Friday, September 22, 2017

A review for Suzy Lee's MIRROR-Consequence, joy, shame, trepidation, friendship all wrapped up without words. 




Suzy Lee’s Mirror is as the dust jacket suggests, “a visual tour de force.”  But, I am going to add, emotional tour de force to the accolades. 

“Reading it” as an adult I am immediately taken back to one of my favorite Margaret Attwood poem- Tricks with Mirrors.  Like the poem, this story is a layer upon layer of complexities.  Mirror, in true Suzy Lee fashion, is told with such a soft and “simple” touch.  Once more she keeps colors to a minimum going for a charcoal black and uses shading and the white of the page to tell the story.  In Mirror, the accent color is… YELLOW!

I swear Suzy Lee knows my daughter.  This book is so my Mia.  Down to the peeking out from between the fingers with mock fear, and of course the dancing.  Though I do wonder whether Mia would ever see her shadow/reflection as anything other than her.  Unlike my daughter, the girl in Mirror sees the reflection as a new friend.  

This concept, playing with her reflection it takes us the reader and the girl to the first of the most stunningly simple and heart stopping page spreads.  I won’t tell you what it is.

There are however, in my opinion, two shockingly brilliant page turns in this book.  The one in the middle I just mentioned and one at the end.  

I am still in a quiet place with THAT page spread. A quiet place filled with awe and wonder.  Suzy just took the reader THERE.  The fact that she did it almost takes away from the beautiful visual of how THERE appears.  

One of the things I love so much about a Suzy Lee book is ability to illustrate, incorporate and fold the reader into universal emotions.  She gets kids.  She gets humans.  But more importantly she really gets those quiet moments that change a person.

Mirror is my new favorite Picture Book. I LOVE Shadow. I LOVE Lines, I LOVE Wave. I love many other authors books, but right now Mirror is the Queen in my world.  Thank you! Thank you, Suzy Lee!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Review and Mock Interview for the Magical Suzy Lee

      Prepare yourself.  I am about to go all fan girl on this blog because I have decided it is about time to talk about one of my favorite Author/illustrators- Suzy Lee
(Only picture of her art I am going to show because I do not have permission AND, I want you to go out and get the books and experience them the right way.)




      I have a couple confessions to make before I start. One- I have not seen her books MIRROR or THE ZOO.  Two- I will not be talking about Suzy Lee as an illustrator for other authors books of which there are few.  Three- I have never spoken with Suzy Lee, though someday I would love to and I may even post a couple of questions in this review for her, should she ever come across it.



      Suzy Lee was born in 1974, in Seoul, South Korea. And according to Wikipedia, she graduated in 1996 with a BFA in Painting from the Seoul National University, and earned an MA in Book Arts in 2001 from Camberwell College of Arts.

She has lived in Singapore and London, and currently lives and works in Seoul.

But enough about things anyone can look up using the internet.  Let’s talk about Suzy Lee’s MAGIC!


       I am going to put it in context. First as a fan girl, then as an author of picture books.

Suzy Lee presents a book in the way I see the world. In multilayered vignettes, so simple in concept but so deep voice.  One of the most beautiful things about her books is that they are, for all intense and purposes WORDLESS! Yet, they are so full of voice.


       I first found her when I discovered her book, Wave published 2008. I bought the book for many reasons (and I am picky when it comes to picture books). The first was that the book was wordless.  I bought it for (at the time) my soon to be daughter, adopted from China and without language (wrap your head around that, good luck, I still am 4 years later). 

        Wave is a simple story.  I girl goes to the beach with her mom and is given the chance to explore but is scared of the water at first.  As the girl grows bolder, in conversation with the water through simple but stunning illustrations, characters like the five seagulls, the ocean, the sky and the girl fill the readers mind with such a strong voice, you would swear there were words on the page.


        The stories magic starts on the cover.  Then, rolls into the end pages awash in grey wave like patters. As with most Suzy Lee books, the story begins on the cover.  She doesn’t wait until the traditional page 5 to get things rolling.  Another thing I love about her books.  With Wave, Suzy has chosen the simple splash of pencil, then what looks like water color, perfectly splashed in blue. It pulls you in.  Even the shape of the book holds magic. It’s original.  When it’s open it fills two laps—a long rectangle 7.25 by 12.25 then a full 2 feet when open.


