BLOG BOOK TOUR

Today it is my absolute pleasure to be the first stop on Lauri Kubuitsile’s Blog Book Tour to celebrate her outstanding Young Adult novel Signed, Hopelessly In Love, published by Tafelberg Publishers, South Africa.

Lauri is an illustrious writer from Botswana, Africa. She has won an impressive array of writing awards including the Bessie Head Literature Prize in 2008, the Baobab Literary Prize in 2009 and in 2005 was one of three nominees for the Botswana Writer of the Year.  She is currently on the shortlist for the 2011 Caine Prize. Yes, we are in very auspicious company today.

Lauri has 14 published books. I’m sure that Signed, Hopelessly In Love will be one of her most popular titles.

The story involves Amo being asked to run the agony aunt column (Aunt Lulu) for her school newspaper. At first she doesn’t want to do it, feeling insulted, because she regards herself as a serious journalist. However, she changes her mind when an anonymous letter arrives from ‘Hopelessly In Love’ and she becomes convinced she knows who the writer is. She also becomes equally convinced that the writer is writing about her.

This is a marvelous book, full of humour, excellent characterisation and authentic teenage voices. I enjoyed it very, very much and almost fell off my chair laughing at certain points in the narrative.

Without further ado I would like to introduce Lauri who will tell you a little more about her novel and will answer some questions I posed to her.

1. The first thing I noticed about your book’ Signed, Hopelessly In Love’ is the large red heart on the cover. It is very striking.  Did you play a part in designing the cover and how important do you think the design of the cover is?

Of all of my books, this cover is my favourite! This was the third cover the publisher. I didn’t like the first one. The second one was very similar to this one, though the colours were slightly less bright. I think the cover matters quite a bit. This cover stands out. I think too it gives a good impression of the book, it’s a bit of a wonky heart, with very earnest writing on it. A bit like the inside of the book. My input only came when the cover was finished in the form of- “Do you like this?” In a way I think it’s better that way. I’m a writer not an artist or a marketing person.

2. You write with a very authentic voice. Your characters are very well-defined, very believable. What led you to write Young Adult Fiction?

I wrote this book for a contest, it was shortlisted but didn’t win. It had a different title then, it was called Aunt Lulu. As you know, I write all types of things. I write for adults, I write for children and I write for teens. Usually I don’t set out with a particular audience in mind; I think the story decides the audience. I love writing across all of these different ages, in any case I’ve been a child, a teen and an adult so it’s not something I know nothing about.

3. Even though your book is set in Botswana many of the themes explored such as teenage crushes, not fitting in, balancing friendships and family relationships are universal. Change some of the physical aspects of the setting and the narrative could be taking place in Sydney, Australia. Do you think that the themes explored in your book are part of the universal teenage experience?

I think what I’ve found having travelled a bit and grown up in one place and lived the rest of my life in another, is that we really are all the same. We all want similar things, we all run into similar obstacles. I think that’s why reading books about other places where we don’t live works. Though I might have never lived in Japan and never felt an earthquake under my feet, if I read a story about it I can immediately understand the characters’ feelings, I can make that connection because I’m human too.

4. What stands out for me in your book is the underlying sense of humour that runs throughout. There are some really funny scenes and characters such as Gran, Pigs and of course the unforgettable liniment scene. I know you and I know that humour is an important part of who you are as a person. Do you think it’s important as a writer to put parts of yourself – such as your sense of humour – into your work?

I think it’s impossible not to. I’m not sure I yet know what voice is, but I think it might be the writer’s personality coming through. I think books always have a bit of the writer inside. You reveal yourself by the stories you choose and the characters that are in the stories, and in the way you decide to tell a particular story.

5. I really like the character of Amo. She is someone I can relate to. When I was a teenager I used to pretend I was my favourite character in whatever book I was reading at the time and I could feel myself slipping back into that mode of thinking with Amo. Do you see the potential for any further stories involving Amo? Would you be open to the possibility of a series involving Amo and Gran and the others?

When I first finished the book more than two years ago, I immediately thought I would write a sequel. Here in Botswana junior secondary school is three years (Amo is in her second year in this book) and senior secondary is two years. I thought I might do a book for each year. But then I wasn’t sure the book would be published and I lost a bit of interest. I’ve written two full-length, adult novels that have been rejected repeatedly. I don’t like spending all of that time on something and then not have the book published, who does? But now that this book is published I may think about it again. Quite a few people have suggested it now.  I also really like Amo- and Nono too. I think they might have a few more good stories to tell.

