Author Interview: Mary Pauline Lowry

Author bio: 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. 

That's right! With us today is Mary Pauline Lowry, author of The Earthquake Machine. We've got an interview today, and coming up soon is a giveaway of her book! Enjoy!

What is your ideal afternoon?
My ideal afternoon would be going for a long run followed by a dip in Deep Eddy swimming pool where I would lie around in the sun and read a great book.

Are you a lover of books?
Absolutely. My nickname in elementary school was “Bookworm.”

What is the absolute best book you've ever read? 
I can’t say which is the best, but I can pick a favorite. Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson.

How long have you been writing?
I started writing in earnest during the summer of 2000. So 12 years.

Do you plan to keep writing?
I heard a story about Bukoswki. His housekeeper was cleaning and she needed to vacuum. “Mr. Bukoski,” she said. “If I vacuum will the noise bother your writing?”

“Nothing bothers my writing,” he said. “It’s a disease.”

What's the 411 about The Earthquake Machine?
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.

What inspired you to write it?

I’m from Texas and was always aware of an influx of immigrants from Mexico who come to the U.S. in search of a better life or simply to make money to send home to their families. I thought it would be interesting to write about an upper middle class American girl who travels South to Mexico in search of adventure and a stable family situation.
And I’ve always wanted more honest books with brave female protagonists. So I decided to write one. 

What do you want readers to get from your book?
I want readers to receive a feeling of possibility.

How does it feel knowing people read your book?
Like an impossible dream come true.

Do you have a word of advice for aspiring writers?
Write every morning as soon as you wake up. And never ever show your early work to anyone unless you are 100% sure they will be supportive. 

Thank's so much for doing this interview! I was supposed to write a review for The Earthquake Machine, but things came up and I'm not going to be able to get to it. Instead, I'm going to be offering up my copy in a giveaway. That will be coming later in the week. In the meantime, here is a synopsis of the book, as well as some links about the book:
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.

Thanks for reading! Don't forget to check back later for a giveaway!


  1. GREAT interview! I really enjoyed this book, and also interviewed the author --- but you asked her some really good questions. :) I like the quote about Bukowski.

    1. Thanks! I loved the quote too. Thanks for stopping by! :)


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