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Guest Post: The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry

Thursday, March 8, 2012
The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry

Release Date: February 28, 2012

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.

First I want to say I’m so excited to have a guest post on Vy’s Blog. She has the coolest videos ever and I’m inspired by all the rad stuff she’s done in the past year like:
  1. Get her permit 
  2. Start high school 
  3. Start book blogging. 
I’m here to tell you a little bit about why I wrote my novel THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE.

During the summer after my freshman year in high school, I climbed out my bedroom window and ran away from home. I made it all the way to Matamoros, Mexico. It was a wild adventure. (Please do not EVER run away from home. While it worked out okay for me, most runaways end up in terrible situations).

Like me, the main character in my novel THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE runs away from home and crosses into Mexico. Unlike me, she decides to pretend to be a Mexican boy named Angel and travels deep into Mexico to find her best friend Jesús who has been deported to his home state of Oaxaca.

While there are many amazing things about being a girl, when I was growing up I always wondered what it would be like to be a boy and go traveling and have adventures. Most of the books I read about wild characters were about boys. But even though being a girl made me more vulnerable I was committed to exploring the world and enjoying life.

I want women and girls to have more books to read that feature strong female characters experiencing life fully. That’s why I wrote THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE.

Though these days I spend a lot of time quietly writing, I make sure I get out into the world for some wild times, too. I’ve worked as a forest firefighter, traveling all over the country fighting giant blazes. And I’ve been an apprentice carpenter, learning how to run all kinds of saws and really swing a hammer well.

But sometimes I think the greatest adventure of all is reading a really amazing book. If you agree, I hope you read THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE. It’s an exhilarating tale of a girl who isn’t afraid to cross the borders between the U.S. and Mexico, male and female, English and Spanish, adolescence and adulthood.

Warning: THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE has some sexual content and drug use.

Mary Pauline Lowry
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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 believes girls and women should make art, have adventures, and read books that show them the way.

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