Friday, 10 February 2012

Author Interview: Mary Pauline Lowry

Hey everyone! I am delighted to present an interview with the author of the incredible 'The Earthquake Machine', Mary Pauline Lowry!

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.


1. Hi Mary! Thanks for stopping by the Blog! Where did you get the inspiration for The Earthquake Machine?

I think my whole life has been inspiration for THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE. I ran away from home when I was 15 years-old and made it all the way to Matamoros, Mexico. So I always wondered what it would be like if I had traveled deeper into Mexico on my own.
Then when I was in college I would often go to Big Bend National Park on the border between Texas and Mexico. My friends and I would pay $1 to be rowed across the river to Mexico. That crossing of the river to another country always fascinated me. Then when I was 22 or so, I rode the bus from Austin, TX all the way to interior Mexico. I went to Oaxaca and to the little village outside of Oaxaca called Arrazola. That’s Rhonda/Angel’s destination she runs away while on a river rafting trip in Big Bend.

2. Rhonda is such an incredible character! Did you find yourself relating to her when you were writing the novel?

Yes, definitely! Like Rhonda, as I was growing up I often wanted to escape the limitations that sometimes come along with being female and becoming a woman. Like Rhonda, I have always been committed to traveling and having adventures, but those are things that are often more risky for women than men. I had some of my best adventures when I was working as a forest firefighter on an elite type 1 Hotshot crew—that’s a job I think Rhonda would have loved. When I was actually writing THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE I was living in a rented basement room at the Desert Rose Horse Ranch outside of Durango, Colorado. My day job was working as an apprentice carpenter. Rhonda always longs to work with wood, and that idea came to me when I was sanding and cutting boards all day.

3. Do you hope that teenage girls will be able to relate to Rhonda and learn from The Earthquake Machine?

I absolutely hope teenage girls will be able to relate to Rhonda. Like Rhonda, I think a lot of teenage girls have complicated relationships with food and with
their own bodies. I also think many teenage girls are dealing with their own sexuality in ways that are hard to acknowledge. I hope when teenage girls read THE EARTHQUAKE MACHINE they’ll think, “Wow! I’m not the only one who has felt or done that!” and also, “OMG, I can’t believe Mary had the guts to write that scene!”

4. What where your favourite books to read whilst growing up?

My absolute favorite Young Adult books were the WEETZIE BAT series by Francesca Lia Block. The books are absolutely enchanting and deal with very serious and difficult issues in a magical, lighthearted way. The first line of WEETZIE BAT is “Weetzie hated high school because no one understood.” From that first sentence I was totally hooked.

5. Are you working on anything else at the moment?

Yes, I have finished another novel based on my experiences as a forest firefighter. The novel hasn’t been released yet, but it has been optioned for film by Bill Mechanic at Pandemonium Productions. (Former CEO of 20th Century Fox, Mechanic was famously fired by Rupert Murdoch for his support of the film FIGHT CLUB, which makes Mechanic my hero—FIGHT CLUB is my inner male’s favorite movie). I wrote the screenplay and director Peyton Wilson has been attached to the project. I just now finished up a revision of the script for Peyton Wilson, Bill Mechanic and my other producer, the fabulous Suzanne Warren. I emailed it to them about an hour ago; and I hope this is the draft that will go out to actors!

Thanks so much for stopping by Mary!

Be sure to read my review of The Earthquake Machine here.

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.


1 comment:

  1. Great interview! I'm a new follower - I love your blog! I would really appreciate if you could follow me back! Thanks :)

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