        The second work I am enamored with is Shadow, published in 2010. Suzy immediately throws the reader into the story as she has taken all of the pages up for the story, the end pages, the cover, the title, it all folds into the amazing “film” that is Shadow. Like a well-crafted Hitchcock film, as soon as the light goes out, the world changes and the reader must open their imagination to explore.  Again, this story is pushed forward by the same precocious little girl as Wave.  This time she’s inside either a closet or storage room full of all sorts of things. 


        What I LOVE about this book is the pacing of the fading of images.  The way Suzy leads you just enough from a visual point then lets your mind start to tell the story, brilliant.  No other word for it.  As a dyslexic, the mirrored images on opposite pages took me time to visit. But, I found that with each page turn things get easier and easier. Somehow, I know she planned it that way.  The execution of her art blows my mind.  Again, so simple, but as we know, simple is the hardest thing to do and do well.


        She uses color sparingly again, this time the black of the pen/paintbrush and a vibrant yellow then full on black.  There are only two words in this book, “Dinner’s Ready!” and because she is so good at telling her story visually, it’s all the book needs.  Plus, as a reader for my daughter this shift added a key moment of explosion we both enjoy.


        Again, this book is a unique size 7.5 by 12.5, but this time you open it and it long your lap, not wide. 14 inches instead of 2 feet but to read it you must fold it up to open.

The third book I am going to talk about is Suzy Lee’s new book Lines, just out 2017.  This book holds a very VERY special place in my heart as I used to be an ice skater, up at 5 am every morning for practice from the age of 5 until 11.


       Color, let’s talk about what color Suzy is using in this visually poetic book—pencil gray and red for the majority of the book, then in a departure for her, layers of new color—yellow, brown and green and a splash of blue. 


       When I skated, my favorite thing was to be the first on the fresh ice.  It was still wet from the Zamboni, it hadn’t enough time to dull in the cold, it was shiny and had a smell that in the cold of the arena felt fresh (even if in reality it was chemically).  I loved being first because I could paint lines, drawing adventures with my blades, curves, and dots, swaths of stops, and holes from toe picks.  Suzy Lee has brought that unbelievable moment for me back in a way it feels like I have never left the ice.


        I sit with this book and I am alive in a way I only ever was when I was skating.  To say what she has created is Magic, just doesn’t quite cover it.  But, it’s all I have.  I am not going to tell you the story.  I am only going to say that her use of the page, of page turns is something I have never seen any other person do.


       I would love to thank her, personally, for making my world a more magical place.




Now on to questions I would LOVE to ask her, if I ever had the chance.


  • Do you see a book first?  Is it one image that holds you hostage? Or a series of images?  OR do you have a plot in mind first then get to the art?

  • Did you set out to be, in my mind, the Queen of Wordless Books, or was it a natural progression for you as an artist?

  • Tell me about the little girl in your books.  I feel like I know her from toe to tip of her head, but I would love to hear who she is to you.

  • Do you set out to use a small pallet of color for each both on purpose? If so, how do you choose those colors for each story?

  • Can you tell me more about your choices for book size and shape? How early in the process for each book did you decide upon the shape?

  • How do you get such a strong voice in your books without words???  I am truly impressed and have heartache over just how good that piece in each of your books is.

  • And finally, what new projects are spinning around in your head?
You can find Wave on Amazon at Wave
And Shadow
And Lines

Monday, September 18, 2017

Getting back to work now that schools is in session

And the race gun goes off- Now what?  Run as fast as I can?  Get as much done as possible?

No-


Clear my head. 


Take one item at a time. 

Give my soul, 

heart,

and brain

the space and support they need

to get me ideally where I want to go.



I have an abundance of things to read should I choose LIKE-
Jane Friedman's article on Social Media


OR THIS-
 Narrative Non Fiction vs Fiction for young readers

And I really want to get around to some amazing new books out there with a couple of reviews LIKE this one for Suzy Lee's Lines


I also have many things to promote LIKE-
Give A HUG- Hurricane Relief Fund Anthology

As well as set up School and Bookstore Visits-
By the way The Queen Anne Book Company is a LOVELY place to do readings.

Not to mention, put together a marketing packet for EGG to get it into some fabulous places.

So yea, clear my head- Start editing the novel I wrote this summer.  Continue to write picture books.

Plus, keep this blog a little more updated and continue to search for the right agent and query.

Not sure how I am going to do all of this just yet.  But, I WILL figure it out.

Or maybe I'll end up like my cat's Griffin and Dude and go belly up, lay in the sunshine and zone out.



Soon to post- Parts of the Poem and Story I donated for the Hurricane Relief book Clear Fork Publishing is putting out.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Summer a busy time for Books?

