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60s road trip novel from US-Kiwi writer

60s road trip novel from US-Kiwi writer

Open Your Eyes, Jackson Ryder, the second novel from Hawke’s Bay author and artist Rudy Castañeda López, takes us on a nostalgic road trip through the dramatic events of 1960s America. In a captivating and authentic voice, Lopez charts a fifteen-year-old’s tumultuous journey through adolescence and across the USA.

Jackson Ryder - named after Jackson Pollock - has always loved art, but in the wake of his mother’s sudden death he must navigate the mysterious world of adults, torn between his passion for drawing and the need to seek his grieving father’s approval.

Pulled from his New York home into the melting pot that is San Sebastiano, California, Jackson finds himself embroiled in an era defined by Kennedy’s assassination, and shaped by an emerging art scene, the Civil Rights Movement, and rock ‘n’ roll. As he learns to deal with life, death, and a new-found interest in girls, only drawing stops his world from spinning out of control.

Open Your Eyes, Jackson Ryder lets us experience the tumultuous, much-studied decade of the 1960s afresh through the eyes of Mexican Americans. As a second-generation Mexican-American artist himself, López writes with experience and an authentic voice.

Heart-wrenching and humorous, this book has a wide appeal, both for those nostalgic for the 1960s era and for younger readers who can relate to Jackson’s difficult entrance into adulthood.

About the author
Since immigrating to New Zealand from the US in the 1980s, Rudy Castañeda López has earned his Masters in Fine Arts, published his first novel The Song of Laughing Bird (2005), and has been both a student and a teacher at Whitireia Community Polytechnic. The first draft of Open Your Eyes, Jackson Ryder was his project for the Advanced Diploma on the Whitireia Creative Writing Programme, earning him an A+ pass. While on the programme Rudy was also given the Honour Award in the New Zealand Writing School Short Story Competition for ‘Life Class’.

Although currently resident in Porirua, López has strong connections to Hawke’s Bay. He was Head of Art at Hastings Girls’ High School for eleven years. In 2002 he moved to the Eastern Institute of Technology as a drawing and painting tutor, then worked at the then Hawke's Bay Museum (now MTG) as an education officer for a year. He has relief taught at several secondary schools in the area, including Iona College, Lindisfarne, Napier Girls, Colenso, and Karamu College. López has exhibited his paintings extensively in Hawke’s Bay through Hastings Art Gallery, the Hastings Community Art Centre, Hawke's Bay Museum, and the now defunct Wine Country Gallery. In 2007 he left Hawke's Bay to take up the position of Programmes Manager of the Visual Arts and Design Department of Whitireia Community Polytechnic.

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