I am delighted to be hosting Mary Pauline Lowry on the blog today. I’m really looking forward to reading her book, The Earthquake Machine, it sounds fabulous. Thanks for stopping by Mary!
THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE:
Traveling Through Mexico
I’m so excited to be featured on NOT ENOUGH BOOKSHELVES. Since our fab blog host ALEXA spent time living in MEXICO CITY, I want to write a little bit about why most of my novel THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE is set in Mexico.
As a little girl, I often traveled with my family to Cuernavaca, Mexico. The foods, smells, language and culture were so different from anything I’d experienced before. Going there was like entering a fantastical otherworld.
When I was 15 years old, I ran away from home and traveled all the way to Matamoros, Mexico. That was such an exhilarating, scary experience. And I always wondered what it would have been like to travel deeper into the country’s interior.
So when I was 21 or so I traveled from my hometown of Austin to Oaxaca on a bus. That was a fantastic adventure and I wanted other people to be able to experience it vicariously through fiction. So I wrote THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE.
The novel’s protagonist RHONDA runs away while on a river rafting trip in Big Bend National Park. She swims across the RIO GRANDE RIVER to MEXICO. Once there she cuts her hair and dies it black so she can pass as a Mexican boy named ANGEL and travel alone to the state of Oaxaca to find her family’s yardman.
RHONDA/ANGEL senses as soon as she crosses the border that MEXICO, and the Mexican people, language and culture, are all incredibly different than what she knows. But she’s lived in such a bland, stifling American neighborhood that she’s eager to drink in the culture that’s as rich as Oaxacan hot chocolate. She travels across the desert on a burro, walks through a jungle at night, and goes on the run from a band of Mexican boys who are angry she’s discovered their secret; and it’s by being in a strange and magical country that she learns about her true self.
THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE is an adventure story about the amazing and enchanted things that are possible for a girl who takes risks.
The Earthquake Machine
The book every girl should read,
and every girl’s parents hope she’ll never read.
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.