This Raging Light

Starlet

Estelle Laure and I met for a coffee late last week to talk about her life in Taos since signing a two-book deal with a prestigious Publishing House.

“Elizabeth Bewley at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers preempted North American rights to Estelle Laure’s This Raging Light, in a mid-six-figure, two-book, deal. Emily Van Beek at Folio Junior/Folio Literary Management represented the debut author. The novel follows a teenager and her younger sister as they try to deal with their mother’s sudden disappearance. Things become further complicated when older sister Lucille falls for her best friend’s brother. The publisher said the book is a “luminous portrait” of two young girls enduring hardship. Laure lives in New Mexico and received an M.F.A. from Vermont College of Fine Arts; Light is set for fall 2015.” ( Publishers Weekly June 2014)

Estelle or Starlet as I know her, by virtue of being a close friend of the uncle who bestowed the nickname, was born at Versailles and spent her childhood in Paris and London before coming to the States. After her parents went their separate ways, her mother came to Taos to start a business for her father who planned to move here upon his retirement.

Estelle’s grandfather, Ambassador William Eagleton met his first wife in Paris, where her father was the American Architect William Welles Bosworth, who had done the restorations on the Palace at Versailles during the 20’s.

Bill Eagleton and Francoise had five children. Dhyana, Estelle’s mother was the only daughter born to the two of them. When they separated, Francoise put herself through Medical School, five kids and all, and went on to become a Harley Street Surgeon.

Eagleton had spent time in Morocco during the late 40’s and 50’s and continued to maintain a residence there all his life with his second wife Kay, with whom he had three more children, one of them, another daughter. His bachelor apartment was passed on to the great American ex-pat writer, Paul Bowles. Bowles kept that flat until he died and the two men remained lifelong friends.

estelle headshot bw

Bill Eagleton was one of the most interesting men of our time. One of the world’s foremost Arabists, a career diplomat, he came to the fore during the Kennedy years and worked for the State Department for the rest of his life. As well as Bowles, he counted among his close friends, the actress Ava Gardner. Famous friends aside, he dedicated much of his life to righting the wrongs of history toward the Kurds. He also collected Kurdish and other rare tribal carpets and had appointed his oldest daughter to open a rug shop in Taos in order to get a business going before his imminent arrival.

Dhyana arrived in Taos with her two kids in time for them to go to Taos High School and installed Bill’s lifetime collection of carpets in a shop on Bent Street aptly named Flying Carpet. When he and Kay arrived, she and her children were already a part of the community. His other children began to visit, a couple of them lived here for awhile but Bill found himself pulled out of his retirement more than once after finally settling in Taos. His expertise in many of the world’s hottest spots was too valuable an asset for him to be let go of that easily.

Little wonder then, given her illustrious and colourful family background, that Estelle has emerged from her own marital breakup, two children later, as a young writer to watch. Her day job as assistant to Emily Van Beek, the Agent who also happens to be her Literary Agent, takes up much of her time but that’s not stopping her from working on her next book.

“I could give up the job but I feel it’s a privilege to be on both sides of the desk,” she tells me.

estelle m final

She loves the Young Adult genre she’s working in, remembering how books were such a comfort to her during those uncertain years and believes that children’s literature period, remains a very important factor in childhood developement.

The book has been sold in twelve countries and is bound to be hugely succesful. She says the pressure is on but she doesn’t let it get to her. She’s going at a comfortable pace, making sure all she has on her plate, stays there. I have no doubt that it will. This beautiful, brilliant young woman has a personal history of dedication and discipline. An incredibly talented actress, Estelle got her degree in Drama at the University of New Mexico in Los Cruces, before working at the infamous Fred’s Place here in Taos for a couple of years. Most who have known her since then believed she’d go into Acting as a profession.

Fate intervened and she met the father of her children. They moved to the East Coast and she eventually returned to school for her Masters once their kids were old enough for her to expand her horizons a bit.

starlet

Back in Taos with her two kids, unfazed by the attention, the six figure advance and all the fuss, Starlet arrived for our chat with her son (who wasn’t feeling well) in tow, on her way to pick up her daughter from school.

Dressed in sweatpants, devoid of makeup, hair pulled up in a messy ponytail, she looked like a lot of other young Taos moms on duty and that’s the way she likes it. Taos is where she is free to be exactly who she is with no pretension and no one to impress. She’s home.

“I love Taos,” she says, ” all my friends are here, people who I’ve known since High School, we have kids now, we’re older, but it’s still a close-knit group. I feel so lucky.”

As we got ready to leave the cafe where we met, we exchanged small talk about our families and such, before heading out into the cold, when she stopped before going out the door and turned to me.

“You know Taos is a remarkable place, I think it’s the only place on earth where nobody judges you in terms of your monetary worth or what you do.”

“Here,” she noted, “it’s more about, how creative are you?”

amazon.com/This-Raging-Light-Estelle-Laure-ebook

 

Photographs of Estelle Laure by Melissa Haye-Cserhat

melissacserhat@gmail.com

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “This Raging Light

  1. Taos is full of interesting people! Another Taos jewel! Thank you Lynne for bringing these amazing hidden jewels to light! I loved the story! Melissa did a fantastic job with photographs! Another shining star!

  2. Thanks Toni! Yes, Starlet is a jewel – perhaps I should rename the blog Treasures of Taos? I agree, Melissa’s pics are stunning. They are old friends you know, and I think because they are so comfortable with one another, Melissa was able to really capture Estelle’s true inner light!

  3. Lynne

    another excellent bio! wish you would get some of your creative writing in one place like a book!

    Estelle may have forgotten that her great uncles were also noted artists: Jean Oberle who was the journalist, painter, writer and spokesman for De Gaulle during the war years in London and Hobart Bosworth, the “dean of Hollywood”, actor, director, producer and co-founder of Paramount – so she’s got some serious competition.

    As stated – Taos is where you can just be – and all the fame and cash just withers away in those early morning mists and whats left is the Big Mountain and that remorseless river!
    Phil

  4. Philip! Thank you, Estelle is incredibly modest as you know and I take full responsibility for inserting family history. I am so glad you added more to the mix. Family Extraordinaire! Never mind the remorseless river, when are we to expect you next? You are missed.

    p.s. a lot of my creative writing is already in books and right here too, keep following!

  5. I received an email from Starlet’s mom, Dhyana correcting me regarding Flying Carpet.

    “The first rug store was my personal business: -Taos Rug and Kilim Gallery. Later, after I moved to Boulder with Chris in 1994 and continued my business with interior designers, Kay arrived and decided to open their business: Flying Carpet.”

    Thanks D and my apologies.

  6. Pingback: TRL in Taos Style | Estelle Laure | Author

  7. Can anyone tell me whether Francoise is still living-
    We were friends in Tabriz, I ran in the late fifties and early sixties when I was working at the American Christian Hospital in the Compound adjacent to the Consulate, and she sometimes would act as my surgical assistant. We lost contact when she started Medical school. We traveled to India, Nepal and Jerusalem together.
    Thanks,
    Dorothy A Porter,MD

    • Hi Dorothy and thanks so much for reading and commenting. Francoise passed on several years ago in Paris, where she was living. I will make sure Estelle sees this and responds to you personally.

    • Dear Dorothy,

      Yes, so sorry to say my grandmother passed, as Lynne said. How lovely to imagine her in those years, pursuing her dreams.

      Many thanks for reaching out, and feel free to be in touch if you’d like to speak to my mother for more details. estelle108 at icloud dot com.

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