
I wish I had known that sometimes you have to hurt someone else in order to be on the path God put you on.
Let me explain that. I grew up being taught that I always had to be a good girl. And that meant never hurting someone else’s feelings, never saying anything unkind, and basically being a servant at all times. These aren’t bad things…but the problem comes when you’re in a relationship that is bad for you and you know it and yet the good girl in you won’t let you break it off for fear of hurting someone else.
I dated a guy in college, starting my sophomore year, and I knew from the first or second date that he wasn’t for me. But I was too timid to hurt his feelings and it snowballed and suddenly he was the boyfriend that I didn’t want. And then when you’re a couple, your friends expect you to be a couple. It’s easy to just go with it. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself or protect myself.
I look back on that and I am so sure now that one of the major life lessons I want to teach my kids is that it is OKAY to break up with someone. That it is UNFAIR to yourself and him not to break up. That everyone else will just have to get over it. If you’re dating the wrong guy, the right guy can’t ask you out. If you’re dating the wrong girl, you are blocking God’s will for your life.
Don’t stay in a relationship that you know is not for you just because it’s familiar and comfortable and easy. It’s a waste of your time and his or her time.
I think, knowing some of you in here, that you’re all braver and stronger than I was. And kudos to you. But if there’s anyone in here that would like to talk about this particular issue, or any issue, please call me. I’ve had experience with this. I know how hard it can be. You don’t want to hurt someone and yet sometimes you have to.
Don’t hang your future on someone’s heart if it’s not a good heart.
Be with someone that makes you feel like time stops. You’re counting the minutes until you see him again. You trust her to hold your heart in her hand.
You’ve got to be able to separate the fiction from fact and these days it’s getting harder and harder. Social media is terrifying in that way. So be careful.
What choices did you make in college, good or bad, that still have an impact on your life and relationships today?
Every one of them. Every choice I made then still has an impact. I laugh now because at the time it felt like my decisions were whims and I’d outlive them, good or bad. But now I see that you don’t outlive your decisions . . . you live them.
One good decision I made, I think, was to pursue a graduate degree in another place—which turned out to be A&M. The good part of the decision wasn’t even the continuing education part of it. That was good. But the good part for me was learning to be alone, to be responsible for completely supporting myself, to figure out that I was capable of standing on my own two feet and making a go of something big. It gave me a ton of confidence – I know I can take care of things and get the job done.
A bad decision would definitely be allowing my faith to be stagnant as a college student. Again, it wasn’t even that I was a bad kid, although some of the things I did weren’t the brightest or best. It’s that I wasn’t growing. I wasn’t connected to other believers in a life-changing way. It was like I was suspended, feeling safe because I was young and God would wait on me.
What happens when you behave like that is that you get out of the habit of faithfulness. You lose your step and when you try to come back, it’s really difficult and you feel like everyone is so far ahead of you. Don’t do that. Don’t waste these years because you can’t get them back.
What are some things God has taught you about life and walking by faith? Where have your biggest faith challenges come from?
My biggest faith challenge is fear. I’m a naturally fearful person. It backs in and parks itself in my head and heart and I have a really hard time putting one foot in front of the other. So, I guess, learning that God doesn’t want me to be afraid has been my biggest challenge. I’ve found myself blocked by fear so often and it has really physical manifestations in our lives. Paralysis, anger, frustration, it can tire us, nauseate us, make us shake all the time. I wrote once that what I’m most looking forward to about Heaven is the absence of fear. That’s it for me.
And, let me tell you, being a writer is made of fear. It’s a double-edged sword because good writing comes from a vulnerable place so you want to keep that vulnerability but you also want to be brave enough to put your words out there and let people judge them. It’s terrifying, really. But as much as failure scares me, regret scares me even more.
And I think one thing God is trying to teach me is to let go. To say, what’s the worst that could happen and look at how he would handle it. In all situations, I need to come to terms with being okay with outcomes. I’m not in control. He’s teaching me that every day. And it’s uncomfortable and prickly and it hurts. And I want to hang onto control and fear because it’s what I’ve always known but I’m learning that I can’t.
What amazes me right now, in this moment, about God, is that he took this timid girl and said, I can use you anyway. And he gave me eyes that see the world clearly and the ability to string words together and I get to reach readers and open conversations in a way that feels very comfortable for me.
And I know there are people in this room that are like me in that way. Feeling stymied or insecure or inferior to some of you who are able to be leaders and to go and make things happen. Some of us are introverts and we have to find ways to make a difference that are comfortable.
To that, I say, our country celebrates extroverts. We do. We celebrate the leaders, the people who can speak off the cuff and sound perfect, the people who don’t sweat social situations. But the fact is, the introverts among us are incredibly valuable. They’re being still and quiet and inventing and creating and changing the world. They’re a supremely faithful lot. They’re the ones you want as your friends, I promise. They’re thinkers. They’re tender. They’re loyal. They’re creative.
And I just want to challenge my fellow wall-flowers to hang in there and find your own beat. Don’t compare yourselves to the speech makers and the life of the partiers. We’re not them. But, here’s a secret, they could never do what we do, either. And I’m good with that.
Do you have any other advice for us?
Spend a set amount of time every day alone and quiet. Cultivate your spirit. Think your own thoughts during that time. You need to cultivate your own worldview and you can’t do that effectively if you’re always with large, social groups.
Ask a lot of questions. Be interested in others. What they do and think. Quit dominating conversations with your opinions. Be still and quiet enough to hear what others are saying. You don’t need to prove yourself with everyone you meet. Just. relax.
Let go of things that you can’t change. Always apologize when you need to. Laugh. A lot. Fall in love with people and activities that feed your soul.
Whew! That was long. Did you read it all? Yeah, right.
Coming June 1, 2013 from Playlist Fiction—
I couldn’t stop crying because it was so intimate, in that way I always thought being physical with him would feel. If someone had walked in they might have thought Henry was barely touching me. I knew the truth of it.
Things get messy when Meg Kavanagh gets involved—first with Jo Russell, the eccentric old artist, and then with Quinn O’Neill, the intriguing loner who can’t hide how he feels about Meg. Her senior year isn’t turning out like she planned, but sometimes the best parts of life happen in the in-between moments.
He commits to one year in an orphanage that needs him more than he ever dreamed. Thousands of miles from Meg and the new punk who has fallen for her, and absent from the ranch that’s in his blood, Henry Whitmire finds out what it means to trust. When you’re so far from home, it’s terrifying to realize you’re not who you thought.
But the perfect glass of calamity makes the best mirror.
From YA author Laura Anderson Kurk comes the sequel to Glass Girl, a lyrical, multi-generational story about love that clouds the eyes, loss that haunts empty rooms, and reunions that feel like redemption.
Kurk’s literary style will appeal to fans of Deb Caletti and Sara Zarr, and the characters in the pages of Perfect Glass will make you wish they were real. This is a story for everyone who has ever been in love and wished for more.
And, now, COVER REVEAL TIME! (Cover design by Angela Llamas of Angela Designs and photo by Jenny Livingston.)
Let me count the ways I love this cover:
1. because my dear friend, Will Walker, stepped in as Henry, 2. because Will’s beautiful girlfriend (and my dear friend), Candace Bayles, stepped in as Meg, 3. because my friends, Kevin and Danita Slaten, let us borrow their incredible ’57 Chevy, and 4. because my dear friend and incredible photographer, Jenny Livingston, took a killer photo that made us all drop our jaws.
It’s crazy gorgeous, isn’t it? I can’t wait for you to read this book! Tell me what you think about the cover!