Monday, April 2, 2012

Guest Post with Mary Lowry author of The Earthquake Machine

Today on my blog I have the pleasure of featuring Mary Lowry, the author of The Earthquake Machine. She has done a wonderful guest post for me and I am thrilled to have her take over my blog. So, I will get on with it. 

 Guest Post

First I want to thank Amy for hosting me here at Book Loving Mom. I love the name of the blog; my mom always had a passion for reading that helped me to become an avid reader myself.

Amy asked me to write about how I created the story of The Earthquake Machine. So here goes:

My novel The Earthquake Machine tells the story of a 14 year-old American girl named Rhonda who runs away while on a river rafting trip in Big Bend National Park. Rhonda leaves behind her tragic family situation to flee towards the Mexican state of Oaxaca in search of her family’s yardman Jésus. In order to be able to travel more safely, Rhonda transforms her appearance so that she can “pass” as a Mexican boy named Angel. The story chronicles Rhonda/Angel’s sexual and spiritual coming-of-age.

The novel explores the borders between Texas and Mexico, English and Spanish, adolescence and adulthood, life and death; but it also pushes the boundary separating Young Adult and adult coming-of-age novels.

I think the seed for the novel was planted in 1985, when I was 9 years old. I was flying into Mexico City; and when I looked out the window of the airplane I could see a city devastated by a recent earthquake. As far as I could see, there were collapsed buildings right alongside buildings that still stood. The sight of that ruined city has stayed with me ever since.

And because I grew up in Texas, and traveled frequently to Mexico, I was always aware of the stark contrasts between American and Mexican cultures. I was also aware of the constant influx of Mexican immigrants traveling north to Texas in search of a better life, or just a chance to make money to send home to support their struggling relatives.

I thought it would be interesting to turn this common reality on its head and tell a tale of an American girl who travels South to Mexico in search of both adventure and a chance at a stable and loving family life. I also wanted to create a very literary and very honest novel about a girl coming-of-age during an amazing journey. I wanted to create the sort of book I love to read; and while The Earthquake Machine is certain to shock many readers, I hope that it will delight them as well. 

Add to Goodreads
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.

 About the Author

Mary Pauline Lowry has worked as a forest firefighter, screenwriter, open water lifeguard, construction worker, and advocate in the movement to end violence against women. Due to no fault of her sweet parents, at 15 she ran away from home and made it all the way to Matamoros, Mexico. She believes girls and women should make art, have adventures, and read books that show them the way.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do a guest post for my blog. The Earthquake Machine sounds great. I love how you came up with the idea for the story.  

Purchase: Amazon | B&N 


  1. Oh, man, earthquakes really freak me out! (I live in California, so while they're a sami-regular occurance, I still freeze every time they happen) I'm glad Mary was able to find inspiration from one, though. Thanks for the guest post! :)
    - Lauren

    1. This does sound like a good book. Hopefully I can find time to read it sometime soon.

  2. I LOVE it. :D I'd never heard of this one before, but now, I'm determined to get a copy. I have never heard of anything like this, and it sounds really, really fantastic.

    1. Doesn't it sound really good? I love the whole idea of it and how she created this story.

  3. What a lovely post! I will be reading this very soon. I can't wait!

    1. I really want to read it, but I knew I didn't have time to right now. I did want to help promote the book though, so I was very happy to do a guest post.

  4. Oh this sounds neat! Since I read Rhiannon's series I've been loving anything Texas. I didn't realize how diverse it is there although I guess it's a given seeing where the state is located. Anyways, earthquakes and other natural disaster seriously freak me the heck out. I'm so glad to only have to deal with snow in Canada. I would die of fear if I liked down south O_O I would be like Calhoun and live in my bomb shelter.

  5. Seriously I am terrified of crazy natural disasters. I mean, I don't enjoy really bad snow storms (especially the ones that know power out for days or weeks) but I would take that over tornadoes and hurricanes any day!! We got hit up here by Hurricane Irene last year and it was pretty bad. We got a few tornadoes last year too, which used to never happen. Thankfully we haven't gotten earthquakes. I don't think we are near a big fault line here.


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