Congratulations on the publication of Signed, Hopelessly In Love, Lauri. I wish you every success with it. Thank you for making Sydney, Australia, the first stop on your Blog Book Tour. I’m sure it has been a real treat for my readers. I know it has been for me.

**If you wish to buy Lauri’s book Signed, Hopelessly In Love you can do so here.

Come on, you know you want to. You will LOVE it.

You can also visit Lauri at her blog Thoughts From Botswana.

You can also follow her on Twitter.

If you wish to leave a comment or ask a question here please do so as Lauri will be checking in throughout the day (bearing in mind that Botswana is 9 hours behind Sydney.) I know she would love to hear from you.

And please follow the Blog Book Tour as it goes around the world.

The rest of the dates are –

October 19:Bordertown Notes
November 2: Myne Whitman Writes
November 16: Straight From Hel
November 23:Monkeys on the Roof

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38 thoughts on “BLOG BOOK TOUR

    1. It is a really good idea, isn’t it, Gabe? Much easier when we are all over the world too. I am so glad to do it for Lauri. I hope to do it for you someday too!

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    1. It is a really good book, Katherine. My son liked it too and he is notoriously difficult to please. He really liked the character of the Grandmother. She was hilarious!

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  1. Hi Selma! I really loved the book too.. Great to read your impressions of it, and to learn more from Lauri! I also found the Big Red Heart on the cover to be most appropriate…

    NB. ‘Signed Hopelessly in Love’ will be on tour next at my blog, on 19th October – hope to see you and some of your readers there, too!

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    1. Hi Karen. Lovely to meet you. The big red heart is amazing. So eye-catching. It would actually look great on a T-shirt. I will definitely be a your blog next week if not before. I am looking forward to it!

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    1. It is a good idea, Adeeyoyo. A great way of publicising someone’s work. Lauri is an excellent writer. I suspect she’s a bit more famous than she lets on!

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    1. It is a brilliant book, Mags. The cover really jumps out at you, doesn’t it? I think it’s probably quite important to do that with Young Adult Fiction. Gets your readers interested straight away!

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  2. Lauri’s here. Lauri’s here. You’ve had a lot of interest in this today. More people should start reading now, I suspect, so who knows how many hits you’ll get. Very exciting!!

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  3. Congratulations again Lauri. I can relate to that teenage crush feeling and being so absolutely certain someone must surely feel the same way and then falling flat on one’s face… :oops

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  4. hi Selma and Lauri – great to read this first interview on the blog tour. I cant wait to read the book!! its done a bit of travelling from karen to me, but i hope it lands in my hands next week. Lovely interview Selma, and congratulations Lauri! I shall enjoy following this tour. lovely photo of you too btw.

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    1. I really appreciate your kind words, Val. It is such a treat to have Lauri tour here. I’m looking forward to her visit to your blog too. Very exciting!!

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    1. The cover is great, isn’t it? Everyone I’ve shown it to loves it. Thanks for stopping by, Myne. I’m looking forward to your section of the tour!!

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  5. She sounds like a very good writer. I love it when an author can make me laugh out loud and they’re the ones I’m most likely to collect. Or in your case Selma, pester for more!
    Great interview!

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    1. Lauri is a very good writer, Cathy, and she writes in a variety of genres. Very, very talented person. Keep pestering me, Cathy. I need it. Hahaha.

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  6. Congrats again, Lauri. I look forward to a quiet time with this book when it finally arrives. It’s currently out of stock in Amazon UK.
    I certainly agree, the cover is very striking.

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  7. Although I didn’t, at first, think that this was my thing, I’m looking forward to reading it. I’ve only ever spent a week in Botswana (on business) and I loved it. However, I’ve ‘revisited’ many times through the ‘No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’ books and can’t wait to see if I can also revisit through the pages of this one.

    Lauri: Will this be available on Kindle? I *think* I’m getting one for Christmas!

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  8. For now there is no ebook, sorry. But it is in the pipeline. I’ll let you all know. Travelrat- not to be a shameless promoter, I do have an ebook of short stories (all set in Botswana) which will be coming out very soon with HopeRoad-London. If you’ve visited Botswana, you might enjoy that one as well.
    Thanks for all of the lovely comments.

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    1. YOU’VE GOT YOUR FIRST GROUPIE, LAURI. LOL.
      All jokes aside, Roshan, I think Lauri is gorgeous too and a fantastic writer to boot. I’m sure her book will do really, really well 😀

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  9. Great post, Selma – Lauri’s sense of humour and insight as to why books about other places work even if we’ve never been there is the key to why she is obviously such a successful writer – I will be looking out for her ebooks – Thanks

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