Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Entr'acte: Reading Souvenir

Before posting more thoughts about the retreat, I'm taking an intermission, or entr'acte, if you will.

I started Therese Fowler's Souvenir last night and finally had to give in the sleep on page 126. I could not help reading like a writer when I started, but despite my best intentions I was soon taken in by the story and the desire to see what happens next.

From a strictly "crafty" perspective, Therese starts us out with the prologue that you can read on her web site. She creates a compelling lead character, drops us right in the middle of the action and a highly charged emotional situation and leaves us with many, many questions. It's the perfect hook that makes us keep on reading.

In the chapters that follow, Therese skillfully introduces more characters, more detail, steadily mounting tension and poses more questions that compel us to read on. I've been highlighting many of her elegant, precise and beautiful descriptions. She a strong, unique voice that's very genuine and puts me very squarely in the American southeast among the citrus growers of that region. I'll be stealing away on my lunch break to jump back into Souvenir.

So far -- a great read, but I knew it would be!

I was fortunate enough to get my UK edition of Souvenir from the most generous Larramie at Seize a Daisy, but my US hardcover edition of Souvenir is still on preorder at and I am looking forward to holding it in my hands this February.

In the meantime, for anyone with a lot of curiosity and even more free time, I've included a link to a slideshow and a LOT of pictures that one of my fellow writers on the retreat has posted.

I'll resume posting about my retreat experiences soon -- but not until I find out what happens next!


kristen said...

I love the photos--what a beautiful setting! Which one is you? I didn't notice any captions...

And, I'm so jealous that you are already reading Souvenir. Lucky girl!

Lisa said...

Kristen, what I failed to mention about the photos is that you'll notice an enormous number of dead pine trees. The area has been infested with pine beetles and they are killing off the trees in huge numbers. Denver's Poet Laureate and also one of Lighthouse Writers Workshop's faculty, posted a poem about it on his weblog, WordGarden (link under my Very Cool Sites section). I am in some of these pictures and the only hint I'll give you is that Sarah (the photographer) didn't take pictures on the night of the first student readings, so I'm not one of the people at the lecturn. I am; however, one of the people in a couple of the photos with lots of women having a good time ;)

And now -- I'm going to steal about 45 minutes and read on!

Therese said...

I have my hands over my eyes, but I'm peeking out cautiously...

p.s. love the photos--which of those lovely women is you?

Lisa said...

Therese! I was wondering if you'd come by and notice this post. I've been goofing off half the afternoon and reading and I'm now about to start Chapter 29 (turn to page 241 in your hymnals) -- I'd say that has to tell you something :) The subplots of this story, all weaving back to the main character have rendered me unable to put this book down. Yes, I am neglecting my work! You've managed to keep the action really moving, keep the chapters short (I'll bet that's another editor suggestion) and yet you have the most precise, elegant, perfect descriptions - both of place and with regard to character - that let me know exactly where I am and who I'm dealing with. You've written a beautiful book. I'm rushing to finish it, but I can already tell I'll feel sad when it's over and there is no more. Bravo Therese!!!

P.S. I'm in some of those photos - uber unphotogenic - in some I have on a blue hooded sweatshirt and in some others I have on a dark grey shirt. I'm one of the OLD ones :)

Therese said...

You're the blonde with the longish hair, yes?

I LOVE that you are so pleased with the book!! Quick, call Janet Maslin!

(Seriously, I'm blushing, wow...)

Lisa said...

Blonde? Hmm -- oh yes, I suppose my hair does appear to be blonde. Not my roots of course, but yes, I think you spotted me.

See? Now you have a preview of what you're in store for when the US release date finally comes! When does your ARC/ARE go out to the reviewers? Now that, will be when the big buzz hits. In the meantime -- FWIW, I think this is going to be VERY well received :-))

Now I'm really glad I didn't know anything about the story -- this will be tough to "talk around" because -- well, you just have to read it!

Larramie said...

HA! I picked you out of the crowd, Lisa, before reading your hints. ;o)

Both you and Amy are putting me to shame as you devour SOUVENIR, while I have yet to open it. Hmmm, why? Most likely because I want to read it without interruption and that means clearing the way by getting ahead in my "to dos." Yes, that's who I am...strangely disciplined. *G*

Lisa said...

Larramie, I won't even try to guess how you knew who I was, but it doesn't surprise me that you did. I'm actually devouring the book at the rate I am because it's a real page turner and I'm guarding against serious interruption. In my own way, there's a method to my madness. I'm really glad I took all those workshops just prior to reading Souvenir because it's really helping me to read with a critical eye, but it's not interfering with my ability to get carried away. OK -- now that I've had a lovely dinner and watched Mad Men -- a great Larramie recommendation BTW, the cat and I need to get into bed and get back to Florida :)

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Oh, oh , oh I can't wait to get my hands on a copy and start SOUVENIR. I'm jealous of those of you who are already getting to enjoy it.

Now I'm going to open the link to the pics and catch a glimpse of you!

Patti said...

the photos are gorgeous...makes me want to go to that part of the country and make it my own writer's retreat. now i have to go back and find you!

Therese said...

Lisa, the AREs are supposed to be ready in about two weeks. (Judy will be getting one, and Larramie too--a personalized souvenir, if you will).

I don't know any details about the send-out schedule, but presumably they'll get right on it. Six months' lead time seems long to me...but in any event, I like the way you think!

Lisa said...

Patti, are you in San Antonio? My company is based there and I've managed to spend some time in the Texas Hill Country, which is also beautiful. Just being in that environment and away from the suburbs where I live was soooo relaxing -- except for that night I had to self medicate :)

Therese, well let's hope they get plenty of them sent out -- I can just tell, this book will be well received and I'll bet it just flies off the shelves :))))

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Literary Quote

It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.

Virginia Woolf