Summer's are usually really hard for me to get any work done.  I have a now 7 year old taking up most if not all of my attention (less than 3 weeks to go).

And yet, this summer I accomplished something I have been planning on doing for about 10 years.  I wrote the first draft of my novel.  It's a historical fiction story involving Paris, Camille Claudel and her descendants.  There's a bit of a ghostly quality to it and I excited to say, even in it's first draft I have readers hooked immediately.  I am very much looking forward to Fall and time to edit.  I know how I want to approach it and what needs to be worked on.  I just need the TIME to do it.

Now, back to Picture books!

Today I am the guest on a Spork Sister Blog!
Thank you Melissa Stoller

I do so love this community at Clear Fork has created.  What a great bunch of talented and lovely people.  I feel very fortunate each and every day for this path.

Egg travelled out to the Washington Coast this weekend!  I learned a lot of about setting up future events, had some wonderful reading sessions with the kids and even sold some books!
Thank you Seabrook Kids Store for the warm welcome and the support.

It is an amazing thing to see your book in a store.  Even better to read it to a group of kids and have them involved and helping you read the story!

Also, I had a new idea for a story.  Might actually make my 12x12 deadline for August!  Looking forward to new writing and exploration!



Sunday, July 9, 2017

A new Egg interview!

I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by one of my fabulously talented Spork Sisters, Ellen Leventhal!


If you are interested in reading it go HERE to check it out!

More to come next week.

#WHOMPBOOM!

-Laura

Monday, June 19, 2017

New Clear Fork Challenge- What was the moment you decided to be a writer?

It's a good question with a really boring answer.

I have always been writing.  Even with bad spelling, horrible grammar and all over the place plots. 

Why, because it's fun.  I LOVE creating things, worlds, people, voices that need to be shared. I really started with poetry.  I LOVE poetry.  There is something so spiritual about being wrapped up in a poem- a moment, a tear, a laugh and tingle of skin.  Poetry is magic.

Sharing my writing, that's different.  Putting my writing out there to be judged, critiqued, held up to others.  That isn't new new, but it's new on this level. 

And it's HARD. 

So far, I am surviving.  So far, I have been able to convey the worlds in my head well enough to other's that I am not being skewered.

But it isn't always rainbow and sunshine. 

Sometimes, putting work out there is terrifying and painful.  No matter how much success you have.

I made it through two critique groups last week.  And now, this Monday I am going to sit down, after letting things sit for a day or two, and work through all of the comments. 

There are good comments. There are- boy I must not have done my job well enough because the comments are from another planet, comments. 

It's all good feedback.  What I do with it... which ones I focus on... that's my job, that's part of writing that no one really talks about when they ask you-  What was the moment you decided you decided to be a writer?

Because being a writer, being a creative isn't always about being creative (I have that in spades), it's about the willingness to do the work.

To Read.

To Read lots.

To Read things that make you uncomfortable.

To Read things that you don't understand.

As much as you read the things that make your heart sing and make complete your world.

To honestly answer the question- What was the moment I decided to become a writer?

I'd have to say, the moment I fell in love with books.  And I fell in love with books before I could read. 

My love for books maintained even when I couldn't read, because I had a learning disability.

Even when after my Master's degree I couldn't pick one up because my brain was TIRED.  I knew, like a home, they would always be there for me.

So now, off to work.

-Laura





Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Most Fabulous Egg Book Launch!

And a great time was had by all!

Saturday June 10th was packed full of great and supportive people and lots of WHOMPBOOMS!

There was cake!


And, Egg's! 





And lots of Rrrraatttttllleeesss and...


WHOMPBOOMS!




The room was full of lots of fabulous kids and parents!


And my talented and wonderful Critique Group!


Thank you all for helping to launch Egg! 

Egg is currently sold out.  But new copies have been ordered and will be on their way.  So, if you didn't get one at the launch, email me- lauranclement@yahoo.com  and I will make sure you get your copy!


Next on the Egg tour- A couple school visits!  See you later this week West Woodland Elementary

and next week, Pathfinder K-8!

Interested in a visit from an author?  Please visit my website's contact page: contact me here




Monday, June 5, 2017

A fun new review for Egg!

I was recently contacted by a fantastic site- Savvy Parenting Support

They were excited about Egg, so I send an early copy.  Check out what they had to say!
Egg Review

Also parents have been posting some fun new Egg readers!



