Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

The World of What If by Sheramy Bundrick

Posted by Teddyrose@1 on August 31, 2009
Posted in Guest AuthorHistorical FictionSheramy Bundrick  | 4 Comments

Suppose you’re an art historian, and you write nonfiction. Suppose you’re studying Vincent van Gogh, and you know that he was acquainted with a prostitute named Rachel in 1888 Provence. That for some reason he cut off part of his ear and gave it to her. Who was this girl? How well did Vincent know her? Was he just a customer, or was their relationship something more? If you’re writing nonfiction, you can only go so far, then you have to stop. Ultimately you must admit that neither you nor anyone else will ever know the truth of Vincent and Rachel.
But if you’re writing a novel — if you’re writing historical fiction — “we’ll never know” quickly transforms into “what if?” The doors that seemed closed can be thrown wide open, your imagination can roam freely, and the mysteries big and small that make scholars shrug can become your blank canvas. I’m an art historian by trade and a longtime van Gogh fangirl, and one day, after an evocative visit to Auvers-sur-Oise in France (where Vincent is buried), I thought to myself “what if?” What if Vincent was hiding something from his brother Theo all those months in Provence? What if Rachel and Vincent were more than just prostitute and customer? What if … ?
I spent many months writing Sunflowers, during which I immersed myself in Vincent’s artwork, his letters, and the plethora of van Gogh scholarship. I stood before his paintings in museums; I traveled to France and the Netherlands and walked in his footsteps. Historical novelists, for all their freedom and what-if’ing, still have an enormous responsibility, especially when writing about an actual historical figure. I couldn’t just change the facts of Vincent’s life on a whim to suit my plot, and I needed to build the fictional story on a solid historical framework. Luckily there was no shortage of research to work with: we know the ground plan and measurements of Vincent’s famous yellow house in Arles, the sites of most paintings he painted and where he must have been standing, even the weather on specific days he was out working. Yet there is plenty we don’t know — and that’s where “what if” came into play. I admit, sometimes I wondered if what I was imagining could have actually happened!
It’s a magical thing, “what if.” For a historical novelist, it might be the most powerful phrase in our arsenal of words — it’s our Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, our Open Sesame. It leads us places we never expected, and hopefully, it brings our readers along for the ride.
Sunflowers is Sheramy Bundrick’s first novel and will be released on 13 October 2009 from Avon-A/HarperCollins.

Copyright 2007-2010: All the posts within this blog were originally posted by Teddy Rose and should not be reproduced without express written permission.

China Challenge!

Posted by Teddyrose@1 on August 30, 2009
Posted in 2009 Completed Challenges  | 14 Comments

September 1, 2009-September 1, 2010

Jennie of Biblio File is hosting this challenge to learn more about China.

Here’s what she says about it:

We hear about China all the time in the news. It has one of the richest and longest literary histories in the world. It’s a huge and changing country, and there are a million books out there to enjoy. In order to help us understand China, join the China Challenge!

Okay, I know I am in too many challenges but I have to do this one. Besides, there are many different levels of participation and I plan to do the easiest one:

Armchair Traveler: Read 1 book about China. I’m defining this pretty loosely, but the majority of the action should take place in China. For the sake of ease, places such as Hong Kong, Macau, Tibet, and Taiwan count.

See, easy! In fact it’s so easy that I think some of you, my blogging friends should join the challenge. Come on, you know you want to. All you have to do is click on the lanterns about to go to the challenge.
I haven’t decided which book I will be reading for this yet but I’ll update this post when I decide.

Here’s what I will read:

Our Hart: Elegy for a Concubine by Lloyd Lofthouse

Copyright 2007-2010: All the posts within this blog were originally posted by Teddy Rose and should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Portland, Oregon Book Bloggers Retreat

Posted by Teddyrose@1 on August 28, 2009
Posted in Meeting Book Bloggers  | 17 Comments

Last weekend I attended the first ever Portland Book Bloggers Retreat. Bloggers from Northern California, Washington, Oregon and Canada met up. (Okay, I was the only Canadian).

On Friday August 21st we met up for dinner and drinks. Then we had a full day on Saturday.

First we got a tour of Powells , the largest independent new and used bookstores in the world. This is my favorite book store! When ever I’m in Portland I go to Powells! I had never seen the rare books section before and we got a tour of that as well. The biggest highlight there, was Lewis and Clark’s journal with a copy of their original map tucked in the back (and worth about $35,000). Such a treat!

From left to right: (Suzi) of Whimpulsive, Gabe of Reading Local., Wendy of Caribousmom, Gilion from Rose City Reader, Ali from Worducopia, Kristen from We Be Reading, Me, of course, Bethany of Dreadlock Girl, and Trish of Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?

Pictures above: Front and back of a post card from Alex Ginsburg to Bill Burroughs, dated 1965.

After lunch we went to the
Multnomah County Library for a tour of their rare books Collection. My photos of most of the books didn’t turn out to well, so I am only going to post a couple here. However, click on the links to the other bloggers who attended for more cool pictures of rare books!

Pictures above: the first and original Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.

Bloggers with Author Molly Gloss. From Left: Bethany of Dreadlock Girl, (back) Gabe of Reading Local, Ali from Worducopia, Me, Molly Gloss, Kristen from We Be Reading, Wendy of Caribousmom, and Trish of Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?

We also met with local author Molly Gloss. It was a fun filled hour chatting with her about her books, other books, blogging, etc.

On Sunday I made the 6 hour drive back home.

This was a wonderful experience, especially meeting some of my favorite book bloggers! I hope we get to do it again!

Copyright 2007-2010: All the posts within this blog were originally posted by Teddy Rose and should not be reproduced without express written permission.