MLA Gold Award Site

Laura Resau Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Laura Resau
Photo: Tina Wood

Laura Resau

An interview with Laura Resau

BookBrowse's Tamara Smith talks with Laura Resau about the emotional significance of her collaboration with María Virginia Farinango.

In Conversation With Laura Resau

In the author's note in The Queen of Water, Laura Resau tells the story of walking into María Virginia Farinango's small shop one snowy day. She had met María Virginia once before at the small community college where Laura taught English as a Second Language (ESL) and María Virginia was taking a class with Laura's colleague. Of this meeting she writes:

Because of the weather, [María Virginia's] store was deserted except for the two of us and her toddler son. It felt cozy there, wrapped in musty wool smells. I ended up staying for hours, sitting cross-legged on the floor with her. She told me the story of her life... Throughout her story, the cultural anthropologist in me was riveted, and the writer in me was jumping up and down. I desperately wanted to write this story. María Virginia concluded, 'One of my dreams is to write a book about my life.' She smiled. 'But I want to do it with an experienced author.' I burst out, 'I'd love to do it!'

And so their work together began.

In their partnership, the two women had to create a safe, trusting, and respectful space between them, and they had to find a way to facilitate the actual writing of the story while sharing time, energy, and some intensely personal pieces of information. As I am immensely interested in this process - a collaboration with another person in which the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts - I contacted Laura Resau and asked her about her experience. This is what she said:

This collaboration was very special to me. While I was studying for my masters degree in cultural anthropology, I focused on indigenous women's issues in Latin America. I read tons of journal articles and books on the subject, and, in my own research, I spent time with indigenous Oaxacan women of all ages who shared their life stories with me. For me, the opportunity to do a more in-depth, collaborative project with María Virginia was a dream come true, and it brought me to an entirely new level of understanding of how it feels to be an indigenous woman.

During years of intense interviews and conversations, María Virginia and I went so much deeper than my graduate school research had allowed. We had to thoroughly dissect and analyze hundreds of her life experiences - with special attention to the most painful ones. We both knew that in order to make her story gripping and moving, we had to delve deep into sensitive territory. Our process probably had a lot in common with intensive therapy (and she did feel unexpected therapeutic benefits, actually!) In this way, I came as close as possible to being inside her memories, her thoughts, her feelings, her skin - it was a profoundly emotional experience for me. It's a rare and precious thing when a person trusts you to get this close. María Virginia and I hope our readers experience this in some way too.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

"A hit…The research is impeccable, the attention to detail, perfect." - The Sunday Mirror (UK)

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
    by Kathleen Rooney

    "Effervescent with verve, wit, and heart" - Booklist, starred review

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win No Man's Land

No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien

Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.

Enter

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Conclave
    Conclave
    by Robert Harris
    Although best known for his fact-based historical thrillers, in Conclave, best-selling author Robert...
  • Book Jacket: Conclave
    Conclave
    by Robert Harris
    Although best known for his fact-based historical thrillers, in Conclave, best-selling author Robert...
  • Book Jacket: A Question of Mercy
    A Question of Mercy
    by Elizabeth Cox
    Authors leave little gifts for readers, which seem to turn up at the exact right moment. Perhaps a ...

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H W S W T Devil S H A L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.