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sharing a beautiful book with you- The Book of Mistakes

I bought this book at the most recent SCBWI conference.  I fell in love with it immediately.  And although I bought it for my daughter, I really bought it for me.

Today I had a moment to visit the podcast All the Wonders and got to listen in on her interview with Matthew Winner and was once again enchanted by her and her talent.

Podcast of All the Wonders- Corrina Luyken

Blog Post with Images

My favorite part about this book, a book to experience is all of the room, the white parts of the book leave room for the reader to continue to imagine.  It's beautiful.  And I hope you get a chance to check it out and enjoy.

-Laura

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Why do I write? Why do I want to be published?

My publisher is doing a 30 day media challenge. The first day was simple.  Show your workspace.
I have two from yesterday.
This is my, at my computer with Griffin on my lap, laying over my arms as I try to type.  Yes, I work at the kitchen table, that is my office.  And the cats, are always up in my business.
Later that day I posted another photo, cat still included.

Earlier I had posted that really, my workspace is everywhere.  I had gone on a walk that morning and posted many pictures of beautiful flowers as Seattle is finally in Spring and in Bloom!

Today, the challenge question was: Share why you write and why you wanted to be published.

I sat with this for a while and came up with this-

Writing is a moment where I breath in life. When a live photograph of emotions imprints on my spirit, on my soul and I, in order to be, breath out onto paper the curious imaginations that sweep in and out of my day. I write for my daughter, for that beautiful moment of childhood when magic is real and nothing is impossible.

Just this weekend I shared a piece I was struggling with, with my Dad.  I read it to him. Told him my dilemma and his response was THE reason I write.  Somehow, what I wrote had touched him, emotionally to the point he was almost speechless.  I could hear him wipe away tears over the phone and knew, even before he told me with words, that I shouldn't change anything about the story.

I made a moment, a precious moment, shared between us.   

THAT is why I write. 

I love photography.  I miss doing it most days.  Writing is just another way to catch a moment, to hold it dear and then as a gift, give it to someone else so cherish, to experience.  All art should tap into this BEING.  Writing is just one of the ways I can do that, for myself and for others.

Why do I want to be published? So that I can give out as many moments/gifts as possible.  I would love to bring that BEING into a day, an hour, a minute for another person, so that they can then in turn, pass it along and bring about more joy. 

-Laura


Friday, May 12, 2017

That MOMENT when you meet your literary hero and hand him your published book.

That moment-

I had that moment last night.  My friend Heather, who is a light and joy in my world has been taking me to see Sherman Alexie talks all year.  Last night was my third (and yes, I do know how very fortunate I have been.) 

I have talked with Mr. Alexie before, about my daughter, about special needs kids in the public school system, and yes, about my writing.  Last night, I got to walk up to him and hand him EGG.  He smiled and seemed genuinely excited for me.  It was magic.

To say that THAT moment was an important one for me would be an understatement.  Mr. Alexie is something of a Neil Gaiman American God to me.  A strong voice of humanity that pulls at my soul.  His words, so deeply thought out, yet fresh as a new heartbeat affect my BEING.

I am in constant amazement of him. To be so smart, so sharp and so real, with such an ease on the stage, and understanding of any subject.  So yes, last night my little EGG found it's way into the hands of one of my hero's and it all feels right.

As per usual these last weeks, I could not fall asleep so, turning over I reached for my phone to write down a poem.  It whipped through my head like a flash Seattle rainstorm, heavy with wind and sideways rain.

It is not perfect.  It is rough and rolls around still, but it is real and it is my head and heart in this moment.  So I am going to share it with you.

Sherman-


You stand, crackling

Like air before thunder-

Your wit,

Simultaneously tracing multiple paths to,

One destination.



A whip of air,

Roll of words,

Sharp,

But, so softly human,

Near the tender underbelly of hope.



Hope that is not lost,

Not forever,

Not in echoes.

Not yet frozen in data like salt crystals on the lips of our children,

Who,

Are forgetting how to BREATHE, air.



Air that is forgetting how to be AIR.



You stand crackling,

And we hold,

Our hearts,

While everything changes.

Like mud,

Into vessels full of water,

Water we so desperately need to drink.



You stand crackling,

And the air around you is LISTENING,

Waiting,

Wanting more.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

It's EGG's Hatch Day!!!!!!

May the 4th and the EGG be with you!

Welcome to the world EGG!

Egg wanted me to tell you-
"You are destined for greatness!"

Make sure you take all of your friends on your adventure.



And be sure to explore everywhere for it!

Be sure to visit www.clementcreations.net for your order.