Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guest Post: Mary Lowry of The Earthquake Machine

The lovely Mary Lowry has written a book called The Earthquake Machine that you all should check out! She's agreed to guest post about her inspiration for the book. Don't forget to read her bio--it's full of amazing jobs she once held, like a forest firefighter. No wonder this book is full of adventure.


 Unlike Rhonda, the protagonist of my novel THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE, I have sweet parents who’ve always encouraged my love of reading.

But at a young age, I realized I wanted to have real life adventures that were as wild and fantastic as the ones I read about in books.

At 21, I joined an elite, Type 1 Hotshot crew of forest firefighters and traveled all over the American West battling wildfires.

Between fires seasons I went to Costa Rica where I river rafted through rain forests, sea kayaked, climbed an active volcano, and dove off of waterfalls.

Like Rhonda/Angel, I traveled all over Mexico by bus. Then I moved to Colorado and became an apprentice carpenter. After that, worked in a domestic violence shelter and on the National Domestic Violence Hotline, where I committed myself to helping women and children make it through a difficult transition to a safe and happier life.

I want my novel THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE to inspire women and girls to push themselves to take risks, live life fully, and support each other along the way.

Book synopsis:

  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.


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 should make art, have adventures, and read books that show them the way.

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