Friday, March 12, 2010

Waking Up In The Land Of Glitter by Kathy Cano-Murillo review

With glue guns, glitter, twigs, or yarn, the ordinary can become extraordinary…..especially at La Pachanga. Owned by Estrella “Star” Estaban’s family, the restaurant has a rep for two things: good food and great art. La Pachanga brings people together-even when it looks like they couldn’t be further apart.

One ill-fated evening, Star jeopardizes her family’s business, her relationship with her boyfriend, and her best friend, Ofelia-a secretly troubled mother whose love for crafting borders on obsession; and a local celebrity Chloe Chavez- a determined television personality with more than one skeleton in her professional closet. If these unlikely allies can set aside their differences, they’ll find strength they never knew they had, and learn that friendship, like crafting, is truly an art form.
(From the back cover)

My Thoughts:

Kathy Cano-Murillo has crafted a crafty novel that focuses on the bonds of friendship and the healing powers of creating art. Her characters are lovable, witty, and complex and the plot is amazing and hilarious. I enjoyed reading Waking Up In the Land of Glitter, and breezed through the book in no time. You can feel the characters struggle and watch them grow as each of them discover their own unique talent. An amazing read, and truly isn’t everything a bit better with a little glitter.

Book Details
Category: FICTION
Publish Date: 3/1/2010
Price: $13.99/$16.99
ISBN: 9780446509244
Pages: 336


About the Author
With a life motto of “Crafts! Drama! Glitter!” Crafty Chica Kathy Cano-Murillo is a creative force of nature. A former syndicated columnist for The Arizona Republic, she is the founder of the award-winning Web site, and the author of seven nonfiction craft books and a Web series on Kathy has a Crafty Chica line of art supplies that are sold nationwide. She also has been featured in numerous media outlets such as The New York Times Magazine, NPR’s Weekend Edition, USA Today, Bust, and Latina magazine. She has shared her crafty ideas on local television, as well as on Sí TV, HGTV, and DIY network. She has been writing stories longer than she has been crafting. Inspired by Judy Blume and Erma Bombeck, she caught the literary bug in grade school, where she used to draw a picture and then write a colorful story to go with it. It’s a creativity exercise she still practices to this day! Kathy lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband, two kids, and five Chihuahuas. This is her first novel.

Author Q&A
1. You are known for writing instructional craft books. How did the novel come about?

My two favorite pastimes have always been crafting and writing. I dreamed of writing a novel that combined the two, but the task seemed too huge to even consider. All along, I had been blogging about living an artful life. I had two editors from publishing houses write me and ask if I ever considered writing a novel based on my adventures. On the outside, I said, “Yeah, right.” But inside I knew I wanted to try it! I wrote an outline, but still couldn’t write that first page. But then I learned about National Novel Writing Month. I signed up and wrote the first draft! It was quite a journey to reach this point, but I never gave up faith.

2. Is being crafty really as drama-filled as it is portrayed in the book?

Yes, it can be. Especially if you are very passionate about it. Crafting isn’t just a hobby to many people, it is a lifestyle. And there is not just one type of crafter. Everyone has a different motivation. Some people, like Star, separate art from craft; others, like Chloe, only see the monetary value of a career in the industry. And then there are those like Ofie, who are addicted to making things as an expression of love. When I developed the plot, I wondered what it would be like to force these three types of crafters together in a group. I knew the glitter would fly!

3. Are your characters based on real people?

Chloe, Star, and Ofie—all of them have a little bit of me from different phases in my life. At the same time, Al, Gustavo, and Larry are all inspired by my husband, Patrick. As for the other characters, in my first draft, I did have specific people in mind, but as I went through dozens of rewrites, the characters bloomed in their own way. They didn’t want to reenact my experiences; they had their own stories to tell. As soon as I gave in to that, everything clicked into place.

4. How does fiction writing compare to crafting?

They are very much alike! With crafting, I have to decide on a concept, make a sketch, and choose colors. With fiction writing, I nail down a plot, develop characters, and draft an outline. With writing, the words and sentences are the paints and glitter.

5. What is the deal with glitter, and why did you give it such an important role in the book?

To me, glitter is a metaphor for life. It catches your eye and the sparkle makes you forget all your worries because it is so beautiful. I love it because it is so shiny and indulgent, yet calorie-free!

6. Have you ever had Star, Ofie, or Chloe moments?

Oh sure! My Star moment: Once when I worked at the newspaper, I thought I could multitask on making my crafts. I went outside to the smoking lounge to spray varnish on my project. All the smokers got mad because I stunk up their area and they kicked me out! My Chloe moment: One time, just a few minutes before my live-TV segment, one of the news anchors came to my craft table and took a bite out of my demo project! (It was a Rice Krispies chocolate tree.) And I have Ofie moments every day of my life!

7. Years later, what do you want people to remember about this book?

I want them to feel like there is always hope. Even when you hit rock bottom, as long as you have a good heart, and a strong spirit, you can overcome. I also want them to try to express themselves through some sort of art form. I hope it inspires people to meet with their friends and get crafty!

8. How do you fit writing into your busy schedule?

When I love something, I will find time to do it. For this book, I wrote every night after my family went to sleep. I had zero interruptions — it was perfect. During editing, I swore off all TV shows for three months. I tell myself, “No one will make this happen except you — so do it!”

9. Is Phoenix really as artful as it sounds?

Yes, it sure is! We have First Fridays that bring out thousands of art lovers. It is very much how it is described in the book. There are many fun coffee houses and bars, dance clubs and concert venues. It’s very active!

Visit the author's website

Book provided thanks to Hachette Book Group Early Bird Blog Tours

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