I am thrilled to have Luanne stop by today for a little interview!
1. This novel is very much a love story between two people from completely different worlds – Julia is an affluent American living in Malibu and Roberto is Mexican, living in California illegally. What inspired you to create such a unique relationship? How were these characters able to overcome their differences?
Roberto is inspired by someone I know. Both characters have lost daughters. No matter how different the external facts of their lives may be, inside their feelings of grief and desire are the same. They drop the labels and connect as human beings.
2. The Lemon Orchard is set in the beautiful Santa Monica mountains of Malibu, where you live now. What is it about this landscape that inspired you to set your novel there?
After a lifetime of living on the east coast I found myself moving to California. This surprised me and everyone I know. But I’d been in the city for too long and craved the ocean, mountains, nature. I have a lemon tree in my yard, and the air smells of salt and coastal sage. That one lemon tree became an orchard in my imagination.
3. I have read that during the writing of The Lemon Orchard you were inspired by music. Can you tell us a bit about the music that inspired you?
I listened to a lot of Mexican and Irish music, and songs about immigration. The music put me in touch with my Irish roots, and reminded me of the immigrants in my own family. I listened to the albums San Patricio by Ry Cooder and the Chieftains, The Ghost of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen, and The Crossing by Tim O’Brien. The friend who inspired Roberto played me love songs by Juan Gabriel. I asked friends for favorite music about immigration and Becky suggested Americano by Lady Gaga and Orphan Train by Alison Moorer. You can listen to the whole playlist at Spotify: http://spoti.fi/11GRucd
4. When you get the chance to curl up with a book what type of book would we find you reading? Do you have a favorite author?
A few books I’ve been reading lately are Sparta by Roxana Robinson, The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature by David George Haskell, The Long Shore by Jane Hollister Wheelwright and Lynda Wheelwright Schmidt, and Rockall by Amelia Onorato.
5. If money was no object and you could escape to anywhere in the world to write where would you go and what do you think the book would be about?
I’d go to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and touch that fragile environment, then to Laguna San Ignacio where California gray whales migrate each winter, then to the little town near Puebla, Mexico, where “Roberto” is from and I’d see the volcanos Popocatepetl and Iztacciihuatl from the fields where he worked, then to Zimbabwe to see where a young friend was born and lived till she was 10. As for what the book would be about…I’ll tell you when I get back!
Thank you Luanne for letting us see about the author
behind the pages of this wonderful story!
The Lemon Orchard
Pamela Dorman Books
Viking (July 2, 2013)
Published by the Penguin Group
Hardcover: 304 Pages
E-Book File Size: 637 KB
In the five years since Julia last visited her aunt and uncle’s home in Malibu, her life has been turned upside down by her daughter’s death. She expects to find nothing more than peace and solitude as she house-sits with only her dog, Bonnie, for company. But she finds herself drawn to the handsome man who oversees the lemon orchard. Roberto expertly tends the trees, using the money to support his extended Mexican family. What connection could these two people share? The answer comes as Roberto reveals the heartbreaking story of his own loss—a pain Julia knows all too well, but for one striking difference: Roberto’s daughter was lost but never found. And despite the odds he cannot bear to give up hope.
What a moving story! Two people brought together through fate only to realize how much they have in common and how they can rescue each other from the fragmented lives they are living.
Luanne Rice describes time, place and circumstances so perfectly that our minds can see in detail each cacti needle, grain of sand, and tear shed. I felt like I was there or at the very least watching a movie instead of reading a book. I was thirsty just reading Roberto and Rosa’s long journey through the desert and could smell the fires that were burning in the canyon.
The Lemon Orchard is a multifaceted story and very timely with a focus on immigration and what people do to provide the best lives possible for their family. Interwoven are losses of both Julia and Roberto with just a thread of hope. Their friendship turns romantic at the perfect pace.
I reached the last page way too quickly and can only hope and pray that some time in the future Rice will bless us with a sequel.
This is a book that should be on everyone’s summer reading lists. An entertaining story that will make a lasting impression on everyone that reads it.
To find out more about Luanne Rice visit here webpage here.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”