Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guestpost: Mary Pauline Lowry

Mary Pauline Lowry has worked as a forest firefighter, construction worker, open water lifeguard, and advocate in the movement to end violence against women.
She currently works as a novelist, screenwriter, and regular contributor to the Huffington Post.

How was your journey from when you started writing the book until the book was published?

I started writing THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE on a trip to London to go to my friend Jenny’s wedding. I knew there was going to be a river raft trip in the book, so I thought when I returned to the U.S. from England I would drive from my hometown of Austin, TX to Colorado and get a job as a river raft guide. I’m naturally very adventurous, so I thought it would be fun to learn about river rafting by actually doing it.

Once I was back in Texas I threw my tent and my sleeping bag in my car and drove to Southwest Colorado. But because there was a bad drought, the rivers were really low and I couldn’t get a job as a river raft guide. Instead I found work as an apprentice carpenter. My boss was a giant Viking of a man named David, who believes women should have a chance to learn construction.

I rented a basement room at the Desert Rose Horse Ranch. Every day I would wake up at dawn to write for a couple of hours and then I would drive into Durango to do carpentry work all day. David and I usually worked outside in the cold; it was hard work, but fun and we always talked a lot about books and movies and art.

About the time I finished the first draft of THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE, I started working at a domestic violence shelter where women and children who had been abused could go to stay safe and get back on their feet. Over the next few years I spent time on and off revising THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE, and I eventually moved back to Austin.

The first novel I ever wrote is called THE GODS OF FIRE. It’s based on my experiences as a forest firefighter. It still hasn’t been released, but when I was revising THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE, THE GODS OF FIRE was optioned for film and I wrote the screenplay. The movie is now in pre-production.

And now THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE is finally being published. All I’ve ever wanted was to be a novelist, but during my journey along the way I’ve done all these other things to support myself while I was writing.

I really believe that women and girls should have a chance to make art, have adventures and really live life fully. I hope that both my novel THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE and my own experiences will inspire other people to take risks themselves.

The Earthquake Machine

The book every girl should read,
and every girl’s parents hope she’ll never read.

 The Earthquake Machine, a fun, fantastical and exhilarating tale, explodes the distinction between Young Adult and adult coming-of-age novels, even as it explores the borders between the United States and Mexico, adolescence and adulthood, male and female, English and Spanish.

The Earthquake Machine tells the story of 14 year-old Rhonda. On the outside, everything looks perfect in Rhonda’s world, but at home Rhonda has to deal with a manipulative father who keeps her mentally ill mother hooked on pharmaceuticals. The only reliable person in Rhonda’s life is her family’s Mexican yardman, Jesús. But when the INS deports Jesús back to his home state of Oaxaca, Rhonda is left alone with her increasingly painful family situation.

Determined to find her friend Jésus, Rhonda seizes an opportunity to run away during a camping trip with friends to Big Bend National Park. She swims to the Mexican side of the Rio Grande and makes her way to the border town of Milagros, Mexico. There a peyote- addled bartender convinces her she won’t be safe traveling alone into the country’s interior. So with the bartender’s help, Rhonda cuts her hair and assumes the identity of a Mexican boy named Angel. She then sets off on a burro across the desert to look for Jesús. Thus begins a wild adventure that fulfills the longing of readers eager for a brave and brazen female protagonist.

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There is lot of spam lately at the posts, so for a while i will put up the comment moderation. Sorry for that, i really don't like it but i thought it might stop the spamming. It will be down soon enough! Thanks a lot :)

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