Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Guest Post by Sharman Russell, Author of Teresa of the New World

Today I have a fascinating guest post from Sharman Russell, author of Teresa of the New World, about communicating with animals. I absolutely love this because I find myself talking to animals all the time, whether they realize I'm communicating with them or not! So please enjoy and continue on for more information about the author, her new book and other stops on this exciting blog tour!

Today on my walk to the Gila River in southwestern New Mexico, I jumped two feet--backward--when a rattlesnake buzzed seemingly next to my ear, suddenly and startlingly visible, a muscular coiled presence in clumps of yellow grass. Apparently I had come too close for its comfort and now for mine. The rattlesnake BBBZZZZZZZed like the sound of a plane making an emergency landing in my chest. Kind. Of. Intense. But also helpful. “Thank you,” I said out loud, glad to be warned instead of bitten.

Photo by Elroy Limmer

This was a prairie rattlesnake, chocolate-brown squares down a yellow-brown back, the triangular head and golden eye, the black pupil elliptically vertical, and the rattled tail vibrating madly--a less common and more excitable species than the black-tailed rattlesnake I also encounter on my walks.

“You are very beautiful,” I added formally, not using contractions. “And now I am going the long way around. Over here. Not near you.”

Flattering snakes is something you find yourself doing in the desert. At the very least, your own voice calms you. And suddenly you have a relationship with this animal. You need all your communication skills.

Hiking for the last thirty years in the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona, I’ve had a dozen similar conversations with rattlesnakes. Dozens more with other snakes (like the striped whiptail in the photo above) and with lizards. Lots of lizards. With tarantulas and butterflies and tiger beetles. With coatis and javelinas and mule deer and coyotes. With a fox and her kits. With a few bears. With ravens, of course.

Photo by Elroy Limmer

For certain mammals, I know that my scent, body language, and tone of voice are genuine forms of communication. But I am just amusing myself when it comes to the snakes and butterflies and beetles. I talk to them mainly because articulating and affirming our relationship is such a pleasure--for me, at least. I am so happy to meet them.

And because I do think they are beautiful. So why not say so?

In Teresa of the New World, my main character also talks to animals, and they answer back. She listens to the musical notes of sunflower, phlox, and orange poppy. She sinks into the earth and swims through stone. The stones are remembering forests of kelp, lakes of fire. The ants are singing, too. The earth is whispering to the girl, "I love you. I love watching you. You are such a mystery. I watch and wonder what you will do next." The girl moves through the earth like wind moves through the branches of a tree.

Photo by Elroy Limmer

Magical realism. It's just a metaphor for the world in which we actually live.
Thank you Sharman for the great guest post! While I love talking to animals I'm not sure I would be brave enough to talk to a snake! I'm sure the sounds coming out of my mouth would be a lot less calming and more dangerous given the situation :).
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Yucca Publishing/Skyhorse Publishing
Formats: Hardcover, Ebook
ISBN: 978-1631580420
Genre: Historical Fiction/Young Adult/Fantasy

From the bestselling author of An Obsession with Butterflies comes a magical story of America in the time of the conquistadors.

In 1528, the real-life conquistador Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked in the New World where he lived for eight years as a slave, trader, and shaman. In this lyrical weaving of history and myth, the adventurer takes his young daughter Teresa from her home in Texas to walk westward into the setting sun, their travels accompanied by miracles–visions and prophecies. But when Teresa reaches the outposts of New Spain, life is not what her father had promised.

As a kitchen servant in the household of a Spanish official, Teresa grows up estranged from the magic she knew as a child, when she could speak to the earth and listen to animals. When a new epidemic of measles devastates the area, the sixteen-year-old sets off on her own journey, befriending a Mayan were-jaguar who cannot control his shape-shifting and a warhorse abandoned by his Spanish owner. Now Teresa moves through a land stalked by Plague: smallpox as well as measles, typhus, and scarlet fever.

Soon it becomes clear that Teresa and her friends are being manipulated and driven by forces they do not understand. To save herself and others, Teresa will find herself listening again to the earth, sinking underground, swimming through limestone and fossil, opening to the power of root and stone. As she searches for her place in the New World, she will travel farther and deeper than she had ever imagined.

Rich in historical detail and scope, Teresa of the New World takes you into the dreamscape of the sixteenth-century American Southwest.

Praise for Teresa of the New World

“Wow! The magical elements were a total thrill-ride, and what a satisfying ending. After finishing it I had that wonderful sensation I get from a great read—the mysterious feeling of having been somewhere, of dreams having risen up and carried me along on a wild journey.” – Sarah Johnson, Editor


Praise for Sharman Russell

Russell has written twelve previous books with numerous starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. The San Francisco Chronicle has said “Russell’s writing is luminous” and Kirkus Reviews wrote, “A deep reverence for nature shines throughout Russell’s rich, enjoyable text.” The Seattle Times described her An Obsession with Butterflies as a “masterpiece of story-telling” and the San Diego Union Tribune called it “A singular work of art, with its smooth, ethereal prose and series after cascading series of astonishing lore.” The New York Times and Discover Magazine both described her book on hunger as “elegant.”

Buy the Book


About the Author

Sharman Apt Russell has lived in Southwestern deserts almost all her life and continues to be refreshed and amazed by the magic and beauty of this landscape. She has published over a dozen books translated into a dozen languages, including fiction and nonfiction. She teaches graduate
writing classes at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico and Antioch University in Los Angeles, California and has thrice served as the PEN West judge for their annual children’s literature award. Her own awards include a Rockefeller Fellowship, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Henry Joseph Jackson Award.

For more information visit Sharman Russell’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.

Teresa of the New World Blog Tour

Monday, May 11

Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, May 12

Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Wednesday, May 13

Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, May 15

Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, May 18

Review at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, May 20

Guest Post at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, May 21

Spotlight at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Friday, May 22

Blog Tour Wrap Up & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

No comments:

Post a Comment