See my virtual suitcase full of books at bottom. These are titles that caught my attention while on virtual book tour; some about music, Spanish history, or whatever else caught my eye.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Interview by an editor

In this latest interview and online book club discussion, anonymous editorial blogger "Moonrat" asks about the acquisition and publication of THE SPANISH BOW, shares her own tear-stained memories of music lessons, and muses on friendships in fiction.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Receiving letters from readers is one of the joys of being a published writer, and often, the letters are ones we wish we could share. I usually don't, but this one came today and it really moved me, imagining the life of the person who wrote it -- a female U.S. Army Sargeant -- and the difficult place from which she is writing: Afghanistan. She gave me permission to post part of her letter here.

Mrs. Romano-Lax, I just finished reading your amazing novel. It is easy to forget how wonderful our liberties are in America. I have been in Afghanistan nearly a year now and have had many new experiences.

I bought this book at the PX, picking it from among a bunch of romance novels. Apparently those are popular. It is difficult to find an interesting read unless you order online and then it becomes entirely too overwhelming with too much to choose from. After being here a while there is a lull in creative juices. I needed a recharge desperately and The Spanish Bow brought to life what was sleeping. You captured so many emotions.

You wrote from a man's perspective so well that I thought you were a man until I looked at your bio (I looked for the bio when I bought it, but the last page hid it). I was shocked and pleased. Thank you for stirring my emotions. There were parts of the book that I had to stop and ponder for a while. I wasn't sure what I was feeling but it deserved attention.

You asked the question "In difficult times, is art an indulgence or a necessity?" In my difficult time, away from my family with my life on hold, it is a necessity. Writing eases my troubles, and reading takes me away from them or helps me face them. We are all ordinary. We think we are alone in our struggles. Art reminds us that everyone laughs, cries, loves and all the emotions in between. Art brings people together even when they are alone.

Very sincerely, SGT Tessa Burns US Army

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Two new interviews online

At her Reading the Past blog, Sarah Johnson (of the Historical Novels Reviews) asks some great questions about Spanish stereotypes and the trend in publishing historical novels about Spain, among other things.

At Book Sandwich, Jen and I talk about the music featured in the novel, research, and more.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why we love book bloggers

I wrote this guest-post for "MyfriendAmysblog," organizer of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, to explain why one author is grateful for book blogs. Thanks for letting me share, Amy, and I love all the comments that were posted in response. Print book reviews may be declining, but the passion for books lives on.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Visit me on Librarything!

I'm at Librarything between today and Oct. 1, taking part in an authorchat and ready to field questions from readers. Please, visit me there! I'm on hand to talk not only about my novel THE SPANISH BOW, but about books in general.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

I love this idea, and because of it I'm spending lots of time browsing book blogs I'd never heard of before, encountering readers and writers, and adding to my own TBR pile. Book Blogger Appreciation Week starts Monday and I don't know what-all it will include, but there are going to be lots of giveaways. (Two copies of THE SPANISH BOW are among the freebies.)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Early Reviewer copies at Librarything

THE SPANISH BOW is among the many early reviewer books being given away free this month at Librarything, one of the top social networking sites for bibliophiles. I'll make a personal stop at Librarything from 9/17 to 10/1 for one of the site's many author chats.

I'm a celloblogger

Did you know there were "cellobloggers?" I didn't. Over a hundred of them, and I am hoping they will teach me a lot about becoming a more disciplined amateur cellist this fall, after I'm done book touring.

Meeting readers and authors, blog to blog

Here is the neat thing that can happen with blogs, coming from a skeptic who wasn't quite sure how to leave a comment just over a month ago. During my VBT I stumbled across this reader's blog, called "The Life and Times of a New New Yorker," and found a review of my book. I left a comment, something I wouldn't have done a year ago.

(What -- admit that an author pays attention to online comments? Now that I blog, too, I say why not? I talk to every person who approaches me at physical readings, and am darn grateful for those. Why shouldn't I appreciate the effort that a regular reader, nearly always unpaid, put into writing a response to my novel?)

Amanda at L&ToMNNY mentioned my book again (and visited my blog, where she told me she has a sister in Anchorage -- small world). I also noticed that elsewhere in her blog she mentions THE LAST QUEEN by C. W. Gortner, a historical novel about Juana "La Loca" of Castile. He also writes a Historical Boys blog (in defense of his notion that men write historical fiction, too).

Gortner is half-Spanish and an eager researcher and traveler, the kind of historical novelist I enjoy reading. In his childhood he lived near a castle that had belonged to Juana's parents, Fernando and Isabel. I'll put THE LAST QUEEN into my suitcase, below.

I also noted that Gortner's name seemed oddly familiar. Turns out he wrote a nice review of my book for Historical Novels Review. I hadn't realized he was born in Malaga and shared my passion for Spanish history. A quick visit to his blog, a comment, his email in response, and now we're in touch.

The same day I also happen to make an online connection, via an amazon discussion, with Stephanie Cowell, author of MARRYING MOZART, an intriguing novel about the lives of the maestro's relationship with the four Weber sisters.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Next stop, Editorial Ass

Moonrat at Editorial Ass has been a big supporter of THE SPANISH BOW since way back in the ARC-BEA days (in other words, before it was properly published). October 1 she is going to be hosting an online book club. Today she recognized the paperback release, something I haven't even managed to do on my other blog, "49 writers, no moose" because I am too busy interviewing other interesting Alaska writers. Thanks, Moonrat!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cellomania reviews my book and recommends another

Guanaco is an adult amateur cellist (my favorite kind) based in Alaska (what a coincidence!) with a blog called Cellomania. I appreciate these cello blogs because they inspire me to keep practicing, though I hate to admit, by musical life is on pause until the end of the fall. (Which is why I need all those inspring cello blogs all the more.)

Guanaco was nice enough to call attention to my book when it was in hardcover, and on 9/4 he mentioned it again, in relation to another novel called THE CELLIST OF SARAJEVO by Steven Galloway. (I haven't read it but it looks good -- there's the first book to be added to my virtual suitcase, below.) Guanaco writes:

This book calls to mind another recent novel about a fictionalized
historical cellist, "The Spanish Bow", by Andromeda Romano-Lax. Andromeda (I love that name), who herself is a cellist, presents an enthralling story about a cellist, loosely based on the life and times of Pablo Casals. Unlike the cellist in Galloway's book who is not really the main character in the story, the cellist in "The Spanish Bow" is the focus of the novel, and we read about his life from the time as a young child he receives "the bow" from his absent father until he ultimately becomes one of the most celebrated cellists of his time.It seems, as I watch way too much television for my own good, that more and more often one of the guest characters in the various series (frequently a child) is studying the cello. It seems to be a fad these days. A few recent movies present cellists as a main character [including "The Soloist", based on the book by Steve Lopez, which hasn't yet been released]. The depictions on TV are fleeting, almost superfluous. The movies are a little more engrossing, but I tend to get distracted watching the actor's simulated playing.I much prefer to read about cellists. So from this fan: thank you, Andromeda Romano-Lax...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Paperback reviews begin

With book review coverage in America in general decline, a new round of paperback reviews is always appreciated. Palm Beach Post's Greg Stepanich wrote in his review of THE SPANISH BOW today, "This first novel by a one-time journalist and travel writer is a novel in the old style, in one important sense: it takes its time in the telling, unfolding leisurely and richly through the most painful pages of 20th-century Spanish history."