Thursday, March 1, 2012

Author Interview: 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.


-Try to describe your book in one sentence.

THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE is a wild, fantastical novel about an American girl who runs away from home, crosses the border into Mexico, and pretends to be a Mexican boy while she searches for her one true friend who has been deported from Texas to the Mexican state of Oaxaca. *whew, I did in one run-on sentence!

-Your genre in The Earthquake Machine is YA right?. You did that on purpose, or you just start writing?
I consider THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE to be a cross between a YA novel and an adult coming-of-age novel. I wanted to tell a story about a young female protagonist who experiences wild adventures. The novel has sexually explicit material and some drug use. But I think in real life, many young adults encounter such things, so it’s important to explore them in literature

-What inspired you to write, you took any ideas from other books, movies etc?
When I was 15 years old, I ran away from my home in Austin, TX and went all the way to Matamoros, Mexico. I have always loved experiencing life fully and I wanted to tell a story about a girl doing the same. I’ve always read voraciously and watched lots of movies and I think that definitely influences my work. In THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE my writing is heavily influenced by the Latin American Boom writers who use magical realism to tell very real stories in a fantastical way.

-Did you do any research before start or during of the writing of the book?
I did no research when writing this book. I drew from my own experiences, my travels in Texas and Mexico, and my understanding of the differences between Mexican and American culture.
When writing the book, I lived at the Desert Rose Horse Ranch outside of Durango, CO. I would wake up and write before dawn and then go to work all day as an apprentice carpenter. There was no time to research, only a couple early morning hours to write.

-Which scenes were the hardest to write?
The hardest scene to write BY FAR was the one in which the 14 year old protagonist teaches an old woman in her 90s to use a vibrator (aka an earthquake machine). It was such a wild, outrageous, uncomfortable, magical scene; and I couldn’t think about people actually reading it or I would’ve been too freaked out to have written it.

-How long has it taken you to write a book ?
It took me a couple of years to write THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE and then a couple more years to polish it up so it was exactly how I wanted it to be.

-What’s the best part of writing for you?
I love the quiet stillness and solitude of writing at home in my jammies. I also love it when the words start clicking into place and I can feel the language humming through me and onto the page.

-Are you reading or writing something else at the moment?
I have another novel called THE GODS OF FIRE based on my experiences as a forest firefighter on an elite Hotshot crew. The novel hasn’t been released yet, but it’s been optioned for film and I wrote the screenplay. I just finished a revision for the film’s director. (The novel THE GODS OF FIRE should come out in the next year or two).

-Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?
I didn’t have a lot of support when I first started writing, but about a year after I started writers Joy Williams and Stephen Harrigan read my work, loved it, and offered me a lot of support. I’ve also received tons of support from my family, which I really appreciate.

-Did you always had in mind to be a writer or it just happened?
I have always been a voracious reader. I cannot imagine a life without books. But I didn’t realize I wanted to be a writer until I was in my early 20s.

-How important you find the communication between you and your readers?
I haven’t had many readers yet since THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE is my first published novel. I look forward to hearing from readers and communicating with them. I do write regularly for the HUFFINGTON POST and I receive comments from readers there, which is pretty fun and sometimes strange. It’s strange when people I don’t know react strongly to what I write.

Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?
I will definitely reply to readers who send me messages about THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE. I’m not sure if I will read reviews or not. I want to protect my inner writer from too much criticism, but it might be fun to read the reviews if they are good.

-Are you working on any other projects except writing, right now?
Right now I’ve been really into embroidering cool designs on pearl snap shirts.

-Something special you want to share with us?
What I really want to share with reader of Splash of Our Worlds is my novel. I hope they decide to read it. It’s a wild ride.

Now some simple questions and more fun^^

-Your favourite books and author?
Francesca Lia Block is one of my favorite writers. Her WEETZIE BAT books changed my life.

-Your favourite band/singer?
Right now I am totally into ARCADE FIRE. For some reason I can focus on my writing really well when I listen to their album THE SUBURBS.

-Twitter or Facebook?
Facebook for sure. It’s a great way to flirt and to keep up with what friends who live in other cities are doing.

-Favourite place in the world?
One of my favorite places in the world is the Fire Center in the mountains of Colorado where I lived when I was a forest firefighter.
The other is my hometown of Austin, TX.

-The last book you’ve read?
I’m just finishing a novel by Murry Taylor called The Rhythm of Leaves. Murry Taylor is my hero because when he retired from smokejumping, he was the oldest smokejumper ever.

-Have you ever googled yourself?
Of course! It’s interesting because different stuff comes up if I google “Mary Lowry” or “Mary Pauline Lowry.” Lots of stuff about my writing comes up, but luckily nothing scandalous about my personal life.

-Writing, reading or hanging out with friends?
I need all three for my life to feel balanced. I’d be lost without any of them.

-If you wouldn’t be a writer, what you would be?
I used to be a forest firefighter and I guess I’d be that again. I love adventure and sleeping on the ground.

-And last one....printed or ebooks?
Both! I read books on my Kindle and print books.

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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