NYC with Maria Virginia of THE QUEEN OF WATER!

On Broadway with Maria with our book!

Hello everyone!

Maria Virginia (my collaborator for the upcoming book THE QUEEN OF WATER) and I just got back from NYC!  It was her first time there-- she's always wanted to go, and I'm always looking for any excuse to go there, so we planned a three-day trip together.

We decided you could probably fit the entire town of Fort Collins into one of these buildings...

The Random House building is silver and shiny and utterly dazzling.  Last time I was in NYC two years ago, it was rainy, and the top of the building was shrouded in mist.  This time our visit was blue-skied and sunny, so I could see all the way to the top....

We toured Random House Children's Books, met with wonderful people who played parts in creating and promoting our book, had lunch with my editor, Stephanie, some other amazing Random House women, and some fantastic librarians.  We were thrilled to discover that they'd gotten review copies of THE QUEEN OF WATER ahead of time, so they'd all read the book!

Maria in Times Square

It was fascinating for us to hear everyone's favorite parts and what they were curious to know more about.  The lunch was at a scrumptious Mexican restaurant that used creative ingredients like jicama and figs.  Mmm.  Maria and I hadn't gotten our own review copies yet, but we sneaked one from the table. ;-)
in front of Random House

Maria's brother-in-law, Jaime, has been in NYC for a few months now, so he invited us to the Ecuadorian section of town (around Roosevelt and 82nd St-- Jackson Heights area). 

One thing I love about NYC is how the neighborhoods are so different... you get on the subway in sky-scraper land of Broadway and emerge, a half hour later, on a street that you might encounter in a South American town, where everyone speaks Spanish, and there are vendors selling helado (ice cream) from coolers and choclos (corn on the cob) on the sidewalks...

Jaime, like Maria's husband, is a talented Andean musician who plays wind instruments like reed pan pipes and wooden flutes. In the mornings, he plays in the subway (if you live in the area, say hola to him for us!)  He also sells jewelry on the street in his neighborhood.  It was interesting for me to meet him in this context, away from his home in the village of San Roque, on the outskirts of Otavalo, in the Andes.  I've spent time with his brothers and sisters and mother in their homes in Ecuador, hung out with their chickens and pigs, wandered around their cornfields, eaten fresh blackberries from their bushes and capulis from their trees, watched the sun set over the mountains with them... That setting couldn't be more different than NYC!

We spent lots of time riding on the subway...  always interesting, but a little exhausting (if, like us, you're fairly clueless and have to have one eye glued to a subway map the whole time).  That fluorescent lighting makes for pretty horrendous photos...

Tired and hot in sickly lights of a subway train

We stayed in Brooklyn, since I have a good friend who lives there.  I've known Amanda since we were about thirteen or fourteen.  Here we are on the steps of her gorgeous brownstone apartment...

I had to be sure to get photos of her neighborhood, since it's where Lil Dude's new favorite books are set (Knufflebunny and Knufflebunny Two by Mo Willems).  Later, when I showed him the pics, he immediately recognized the building as "Trixie's house!"

Thanks for reading!  (And, if you're curious, THE QUEEN OF WATER comes out on March 8, 2011.)