Friday, July 2, 2010
It’s my pleasure to host a guest post by novelist Gayle Brandeis. (Click on Gayle’s link to the New York Times article below to see the photograph of pears in bottles.)
My novel Delta Girls was originally titled Pears (and is still titled Pears in my heart of hearts.)
I have always loved pears. When I was in third grade, one of my vocabulary words was “succulent.” I was so excited to come home from school, eat a pear for a snack, and be able to say to my mom, “My, what a succulent pear.” A ripe pear, for me, is the very definition of succulence.
Pears weren’t ever far from my mind as I wrote the novel, which is set, in large part, on an organic pear farm in the Sacramento Delta. Their perfume, their delicate sweetness, their sensuous form. There are few things more beautiful to me than a pear in all its curvy glory.
I was reading the New York Times online one day, and happened upon an article about pear eau de vie. The image of green pears resting inside graceful glass bottles captivated me. There was a gorgeous clarity to the photos, a delicious simplicity. I decided immediately that the owners of the pear farm had to make and bottle their own pear eau de vie. I needed that image to be inside the book, fresh and vibrant. “An orchard in a bottle,” as the article says. I’ve still never tasted pear eau de vie, but I can imagine its flavor, its bite, as vividly as if I had. The image fills all my senses with its clean, sweet note.
I’ve come to like the title Delta Girls – which was chosen by a team of copywriters at Ballantine – but I was very glad to see two ripe pears hanging at the top of the book cover. There’s even a drawing of a pear on the inside title page flanked with leaves that almost look like wings. Pear as succulent angel, here to save us all.
Gayle Brandeis is the author, most recently, of Delta Girls (Ballantine) and her first novel for young readers, My Life with the Lincolns (Henry Holt). You can find out more about her and her work at www.gaylebrandeis.com.
Delta Girls can be ordered online at IndieBound, Amazon, Powell’s, and Barnes & Noble and is also available in bookstores.