Friday, January 7, 2011

BLUE by Lou Aronica

By Lou Aronica

Do not begin this novel unless you are prepared to be moved, willing to open your heart, and available to the possibility that life can bring you magic.

Chris Astor is a man in his early forties who is going through the toughest stretch of his life. Not long before, Chris' world sparkled - he was doing significant work, he had a good home, and his young daughter brought him more joy than he ever could have imagined. Now, divorce and estrangement have left him confused and all too often alone.

Becky is Chris' fourteen-year-old daughter, a girl who overcame enormous challenges in her early years to become a vibrant, vital young woman. Her parents' divorce has left its mark, though, most significantly in her relationship with her father. Once, they told remarkable stories together. Now, they barely speak. Emotional detachment from Chris is not Becky's biggest concern, though.

Miea is the young queen of a fantasy land that Becky and Chris created when Becky was little - a fantasy land that has developed a life of its own. Miea knows nothing of Becky and Chris. She only knows that her beautiful kingdom - a place of remarkably varied flora, dignified and distinctive fauna, and an ecology that works in symphonic majesty - is in terrible, maybe fatal trouble.

At the most challenging junctures of their lives, Becky and Miea discover each other and Miea shares this discovery with Chris. For Becky, it is nearly inconceivable that a place she created has come into existence. For Miea, it is nearly inconceivable that a child created her land. For Chris, it is beyond inconceivable that he is again sharing something important in his daughter's life. For all of them, it as though a world of opportunity has opened up before them.

But time is not on their side. In fact, time might be running out.

Together, they need to uncover a secret. The secret to why these worlds have joined at this moment. The secret to their purpose. The secret to the future. It is a secret that, when discovered, will redefine imagination for all of them.
Blue is a novel of trial and hope, invention and rediscovery. It might very well take you someplace you never knew existed. Do not, however, begin it unless you are prepared to be moved.

My Review: Once-in-awhile, a story comes along that completely surprises me because it delivers so much more than I expected; more depth, more feeling, more story-weaving.  Blue not only falls into this category, it tops the list. The book blurb above gives you the road map, but it can't really tell you how much you're going to like the journey that author Lou Aronica invites you to enjoy through the pages of BLUE. In fact, I'm having a difficult time trying to put into words just how much I enjoyed this story. Through the reading I felt both ecstasy and despair. I felt transported into a fantasy that took on realistic borders. And I so want to thank this author for giving me an ending that gave hope and a renewed belief in imagination and the power of storytelling. Wonderful book for the whole family. I humbly give this book FIVE STARS, and wish I had more to offer.

Please enjoy this character interview provided by Author Lou Aronica

An interview with Chris Astor

Chris Astor is one of three protagonists in my new novel, Blue (the others being his fourteen-year-old daughter Becky, and the twenty-ish queen of the fantasy world they created when Becky was much younger). Blue is the story of what happens when this world suddenly comes to life and Becky discovers that she can travel to it. The reason this happened, and what it implies for all involved, is the central mystery of the novel.

When Blue opens, you seem to be going through a tough stretch. Is that a fair assessment?

If by “tough” you mean that I haven’t been able to get my life in gear for the past four years, then yes, it has been a tough stretch. When Becky was ten, my wife asked for a divorce, and this knocked me off my moorings.  The toughest thing for me was that I couldn’t see Becky every day anymore. Becky was so upset about everything that she decided she would no longer tell Tamarisk stories with me.

Tamarisk is the world you created when Becky was five. You came up with new stories every night?

It was more like one very long serial. We would pick up the story from the night before. As happens with these things, there were various points when the stories pivoted. As Becky got older, some of the little girl components (talking animals, that sort of thing) gave way to her more sophisticated imagination. But we told a story every night, even when I was away. Then it just stopped cold.

How did you feel about that?

I couldn’t believe how hard it hit me. This was an unbelievably special thing to me, something that gave Becky and me a tool for talking about everything together. To lose it in the midst of losing so much else was devastating, but Becky was adamant. She was so angry with me because I couldn’t explain to her why her mother and I were splitting. After years of being so open with each other, I wouldn’t talk to her about this. The reason was that I couldn’t comprehend it myself. A smarter man would have explained that to his daughter, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t get the words out.

How surprising was it, then, when Becky announced to you four years later that Tamarisk was real?

I think I would have been less surprised if she had told me she was from Mars. My first thought was that she was saying this metaphorically. But Becky didn’t speak in metaphors. She was so excited about it, though, and she wanted to share it with me. Given the past four years, I didn’t want to over-think this. When she told me she could travel to Tamarisk, though, I had a bit of a challenge. I wanted to believe her, and I certainly wanted to maintain the sharing that we were once again doing, but she was talking about visiting an imaginary world that we’d created. That required some careful navigation.

Ultimately you believed her, though.

My skepticism fell away fairly quickly, actually. Becky’s descriptions were so vivid. Then, of course, I got to go to Tamarisk myself.

Was it everything you imagined?

Frankly, my imagination isn’t anywhere near that good. Becky had always come up with the best parts, and the reality was so much more exciting than the picture I had in my head. Becky had taken me to Tamarisk to see if I could help with a very serious crisis there, but for the first twenty minutes I was there, all I wanted to do was giggle. I managed to restrain myself, but only barely.

What has the entire experience taught you?

That imagination might be the greatest gift we’ve been given. Imagination can make the impossible possible. The biggest thing I learned, though, is that if you love someone enough you can create miracles together. I’ll carry that conviction with me for the rest of my life.

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